NEW Trips to Take!

Myrtle's easy when the conditions are right.

 
 
 
 

NEW Plants to Try!

Louis tries to capture the exact words to describe the fleeting but deep pleasures to be found in these Summer-into-Autumn incredibles.

 
 
 
 

New Gardening to Do!

Allergic to bees? You can still have an exciting garden, full of flowers and color and wildlife.

 
 
 
 

A Gardening Journal


Must Have: Oriental Spicebush

Spring? Nature isn't reading the calendar, because more snow is on the way. Thank goodness, there are always more plants to consider that look amazing in the cold. The graceful narrow leaves of oriental spicebush turn pale tan in Winter—and remain on the branches no matter how long it takes for Spring to arrive.

Lindera angustifolia Arnold Arboretum 031515 320

They persist even as the early-season flowers emerge in April, and are shed only as new foliage follows. Shrubs don't need psychiatry, but this one seems nearly phobic about showing bare branches.

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Hardy Orange, Hardy Indeed

The wide shot of the magnolia espalier in the March 10 post was only possible with my twelve-foot stepladder. Otherwise, the huge cake-stand topiary of hardy orange would have been in the way. In the shot below, the camera hadn't yet cleared the top branch of the topiary, which I had tied to a stake just last Fall as part of its training as the topiary's newest, highest layer.

Poncirus trifoliata top twig unharmed by Winter 031215 320

The ball-in-training will only form if that top twig survived. The Winter was historic in its severity—and the topmost twigs of woody plants are most susceptible to damage. How did this one do? 

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Graham Blandy' Boxwood

This Winter's extreme and sustained cold has bronzed much of the foliage of the southern magnolias espaliered up the west side of the house. The magnolias will recover just fine—and, meanwhile, the unusual mahogany hue of their foliage only enhances the bright green foliage of the columnar box in front.

Buxus sempervirens Graham Blandy North of the pair overall 031215 320

This strikingly narrow box cultivar is 'Graham Blandy'. Already nine feet tall, it will grow to more than twice that high in the decades to come.

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Extreme Snow Removal, plus Pollarded Lindens

Right outside the front gate, I've planted a pair of standards of dwarf linden, Tilia cordata 'Summer Sprite'. As is typical for the 18th Century, the house is located close to the road, so some structural horticulture brings both privacy and, well, structure to what might otherwise be a narrow strip.

Tilia cordata Summer Sprite 030515 320

Yesterday, our need for some serious snow removal meant I had to call in equipment far larger than a pickup with a front-mounted plow. Extreme plowing was in order. How big was the rig? Besides providing privacy and no little Winter interest, these linden standards were also good yardsticks.

 

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