The reds are redder ….

…and the blues, bluer. I’ve returned from Oregon, and, as expected, the weather was delightful. Last week, as Virginia experienced record heat and suffocating humidity, Oregon was experiencing it’s hottest and sunniest stretch this year, but twenty degrees cooler than here, and without a noticeable trace of humidity. It should not be a surprise that…

The heat’s on

I’ve just returned from a week touring nurseries in Oregon, and I’m ready to go back. Today’s forecast for Virginia is upper nineties and high humidity after a week with no humidity and temperatures in the seventies on the west coast. There was an weather alert on the Portland area TV news on Thursday to…

Leaving on a jet plane

…. I’ll be back next week This weekend I’m flying into Portland, Oregon for a week touring nurseries in the northwest. Hot, humid weather is expected in Virginia for the week, and I’ve little doubt that Oregon will be delightful by comparison. I hope to return with photos of spruces and firs, rhododendrons, Japanese maples,…

Hydrangeas – blooming in June

In twenty years in this Virginia garden I don’t believe that I have seen the hydrangeas bloom so beautifully. Many years hydrangeas suffer damage to the blooming branch tips through the winter, and then will bloom sporadically or not at all, except for remontant types that flower on the current year’s growth. With heavy snow…

What’s blooming in June?

I have been negligent in keeping up with what’s blooming in the garden since the start of June, so with little chatter we’ll move right into the garden, and what’s blooming. Today will cover trees and shrubs, and in a few days perennials, since the list is too long for one sitting. Ask a gardener…

Summer’s on the way

…. ready or not. ‘Ivory Silk’, the tree lilac (Syringa reticulata ‘Ivory Silk, below), is past its peak with white blooms littering the ground beneath like snowflakes, though they quickly spoil and turn a muddy brown. The stone path that winds under the tree, then descends to the lower patio, is treacherous with a slippery…

The beginning of a golden summer

The goldenrain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata, below) is beginning to bloom, a sure sign that summer is imminent. The tree in my garden is twenty feet off the far side of the driveway, wedged between large hornbeams (the columnar sort that become oval shaped with age) and a wide spreading Jane magnolia. Driving through town one…

Things go wrong

… so, get over it. The classic double white peony ‘Duchess de Nemours’ decided not to bloom this year, and I haven’t a clue why. Her close neighbor, the red  ‘Karl Rosenfield’ (below) bloomed wonderfully, though he has faded by now. Both peonies have similar sun and soil, and both are occasionally flooded when the…

Collecting hostas

In my garden there are collections of dozens of trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs, and tropicals, though most fewer than ten cultivars each, plenty enough that the garden is nearly beyond my control. Japanese maples, magnolias,  redbuds, and dogwoods consume the largest share of space, but hostas are most numerous. A decade ago there were more…