Changes

Years ago, a six foot, well branched Franklinia (Franklinia alatamaha, below) was planted beside the garden shed, an ideal placement close to a regularly trodden path and with soil moisture and sun exposure that I deemed well suited to this out of the ordinary tree. The Franklinia grew vigorously with no care on my part,…

Aggressive can be good

All of the three spurge varieties in the garden are confounding, but for varying reasons. The most useful of the three, Robb’s spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides subsp. robbiae, below) covers substantial territory in difficult, dry shade with surface roots of maples and tulip poplars that leave little room for digging. Little else grows in this area,…

A few years away

The yellow leafed ‘Ogon’ winter hazel (Corylopsis spicata ‘Ogon’, below) seems determined to stay small, so sprawling from beneath a Chinese dogwood seems an ideal spot, where it gets some afternoon sunlight but doesn’t demand attention. Someday I’ll happily point it out, probably nearing the end of this decade, when the slow growing ‘Ogon’ has…

Not yet

The garden moves quickly in April, transforming from near dormancy to full leaf a few weeks later. While several emerging mysteries have been identified, I wonder what the heck I planted along the stone path under the dwarf Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Elegans nana’). I’ll soon find out, and while I have given in to…

An April update

Thankfully, not all magnolias were damaged by recent freezes. While ‘Jane’ lost a few flowers, many more buds were closed and protected, but they have now opened into glorious bloom (below). I’ve noticed browning on the outside of buds of yellow flowered magnolias ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Yellow Bird’, and I think several of the flowers of…

No bluebells for me

This garden is in Virginia, and with some sections of boggy ground I feel obligated to grow Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica, below). But, repeated half hearted efforts have been unsuccessful, so I must be content to visit local floodplains where these grow in much greater abundance than I could possibly grow. I’ve discovered multiple sites…

Could’ve been worse

Not bad. I can’t complain much about relatively minor damage following two nights with freezes in the mid-twenties (Fahrenheit). Yes, as expected the flowers of ‘Merrill’ magnolia (before and after the freeze, below) were ruined. A shame, but the blooms were enjoyed for a week. Late opening flowers of ‘Royal Star’ were spared, and only…

Tiny treasures

The small flowers of round-lobed hepatica (Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa or Anemone americana, below) do not put on much of a show, but this local woodland native is prized in the garden along with several other early flowering perennials and ephemerals. Several sharp-lobed hepaticas (Hepatica nobilis acuta or Anemone acutiloba) planted late in autumn have…

Rarely typical

The new gardener soon learns that there is nothing typical about the timing of spring flowering. The early flowering magnolias illustrate this perfectly. In the natural order of this garden, ‘Merrill’ (below) flowers earliest of the magnolias, in early March, occasionally in late February, and as late as the last week of March as we…

Daily delights

No matter that there is minor disappointment in the delayed arrival of some spring flowers, every inch of the garden must be toured daily to witness the day’s emerging blooms. At first peek, identification is often unclear with so many small groupings of varied choices, but most reveal themselves shortly. After a slow start, several…

Now, this is spring

While spring offers no guarantees, I’m feeling it’s spring. Warm days earlier in March were followed by cooler temperatures and nighttime freezes, and yes, next week will be cooler, but fifties and sixties are delightful. Soon enough I’ll be cursing the heat. It must be spring. Every evening upon returning home, I spend every minute…

More March blooms

Sections of a wide spreading clump of ‘Evergold’ carex that encroached into a large patch of snowdrops were carefully cut to the ground several weeks ago. This was accomplished with the loss of only two snowdrops, a surprisingly small number since the sedge and snowdrops appeared hopelessly intertwined. There are plenty of snowdrops remaining, in…