A splendid place to garden

The sheltering effect of shade is readily apparent in the garden following a dry week after a particularly rainy period. Fortunately, temperatures in this rain-free week remained mild, and again we are headed into a rainy spell (hopefully, a short one). The lack of extreme heat should preclude damage to plants that are pumped up…

Kneel, don’t bend

A code word given by nurses following back surgery nearly two years ago was supposedly an easy to remember warning to lift appropriately, to bend at the knees, not at the waist. I’m afraid I’m not a good student, and besides, who else is there on the premises to bend to pluck the many hundreds,…

Where is the passion (vine)?

I fear that two passion flower vines (Passiflora incarnata, below) have not survived, though I have shared similar thoughts in prior years and been surprised to see growth beginning late in June.  A year ago, root suckers began poking up through gaps in the stone patio early in May, late for most plants but typical…

Definitely spring

Even the most cautious gardener must now be confident that the threat of frost has passed, and now he is free to plant goodies, no matter how tender. Several weeks ago, I could not wait any longer to plant several variegated fatsias (Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’, below), so they were planted with more cold in…

A vigorous vine

While many clematis are slow to get started, Clematis montana ‘Rubens’ (below) has been vigorous from the start. To my recollection, this is the third (and best) try for a vine to cover the railing of the deck outside the kitchen window. I’m a bit foggy what the the first was, but the second will…

A favorable comment

Favorable comments about the garden are always appreciated, and especially helpful when acquaintances of my wife counter her criticisms. Yes, I understand that there are parts of the garden that don’t function ideally, and guess what, mostly I don’t care. If something flops over a path, walk around it. Or, on it. I didn’t exactly…

Unexpected and unexplained

The young gardener understands that things will go wrong, but expects that there will be fewer issues as he gains experience. And then he tends his garden for a decade or two, with fewer, but continuing unexpected and unexplained occurrences, and he wonders if he will ever figure this out. No, he will not, at…

No better place

What better place is possible than here, today? Could there be anything more beautiful than this winding, potholed Virginia back road decorated by flowers of redbuds, dogwoods, and a scattering of serviceberries? Abundant redbuds in full bloom lean far out from the tall canopy of maples and poplars, reaching for sunlight, while less numerous white…

A passion for parrotia

Not every garden needs a Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica, below), much less two, but then, a garden need not have Japanese maples or hydrangeas, or whatever marvelous plants if the gardener prefers otherwise. A garden of clipped hedges without a single bloom might delight one gardener, no matter that I am unlikely to give it…

A delightful iris

Until recent years, Iris bucharica (below) was a favored spring filler between paperbush (Edgeworthia chysantha) and a Fernspray cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Filicoides aurea’). But, and there are arguably too many buts around this place, the paperbush grew much wider than expected to shade the irises. For once, I plead innocence. I am the victim of…