Mon Coeur En Hiver

My Heart In Winter

Meet the “Piglet” of roses in my garden, (as opposed to Tigger, Eeyore or Pooh.)


Rosa ‘White Meidiland’ is one of the least showy roses in my garden, and yet one of the most reliable. Certainly that is true this time of year when the calendar is ready to start its cycle anew, for this virtually trouble-free rose somehow manages to hunker down during our damp, dark Seattle winters and find a way to do a few small things beautifully.

The picture above was taken just yesterday, three weeks to the day after the flowering stems you see were first cut from my winter-humbled plant and brought to my kitchen windowsill. Just below is the photo I made the morning I cut them, December 9th.


Seriously, do you know of any other rose that will continue to push new blooms so generously for three full weeks or more after having been cut from the garden and put in water? (Two years ago, a few stems I cut for Mary’s kitchen windowsill kept blooming, quite contentedly for nearly six weeks.) I’m not just asking, rhetorically if you know. I’m asking because I’d really like to know and perhaps get a cutting.

Somehow, White Meidiland manages this sort of magic again and again, and just at that time of year when garden blooms for my kitchen windowsill are so very scarce and so much appreciated. Like little Piglet of Winnie the Pooh lore, White Meidiland does not let it’s diminutive physical size limit the size of its heart, its efforts, or its charm, which has led me to that grateful place where I think of this little rose as Mon Coeur En Hiver, My Heart In Winter.


Think of roses as fussy? Not this one. Not by any measure. Absolutely my most reliable rose this time of year.

Rose and Workshop related news: Renowned rosarian, Paul Zimmerman and I are going to be offering some full day workshops together in the coming year (dates and locations to be announced). Paul will bring his storyteller’s charm and his immense knowledge base of roses and rose care, and I will bring my understanding of the art of seeing, storytelling and photography in a garden setting. Our current plan is to divide the class into two groups, one spending the morning learning all about roses from Paul and the afternoon learning how to make more magical photographs of them from me, while the other group begins their day learning to tell better stories through photographs with me and then, following lunch, spends the second half of their workshop under Paul’s wise tutelage. Stay tuned for more info, or subscribe to the blog so I can add you to my mailing list, which by the way I promise never to sell. (BTW, the photography part of these full-day workshops will include, but not be limited to capturing amazing pics with iPhones/iPads > learning to finess those pics with some of the grooviest of apps and then quickly and easily getting them out there into your social media stream, looking like a million bucks.)

For more info on Paul Zimmerman:

For more info on unfussy roses:

A Trip to Paradise Garden

When an already amazing winter garden is blanketed in snow . . .

. . . grab your coat, your camera. Hurry up! Go!   ( Here, nearly silent runners duck and swerve to avoid the snow-laden branches as the heavy flakes keep falling.)

Don’t wait for blue skies, though if they show, rejoice . . . (A pungent witch-hazel, in full fragrant bloom, bedecked with a heavy coat of snow.)

For even a hint of sunshine will change the visual landscape dramatically, adding even more color and contrast to the mix.

This stunning and very large Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ literally glows within a small, momentary patch of sunlight.

There are wonders on a snow day, quite different from the rain. (Winter-blooming Camelia blossoms are accented by the darker leaf tops and lighter leaf bottoms, and, of course, a heavy dusting of snow.)

Some blooms may appear in an entirely new light against a background of white. (This Mahonia reaches upward perhaps ten feet beneath an immense cedar and its blooms, a prized source of hummingbird food, are much more visible against the bright snowy background than against shadowy, dark foliage on a snowless day. )

Small details take on new importance as one moves in close, even while still marveling at the larger snowy scene that drew you toward them in the first place.

For me it is that contrast, taking in the beauty of a larger, more pastoral scene and then turning to discover some small wonder on a shrub, not three feet behind me. ( Below: Garrya, aka, Silk Tassel Bush)

An early blooming rhododendron, radiant within a heavy blanket of white, serves as a woodland beacon against a backdrop of greys (below).

Seattle has a most amazing winter garden that many describe as a complete transformative experience once they’ve visited it. I have walked its winter-fragrant paths many, many times over the years, on rainy days and cold sunny days, and never, ever have I left, disappointed for the time spent getting there or being there, regardless of the weather. This past week, however, was something altogether different. This was the first time I’ve driven through a sea of insane-seeming fishtailing cars and trucks on the freeway and then navigated several slippery, narrow side streets in a heavy snowstorm to actually arrive and spend time within the winter garden as an ultimate winter paradise, and ohhh, oh my!

Once I had arrived safely and started walking within that sacred silence, that essential essence of falling snow, I completely forgot about all the crazies along the way, surrendering to the beauty, instead. I could scarcely have hoped for such a complete wonderland treat, and ended up staying there, utterly enchanted for nearly three hours.

If you live in the Seattle area or plan on visiting in the next month or so, and have never yet been to the winter garden, go. If you’re coming to town for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, consider a field trip with friends for a few hours, rain or shine. Bundle up, take your camera and treat your nose and eyes to something completely unexpected. There’s no charge.