More spring every day

The assistant gardener insists the garden is getting out of hand. I agree, and couldn’t be happier. We, of course, are seeing this from opposing viewpoints. She requires control, and I encourage wildness. A robust hosta has grown to cover another, a fine yellow leafed hosta of moderate size (below). Once, these were layered appropriately,…

Tidying the ivy

Yes, I admit, my wife is always right, and hopefully this admission cools any hot water that is likely to bubble up when I question otherwise. Of course, I knew that some of the various ivies would be problems, someday, and I didn’t pay much attention until I drove home yesterday and found her at…

Finally, this is spring

I must be getting old, or at least more crotchety (is that possible?). Finally, spring has arrived, and though the threat of chilly temperatures continues, I’m betting (and hopeful) that the worst of it is over. All winters seem to drag on, but this one seemed to last forever (regardless that it was not severe),…

A new holly

Seedlings from various plants are not unusual in the garden. Hellebores and Japanese maples seed by the hundreds, and occasionally seedlings are found in densely planted areas already grown to a foot or two in height before they are seen. Then, the Japanese maple (or whatever) is weeded out and discarded, or occasionally, potted or…

Magnolias, and a few cherries

The cheery, delicate blossoms of flowering cherries are everywhere. Visitors flock to area parks and gardens that feature the spring blooms, but a ride through any local neighborhood will display dozens, and even hundreds of the showy trees. The primary attraction is the white flowered ‘Yoshino’, though later in the blooming cycle these are joined…

An early spring update

As early spring progresses and I am more regularly out in the garden, it is clear that the cursory clean up of the garden was inadequate. Yes, the clearing of piles of leaves brought hellebore blooms into full view, but the current sloppiness is hardly acceptable. Additional raking is necessary, or perhaps the rapid decay…

More fragrance in early spring

On occasion, two variegated winter daphnes (Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’, below) flower late in January, though more typically in early March, and a time or two not at all when a severe winter kills the flowering branch tips of this marginally cold hardy shrub. This year, two degrees below zero (Fahrenheit) was enough to damage leaves,…

Faith rewarded

A variety of roots, rhizomes, and corms were planted last year. Many were spring ephemerals, dormant by late summer when they were planted, so the  seven month period from planting until the first sign of growth brings a degree of uncertainty. In fact, in very early spring I look daily in spots where these were…

Why plant this, or that?

I wonder about a grouping of sweetbox (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis, below), planted in the curve of a stream constructed years ago. Yes, it’s a nice enough evergreen, and certainly it’s filled in nicely. Perhaps there is nothing that would do better filling this space, but it seems somewhat nonsensical to plant a shrub with…

Failure

I am a failure. I see grand, wide spreading displays of snowdrops or crocus in gardens, then compare my sad and paltry few. (I make only cursory mention of common, “can’t fail” perennials that have died three or more times.)The verdict is clear. I am not growing these properly, or I’ve planted far too few….

Finally, spring

Recent mild winters have spoiled gardeners, now expecting abundant flowers by early March, and in February in gardens that have been planted with assorted late winter bloomers such as witch hazels and hellebores. Mild disappointment is likely when flowers arrive a few weeks later (a more typical schedule), and perhaps the start of this flowering…

The late hellebores are only slightly tardy

However he is tempted, the gardener should never claim “there’s never been a winter like this one”. Every one is unique, with highs and lows and perhaps wild swings from the average, but there’s something unusual and much that is typical in every season. The one that is now thankfully past was very typical, with…