I BOUGHT A QUINCE SHRUB last year, seduced in part by its peachy-colored flowers and also by the fact that even here in deer country, I see big old Chaenomeles specimens standing near the roadside, without protection, the apparent survivors of many years of possible browsing. I wanted something low-care and at least somewhat deer-resistant for a spot outside my giant fence. Little did I know that it would not be deer, but the snowplow, that would be this charming plant’s greatest obstacle to survival. [read more…]
trees & shrubs
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…]