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?
I LOVE GOLD-LEAVED PLANTS, and I am at least as mad about winterberry hollies. When I learned this year that the two came in one package, there was probably no chance I’d escape heading to the cash register without at least one Ilex verticillata ‘Sunsplash’ in my cart. [read more…]
ALL TREES TEACH US PATIENCE, but a beech tree is the advanced master of the discipline. Fagus grandiflora, the American beech, grows in the woods around me, but when I came to this place 25ish years ago, I added a European beech (Fagus sylvatica), a copper-leaf one specifically, in the field high above the house. Slow as it may be, it has proven a fine companion in every season since, with an increasingly muscular trunk of elephant-hide bark, and oh, those leaves—great from first hint of unfurling to their moment on the ground, a puddle of delicious cinnamon. [read more…]
IT’S HARD TO THINK OF ANOTHER TREE that gets more appreciation here from me and the birds. (And don’t forget: I know what birds like, even beyond crabapples.) This last week has been crabapple time on my hillside (above), and it made me think about how much I love these extra-showy members of the genus Malus, and not just in flower. [read more…]
WHAT I MISS MOST about my Martha job: I had other garden geeks as colleagues, and the chance to talk plants nonstop. These days I pester people like Adam Wheeler of Broken Arrow Nursery in Connecticut instead. The latest in my series of nursery and seed-company Q&As: a chat with Adam about everything from outstanding wildlife shrubs and underused hydrangeas and magnolias; to using variegation in the garden, growing giant pumpkins and more. Plus: a chance to win one of two $25 Broken Arrow gift certificates I’ve bought to share with you. [read more…]