Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pumpkins in a Tree

Not totally garden related, but I thought I'd post this picture of one of the silliest things in the garden this season. Just behind the house is an elm tree. A vine started growing and I can't ever resist letting volunteer plants grow just to see what they are. This didn't seem to be doing much, but then started crawling up the tree. Since it wasn't going to be crowding out other things, I just let it go and mostly forgot about it. In late summer we noticed that pumpkins had appeared and by the time I took the picture they had turned orange. They finally fell down a few days ago, and despite my thought that I would probably be underneath when they did, they missed me. I always have a few pumpkin/squash/gourd things come up here and there, both from seeds from other pumpkin/squash/gourd volunteer things and from seeds that come up in the leaf mulch the city of Athens brings us. You never know just what will come up.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hamamelis virginiana

Fall blooming witch hazel is a nice thing. Just when most blooming things have been frosted and are asleep for the winter, here comes this small tree/large shrub (probably not more than 10 feel tall and wide) just covered with lemon yellow spidery blooms. It's such a surprise when you're out. You just don't expect a blooming tree this time of year. Not as fragrant as those which will start blooming in January/February here, but just by its uniqueness is a wonderful addition to the garden. Grows in sun or light shade. The only drawback I can see is that it has a tendency to hold its leaves a little too long sometimes and will still have some when it starts blooming, but that is a problem with hazels in general, not just this variety.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gaultheria procumbens

Wintergreen is, as it's name implies, green all winter. It also has red berries for most of the winter unless they get eaten. It is not the easiest plant to grow, but if you find a place it likes, it will increase and provide you with a little bit of color when everything else has gone away for the winter. Occasionally rabbits will eat it, but not always. It must not be their favorite. Gaultheria likes part sun and seems to like well drained spots. The one in the picture is growing in a nook in a stone wall. We also have them just in the garden beds. Before the berries form, there are white flowers. There are several other types of wintergreen, but this is the only one that has been dependable here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Salvia glabrescens

This one wins the award for absolutely the latest first bloom of the year in the garden. Hope that sentence makes sense. This salvia is lovely and green all summer. Somewhere around mid September you see the beginnings of buds. If you're lucky (and if you cover it every cold night) you will get to enjoy the lovely pink blooms. It is perfectly hardy here, just very late to bloom. I have also found that it doesn't like drought conditions very well and had to water it almost every day (just a gallon or so) to keep it happy this summer. It's quite an unusual color for a fall blooming plant. Ours likes partial shade here and lives under the edge of a clove currant.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ginkgo biloba

Keeping with the theme of great fall color, here is a picture of one of our Ginkgos. They just light up with their lemon color WHEN they color up. It is more of an iffy thing with them. They are late to color compared with some others, and at the first frost simply drop their leaves. If like this year the first frost is late, they have plenty of time to color up and are just gorgeous. Ginkgos are one of those fossil frees along with Metasequoia which were thought to be extinct until found in China not all that long ago. Despite its appearance, the ginkgo is a conifer and should be listed as such in catalogs, though it usually isn't since by appearance you'd never guess it. The only pest we have problems with in the ginkgos are voles. They are very selective about what they eat - hostas being one of their most favorites - and will bypass what would seem like yummy things to get just what they want. One year Hank leaned on a ginkgo and it just fell over. The voles had eaten every root off and it had nothing left under ground. We now use castor oil or other mole repellents around things they are likely to bother.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rhus typhina 'Laciniata'

For fall color it doesn't get much better than this. This laciniated sumac is pretty all season, but once the leaves start to change colors this one rivals any maple out there. It will grow in sun or light shade and isn't all that picky about it's location. If left on its own, it will slowly form a small colony, but babies are just broken off if you don't want more plants - there are not more than one or two a year on our plants. It will be more upright in shade, bushier in sun as most plants are. Height is probably about 6 feet with width almost as much. Not a small plant, but a nice addition to the garden.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rabidosis Longituba

This lovely flower seems to be little known, but if you are looking for something that blooms long after everything except maybe a few chrysanthemums or fall asters are finished, this one is for you. The color is a bit more purple than it shows in this picture. The flowers are sort of pea/mini orchid shaped. It just sits there all green for the summer, but then about the middle of September buds appear and soon it is covered with flowers. It probably gets a few feet tall and wide and doesn't seem to be bothered by any insects. Frost will do it in, so if you're expecting an early frost (or even a late one as we're expecting Sunday night) you might want to cover it to protect it so you can enjoy it longer.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fall Cleanup

