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After twenty-eight degrees

Following two nights of twenty-eight degrees (Fahrenheit), the garden was hurrying into winter dormancy until the process was interrupted by another inch of rain and a turn back to a week of milder temperatures. With abundant blooms remaining in late October, I now have a better idea where slightly protected microclimates are in the garden. Flowers … Continue reading

Big leaves

Falling leaves of the Bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla) are a significant event in the garden. Immediately, a widespread area of ferns, hostas, and a young patch of Allegheny spurge (Pachysandra procumbens) are buried beneath a deep cover of the huge leaves, which will remain in place until decay begins in early spring. Other leaves are … Continue reading

Plants often grow larger than expected

I must be careful not to presume that every gardener is as carefree, and sometimes careless as I am when selecting and positioning plants. Not always, but often I plant first, think later. Of course, others are also guilty on occasion, I suppose, but this is of little comfort when one plant begins to overwhelm … Continue reading

The buffet line is open

Imprints from deer hooves are four inches deep in the swampy rear garden. The muck seems not to deter their visits, and as the garden enters winter dormancy, deer are invited to dine at their leisure. The repellent was last sprayed in early September, I think, though perhaps it was August. Now, several hostas and … Continue reading

A day in the garden

Mid-October in northern Virginia is not the best time to visit a garden. A garden group visited my place in early November a year ago, and with a warmer than average first half of autumn there were still a few things to see. But of course, I would prefer visitors to see the garden’s peak … Continue reading

A change of seasons

Remnants of Hurricane Michael were hardly to be concerned about in this part of northwestern Virginia (except for another two inches of rain while areas nearby received three times this amount), but a breezy night as the storm exited was enough to dislodge many loosely attached leaves (and innumerable branches) of trees bordering the garden. … Continue reading

A forgotten treasure

Yesterday, ten substantial divisions were taken from a clump of Japanese Sacred lily (Rohdea japonica, below). Ten more could be taken without noticing that the original clump is diminished. Sections of the dense clump were undercut, but the inch and a half thick rhizome could not be pulled loose by hand. Admittedly, I am often … Continue reading

Summer rain, for better and worse

While several shrubs have perished in saturated soil after a summer of flooding rains, some plants on higher ground have grown with unusual and notable vigor. Two variegated ‘Silver Cloud’ redbuds (Cercis canadensis ‘Silver Cloud’) and an Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) have grown to engulf a Hinoki cypress (Hinoki gracillis ‘Compacta’). I am not noted … Continue reading

The colors of autumn, before leaves turn

While leaves are slow to turn with summer temperatures extending into October, the garden remains colorful with abundant blooms. Without a doubt, cold weather and colorful leaves will be here soon, but I’m in no rush to be rid of this unusual warmth.  While the pink blooms of Encore azalea ‘Carnation’ (above) are hardly my … Continue reading

Unseen blooms

Flowers of the hardy ginger (Zingiber mioga ‘Dancing Crane’, below) are not particularly ornamental, even when they can be seen, which is only when the arching stems are lifted and the gardener bends nose down from his knees. The flowers are perhaps an inch above the soil, not seen without effort, and who would know … Continue reading

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