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Meadows Farms' Garden Blogs

Dave's Blog: Observations in Mid-May

May, and particularly the last half of the month, is the peak in this garden. This is when foliage fills to hide neighboring homes, and a period when there are many more flowers and foliage of interest than I have time to comment on.

Posted: 5/17/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: The Rear Garden in May

Several readers have asked, so here it is. At the bottom of this page is a lengthy video of the rear garden, taken with the assistance of a marvelous gadget called a gimbal stablilizer, that allowed me to walk without the video jumping up and down. I can’t hold the camera still standing still, much less walking and going up and down steps. Going from one pond to another I step several feet down on boulders. I can hardly tell.

Posted: 5/15/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: Definitely Spring

Even the most cautious gardener must now be confident that the threat of frost has passed, and now he is free to plant goodies, no matter how tender. Several weeks ago, I could not wait any longer to plant several variegated fatsias (Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’, below), so they were planted with more cold in the forecast.

Posted: 5/11/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: A Vigorous Vine

While many clematis are slow to get started, Clematis montana ‘Rubens’ (below) has been vigorous from the start. To my recollection, this is the third (and best) try for a vine to cover the railing of the deck outside the kitchen window. I’m a bit foggy what the the first was, but the second will not be forgotten.

Posted: 5/7/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: A Favorable Comment

Favorable comments about the garden are always appreciated, and especially helpful when acquaintances of my wife counter her criticisms. Yes, I understand that there are parts of the garden that don’t function ideally, and guess what, mostly I don’t care. If something flops over a path, walk around it. Or, on it. I didn’t exactly plan it that way, but once it happens, that’s the way I like it.

Posted: 5/3/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: Unexpected and Unexplained

The young gardener understands that things will go wrong, but expects that there will be fewer issues as he gains experience. And then he tends his garden for a decade or two, with fewer, but continuing unexpected and unexplained occurrences, and he wonders if he will ever figure this out. No, he will not, at least not completely.

Posted: 5/1/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: No Better Place

What better place is possible than here, today? Could there be anything more beautiful than this winding, potholed Virginia back road decorated by flowers of redbuds, dogwoods, and a scattering of serviceberries? Abundant redbuds in full bloom lean far out from the tall canopy of maples and poplars, reaching for sunlight, while less numerous white flowered dogwoods and serviceberries are more restrained, standing more upright at the forest’s edge.

Posted: 4/30/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: A Passion for Parrotia

Not every garden needs a Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica, below), much less two, but then, a garden need not have Japanese maples or hydrangeas, or whatever marvelous plants if the gardener prefers otherwise. A garden of clipped hedges without a single bloom might delight one gardener, no matter that I am unlikely to give it a second look.

Posted: 4/26/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: A Delightful Iris

Until recent years, Iris bucharica (below) was a favored spring filler between paperbush (Edgeworthia chysantha) and a Fernspray cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Filicoides aurea’). But, and there are arguably too many buts around this place, the paperbush grew much wider than expected to shade the irises.

Posted: 4/23/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: Wood Poppy, and More

Small clumps of wood poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) are spread through the shaded side garden that adjoins the forest of shallow rooted swamp maples and tulip poplars. In many places, a hole could not be dug through the roots, but a cover of leaves that are shredded and spread creates a thin soil layer that supports the vigorous seedlings. I cannot recall where wood poppy was initially planted, but now it covers many spaces where another plant has not established.

Posted: 4/19/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: Now, This is Spring

In recent weeks, a scattered few blooms promised that spring was on the way, contrary to evidence that winter was taking its time leaving. Finally, three eighty degree days banished cold temperatures, prompting flowers and foliage to progress quickly.

Posted: 4/16/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: A Hasty Transplant

This afternoon, it occurred to me that with warm weather on the way, the time to transplant an Oakleaf hydrangea that has grown too large in the front of the house is today, or forget about it until October. The worst time to move the hydrangea is next week, with emerging leaves that would certainly wilt unless constant moisture is provided.

Posted: 4/13/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: A False Alarm

Happily, a hard freeze forecast for the weekend turned into a light freeze, so flowers of magnolias (below) and cherries suffered no damage at all. With warmer temperatures on the way, it’s apparent that flowers will make it through with only minor damage to the earliest blooms, an unusual situation and mostly due to flowering being delayed a few weeks by cold through much of March.

Posted: 4/11/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: Spring Bulbs

Too often, I’ve been stingy, and perhaps overly optimistic in planting ten of a bulb when twenty-five are more appropriate, or twenty-five when a hundred or two would be best. Each spring I note that a larger planting of crocus, or of Winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis, below) is in order, but when late summer ordering comes along other necessities intervene, or I am enticed to try ten of something entirely different.

Posted: 4/9/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: Could Be Worse

There’s never a shortage of tribulations and trivialities for the gardener to whine about, and he does. He curses the snow and ice, but also rain that saturates and shatters perfect flowers of peonies. Particular venom is reserved for heat and drought, but it is cold, and especially cold too long into spring that is most reviled.

Posted: 4/6/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Dave's Blog: On Its Way

Following a delayed start, spring is on its way, though scattered chilly days are in the forecast, and are not unusual through April. Cold today is not the same as two weeks ago, and rarely will temperatures drop enough in early April to cause significant damage to tender flowers and growth.

Posted: 4/3/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Arriving This Week in the Nurseries (April 2nd)

As the spring gets underway we are still constantly receiving plant material to serve your gardening needs. Here are a few things we're receiving this week and a few plant varieties that are coming into their own this week and just need a new home.

Posted: 4/2/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Unauthorized Clean Up

The assistant gardener (my wife) has been home this week for spring break, and fortunately it’s been rainy until today when I came home to a trash can filled with a variety of clippings. I don’t dare dig deeper to see what’s beneath the ivies and periwinkle that she is always welcome to snip away at. In fact, I should not label her a gardener of any sort, assistant or otherwise, though I suppose she’s trying to be helpful.

Posted: 4/2/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)



The garden’s inventory gets longer as my memory gets shorter, I fear. Perhaps it’s just today, but I can hardly recall what’s planted where if it’s not up and growing. As I add new plantings this is likely to result in conflicts, and with planting a few Japanese maples last week it occurs to me that this collection is getting larger, and already there are more than a few cultivar names that I’ve forgotten.

Posted: 3/29/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Time for Planting

All but a few small areas of snow have melted, and with milder temperatures (not quite warm by my wife’s definition) forecast for mid week, the time is right for planting. Ideas have percolated through the winter, and now at least some fraction will be put into the ground.

Posted: 3/26/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)
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