Home again

Last evening I returned home from a week in Oregon on business travel. In recent years I’ve gone out a day early to hike coastal mountains and to visit gardens, but Covid closures nixed those plans. Next year I’ll go out two days early. There have been several inches of rain over the past few…

Not difficult

I realize that I diminish the effort required to maintain this acre and a quarter garden, but I intend to counter writings I regularly see that add long monthly lists of garden chores to already busy lives. My weekends are occupied by long hikes in our nearby mountains, not by hours of labor in the…

Expectations are not always met

Despite considerable optimism with a good start a year ago, two young trees have made disappointing progress this spring. The Wheel tree (Trochodendron aralioides) and Korean Sweetheart tree (Euscaphis japonica, below) both suffered minor injury in late freezes, and I am hopeful this setback is temporary. The Sweetheart tree grew considerably in the second half…

Not only big leaves

Flowers of the Bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla, below) are ten inches across (at least), though I could not possibly hold the branch and measure at the same time. Unfortunately, only two branches of this very tall tree remain low enough that I can reach overhead to pull down to see and smell the flowers close…

17 years is a long time, and my memory’s short

Famously forgetful, I could not recall seventeen years back. Did we have Brood X cicadas? I thought maybe, probably a few, but not a lot. But, apparently I was mistaken. Today, there are none while our sons in other parts of the area are experiencing their curious shenanigans by the thousands. When I express halfhearted…

What took so long?

Finally, after weeks of careful monitoring, two flowers of the Itoh peony ‘Bartzella’ (below) opened on Sunday. On Wednesday, petals of one bloom had fallen to the ground, and the second was fading quickly. A second peony ,’Karl Rosenfield’ (second photo below) began flowering earlier and will hang on at least for a few more…

Spring’s end is close

Undoubtedly, May is this garden’s peak season, which is likely to be true in countless others where spring flowers predominate. There are interests in every other season, and June is also a delight, but in an unusually warm week and as several blooms fade the onset of summer seems very near. I am in no…

Too, too

Several areas planted with hostas have become too much, too many, too close together. I’m not inclined to do anything about it. Yes, one wide spreading hosta is crammed into the next, and there are too many large leaves too close without the textural contrast I prefer, but overgrown is preferable to the alternative, almost…

Don’t get around much anymore

Rarely do I have the privilege to visit other gardens. A short stint at home a year ago convinced me that I am not quite ready for retirement, but however grand another garden might be, my days are fully occupied and I am content keeping up with chores and with daily strolls through this garden….

One of everything?

I jokingly state that there is one of everything in the garden, and of course this is not remotely true, but why should the truth get in the way of a good exaggeration? In fact, there are many plants not found in the garden, but there are a lot, small collections and one-ofs. I don’t…

A keeper?

A seedling redbud (below) growing in a dense patch of mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum) almost certainly derives from a dark leafed ‘Forest Pansy’ (Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’) that once grew nearby. The Forest Pansy perished as the soil became overly damp, but this seedling is in slightly higher and drier ground. The seedling is too…

A little wild

My wife objects to a spreading liriope (Liriope spicata) that creeps into gaps between path stones. She makes a point to squash them, figuring this will encourage me to dig them out, and while this temporarily makes them unsightly, this barely inhibits their growth. My standards are not so high that a momentarily disfigured plant…