Tuesday, April 22, 2014

After the Destruction of Winter, May I Recommend an Evergreen

South side of my 'Blue Star' juniper

Okay, I know it is not ever really green, but a pretty steely blue.  Notice it is not dead.  It is not sun scalded.   It does not look like it took any sort of hit what so ever after one of the worse winters in more than 100 years.  During the winter it does take on a nice purple hue, but it is always nice to look at.  This specimen is ten years old and about 18 inches high and maybe just over two feet wide.

If you are looking to replace your evergreens damage by this year's winter, this sport with its soft, juvenile foliage might be just the right plant for you.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Proof of Life

A peony with red foliage making way.  The foliage greens up about the time the buds begin to form.
Winter, you shall not take us down.  You might win a battle here and there, but there will be gardens and there will be
flowers.
And lots of them!  These globe alliums have been seriously hindered by the Austrian black pine I removed after last summer's garden walk.  This will be their year!
 Although out of focus, you can see the results of the scratch test (scraping the outer skin to reveal that shimmer of green)on the akebia quinata:  proof of life!

Akebia quinata scratch test

Native geum triflorum, prairie smoke

A small alpine plant I green from seed, which I am going to have to check my records to identify!

Crocus under the white pine

My own seedlings of 'Palace Purple' heuchera

Bergenia, or pigsqueak, grown from seed decades ago, and even here evergreen!

At least one of my Pink Knock Outs made it!

Russian achillea, 'Love Parade' looks like it means to fill in some significant real estate left vacant by the black pine.

Ah, tiny bud growth on a few of the branches of the Japanese 'Bloodgood' 

There are a lot of healthy buds on this clematis alpina 'Blue Dancer', which blooms on old wood.  Last year it bloomed two blooms near the ground in mid-May.  This year it looks like it will have a good show, but at eye level.

The privet are thinking about it, but until they leaf out there is the opportunity for the scilla to put on their opening show with a shimmer of blue.  I mean to move them (or some of them to a better location but life pre-empted me.

THIS JUST IN!

Report from the Outliers: The Bee Keeper says this was a good winter for bees.  Although, extremely, bitterly cold, there were none of the extreme temperature fluctuations we have seen in more recent years.  Her father's hives look good and are robust.  As you might remember her hive's queen was attacked and killed by marauding hornets.  The surviving bees were sent to their cousins' hives.  The Bee Keeper reports she will purchase a new queen and the bees will be back in a week or so.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Brutal Winter, The Great Garden Extinction, Gardening on the Edge

Just too much brown yet for this time of year.   My PJM rhododendron still has a very brownish cast, although temperatures have been mild for a few days.  The blue dwarf leaf Artic willow is starting to think about budding up its leaf buds, but typically does not set the catkins which are its "bloom" as it is typically sterile.  This year, I can tell it is stressed as it have several sprays of catkins looking more like a pussy willow.  The vedict on the survival of the lavender 'Munstead' and the zauschneria (California fuchia or California hummingbird plant) is still out.  Even the 'Gold Coin' lysimachia looks hard hit. 

I am not sure what to think about this spring clean up in the garden.  I have spent a mere handful of hours in the garden cleaning the debris from both last fall and the winter.

The grass left longer than normal, as no mowing took place after my injury, particularly in the hellstrip ditch bordered by daylilies looks better than it ever has.  It was also covered by all the leaves blown or washed there as part of the villages highly evolved ditching efforts as the village sits on sort of a sandy boggy wetlands.  My house, one of the first built and therefore sited on a higher place, where I needn't worry about flooding still has an impressive ditch where leaves and debris can collect.

My neighbor, Dr. Darrel Apps, and I have been conferring on what we see dead in our yards.