Minor projects for spring

A badly leaning redbud has been removed, and most notably, its debris has been cleared. Too often, clean up is delayed until later, in particular in the winter months when sloppiness matters less. Needless to say, I am pleased by this effort that should be the standard rather than the exception, and thus there is…

At last …..

As expected after only a few mild afternoons, spidery blooms of witch hazels that were delayed by cold in recent weeks have unfolded. In two days the witch hazels changed from the barest hint to full color, with little delay between mid and late winter flowering hybrids. Finally. Of course, witch hazels were planted for…

Sneaky

Evergold carex (Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’, below) spreads slowly but dependably, and no matter that I didn’t notice this until now, the evergreen clump along the front walk has stealthily invaded into hundreds of snowdrops (Galanthus). While the particular snowdrops in the area are taller ones that stand tall enough to be seen through the sedge,…

Better late …..

With the mildest winter in memory a year ago, hellebores, snowdrops, and witch hazels reached peak bloom early in a glorious February. Winter aconites, crocus, sweetbox, and several pieris were colorful long before winter’s end. But not this year, despite a mild start with first blooms of hellebores and snowdrops before the new year. Despite…

Looking forward

I look forward to the warmth of spring, now just a few days (or weeks) off, with more anticipation than most years. A newly planted redbud (in December), a one of a kind variegated sport (below) of the superb, yellow leafed ‘Rising Sun’, will flower (as redbuds do) in early April. Yellow and green mottled…

Spring thoughts on a winter afternoon

A curious mix of snow, sleet, and ice has again coated the garden, fortunately not to a depth so that it will melt quickly on the first afternoon that rises above freezing. A comparative heat wave is forecast for the coming week (temperatures in the fifties, Fahrenheit) so this precipitation will soon be forgotten. Instead,…

Camellias in winter

Years ago, every spell of temperatures nearing zero (Fahrenheit) brought concern for the survival of camellias in the garden, or at least for flower buds of spring blooming Camellia japonicas that typically managed only a few scattered flowers as many buds were cold damaged. Today, I fret only that flowers in late winter are quickly…

A peek of spring

Today, the first color peeks from slowly swelling buds of ‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’, below). With a spell of frigid temperatures on the way, peak flowering is likely to be further delayed. Still, spring is on the way, and once the witch hazels are flowering milder days must be around…

A leaner

One of two ‘Silver Cloud’ redbuds that overhang the small greenhouse leans at an extreme angle. It has nearly fallen over, though its roots remain intact and the tree shows no sign of ill health. Both redbuds have leaned to a lesser degree towards the sun for years (decades) as they are backed up to…

The warm spots

Today, as the neighborhood turns green, this shaded garden remains mostly snow covered, but with pockets of thawed, bare ground. At long last, I have mapped the areas, expecting these are the protected microclimates that will best support more cold tender treasures that often entice me. Several wait in the small greenhouse for spring planting,…

Mild, then not so

This winter that started so mild, encouraging blooms from several hellebores by mid December, has turned chilly, not cold, but the progression of blooms has been slowed. The Vernal witch hazels (Hamamelis vernalis, below), typically dependable bloomers by mid January, have not quite reached their peak in early February. Hybrid witch hazels (Hamamelis x intermedia)…

Winter blooms

In mild recent winters, and even when temperatures plunge a few degrees below zero (Fahrenheit) there will be flowers in this Virginia garden. With mild temperatures there will be more blooms, earlier, in January instead of later in February, but there is not a winter day without flowers. Flowers of witch hazels, mahonias, and snowdrops…