An April update

Thankfully, not all magnolias were damaged by recent freezes. While ‘Jane’ lost a few flowers, many more buds were closed and protected, but they have now opened into glorious bloom (below). I’ve noticed browning on the outside of buds of yellow flowered magnolias ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Yellow Bird’, and I think several of the flowers of the newly planted ‘Yellow Bird’ will be ruined. This is a shame, but I’ll be all the more anxious to see flowers next year. ‘Elizabeth’ is huge, with hundreds of flower buds, so there are likely to be some, and probably many blooms shortly.

While delivery drivers and my wife were displeased when branches of ‘Jane’ and a ‘Seriyu’ Japanese maple arched to meet across the widest portion of the driveway, I waited years for this. The driveway is short, so it’s not much trouble to lug packages down the slope, and half the time delivery drivers cut across the lawn directly to the front door. This is not as easy a route as they expect, with a pond dug into the hill, but they figure it out and no one’s fallen in to my knowledge.

My wife prefers an orderly garden, so of course two trees arching over the driveway don’t fit this pattern. Very little in this garden does, I’m certain, but she’s learned to live with it by chopping away at ivies and nandinas that obstruct the narrow stone paths. If up to me, the paths would likely be blocked by arching stems so that I had to push my way through, so while I offer mild objections, I have not followed through on threats to get rid of her pruners.

The serviceberry (Amelanchier, above) that arches over a small pond and stream in the upper, rear garden is flowering. This bloom cycle doesn’t last long, so soon the stream and stone path will be covered in white blooms. Some folks have cherries that litter their walkways as flowers fade, but flowers from the serviceberry have less substance and are less abundant, so they disappear quickly without turning into a slick, brown mush.

I am annually disappointed (though mildly so) that pollinators seem to bypass the serviceberry so fruits do not develop. My theories why are just guesses, but perhaps if the tree was planted a few feet around the bend bees would find the flowers in slightly more sunlight. I am resigned to never expect to see the fruits, which are touted as edible so I’m encouraged to sample them though I expect they are likely to be flavorless, or nearly so.

‘Okame’ cherry (above) did not make much of a mess this year. The tree is positioned behind the koi pond, but as flowers fade a breeze blows them to cover the pond. But, last week the freeze turned the flowers brown, so they were heavier and fell straight down, mostly missing the pond. There is little labor savings here since the faded blooms are allowed to sink to the bottom of the pond, but there were flowers over nearly the full cycle for ‘Okame’, then blooms fell into the dense planting of Oakleaf and lacecap hydrangeas behind the pond. All clean up should be so easy.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Judith F Kuzmick says:

    You need a second servieberry to get good berries

    1. Dave says:

      I thought there were a few serviceberries close enough, but I’m planning to add another in the next few weeks. Still, I rarely see bees in this area . While the surrounding trees are bare, there are a lot mature maples and tulip poplars in line with the late winter, early spring route of the sun, so while other parts of the shaded garden have bees, this part has few.

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