A bit of color

Several hellebores are showing a bit of color, though flower buds could remain in this state for another six weeks, and probably will. A time, possibly two, in twenty years the same hellebores began flowering the third week of December, with full bloom following shortly before the new year. As I recall, that early winter,…

Gold Cone ready to go

In recent years, ice, snow, and wind have irreparably damaged and tilted a tall ‘Gold Cone’ juniper (Juniperus communis ‘Gold Cone’), that must now be removed. No matter that ‘Gold Cone’ was never gold, with barely a trace of yellow new growth in spring that faded quickly in the first spell of heat. It was…

Too cold?

I debate taking actions to protect marginally cold hardy evergreens planted this year. The overriding philosophy of this garden has long been “survival of the fittest”, and without a doubt, constructing leaf filled cages to insulate fatsias and Anise shrubs (Illicium floridanum ‘Pink Frost’, below) is contrary to three decades of trial and error in…

Berries are hit and miss

Again, there are few berries on the tall, seedling American holly (Ilex opaca, below) in the rear garden that can positively be identified as female. There are handfuls of the native American hollies in and near the garden, with many smaller seedling hollies at the edges, and others deeper into the forest that borders it….

That’s more like it

Until a few weeks ago, days were getting shorter, but not colder, so that autumn leaf color has not been much for folks in the area to get excited about until this week. I don’t get too excited about autumn foliage. I’m not very excitable, I suppose, but it’s more or less the end of…

In my younger days

I notice that dry stacked columns constructed from blocks of limestone have gone out of plumb after too many years of freezing and thawing. A couple columns remain relatively straight, but several aren’t, and I vaguely recall seeing this some time ago. Then, as now, I hoped that evergreen foliage would disguise the crookedness so…

Big leaves

Falling leaves of the Bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla) are a significant event in the garden. Immediately, a widespread area of ferns, hostas, and a young patch of Allegheny spurge (Pachysandra procumbens) are buried beneath a deep cover of the huge leaves, which will remain in place until decay begins in early spring. Other leaves are…

A day in the garden

Mid-October in northern Virginia is not the best time to visit a garden. A garden group visited my place in early November a year ago, and with a warmer than average first half of autumn there were still a few things to see. But of course, I would prefer visitors to see the garden’s peak…

A change of seasons

Remnants of Hurricane Michael were hardly to be concerned about in this part of northwestern Virginia (except for another two inches of rain while areas nearby received three times this amount), but a breezy night as the storm exited was enough to dislodge many loosely attached leaves (and innumerable branches) of trees bordering the garden….

Summer rain, for better and worse

While several shrubs have perished in saturated soil after a summer of flooding rains, some plants on higher ground have grown with unusual and notable vigor. Two variegated ‘Silver Cloud’ redbuds (Cercis canadensis ‘Silver Cloud’) and an Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) have grown to engulf a Hinoki cypress (Hinoki gracillis ‘Compacta’). I am not noted…

The colors of autumn, before leaves turn

While leaves are slow to turn with summer temperatures extending into October, the garden remains colorful with abundant blooms. Without a doubt, cold weather and colorful leaves will be here soon, but I’m in no rush to be rid of this unusual warmth.  While the pink blooms of Encore azalea ‘Carnation’ (above) are hardly my…

Mostly minor problems

Among many, but mostly minor issues related to this year’s summer deluge is that Alstroemeria ‘Tangerine Tango’ barely grew, and only a few flowers were seen in early summer. In fact, I cannot be certain that the problem is not an overhanging Distylium instead, but shade from the evergreen seems not far different from a…