Winter flowers and random bits of news

The gray garden

It is a gray cold Sunday and normally I would be in the kitchen baking but I'm having a bit of cabin fever and I've baked enough lately and getting tired of the jigsaw puzzles. I've been wanting to try out my new camera lens so I decided to go out into the garden. It is amazing what you can find in January. 

But first, a few tidbits:

Website - Since starting this blog, I've neglected my website A Southern Garden.  I'm in the process of updating it and it has moved to a new address. I'm in a quandry about what to do about our Internet service. We've been with the same provider since first getting a computer and our only complaint with them is that you have to have a landline telephone to get service. We would love to get rid of those phones and just use cell phones. At first I thought I would just move my websites somewhere else and then move to another provider. However, a lot of my blog photos are on my server so that would mean moving them also. What a headache. Also, the thought of changing my e-mail address makes me ill - how on earth do you go about changing all of the websites where you log in with your e-mail address? So, at this point, it looks like we will have to keep paying that ridiculous phone bill even though the only reason we use it is for the Internet. It just seems like we are paying double what we should be for the Internet. Anyway, enough of that!

Garden Tour - We have been asked to be on the garden tour that will take place during the State Master Gardener conference that will be held in Florence in April. I will keep you posted about the details. I hope you will plan to attend the conference. I was on the committee to choose the speakers and I think I did a good job - check out the lineup and let me know your thoughts.

New Blog? - I want to begin a new blog to document the work I'm doing on my family property and what will hopefully be our future home and garden. I cannot think of a name for this. Dirt Therapy 2? Help! I need suggestions.

Now for the photos I took this morning:

Kerria japonica (Easter Rose) - I don't recall it ever blooming in January.
This is one of my favorite spring shrubs.

Honeysuckle "Alabama Crimson"

Loropetalum - not the best photo but wanted to show that this was blooming in January (I've got to practice working with the focus on this new camera)
Camellia "Magnoliaflora" - despite some imperfections, an exquisite camellia.
The leaves have been tarnished by the soot that comes from the hackberry trees.
My favorite scent from the garden comes from Osmanthus (Sweet Olive)
This is Osmanthus "Gulftide" which has sticky holly-like foliage.
I have not seen flowers on this shrub yet.
Another great winter fragrance comes from Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima)

Roses in January? Why not? This is "La Marne"
Camellia "C.M. Wilson" (and sport)

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Beautiful photos, as usual! I so wish we could come for the tour/conference. Would you like me to ask Andy anything about the internet stuff? I cannot wait for your new blog, Andy told me about it awhile back! I tried to think of a name but the only thing I could come up with was Sustaining Dirt, but I'll try harder :) He was thinking of something with Yellow Hammer in it, like Yellow Hammer & Nails. He said he'll try harder too. Have you ever seen The Walden Effect or Cold Antler Farm blogs? We have enjoyed reading them.

  2. Hi Phillip,
    First off, I can't believe all the things you have blooming in January!. :-)
    Next, I don't know why you need to keep your land line. You blog photo's are on your blog, not on your internet provider. Also, your blogs are hosted by blogger and weebly, not your internet provider. Switching internet providers won't change that.
    And one other thing you could try if you decide to stay with your provider. Ask for a better rate. Look what other services are charging and tell them your thinking of changing if they can't give you a better deal. 100% of the time, I've gotten a better deal. :-)
    And one more thing....
    On your new blog about the family property, call it... Our future home and garden
    I like that. :-)
    You can always change it when it becomes your home.

  3. Phillip, I can see you are going to love that new lens! The photos are tack sharp and full of color.

    I agree with Wayne -- tell your provider you are considering a change and I'll bet they will suddenly come up with some savings for you. "Thems that ask, get."

    How about "Even Better Homes and Gardens" for your blog. Or "From the Ground Up". (Once a copywriter, always a copywriter.) By the way I'd like some help starting a second blog. I will still do The Dirt Diaries but want to work on one about oldies music. My webmaster has been falling down on the job lately so I am looking for someone new.

