Winter solitude –

in a world of one color

the sound of wind.

                                         -(Matsuo Basho, 1644-1694)

You guessed it – it’s still snowing here.  But it’s not quite a “world of one color”:


Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)


Peking cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus)


European cranberry, guelder rose (Viburnum opulus)

I love the persistence of berries during winter!  Not only are they amazing pops of colour in the landscape, but some of them provide sustenance for fruit-eating birds during these cold, dark days.  I’ve been worrying a bit about the chickadees that have been huddling together in the lilacs in the yard – the property management company doesn’t encourage the use of feeders, so they’re not getting any sort of nut-seed mix from anyone in the complex.  I wonder if I could get away with buying a block of suet and placing it somewhere deep in the shrubs?

Of course, a covert operation such as this will require significant stealth tactics and a pre-dawn launch.  I’ve got the early morning part down pat, but I’m utterly hopeless at sneaky – I’m guaranteed to get caught!   Oh well, it’s all for a good cause….  😉

Do you feed wild birds during the wintertime (or year-round)?  And what are your favourite shrubs and trees for winter interest?

Sunday spotlight: Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’.

Almost as showy as hydrangeas (but far hardier), the “snowball” viburnums are in full bloom right now.  Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ (syn. ‘Sterile’) is closely related to Viburnum trilobum, which is commonly known as high bush cranberry or American cranberrybush, despite the fact that it is not really a cranberry at all.  (Viburnums are from the honeysuckle family, while “bog” cranberries are related to plants such as bilberries, blueberries, and heather).  Viburnum trilobum grows here in Alberta as well, and bears bright red fruit with a tart taste reminiscent of true cranberries.  The snowball viburnums do not bear fruit, but the ornamental value of their gorgeous blossoms is obvious.

Do you grow any types of Viburnums in your garden?  Have you ever eaten high bush cranberry fruit?

The blooms of snowball Viburnum are initially a gorgeous acid-green colour…

…and mature to a creamy white.