Tilting at windmills

Recently I’ve been working a bit late, so my garden strolls have been too infrequent. Each time I pass the snow damaged cryptomerias and evergreen magnolias at the back of the property I’m disheartened, and apt to sling a choice word or two skyward. Gardeners cuss the rain (if they are inclined to cuss at…

Right tree, right place

Too often I see properties that have been overwhelmed by a single tree, so that branches block driveways or walkways and must be chopped annually to prevent structural damage. The fault is not with the tree, of course, but in lack of attention in making an appropriate selection years earlier. There is a wealth of information…

Repairing snow damage – split branches

In the previous chapter I pruned large branches that were broken in the recent heavy, wet snow. Today will begin with repairing damage to evergreens, and then will address how to save branches that have split, but not broken beyond repair. Damage to evergreens was less extensive than in the heavy snows of February 2010,…

Repairing snow damaged trees

As heavy, wet snow accumulated on the thickly branched red maple at the edge of my neighbor’s property, the Y-shaped junction where the tree forked into two trunks was severely stressed. Finally, the weight of snow was too great and half of the snow covered maple tumbled over, its fall broken only by a large…

A sad tale

On this morning of the third day following seven or eight inches of heavy, wet snow I have trudged through the garden to further survey damage, and the results are disheartening one moment, encouraging the next. My immediate impression on the morning after the storm was that injury would be more prevalent, and more significant…

No more plants!

On a dreary January morning a thick fog has settled over this low lying garden nestled between foothills at the western edge of Virginia’s Piedmont. Today, temperatures will be slightly above the seasonal average, with the slight cover of snow and ice melting quickly in the relative warmth. My rambles through the garden are more…

A surprising number of evergreens

Now that the fairweather deciduous trees and shrubs have dropped their leaves and gone into hiding for the winter, the steadfast and stalwart evergreens march to the forefront. If I were to guess, and I’m guessing, I would figure two-thirds of the garden’s trees and shrubs to be deciduous, with the remainder evergreens, both conifers…

The last autumn foliage

In the week past Seriyu and Lion’s Head maples have dropped their brilliantly colored foliage, the maples and poplars along the border of the garden are bare, and with only scattered evergreens to shield the property neighboring houses are readily seen. I value the large evergreen hollies, cypress, spruce, and Alaskan cedars, in particular when…

American hollies and others

Along the southern border of the garden is a two hundred foot wide swath of forest bisected by a small creek. The mature poplars and maples are remnants of forest left to stand at the edge of farmland that has been converted into housing lots of an acre or more. In the past twenty years…

A place to relax

I wore out my old garden lounge chair, and have had to purchase another, the kind that’s called a zero gravity chair but is really just a recliner. They’re cheap and ugly, but suit my purposes quite well. I’ve tried to “relax” (sleep) in one of the chairs we have scattered on the various stone…

Split and splayed

Undeniably, spring has arrived! Helleborus and snowdrops (below) have emerged from their snowy blanket to burst into bloom, yet much damage from the winter storms remains (though considerably less than many gardeners feared). In the past weeks we’ve addressed how to prune the broken and split branches, what to to do with the large evergreens that are leaning, or…