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?
trees & shrubs
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…]
RAKE, RAKE, RAKE—but do you look at what’s in the burgeoning piles? It’s not just recognizable leaves from trees and shrubs in the immediate yard and garden, but also lots of immigrants that the wind (no, not the cat) dragged in. I stopped yesterday between wheelbarrow loads to identify some of the showiest of the bunch—or just marvel at them. How to identify trees and shrubs by their leaves, and otherwise. [read more…]
ANDRE JORDAN’S DOODLE up top is funny, but I don’t have much sense of humor about mice (because of their strong link to the chain of Lyme disease transmission) or voles (who are relentless chewers of bark—as are mice). Lately readers in many areas have been telling me it’s the worst mouse year in recent memory, and yes, here, too. How I work aggressively in fall to reduce the garden’s population of mice and meadow voles. [read more…]