from the forum: domestic flaps, winter shrubs

IPROMISED TO SELECT AND FEATURE THE BEST of the week’s posts from our Urgent Garden Question Forum, where membership (free!) and conversation (also free!) are really picking up. This week, however, and only Week 2 at that, I’m torn on which is my favorite. I find myself equally drawn to a hilarious question about living with non-gardening spouses as I am to one about great woody plants for winter interest in the shade. The week’s divergent winners in a tie:

Member Eblacroix asked the best gardening question ever: “Anyone have tips on how to deal with spouses who might not be as excited to start 50 gardening projects at one time like I do?”

Uh-oh. Got any advice to share?

Member Joyhockman wanted advice for shrubs that would be showy in winter in her shady garden, and beauties from Mahonia to Skimmia and many more have been offered up so far. What are your best recommendations to add to the growing list?

Remember: You don’t need to register to use the Forum, unless you want to ask or answer a question. You can always browse and search for answers, even anonymously. Enjoy.

  1. Marion Kukula says:

    My Kerria just up and died last year! Is there a disease that Kerrias get? Should I plant another in it’s place—or try another spot?
    The Sarcocca has just finished booming and for such a small shrub (mine are small, anyway) the scent is heavenly especially as there is nothing else in boom at the same time!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Marion. Kerrias are pretty tough, except for a couple of things: winter sun can turn the twigs brown (dead or just damaged) and heavy soil that doesn’t drain properly can also gradually kill it. Any chance either is at work there? Are you in a heavy, clayey soil or is it otherwise not well-drained?

      Each year at this time I cut out as many of the brown ones as appear, unless there are so many that it’s time for more drastic measures: Every so often, over the 15+ years I’ve had the plant, I cut it down to the ground for a rejuvenation (when I get too many brown stems to deal with individually).

  2. Carol P says:

    I had a little hedge of Kerria japonica “Picta” (the variegated one) and the entire hedge died of what looked like rust. I was not alone- several obsessed gardeners in my area had the same thing happen. They all leafed out in the spring and died after they had flowered.

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