LOCAL FORSYTHIA opened fully this last week, but even if they hadn’t, I’d already be on my eighth species of spring-flowering shrub, happily surrounded by delicate blossoms, some of which are even fragrant. My best early blooming shrubs you may wish to invite into your home landscape, too, with a slideshow: [read more…]
‘IT’S ENDLESS,” plantsman Michael Dodge of Vermont Willow Nursery was saying over the phone the other day, alluding to the possibilities of the genus Salix—the willows to which he has been devoting the recent chapter of his impressive horticultural career. We narrowed it down to some best-of willow selections from more than 150 in his collection—best willows for outsmarting deer; winter interest; abundant flowers and even best for making honey if you’re a beekeeper—and I also got a brutal tutorial on willow pruning (also known as coppicing) to share with you. [read more…]
THERE IS MORE THAN those admittedly extravagant flowers to recommend the Magnolia, though many of us think of them as just that: flowering trees. Not a bad thing to have around at this time of year—but hardly the whole story of this ancient genus with its many other ornamental features, one of the oldest flowering plants on earth. In the latest radio show and podcast, I spoke with Adam Wheeler of Broken Arrow Nursery—growers of a staggering 80 selections of magnolias—about the range of possibilities, and how to care for them. Plus: Adam’s a champion giant pumpkin grower, and offers us some tips on that, too. [read more…]
I HAVE TO HAND IT to extra-early and extra-late garden performers for knowing to do their thing when it’s really needed—just when the gardener may be giving up hope. Today’s star: Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon,’ just beginning to turn brilliant butterscotch seven months after flowering, then sporting chartreuse foliage since; the butterscotch phase will last till around Christmas, when the leaves will drop). Like winterberry hollies (in the background in the photo of ‘Ogon,’ above), and ornamental grasses, I’m grateful for the visual warmth they provide right now. Any extra-late stars still shouting at your place?