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.