The garden in winter
I did a quick survey of the yard. The Nandina and Ilex winterberries, red and coral are at their showy best now when there's not much color otherwise.
I was amazed to learn that yerba mate the drink that the Argentinian gauchos are addicted to, is a tea made from a holly, Ilex paraguariensis. I thought it was made from a grass or herb. I would have never thought that any holly would be consumable. I saw some in a health food store several years ago and tried it. I rather liked the taste and it didn't bother my stomach like coffee. It's supposed to be high in caffeine but it didn't affect me much. I think tea has more caffeine. Part of a Christmas present from my brother-in-law was a pound of the stuff. It came in a bag about the size of a large 3 pound bag of coffee - should last me a life time.
The witch hazels are in their prime now but don't seem to be as fragrant as in previous years. I wonder why the difference? We have several different types -two red Hamamelis x intemedia, I think a yellow H. Japonica and the common H. virginiana which seems to be the most fragrant of all but I don't like its habit of retaining its leaves thus hiding the flowers. I just stuck my nose close to the H. virginiana and it has the sweet frangrance that I find very pleasing but last year you could smell it standing 10 feet or more away from the shrub.
Not much other than that of interest now as the hellebores are slow to develop.