I've been very negligent in writing here for the past month, but with the drought and just trying to keep everything alive, there hasn't been much time for computer. I've also been updating the website and trying to get all of the new pictures that were taken over the summer put in their proper places. I hope you'll all explore the photo galleries and will enjoy them. Dought is tricky. We have somewhat limited water since we work from a well. We do have a creek that runs through the gardens, but when the weather gets hot, the creek dries up until the fall rains arrive. We have had only about 3 inches of rain totaly for May through September which is about 12 inches less than we should have had. The objective is to keep the plants alive at this point, not any more. There just isn't enough water to do otherwise. Everything gets a sprinkler a few hours a week. They're not happy, but will survive to grow next year when, hopefully, rainfall is more normal. With the humidity so low (20% some days) the potted things have to be watered every day despite using polymer to hold water in all of the pots. On a normal year potted hostas only have to be watered once or twice a week. Despite this having been a difficult summer water and heat-wise, fall is always a bittersweet time. I enjoy being out in the gardens and working there and fall means that gardening will slow down and indoor time will increase. The nice part of that is that I get to start knitting and working on quilts again (and maybe even getting the whole house clean at one time). Back to plants tomorrow.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


This is Poncirus. Hard to believe we can grow citrus outside this far north, but this one is it. It is a small tree, though a bit irregular and untidy in its habit. Ours kind of rambles through other bushes. Probably about 8 feet tall at this point, though it has only been in 8 or 9 years and may get bigger. Partial shade seems to suit it just fine, though ours gets some afternoon sun. The thorns are an inch or so long and so even in winter this plant offers some interest in the garden. It blooms with sweet smelling white flowers in the spring, and if a late frost doesn't get them, they will produce fruits which ripen to an orange color and which, though too sour to just eat, make great marmalade. They're small, but very thin skinned, so they're easy to work with even though you need quite a few to do anything with. A highly recommended plant.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Orixa japonica 'Aurea' and friends

Orixa seems to be a relatively unknown shrub. The new growth on Aurea comes out yellow (no surprise here) and fades to green. It's best color, though, is in the fall when the leaves turn the color of parchment and rather translucent. It is definitely a contrast to all of the reds and golds on the other plants. This has been in the garden for a long time, but most people don't seem to notice it since most of our visitors are here when it is just another green bush. Those who do venture out to the country for a fall walk will definitely have a treat in store. The picture on the right is one we have just added, this week, a new orixa, 'Pearl Frost' which we just recently found out about and were lucky enough to find available after a bit of searching. We got two and they are still potted, but the holes are dug and when this heat breaks, they'll be in the ground. Orixa, oddly enough, is a member of the citrus family, even though it is thoroughly hardy here. More on another hardy citrus next time.

Monday, September 3, 2007


I've just sent in the registration papers for this daylily, Polymultipetalicious, which is, as far as I know, the first double polytepal. I wish it were other than yellow, but I've been working with it in my hybridizing program and so there may be another one in the future, maybe with an eye or ruffles, or ???? It is a fast multiplier and blooms mid-summer. No fragrance as far as I remember. The deer ate all of the scapes this year, so I didn't even get to see it bloom. Unfortunately, that was the case for a lot of our daylilies. Since the rains, the deer have been less obvious in the garden, but we still are getting some damage. Maybe they've just eaten everything they like so they've gone elsewhere. The Red Oaks seem to have made acorns even though the others didn't , so they will have something to eat this fall. That should help somewhat. They are still overpopulated around here. Thirty years ago it was rare to see one, but now it is a common occurrance, even small herds regularly graze across the road near the parking lot. I enjoy watching them but wish they would find somewhere else on these 100+ acres for their dinner.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Just in case you arrived here from a bookmark instead of through the website, I want everyone to know that we're having our fall sale for the first half of September. 25% off all potted hostas. Hope you all find something you need.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Parthenocissus 'Star Showers'

I know, I know, it's not the next day, but between computer problems and storms that knocked out our electricity for over a day, I'm just getting back to this. This is another of the parthenocissus, this one the most highly variegated we grow. The leaves are slightly smaller than the species, though the vine is every bit as vigorous as long as it is in a place it likes. It will ramble along the ground or a fence, or grow up a tree or a post. It is, unfortunately, difficult to propagate, so I don't often have much of it to sell. This is probably why I don't see it on the market much despite it's original hype. Worth having if you can find it with fall color as good as what it shows in the summer.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Parthenocissus 'Fenway Park'

