Fall planting update

February makes me feel dreary and heavy. Every winter I pledge to plant something the following fall (when the new plants can establish without the stresses of summer heat) that will keep me cheered up in the winter to come. 

Yesterday I began to make good on that pledge. I also got started on transplanting things that did okay this year, but might perform better next year with a bit more sun, or perhaps a bit more shade.
Chamaecyparis ‘Gold Mop’ now resides in a bed just off the deck, where I can enjoy it from the breakfast table. It will get 3-5′ high and wide in time. It’s back isguarded by Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’ and semi-evergreen Lonicera fragrantissima. 
To make space for ‘Gold Mop,’ I had to dig up some peonies (‘Raspberry Sundae,’ I think?) that can join some compatriots in the front yard, as well as some Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low.’ I divided both plants to about four or five parts. Honestly, there is nothing easier in the plant world than ‘Walker’s Low.’ I also transplanted a salvia that was in too much shade and Salvia puberula, also known as rosebud sage, which I grew from a cutting taken earlier this summer. I think their fuchsia shades will look dynamite next to the golden yellow of ‘Gold Mop.’

I’ve also got a Symphotrichum oblingifolium ‘Fanny’s Aster’ nearby that will complement the salvias and chamaecyparis. It suffered in August this year when we went basically a month without rain, but with temps in the high 90s. It’s going to sleep this fall, but check back next year.

Garden log, 5.12.16

Went out in the backyard with the dog this morning intending to pull weeds for 10 minutes. Camellia ‘Midnight Lover’ had a terrible case of leaf hall, so I pruned those out. While I was at it, I struck 12 cuttings of Camellia ‘Nuccio’s Cameo.’ I haven’t had much luck in the past growing camellias from cuttings, but I keep trying.

Louisiana iris ‘Black Gamecock’ is in bloom in the rain garden and looking rather spectacular.

New plants, 2016,Vol. 1

Planted two tassel ferns, Polystichum polyblepharum, yesterday before the freeze. One looks great. The other I had let get too dry, so it will take a while for it to settle in and look good.

  • I acquired them last week at the Duke Gardens plant sale, a gardening sucker’s paradise if every there was one. It’s worse then Target. I went in with a $25 gift certificate I had won at a lecture, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to limit myself to that small amount. The total sum spent shall remain between me and my bank, but I will say I think I got the better end of the bargain.

We are skipping winter.

It’s Christmas Day and it’s 80 degrees. Forecast doesn’t call for anything below about 45 for the next week.

The plants have decided to get on with it. Narcissus cantabricus, which I only planted at Thanksgiving one month ago, started blooming today, a month sooner than expected.


Narcissus cantabricus

Narcissus cantabricus

The winter honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima, has started blooming. Its lemon scent is detectable whenever I pass by.

And the Cyclamen coum also have begun to bloom, about six or seven weeks ahead of schedule.

The flowering quince, Chaenomeles sp., has been blooming for a month now. It’s beginning to trade its flowers for new leaves.

And finally, the Daphne is about to show off. When it blooms, no one will notice the Lonicera.

Lots of my friends are enjoying this weather, but it depresses me. While one Christmas data point does not a trend make, I have lived in this area the better part of 30 years and I remember when it was never warm enough to wear sandals and shorts as we took out the holiday trash. I have spent the past ten years working in the garden on New Year’s Day,    needing nothing much warmer than jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt. Looks like this year will be the same, unless it’s raining.

I guess that any day spent in the garden cannot be too melancholy. Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope it is a happy one.