  4. You have more blooming in your garden,than I do,in Florida.I can't believe your Honeysuckle is blooming already.Mine is growing but no blooms yet.But my Camellias are beautiful this year!
    Great photos!

  5. Hi Phillip, I love your first photo of the "gray garden"! Besides that it is very peaceful it shows clearly what great design job you have done creating structure in the garden! How awesome that you have so many beautiful and interesting plants blooming by the end of January. I take your post as a reminder that I have to plant for more diversity as well. It is not all about roses ;-)! The photo of the camellia is incredible. Happy gardening, can't wait for spring!

  6. I'd say Wayne is right. All your photos are stored by the blog or website not the internet service provider unless your ISP is actually hosting one of your web addresses.

    How about Family Dirt for the new garden blog? Does the property have a name? Will the new garden have a name? A location based name? Just ideas to get you thinking.

  7. The "gray Garden" looks like my garden. I can't imagine having so many blooms. We are having freezing rain right now. UGH... I am ready for spring and all that comes with it. I think your new garden name will come to you when you start making the garden.It won't be as much therapy when you are able to go there and garden full time. It will be more like home. Is there a feature you can incorporate into the name?? I know what you mean about the land line. I guess you can look at it like you are paying for the convenience.

  8. My only concern is if you have too many blogs, you might find yourself feeling like one is neglected, which can make you feel pressured about posting in it, which can make it even MORE neglected! I have just seen it happen on other blogs I follow, but maybe you will be able to balance them all. I just think, hey they are both gardening related, why not use a tag for your other properties updates? But that's just me, worrying that I won't get the best of both worlds. I am so excited to read all about the process at your new property. Don't neglect any details! And I can't wait to see more updates on your website, too :)

  9. How about "The Family Plot"?

  10. Loving your gray garden. It's certainly much nicer than Gray Gardens was in the documentary! You've lots of great winter bloomers. Always amazed by folks who have roses blooming this time of the year! New blog: Les's idea is inspired! This will be your retirement place, right? Maybe something like between dirt therapy and dirt nap?

  11. Hi..
    All of the photographs of flowers are wonderful !!
    Keep on blogging for more posts...
    Good Luck !! Melbourne florist

  12. Thanks for the name suggestions! You have given me some ideas. As for a name for the property, Michael wants to call it "Shady Pines" because we are Golden Girl fans and there are plenty of pine trees growing there. I don't know though... Still thinking!

  13. Hmmmmmm, how about Breaking Ground? or Differnt Dirt, Still Therapy. :0)

  14. Do you still pay a full bill on your land phone? In other words, are you paying for long distant service on your bill? We had Bell south AKA: AT&T remove the long distant service on our land line and it saved tons of money. Every little bit helps....

    Garden has some glow for Winter days. Love those winter blooms...

  15. Has anyone suggested Dirtier Therapy? :) Touring your garden is a great reason to drive from Georgia for this conference!

  16. Hi Philip! I found your blog browsing picture on google and I immediately subscribed. I love your garden, even in January!

  17. So many beautiful blooms! I forget about mahonia! I really should find a place for that in my garden. And winter jasmine, too! Do we ever think we have enough plants???!! I can't believe your roses are blooming! How wonderful!!! And the camellia is stunning!

  18. How wonderful to be on a garden tour. I would love to have a garden that rates that one day but life doesn;t seem to leave me in one place long enough! Maybe this time. Love the blog and would look forward to seeing what else you are doing on the family property. Carol

  19. Wonderful photos! This is such an incredible season, everything blooming at once. Prunus mume,which usually starts to bloom now is finished already but Prunus 'Okame' is starting! Will there be anything left for spring??

    I hope this is the year I finally get to see your garden.

    For your new blog, I was thinking something on the lines of "GARDENING FOR THE FUTURE" or BUILDING A GARDEN.

    Good luck such a fabulous project!

  20. Roses in January would be awesome! I can't get over how many things you do have blooming at this time of year. I think I need to move south!


  21. Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge.The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time.

  22. In noticing the speaker lineup, I've really been disappointed in HGTV lately. They have cut out so many of the gardening shows.


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