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


Durably Deciduous: 'Winter Beauty' Honeysuckle

Winter Beauty honeysuckle is one of my garden's most hardworking shrubs: fragrant flowers in late winter, purple bark on the new stems in summer, colorful bark on the older stems all winter and, perhaps closest to my heart, the ability to be trained into espaliers as well as standards and coppices.

 

Here's yet another talent: The foliage doesn't check out when fall frosts begin. 

Lonicera x purpusii Winter Beauty overall vertical 112017 320

Instead, the greenery persists into the first snows—sometimes as far into December that the calendar says that winter itself is here. True, that's not evergreen, but it's not nothing at a time when so many other plants retreat to the ground, or whose branches have become completely bare. What about calling Winter Beauty "defiantly deciduous?"

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Castor Aralia, More Spiky than Ever

Six years ago, my castor aralia had just three stems. Now there are a dozen or so. They'll remain leafless until new foliage emerges in spring, so their freakish thorniness is in full reveal.

Kalopanax septimlobus var. maximowiczii 113017 base of trunks 320

For me, even one viciously thorny branch that is naked from November through April is one kind of heaven. More please!  

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Leatherleaf Viburnums

Viburnums lack the colorful flowers of rhododendrons and roses but, especially in climate zone 6 and colder, are far more useful. But being thought of as merely functional would be to damn them with faint praise.

 

Thankfully, it's possible to look beyond those other shrubs' flowers. Actually, it's a relief to do so: it frees you to appreciate the rest of the world of shrubbery on its own terms. 

 

Such as viburnums. Below, a so-called leatherleaf viburnum. 

 Viburnum rhytidophyllum Green Trump 112017 overall 320

Leather-leaf?

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Wingnut Cascade

Wingnut puts on a show year-round: stripe-barked stems in winter, spikes of white flowers in summer and, summer into winter, these clusters of papery-winged seeds—the "nuts," if you will.  

Trypterigium regelii 111417 best overall 320

One quirk among many with this plant is that, while the spikes of white flowers are upright, even vertical, by the time the winged seeds that follow have matured, the spikes will have plunged downward. Ah, for a stop-action camera to capture this arc of fruitfulness.

 

These clusters cry out to be harvested for cold-weather bouquets and wreaths, but they are also showy in the garden. Can their "on the hoof" display be enhanced?   

Read more ...

 
 
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