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Trees in the Early Summer Garden


In recent weeks, the stone path beneath the Japanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia, below) has been littered with white flowers. The tree is situated between evergreens and a wide spreading Japanese maple so that the top third is in full sun, while the lower portions are shaded.

Posted: 6/27/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Six Weeks of Irises

One iris or another has been flowering since early in May, first Yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus) and Blue flag (Iris versicolor), then a succession of Japanese irises with the last blooms of the splendid 'Lion King' (Iris ensata 'Lion King', below) fading in this third week of June.

Posted: 6/23/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

A Turn to Summer

The garden has survived with minimal issues after a sudden turn to summer temperatures following recent cool and rainy weeks. I have not fared so well, reserving my daily garden strolls for late evening when the sun is setting, though I suppose I will also survive.

Posted: 6/20/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Funny Business

It's spring, late spring and heating up, but romance is in the air. The newest arrivals have been seen in the koi pond, both fish and Northern Brown water snakes (below). There are concerns about both.

Posted: 6/15/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)


The gardener understands that most blooms are fleeting, flowering only for days or a few short weeks. When Japanese irises (Iris ensata, below) flower beside the koi pond from mid May into June, this is accomplished with a succession of cultivars, and so it is with daylilies (Hemerocallis) and other ornaments in our gardens.

Posted: 6/12/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

A Day In the Garden

Occasionally, business travel allows me to escape the office, and today my workday ended early and in the vicinity of the Oregon Garden in Silverton, on the other side of the country from my Virginia home. I've visited the Garden several times since its early days, but it's been a few too many years in between and it's come a long way.

Posted: 6/8/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)


The 'Sparkelberry' hollies are flowering, which is not a showy event, but a necessity if there are to be bunches of red berries in autumn. A dozen paces down the hill a newly planted male counterpart 'Apollo' is also in bloom.

Posted: 6/5/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

A Glorious Spring

Each spring is unique, but to comment that one weather phenomena or another has never happened before is rarely correct. The gardener should not get too worked up about late freezes or fluctuations from frost to ninety degrees within a week. 

Posted: 6/2/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Nearly Three Months of Dogwood Blooms

For better or worse, this is a garden oriented around trees, and of collections of too many plants that have captured my favor. There are nearly forty Japanese maples, with a few small ones in containers placed on patios, but most nearly mature trees that have been planted over three decades. 

Posted: 5/29/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

The Best Day, Again

If the garden was just right a few weeks ago, I cannot imagine that it is either better or worse today. But, it has changed, with one dogwood fading while another begins to flower, and so on so that the garden has changed considerably in the few weeks.

Posted: 5/25/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Favorable Conditions for Flowering

In recent years, several Oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia, below) flowered sporadically with an increasing canopy of shade beneath tall maples and tulip poplars along the forest's edge. In late summer last year, a limb of one maple that arched far over this side yard garden fell on a breezy afternoon, fortunately inflicting only minor damage on a Japanese maple and barely missing a pergola.

Posted: 5/22/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

A Beautiful Day for Getting Outdoors

The sun is shining after several chilly, rainy days, and the weather has turned for the better. In the cool morning, deer and rabbits were seen at the edges of the garden. The koi pond is home to a variety of creatures, but until this afternoon I was unaware that there are now at least three turtles, and three or more Northern Brown water snakes.

Posted: 5/19/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Perfect for Shade

For better or worse, this has become a shade garden, at least parts that border a strip of forest along the southern edge of the property, in front, and along the northern border where dozens of trees I've planted over three decades have grown in. This leaves only an area in the center of the rear garden where there's a spot of sun, which is mostly occupied by the large koi pond.

Posted: 5/15/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Another Tree Or Two Would Be Nice

Yes, there are a lot of trees in this acre and a quarter garden, too many if you listen to my wife, whose opinion is hardly considered in these matters. If not for the dozens of Japanese maples (almost forty), dogwoods (a dozen or more), and ones, twos, and threes of many others, the garden would be considerably sunnier.

Posted: 5/12/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

The Best of the Garden

Too many parts of the garden disappoint when photographed. The gardener's eye compresses the view, while the camera minimizes plants, making only the most congested scenes appear worthy. Yes, there are sheds to crop out of the photograph, along with weeds, broken pots, piles of branches, and shovels left to be picked up another day.

Posted: 5/8/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

The Best Day

My best recollection is that late May into the first week of June is the peak period for this garden, not for blooms alone, for there is no better period than when redbuds and dogwoods (below) flower in mid April, but there is a day when the gardener looks at his creation and considers that it cannot possibly be lovelier than on this afternoon.

Posted: 5/5/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Where Are the Snakes?

Our snake is back. Two Northern Brown Water snakes terrorized the pond a year ago, or at least the two unsettled my wife, and made me watch every step along boulders that border the pond. The koi (and a few goldfish) seemed indifferent to the snakes. In this large pond, perhaps they are not a threat to fish, and feed only on frogs and other small creatures.

Posted: 5/3/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Baby Jacks

Recently, I extolled the virtues of hellebores, and the profuse numbers of seedlings that require occasional thinning out, but also encourage sharing with other gardeners. Today, I'm pleased to report tiny seedlings that I am quite certain are from Jack-in-the-Pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum and others, below) planted in recent years.

Posted: 5/1/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)



A year ago, flowers of the Silverbell (Halesia carolina, below) were ruined by an early April freeze that most notably damaged tender new leaves of Japanese maples and mophead hydrangeas. While damage to the Silverbell was minimal besides the lost floral display, damaged foliage on maples and hydrangeas was evident through the year, with some trees and shrubs not recovering fully until growth this spring.

Posted: 4/28/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

A Perfect Day for Planting

This Sunday was perfectly timed, a cool afternoon following a rainy Saturday, with more rain moving in this evening that is expected to linger for a few days. This was a perfect day for planting, cool enough that the afternoon sun barely raised a sweat, and with rain on the way to get new plantings off to a splendid start.

Posted: 4/24/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)
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