Not your usual Boston Creeper. We started growing this one a few years ago, and the first one was slow, but once we figured out that it would like a lot of sun, it has flourished. This particular one was a small cutting this spring and has covered a 6 foot post in just a couple of months. The color is quite a bit more gold that what shows in this picture, though you might expect this color in more shade. On mild winters the new growth survives, but even if it freezes back, it comes charging up in the spring to start again. It is not overly agressive - just needs something to climb on. We also grow a variegated version with this same leaf shape - pink, white and green - which is equally lovely, but a little less hardy and which prefers more shade. Tomorrow I'll put up a picture of one with the more typical leaf shape, like the wild form, and talk a bit about it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Monarch Butterflies

This is a Monarch Butterfly caterpiller I disovered yesterday. We have seen several pairs of Monarchs in the gardens in the past week. I always wonder if they're coming back, but somehow they always find our gardens again. We plant several different 'milkweeds' in the gardens and have the wild ones growing in the fields across the road. Quite a few different butterflies call our place home, but it is always special this time of year to see that the Monarchs have returned.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fall Daylilies

Just when you think that the daylily season is over, the fall bloomers come into their own. This is Autumn Daffodil, about the first of our lates to bloom. It is a little taller than average, but most of our lates are quite tall - 4 feet or so. Most are also in the yellow or what I'd call fall color range. I often complain that you don't get the reds, purples, pinks and whites in the very early and late daylilies, but by this time of year, I think we're just happy to still have some blooms. There's no reason why daylilies have to bloom only for a few weeks midsummer. We have them blooming from early May until September. Now, I'll admit that the overwhelming bloom we get in July is much better, or at least much more, but in May and September, a single bloom can be quite lovely.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

This is taken in the front yard near the road. This is where the hosta obsession really got started. There is less grass now and more hostas, but even as much as we hate to more, I think you need a little (though very little) grass in some places. This garden was planted about a dozen years ago. We had hostas before that, a couple dozen varieties, but this was the beginning of the real collection which now numbers over 1000 varieties, not counting seedlings. The deer have eaten the leaves off of many of them at this point, but not to be deterred by the little fact of missing their leaves, they are starting to bloom and the deer seem to be avoiding them. I'm glad I'm not one of those people who cut off the bloom scapes on hostas. They are truly lovely and come in every shade of lavender/purple imaginable plus the lovely white ones, so nicely scented that are just starting to bloom. In a year of gardens really devastated by drought, heat and deer, the hosta flowers are a really nice way to wind down this strange gardening season.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Oak Leaf Hydrangea

Hydrangeas aren't for the most part dependable bloomers here, but the oak leaf variety are never fail performers. They will grow in sun or shade, though light shade seems to be their favorite. They bloom in July with white flowers, but as the blooms age, they turn light then darker pink and then by fall have aged to a warm brown shade. They make wonderful dried flowers for fall arrangements needing only to be cut and hung for awhile until thoroughly dry. They will last (barring destruction by marauding kittens) until you cut the next ones in a year. In recent years a number of named varieties have come on the market, including dwarf forms. The species isn't all that huge and the dwarfs aren't all that dwarf, but I guess there is some distinction. Deer occasionally will nip the growth tips, but otherwise seem to leave them along. They also seem pretty drought tolerant which has been a consideration this year for us. These are fairly inexpensive and readily available.

Monday, August 6, 2007


The first picture on the webpage "blooming today" is of a primrose. I was feeling guilty for awhile since they had finished their bloom and I hadn't gotten around to changing it, but I find that now, in the midst of this horrible heat wave, I have at last one primrose in full bloom. This is not uncommon. They begin their bloom at the first sign that spring might come soon and usually continue until the heat sets in, though we get sproadic bloom throughout the season and sometimes during a warm spell in the dead of winter. They seem to tolerate a wide range of light conditions, though some shade is helpful and those that get too much sun may suffer from leaf burn on the edges. We often rescue them from Lowe's in the spring when they have gotten a bit frosted, since, with damaged leaves removed, they soon begin to grow and look fine in no time at all. They come in every color of the rainbow and in various combinations. If you add in the various species, you find a family with not only various colors, but shapes that are low growing and also with very tall flower spikes - a little something for everyone.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Hibiscus 'Angelique'

