In a burst of energy, leaves covering paths and patios were removed so holiday guests could wander the garden if weather permitted. The weather was splendid, and with the crowd inside I wished to get outdoors for more than a few moments to escape the heat of the kitchen, but duty prevailed.
A week later, paths and patios are covered again. If there was ever a question about the number of Japanese maples in the garden, there are enough that when leaves fall, the driveway, front walk and a few patios are covered. And, most of the maples dropped leaves a month ago, though ones that held leaves until late November are the largest. Leaves of Bloodgood, Seriyu, Lion’s Head (above), and others fell in a rush on the first rainy night in weeks.
With no visitors expected, leaves will wait. Certainly, another wave of motivation will sweep in again, and when that day arrives maple leaves will be cleared along with deep piles that cover hellebores. These must be removed so that low growing evergreen foliage does not trap leaves to delay development of flower buds.
In early December, only a few leaves remain on trees and shrubs. Oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia, above) typically hold leaves into January, though deer stripped lower leaves of several when I neglected to spray the repellent through early autumn. The yellow thread leafed spirea ‘Ogon’ (Spirea thunbergii ‘Ogon’, below) is early to flower in March, and leafs long before many shrubs, but it holds leaves long into autumn.
Both flower and foliage of ‘Ogon’ are pleasant enough, though not remarkable in my book. I admit that I was pleasantly surprised to see the color change of foliage on this December afternoon, and a single white bloom. The flower is not at all unusual, and ‘Ogon’ will display scattered blooms in a spell of warm December temperatures. Even at this late date, wonders remain to distract the gardener from labor.