No hurry, be happy that spring is near

I hesitate to offer gardening advice since I follow how-to and when-to instructions so poorly. There are numerous tasks that must be accomplished to keep a garden humming along, but much of what you read and hear is not based in fact, and often is wrong. Not that it matters much. The week past I…

Garden ponds are a delight

I have been gardening this plot for more than twenty years, and no tree or flower has brought me a measure of enjoyment to compare with the garden ponds. There are five ponds in the garden, and another rainy season, dirt bottomed pond that captures runoff from neighboring properties and stays damp enough throughout to…

Spring garden show

I have been occupied this week constructing Meadows Farms’ display garden for the Capital Home and Garden Show in Chantilly, Virginia. Apparently there is an art to building show gardens, and after many years I almost know what I’m doing. We finished building a day early, and while the other gardens are still works in…

Too many Japanese maples!

Cruising down a country road just to the south of Aurora, Oregon there are fields of blueberries to one side, and wheat to the other. A bit further down the lane are endless rows of raspberries, and fescue and rye grasses grown for lawn seed. Then, the eye is captured by a sea of red, which…

Better late than never

A few warm days in February set the heart aflutter with anticipation of spring, and a week ago I heard from a gardener in town who is celebrating the arrival of the first snowdrops and hellebores. In years past I have seen snowdrops poke their heads above an inch or two of fresh snow, but…

Dog show

The Westminster Kennel Club show has ended, and again I missed it. I’m not big on show dogs, and my wife and I don’t have dogs now, but until they passed on a few years back we had a pair of pound pups, sisters of some mixed heritage. Just as our two boys have disparate…

Twelve months of bloom

This morning I discovered some remaining yellow blooms on a Mahonia ‘Winter Sun’ (below) that receives little sun in the winter months. Only the side of the evergreen that is most shielded from sunlight was flowering, and they are a bit meager, but now I can enthusiastically proclaim that there are blooms in the garden…

A long winter

Most winters in the mid-Atlantic there will be a break with unusually warm temperatures, and after a few days there is considerable consternation amongst novice gardeners as green shoots of daffodils pop through the soil and star magnolia buds begin to swell. No harm is done, and rarely is the schedule of  blooming disrupted, no…

Repairing snow damage – split branches

In the previous chapter I pruned large branches that were broken in the recent heavy, wet snow. Today will begin with repairing damage to evergreens, and then will address how to save branches that have split, but not broken beyond repair. Damage to evergreens was less extensive than in the heavy snows of February 2010,…

Repairing snow damaged trees

As heavy, wet snow accumulated on the thickly branched red maple at the edge of my neighbor’s property, the Y-shaped junction where the tree forked into two trunks was severely stressed. Finally, the weight of snow was too great and half of the snow covered maple tumbled over, its fall broken only by a large…