As the daylilies wind down, the hibiscus are just getting started. We have scattered them throughout the gardens so that we can enjoy their size and colors wherever we are working. This is Angelique. She is a tall plant, over my head at least and lives at the edge of the bog along with quite a few others. The flower is about 6 - 8 inches across, not nearly as large as some, but unique in its pulled back petals. I don't think any of them have a fragrance, but since you don't have to get close to enjoy them, scent isn't as important I don't think. These all enjoy moist soil, even, as this one, at the edge of a bog, and also enjoy full sun.

Friday, August 3, 2007


If you want people to think your garden has moved to the tropics, this is the vine for you. Maypops are primarily a tropical family, but this one grows happily in zone 6. It comes up rather late after the heat sets in for sure and grows quickly, especially if you make sure it gets abundant water. The flowers are a wonderful shade of lavender and quite fanciful. If it can't find a tree or trellis to climb, it will just sprawl along the ground. It seems to be less than picky about its conditions and we have them growing in full sun and light shade. Some coleus or cannas will go nicely and give you a nice clash or colors.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Hosta 'Pandora's Box'

This is probably the cutest miniature hosta out there. Not new, but dependable as long as it gets a little sun. In too much shade it will just sort of fade away. Miniature hostas are every bit as hardy as the big guys, but there are a few things you might consider before letting the little ones loose in your garden. If you have primarily big hostas, the little ones will have a tendency to get lost under the others, or be stepped on while you're working in the garden. They are best at the front of the border, or you might try giving each one their own large rock to grow next to for protection. We have them scattered around, but also have two beds just for minis. One is very shady under a variegated dogwood and some witch hazels, while the other gets quite a bit of sun, only receiving protection mid afternoon from a row of chestnuts. Miniature ponds (try using large rubber dog dishes) are also a nice addition to the miniature garden. I've also mixed in some small astilbes, gaultheria procumbens, a fern or two at the back edge and some primroses for a little color.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Asimina triloba 'Variegata'

This tree is relatively new here, probably in the last 4 or 5 years. The variegation isn't there first thing in the spring, but appears when heat and sun bring it out in early summer. It is growing just like any other pawpaw, happily at the edge of the woods. It hasn't flowered yet, but I expect it will soon since it is now about 10 feet tall and looking more like a tree every day. This was just a chance seedling that showed up, not something we were breeding for or anything like that. Pawpaws are really lovely trees, purple bell shaped flowers in the spring and all of those yummy fruits in the fall. With the late freeze this year we'll not have any fruit this year, but the trees are pretty and nicely shaped if they're not crowded by their neighbors and so the fruit is really just a bonus.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Heptacodium miconoides

This is one of my favorite trees, commonly called Seven Sons Tree. It has only been grown in this country for about the last 15 or so years, or at least in general commerce. It has wonderful peeling bark after a few years, which is a nice asset in the winter, but the best part is what comes after the white flowers you see in the picture. The flowers come in August or September, and after they are done, there are hot, shocking pink calyxes which will remain on the tree, sometimes until November. They will rival any fall color on anything, except for maybe Aesculus obovatus. It isn't a huge tree. Our oldest one is approaching 15 years old and is probably 20 feet tall. It is rather fast growing. It will want to be a multistemmed tree, sometimes many multi stems, but it is easy to keep that down to 2 or 3. Full sun or light shade seems to suit it best, probably similar to what a dogwood might like. It's gotten a lot easier to find and would be a nice addition to anyone's garden.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Daylily Seedlings

