Monday, November 28, 2011

Seasonal transitions

Much to my relief, most of the leaves are now off the trees and on the ground, which means the obligatory leaf raking/mowing/bagging will be done and over with much sooner than in previous years. I like to chop up the leaves with the mower, then spread the remnants back over the garden beds as a mulch. My acid-loving plants like my Rhododendron and Camellias sure do appreciate it.

With the deciduous shrubs nothing but bare stems and branches until spring, the evergreens come to the forefront. In particular, my weeping Norway spruce (Picea abies ‘Pendula’) and Nandina (Nandina domestica).

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The spruce provides interesting architectural structure, with its branches cascading down from the trunk then curving back outward in different directions. The Nandina offers a splash of color in an otherwise drab winter environment, between the bronzy new foliage and bright red berries. Fortunately, the birds leave these berries alone, so they persist right on into spring. No matter the weather or the season, there’s always something to enjoy in the garden!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A little planning goes a long way

As I look out the kitchen window this morning, watching the leaves drop from my deciduous flowering shrubs, I’m startled to see where my impulsive plant-buying has led to a garden that looks rather jumbled and randomly planted rather than organized and planned out. For example, I have 3 panicle hydrangeas in the front of the garden bed that block the view of several dwarf fountain grasses and numerous young conifers. These hydrangeas are about 4-5 feet tall and wide, larger than I was anticipating when I bought them a few years ago.

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Immediately behind the hydrangeas, I planted a Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), and to the left, a variegated Weigela that neighbors a Honysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), which in turn sits next to a Witch alder (Fothergilla ‘Mt. Airy’). You get the picture. Consequently, I have some transplanting and moving to do next year, to get the garden in a more orderly appearance. My New Year resolution will be to have a plan in place BEFORE I go to the nursery, or to just resist buying so many plants to begin with, and focus instead on maintenance like getting a path in place around the edge of the garden, and weeding. As my mom is often reminding me, “There’s more to it than just the fun stuff.”

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