Flowers in the snow
13 January 2013 | 4:01 am

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I always thought the Christmas-blooming hellebores were a myth—something that only happens in England or in much warmer zones.  But it’s early January and I have flowers in full bloom in the front yard. Not such a common occurrence in Buffalo. This must be one of the helleborus niger variety, which really does flower in the depths of winter. I guess it would have been flowering under the snow, if there were any.

Also up, if more expected: snowdrops.  I was never one to care much about "winter interest," which usually means evergreens, seedheads, and sculptural grasses. When it's cold outside, I'm inside. But 50 or better temps with flowers? That's interesting.

Blush noisette
19 August 2012 | 4:55 pm

This is one of the energizer bunnies of the rose world. It dates from 1817 and was bred in France, though I had also read that it was bred here, in the south. Probably it's simply used a lot in the south. Mine is kept in a pot and brought into the root cellar in the winter; it's hardy only to 6 and not usually grown in cold climates. (Who knows if that's still a factor.)

BN is in bloom from late May through frost. There are tons of buds on each spray always--almost too many. It's a fabulous rose. It's also one of the first roses I planted here.

Dirt makes you happy—and keeps you young
10 August 2012 | 5:24 pm



Here’s the proof—lovely Sally Cunningham on the arm of daughter Alice as she approaches the outdoor “altar” for her recent wedding to boyfriend Jack. At 60+, Sally is one of the busiest and happiest people I know, in spite of the many frustrations of pulling together a career out of several occupations—gardening expert for Lockwoods Greenhouses, writer and speaker on plants and organic gardening, columnist for Buffalo Spree and the Buffalo News, and consultant for the National Garden Festival.

The wedding was the first opportunity I have had to see Sally’s garden, although I knew, with all her consulting and traveling, that her personal garden was all too often a case of the shoemaker’s children. However, the garden had clearly received some extra attention for this special occasion. It has a lot of cottage garden elements, and fits Sally’s country landscape very well.

Rustic touches include a swing, small treehouse, and a wooden ladder used to hold pots and other garden elements. The plants are our old favorites—rudbeckia, ferns, hellebores, many shrubs, and lots of pots thrown in for late season color. Sadly, Sally can’t have hydrangeas, as these would be eaten by deer, so she included them just for the day, sunken in the ground in pots. Check out what she says about the preparations here.

Wishing every happiness to Sally and Jack!


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