I think this is one of the best of this year's seedlings. We make a number of crosses every year and most either look too much like the parents, or are just not all that special. Every once in a while, there is one that just plain stands out. This one isn't named yet, and won't be available for a few years since this is the first year it has bloomed and there just isn't enough yet to sell, but you can be sure it will be available eventually. At some point in the not too distant future, I'm going to get a section up on the webpage for the seedlings as there are a few others which we will probably introduce. This particular one has extremely tall bloom scapes. If you notice from the camera angle, I'm looking up at the bloom. It's on a hill which accounts for some of it, but the scape is at least 5 feet tall. We have been breeding for tall scapes, things to put at the back of the border but which will still stand out, and this is about average height for that group of seedlings. The exception is the one with the 84 inch scape. The flower is less showy than this one, but it's still pretty amazing. Tomorrow I'll put up a picture of the one that will be available next year and talk a little about the actual process of hybridizing and growing daylilies from seed.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Compared to growing a lotus, waterlilies are a piece of cake. Sure they come with lots of instructions, but once you plunk them in the pond, assuming they aren't eaten and they get plenty of sun, they usually do just fine. A lotus is another matter - the prima dona of the pond flowers. This one is Shewanbatsu - and I haven't a clue how that's spelled. This was taken yesterday and today it is more open and you can see the yellow center. The center part which become the seed case is what you can buy in places that sell dried flowers. A lotus needs lots more room than a waterlily. We have a couple of smaller ones that are confined to small tubs, but the full sized ones need their own ponds. This one has a pond that is about 8 feet across and the Imperial lotus lives in a 10-12 foot pond. They start out slow, but once they have made themselves at home, watch out.
The trickiest part is getting the darned thing planted. You have to dig them in early spring, just as they're starting to wake up from the winter, but you also have to be sure the water they come from is the same temperature as the water they're going to. The tubers, or bananas as they're called, have one end that is a growing tip. Any damage to that, even touching it too much, may cause the plant to die. Once established, they're hard to get rid of, but extreme care is needed to get one started. They're heavy feeders also, so be sure to give them some fertilizer in the spring. Whatever problems they might give you in the beginning, they show they put on from midsummer to frost is well worth it.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Cattails have a bad reputation for being invasive and overwhelming for a pond or bog, but there are several civilized ones out there. The picture is of a striped one, even though it's kind of hard to tell. I had hoped to get closed, but didn't feel like risking falling into the pond. The leaves remind me of a white and green striped grass, often more white than green. The like to grow at the edge of a pond or in a bog, but can be grown in a pot just like the waterlilies if you need to have more control over them. Two others you can use in smaller ponds are Typha laxmanii and Typha minima. Laxmanii is about 3 feet tall with very skinny leaves. It is mostly a scaled down version of the regular cattail. Minima is really tiny, only about a foot tall and the leaves are round rather than flat. They have "cats" - what d0 they call those things at the top of cattails - that are little round balls rather than rectangular ones. They can be used in even the smallest ponds.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


This is probably my favorite waterlily of all the ones we grow. The color in the picture looks a little light to me, but it is a lovely rich peach color and just blooms and blooms and blooms. It had been eaten by a snapping turtle last year and wasn't too happy, so this year it got it's own pond and has responded wonderfully. It is a full sized water lily and so needs room to grow, but is perfectly hardy. Unlike most of the non-tropical ones, it holds it's blossoms up in the air just like the tropical waterlilies do. Although they need space to spread out, they don't need a really deep pond. In zone 6 at least, and farther south, 30" of water is plenty. The crown of the plant needs 6-12 inches of water over it. We fertilize with fruit tree spikes once a year in the spring. Our waterlilies are planted in large, flat pots that remind me of miniature kiddie wading pools that are about 2 feet across, but only about 8 inches deep. You can just let them loose in the pond, but pond gardening is easier if they are in pots. We can rearrange them and even take them out if we need to make repairs to the pond liner - something we would have a really hard time with if the plants were growing in the muck at the bottom of the pond.
If you don't have the space for a large pond, this little lovely is Tetragona alba. It will happily grow in a large tub on the deck or as one of several miniatures in a small pond. the flowers are silver dollar sized and prolific. It is the first to open in the morning and the last to close at night. Though tiny and delicate, it is every bit as hardy as it's larger cousins. If you're planning a pond project, just remember that koi and waterlilies are not good companions. Unless the waterlilies are caged, the koi will have them for lunch. Goldfish are fine and won't bother them at all, but koi are hard on plants. Snapping turtles will also eat waterlilies, and they should be caged if snapping turtles are a potential problem in your area. Both miniatures and full sized waterlilies come in a rainbow of colors, though blue is only available in tropical ones. We kept a small tropical in the greenhouse over the winter and put it back out this spring. It lives in a old fashioned bathtub. It had to get a screen over the top because the deer wanted to eat it. No one ever said that gardening wasn't an adventure!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

