Seedlings of known origin

It is unclear if seedlings of ‘Tardiva’ hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’, below) are identical to the parent, but there is no doubt that seedlings derive from this late summer flowering hydrangea. Flowers of the seedlings, in two places bordering the koi pond, are not ideally placed, but roots are solidly entrenched and difficult to get…

Color that’s barely seen

Most of the garden’s terrestrial orchids are simple to spot, with prominent foliage and flowers. These are easily placed, particularly Bletilla cultivars, vigorous growers that spread readily, and with pleasant, grass-like leaves. Several orchids are flowering in early August, and though all have been given priority positioning, their small flowers and stature do not provide…

More color

The garden was blessed with more than an inch of rain near the far western edge of this week’s tropical storm. Thunderstorms in the week earlier were helpful, but cracks in exposed ground remained that were finally filled by the steady rainfall. Gardens much closer to coastal areas might have had too much of this…

Summer color

Despite a month of heat and drought until the recent week, the garden is quite glorious to my eye, in particular for early August when the worst is expected. Yes, the lawn is worn, part brown, at least those areas not overrun by lush expanses of clover, but that is not much of a bother….

Too old?

My wife tells me I am too old to be moving boulders without assistance. Often, her resistance to projects derives from her insistence that no more lawn be converted to garden, but I think she sort of likes this small addition, and today her concern is for my nearly sixty-six year old body rather than…

The cobblestone path

The planting bordering the granite cobble and bluestone path leading from the driveway to the rear garden is a bit sparse until very late spring when a variety of toad lilies (Tricyrtis) become shrub-like hulks. With a mid-May freeze stunting spring growth, toad lilies lagged a few weeks slower this summer, and when an overly…

Return to the garden

I returned from two weeks of travel expecting to see the peak blooms of one Downy Rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera pubescens, below) and flowers of others that are slightly behind. Unfortunately, a beast of some sort severed the tall flowering stalk of the native orchid, so I must wait another week for others to reach their…

Barely seen

A keen memory is required when planting in winter to avoid injuring dormant bulbs and perennials. It is long established that I possess no such powers of recollection. On occasion, a bulb is unearthed or sliced, or one thing is planted within inches of another. Usually, these minor conflicts are easily corrected, and again I…

And one for me

I can’t help myself. I’m traveling through the mountains of North Carolina, shopping for evergreens and trees for the nurseries (my day job), but always with an eye watching for something, anything of interest to add to the garden. Without question, there is no room for another tree, but here’s one I must have. This…

What I’ll miss

As I travel on business for a few short weeks, I’ll miss the garden, even as I search for new treasures to plant. There will be flowers that will be missed, with ones budding today past bloom when I return. No doubt, an abundant crop of weeds will greet me, and this I’m not anxious…

Where are the beetles?

I hear from acquaintances that the annual invasion of Japanese beetles has begun, so I went looking. I’m quite certain that beetles were a problem once, though I can’t remember exactly when, but it seems that I barely notice them in recent years. Of course, I tracked them down, but again, there aren’t many. The…

Never stop forgetting

Certainly, it is true that the gardener never stops learning, so it must also be true that forgetting never ends. More for some than others, and here I plead guilty. I suspect that most often I am inattentive to details rather than just being forgetful, though you should not consult my wife on this matter….