Images of the Spring Garden – March 2018

Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons in the garden. Fall because I love the changing leaves, the cool crisp air, and the feeling of closure that comes with shutting down the garden. Spring is my other favorite because of the rebirth. All the spring flowers and foliage are emerging and everything is brand new again. It's a really fun time to be out in the spring garden. When I walk from garden to garden I rediscover plants I had forgotten about. I see hostas emerging, buds swelling with the promise of blooms to come, birds darting to and fro as they begin making their nests, and so much more! Weeds emerge too but that doesn't bother me so much. Weeds have their place and often provide nutrition for number of mysterious denizens of the garden.     Spring is the best of times in the garden. The garden is…

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Layering a Viburnum, The Results!

It's not a secret that I'm a fan of plant propagation. Who wouldn't be? You get free plants! One of the easiest ways to propagate a plant is through a technique called layering. With layering you essentially pin down a branch of a shrub or tree to the soil and encourage it to form roots. The roots usually appear at a node (the spot on the branch where leaves form). Recently I transplanted a rooted viburnum that I was able to turn into 5 additional plants just by pinning down a couple low hanging branches with rocks. Often you will see people recommend making a small wound on the branch below the node where you then apply rooting hormone. I haven't found that to be necessary but it might speed up the rooting process. Here in this video you can see the results of my layered viburnums that I did…

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A Frosty Friday

First let me apologize for not writing much lately.  Life has been busy and I haven't been able to get into the garden as much.  Things are winding down for the cold season fortunately and while there is still much to do in the garden it always seems more manageable when the weeds are no longer actively growing!  This morning I went out and took a few pictures of the hard frost we received last night.  The temperatures which held so nicely for so long have finally given way to more seasonal temperatures.  I love fall at about 70 degrees but it can't last forever! Frosted 'Shasta' viburnum 'Sheffield Pink' mum under frost The backyard and blue shed with a frosting.  A Japanese maple in frost at sunrise. Frost doesn't mean that gardening has to end for the season.  There's still the cool season crops which with a little aid…

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These Blue Berries Aren’t Blueberries!

The blue berries I'm about to show aren't from any blueberry bush but are from the Arrowwood viburnum!  This viburnum is one of my favorites (but really, I think all viburnums are my favorites).  Viburnum dentatum has white flowers that appear in spring and are a great source of nectar for bees and butterflies.  The glossy green leaves persist until fall when they change color but before that we get these beautiful blue berries. The birds love the these berries!  It's rare that the berries last more than a week or two as they quickly get gobbled up by the hungry mockingbirds.  This viburnum is a native and provides a valuable food source for wildlife. I've written about viburnums several times before so I won't go into great detail about them but I will mention that they are fairly easy to propagate either from seed, cuttings or division.  Viburnum dentatum…

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Drought Tolerant Garden Plants

My gardens haven't seen any rain for several weeks now.  The grass is brown and I even commented to my daughter that it sounds like crunchy snow.  Of course the reality couldn't be further from the truth - it's hot!  No snowball could survive in our back yard today with temperatures expected to rise into the triple digits.  Droughts do provide us with one really nice opportunity to examine our gardens for drought tolerant plants.  Here are a few of those plants that have done very well in my garden without any supplemental watering. In most cases natives perform better than exotic plants in the garden.  But there are exotics that can thrive in our weather conditions.  Unfortunately these exotics often become invasive because they can handle our native conditions so easily.  Take this butterfly bush for instance.  It's done fantastic without any care from me this year.  It's a…

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5 Plants I Really Like!

Fads come and go and garden fads do the same thing.  What I like today might be different in 10 years, 5 years, or even 1 year!  But for this Friday Five post I thought I'd tell you a little about the plants I really like right now.  While this list contains some specific plants it also contains a types of plants (some of which may only be loosely related.) Heucheras are the "in" plant of today or at least I think so!  They are an American native plant that thrives in dry shade areas.  Heucheras are perennial plants that need occasional dividing every 3-4 years.  They grow outward and eventually leave an open center section that can be covered back up with soil and encourages to grow back.  I prefer dividing them in the spring time by digging the plant up and separating the rooted sections into individual plants…

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Viburnum dentatum in Bloom! (Arrowood Viburnum)

Viburnum dentatum is one of my favorite shrubs in our garden.  It's not as showy as the Japanese dappled willow or the purple beautyberry.  It's not as flashy as roses nor does it provide year round color like the 'Otto Luyken' cherry laurels.  But it does have an important role in our garden.  This viburnum never fails to flower prolifically.  Which means that the birds enjoy it immensely when the flowers fade and turn into a bounty of blue berries! The berries last only a few short days because once they ripen up the feast begins! The flowers are pretty nifty too.  Fluffy white clouds of flowers cover the plant offering food for the bees and other pollinators. I watched yesterday as a tiger swallowtail butterfly landed and helped itself to the nectar. Even when not in bloom the glossy green foliage makes the Viburnum dentatum worth planting in the…

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My Visit To Growild Nursery in Fairview

It's not often that I am so impressed by a nursery that I feel compelled to write about them.  So many nurseries just do things the same way, the established way.  I know it works well but when a nursery steps it up a notch it REALLY works.  Growild Nursery in Fairview, Tennessee to me is an example of one nursery that steps it up!  Was it the plants that impressed me?  Definitely, but that wasn't all.  The service by the employees was great.  And it's more than just the demeanor of the employees, they knew their stuff!  They could tell me the habits of the trees, offer up examples of similar specimens that I might enjoy, and were simply a great horticultural resource. Growild opens up to the public only a couple times a year.  The rest of the season they sell to landscape designers, contractors, and by appointments. …

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Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Mohawk’

I wish you could smell the garden right now.  If I could bring you the scents of my garden through this post I would.  What's making my garden so fragrant?  A combination of two plants: Viburnum x burkwoodii 'Mohawk' and the irises! The combination of the two is bringing a honeysuckle like fragrance to the backyard.  I'm a huge fan of viburnums and my 'Mohawk' is a great one! Its beautiful white flower clusters appear and spread a fragrance that envelopes a good portion of our backyard.  The flowers will eventually turn into dark reddish to black fruits perfect for the birds to feast upon in late summer and fall (if they last that long).  'Mohawk' is a result of Viburnum x burkwoodii being back crossed to a Viburnum carlesii. A Plant Propagation Note Viburnum x burkwoodii 'Mohawk' will propagate from cuttings taken in early spring through summer.  Hardwood cuttings…

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Doublefile Viburnum ‘Shasta’ Spring 2012

There are few shrubs I like better than viburnums and truly the 'Shasta' Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tormentosum) is one of the more beautiful selections of viburnums. The viburnum pictured below is in its fourth year of growing in my garden and has never looked better!  Loads of white lacecap flowers cover the branches in a two row fashion which lends to its name.  In the fall this viburnum is supposed to have reddish colored berries but so far I haven't seen any.  This is most likely due to not having a pollinator viburnum close enough for cross pollination.  Propagating a 'Shasta' Viburnum Viburnums respond very well to cuttings or to layering.  Read this post for more complete information on propagating a viburnum. There are several different cultivars of doublefile viburnums that grow to varying heights and widths.  The 'Shasta' viburnum grows about 6 feet tall but can reach widths…

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