There is a reason for these two pictures which were taken from about the same spot one year apart. The one on the left was taken last year at the peak of daylily bloom. The gardens were a riot of color and it seemed like every one of the 1600 different daylilies and 1000 seedlings were in bloom. This year has been a hard one on daylilies. After being alternately frozen and roasted this spring, they had barely gotten started when the drought started. To heap on top of that, the deer, who are hugely overpopulated here, are staving because there is so little for them to eat in the woods and little to drink because the creeks are dry. It won't get better because the acorn crop failed because of a late freeze. The result of this is that, even with constant spraying of deer deterents, they ate 99% of our buds this year. We caged a few of the new things we really wanted to see bloom and that is the only way we say most of our blooms this season, and though I dearly miss the color and beauty of the daylily season, it may have been a blessing of sorts for the plants which didn't have to expend a lot of energy blooming and could put the energy into just staying alive through the drought. We have watered as much as possible, but with one well and 7 acres of gardens, the watering is to keep things alive rather than very lush. In a normal year, Liquid Fence is all we need, but starving deer don't care how bad things taste. They even walk into our ponds and eat the water lilies. Any suggestions, other than fencing which is way out of the budget right now, would be welcome.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Our Hillside

I mentioned 2 days ago when I was talking about the Aralia elata how people really noticed it. I thought I'd put off talking about those pesky deer for a day and put up this picture. The white tree in the center is the Aralia, so you can see why people notice it. When we bought this place in the early 70s, this hillside was just a hillside, nothing else there. For awhile it was an orchard, but the fruit trees stopped bearing well, as older fruit trees do, so about a dozen years ago we started taking out the fruit trees and putting in other gardens. The large conifer on the hill were planted 30 years ago and look now like they've been here forever. People find it hard to imagine this as a cow pasture, but that was the reality. The back garden was a hog wallow and part of Lake Amanda was where the chicken house was. This was a working farm for about 100 years, the land having been given as bounty after the Civil War. Our house was built in about 1869 and the barns, not long after I expect. We have a coal mine where they got the coal to heat and cook, though it is a very thin seam, only about 6 inches think in most spots, and would be a lot more work than I'd want to do. I could go on with the history of the area, but this is a gardening blog, so I'll end here. On to deer and rabbits tomorrow.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Aquilegia 'Woodside Strain'

I just love variegated plants, though I guess you have to have something green so they stand out. This is an aquilegia (columbine) which has variegated leaves. Flowers are single, but the color is variable. I've seen pink and white, and the last two that bloomed had dark blue/purple ones with white centers. The leaves often come up all green in the spring with the variegation really showing up after it gets warmer. I think a little sun also helps give more variegation, though these will grow in a bit of shade also. One of the nicest things about them is that they come true from seed, so you'll have enough to transplant to other places in the garden or trade with friends. I also have never had a problem with them being eaten by deer or rabbits, but more on critter problems tomorrow.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Aralia eleta 'Silver Umbrellas'

We probably get more interest in this plant than any other in the garden. It sits on the side of a hill, along a path, above a bank of daylilies, amidst other trees and shrubs, but there's no mistaking it's there. It is sort of like a white cloud, very airy and light. It has a neighbor, an identical tree except with green and gold variegation, but that one is hardly noticed. Today the honey scented flowers are just starting to open and the small bees are all over it. The tree is literally humming. It was rather fast growing and ours at about 10 years old is probably 10 - 12 feet tall and multi-trunked. Ferns seem to grow quite happily underneath in its shade. If there is a drawback, it would be that it is a grafted tree and the understock has a tendency to send out suckers. They are easy to remove, though thorny, and it if were in a lawn, you could easily mow around it and solve the suckering problem that way. It is hard to find as the graft is apparently hard to make and pricey when you do find it. Give it full sun and good drainage and it will pretty much take care of itself.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Blooming Today

This is Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'. It was new here last summer but has all come back even after the horrible winter we had and is one of the few things that is blooming right now, even with our horrible drought and the marauding deer who are eating most everything else. This Veronica is about 18 inches tall and seems to like a sunny spot, but will also tolerate light shade. The flowers are more purple than they show in the picture and it will continue to bloom until frost. I bought it on a whim, but it was a good addition to the garden. I'm starting to add more Veronicas since the newer ones seem to be less tempermental than those I tried a dozen years ago or so.

This week's rain has helped the garden, though some things will probably just wait it out until next year to put on a good show.