Sudden cold

The suddenness of this week’s cold has turned much of the garden to brown. Leaves of Japanese maples that often reach peak autumn colors late in November changed to brown overnight. A year ago, a carpet of red leaves from the Bloodgood maple covered the front walk. Today, brown leaves cling to branches, the typical…

Planting a tree

A week ago, the Korean Sweetheart tree (Euscaphis japonica) was successfully moved from a pot on the patio to a permanent position into the ground between the summerhouse and greenhouse. (I should clarify, the summerhouse is a square structure with a leaky aluminum roof. What else to call it? It’s shelter from the summer sun.)…

Tall camellias

I am quite pleased that several of the garden’s camellias now tower above eight feet, with a few topping ten. Uppermost branching is not stocky, but even long, slender branches remain rigid in all but the dampest snowfalls. In this first week of November, many camellias are flowering, unaffected by recent twenty degree nights. Though…

An autumn of yellows

Leaves of red and orange seem in short supply in this early November, but yellow is everywhere. And, not only the sickly yellow of drought stricken maples, but rich and glowing tones border the narrow highways on my daily drive. (Even with the recent time change my morning commute is in the dark, but I…

The dreaded 27 degrees

Cold, coming soon to this garden and others in the neighborhood. Several recent nights have dropped below freezing, and possibly into the upper twenties. While toad lilies (Tricyrtis, below) and other autumn flowering perennials tolerate mild frosts, and possibly a night or two when temperatures drop below the freezing mark, twenty seven degrees is a…

Moving the tropicals

Happily, there are fewer tropicals to be moved into the basement this year. This is a chore I despise. First, the pots are heavy and muddy. My wife, of course, doesn’t care about the heavy part, since she’s not doing the lifting, but she has a problem with the mud, even though all are set…

20 million things to do

There is always something to do in the garden, but twenty million things is perhaps a mild exaggeration. I admit there are times when the worklist grows long, with keeping up seeming hopeless, but by comparison there’s not a lot that must be done at the moment. Even in the busiest times I try to…

Odd?

Every year, some or multiple events in the garden are deemed odd by the gardener, though these are rarely unusual. Yes, he thinks, we’ve been through droughts (floods, heat, or cold), but never like this one, which is almost certainly nonsense. Few gardeners would argue that our recent late summer drought and delayed coloring of…

Not the end

By late October there have been a few warnings of frost and freezes, but so far no temperatures low enough to put an end to the gardening season. Certainly, that will come soon, at least for plants not tolerant of cold, and toad lilies (Tricyrtis, below) that remain at peak bloom will shrivel overnight. Several…

The change of season

Again, I was surprised returning from a short trip out of town to hear of a freeze warning, though my return was delayed, and after dark there was nothing to be done about tropicals on the patios except hope for the best. The timing of the season’s first frost or freeze seems always to coincide…

The end is near, maybe not

I’ve nearly succeeded (again) in killing off the indestructible Tatarian daisy (Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’). Last gasp efforts will be made to salvage it, to find a sunnier spot where it can grow shoulder high and spread like the coarsely textured weed that it is. The typically vigorous aster has grown only a foot tall and…

A busy day (or two)

A week ago, I began digging to level a pad in the sloping back garden to erect a small, six sided greenhouse. I was undecided about the purchase, and of course every gardener needs a greenhouse, or at least thinks he does, so when an offer for a two hundred dollar discount came in, I…