Tuesday, November 27, 2012

wandering and wondering

These past few weeks have been warm in South Carolina...freakishly warm, to me.  It didn't feel like fall when every day was sunny and 65.  It felt strange to wear a t-shirt in November.  My sweaters hung untouched in the closet.  I longed for cold, crisp Indiana weather.

But we went back to Indiana this weekend, and it was cold.  It hovered around freezing during the day, and we shivered into and out of cars as we visited friends and ran errands.  When we returned to South Carolina and another sunny, 65 degree day, it felt good.  Like springtime. 

I have to say that I'm appreciating other aspects of the warm weather besides the comfort factor.  Things live here - plants and animals - that would never survive a harsh Indiana winter.  Lizards, for instance.  I just can't get used to seeing them scurry around outside!

There's a whole new world of insect life that I haven't begun to explore.  For example, I'm used to grey pillbugs in Indiana.  But the pillbugs here - if that's what they are - are orange and black...so vibrant!

We have holly bushes!  Even though I see them everywhere, I'm still afraid to clip too many sprigs.  Maybe soon I'll feel comfortable enough to clip a whole garland.

Despite the fact that it's a few days away from December, there are still flowers blooming.  These look like camillias and remind me of peonies...so beautiful.

They're growing on a huge tree that's absolutely covered in buds - next year's bloom, looks like.  I can't imagine how lovely it will look, all budded out.

I see other shrubs with rose-like flowers on them. 

But what are they?  I have no idea.

They all look slightly different, but their leaves are all stiff and waxy.

I've seen several Mahonia bushes...I'd say we have close to 30.  I've discovered that they can become invasive and I wonder if the elderly people that owned the home before were unable to keep them from spreading.

To me, they look like spindly, messy weeds and have a strange, asparagus-like growth coming out of the circle of leaves at the top of the bush.

In the winter, these spikes bloom with yellow flowers and smell pleasant.  I'll evaluate them this winter, but I will probably end up cutting them down.  They can grow to be 12 feet tall and reseed readily.  Besides, they look awfully...tropical.  I'd rather choose a different type of shrub.  We've already got the tropical japonica on either side of the front door, with its large, shiny leaves...

...and strange, pale yellow 'puffs'.

Insects love them!

Then there's the wild vine covering the little arbor and side fences:

What is it?  Does it flower?  I found this little bud, which would seem to indicate some sort of flower:

I recognize the towering magnolia tree, even though I'm not sure what it looks like in bloom:

I recognize rosemary...

Japanese maple...

And this looks like parsley...

I wonder if this vine will flower?

And this stiff, leafless bush still has a plant tag attached.  Beautyberry.  Lots of possibilities in that name.

Are there bulbs here?

These are the dried-out remnants of a flowering bush.  What color was it?

Are these the tall, graceful alliums I love so much?

Will this groundcover flower?

There are lots of mysteries here, as I walk the perimeter of the property and wonder.  I'll have to wait until spring, though, to get some answers.  Meanwhile, I'll just...enjoy the weather.

Have a great week!

1 comment:

  1. Your property looks beautiful! What fun to watch it over the year to see what blooms and what plants you like and what you need to edit. I am very familiar with camellias, we grow a few and they are very popular in California but are not blooming yet. I love them and yours are beautiful.