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

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Quicksilver' Elaeagnus

For years, I lusted after 'Quicksilver' for its foliage, whose bright silveriness is unique in shrubs hardy in Zone 6 and colder.  

Eleagnus x Quicksilver foliage flowers close up 053115 320

This year, I finally calmed down enough about the shrub's leaves to realize that its flowers are exceptional, too: Their honey fragrance commandeers the garden. I hear that they mature to edible fruits that combine the flowers' pale yellow with the leaves' metallic shine. (Another common name for this shrub is silverberry.) And their taste? Stay tuned.


Good Together: 'Amethyst Falls' Wisteria and Variegated Japanese Tree Angelica

Immense variegated pinnate leaves and dense pine-cone-sized clusters of lavender flowers: At first glance, this could be the ultimate plant. In reality, this is a duet of 'Amethyst Falls' wisteria—demure and much later-flowering than the Asian forms—and just a portion of one of the gigantic palm-like leaves of the 'Aureovariegata' form of tree angelica.

Wisteria frutescens Amethyst Falls Aralia elata Aureovariegata 061015 320

If the display were all from one plant, it would be the category killer, the ne plus ultra. All that would be needed would be to find such a creature, afford to buy it, and then plant it and nurture it. But the effect requires two plants, each reasonably available and easy to grow. Nonetheless, it's more of an achievement. 


Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Beech Hedge in the Mail

Seeds shipped from abroad? Potted plants shipped transcontinentally? No problem. Below, though, something remarkable: two sheaves of bare-root and very young American beech saplings. Even so, they were shipped by regular mail from the Midwest; apparently, there wasn't a rush.

Fagus grandifolia sheaves of 25 061615 320

Dunked in a bucket of water for a day and kept moist and in the shade thereafter, in a week they are leafing out. The contrast between their laissez-faire toughness when dormant and their quick "wake up" seems miraculous. And scary: Now that they are becoming active, they are completely vulnerable. If I don't get them potted or in the ground ASAP, they'll die.  


Good Together: Giant Potato Creeper, Golden Arundo, Vermont Gold Spruce

Is there any plant so extraordinary that it must be only a soloist, an island unto itself? With container plants, the container itself can be the temptation towards solitary display: With its roots so confined—so, literally, contained—the plant isn't directly connected to the ground, let alone the garden. 

Arundo donax Golden Chain 060415 320

This rare form of giant reed has yellow stripes, not white, and could hardly be flashier or more distinctive. It's tender for me, so I grow it in a large container. Far from helping to isolate it, the container keeps this reed portable. I can place it amid different hardy plants each season—and, as here, bring in yet another high-wattage container plant that harmonizes with everyone. 


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