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Impatient for Spring

Is mid January too early to be impatient for spring? In fact, I don’t wish to scoot the calendar forward, but anxiously await milder temperatures after several weeks of cold that has dragged on far too long.

Posted: 1/17/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

The Return of Milder Temperatures, and then...

The vagaries of weather seldom stray from the gardener’s thoughts, and sometimes inhabit his restless sleep. January is often discomforting, bundling against the chill, but also with apprehension that survival of treasures exposed in the garden is beyond his control.

Posted: 1/16/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

A Brown-leafed Gordlinia

Six spindly gordinias (x Gordlinia grandiflora) were planted into clumps of three when it became sadly apparent that a long established Franklinia (Franklinia alatamaha, flowers below) was nearing its demise. 

Posted: 1/16/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: Zone 7, or Not?

Purple Glaze star anise is rated hardy for zone 7, and it has survived temperatures below zero. However, the cold takes a toll. There have been only a few scattered flowers in several years, and scant new growth. Following last year’s mild winter, its health has declined significantly.

Evaluating the cold hardiness of plants seems an inexact science, better than guessing, but a process prone to inaccuracies. Many gardeners accurately tell stories of a plant, or several that should have been sufficiently tolerant of cold, but failed in temperatures that should not have been a problem.

Posted: 1/8/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Adding a Fothergilla

Fothergilla autumn foliage.

Funny how things pop into your head out of nowhere. For no particular reason, it suddenly occurs to me that I must plant a fothergilla into a more prominent spot. Already, there are two in the garden, but in areas where they are least likely to be seen.

Posted: 1/8/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: Cold and Colder

In this frigid, snow dusted garden, large leafed evergreens (aucubas, daphniphyllum, and rhododendron, below) curl for protection as temperatures approach zero. Leaves will return to form once temperatures rise nearer the freezing point, and it is likely that there is no long term harm, though Daphniphylum is only marginally cold hardy for this zone, so time will tell. 

Posted: 1/2/2018 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: A Chilly Week

No doubt, there will be few treks through the garden over the the next week. While unpleasant, overnight temperatures forecast to fall into single digits should not be much of a problem, though cold over an extended period following a dry autumn is reason for concern.

Posted: 12/30/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: Time to Head South?

Despite daily pleadings by my wife that we head south, we will not be going anywhere as an extended period of cold moves in. Certainly, it’s tempting, but one cannot drop everything each time nighttime temperatures drop into the teens.

Posted: 12/27/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: Ready to Flower, Or Not

Helleborus blooms beginning to show

Several hellebores with Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) genetics appear ready to flower this third week of December, but experience tells that these could bloom next week, or remain in this state for another ten weeks.

 

Posted: 12/26/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: More Than Flowers

Some berries of purple beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma) persist into early winter.

While flowers of mahonias, witch hazels, and a variety of bulbs capture attention through the winter months, more matters of interest can be discovered by the curious gardener. In this garden, no more than a few hours are spent in winter labor, but regular afternoon strolls are rewarded with more treasures than only flowers.

Posted: 12/20/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Not Too Cold

Winter jasmine begins flowering in January or February, depending on winter temperatures.

No doubt, readers to the north are amused when Virginians talk about cold. Of course, this is relative. I’m certain Virginians scoff upon seeing Floridians in winter jackets on a cool day in Orlando. I sympathize with northerners who must endure longer, colder winters than ours, but I’m only a bit envious of residents of the deeper south.

Posted: 12/18/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Collecting Mahonias (and Other Treasures)

Flowers of ‘Charity’ are shorter and held more upright, but I suspect this is due more to habitat rather than a difference in cultivars.

A handful of hybrid mahonia cultivars (Mahonia x media) are barely distinguishable from one another, but I’ve determined to obtain one or more of each. Multiples are necessary to plant in varied conditions, so at least one if not all will thrive.

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

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: A Wet Snow

The snowy view from the kitchen window.

There is no reason for concern with this morning’s snowfall, at least not in this garden, though there are reports that areas nearby have greater accumulation. Though the snow is wet and branches are arching, there will not be enough in this garden to cause any damage. 

Posted: 12/11/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: Cold on the Way

Ogon spirea flowers in late winter, but it is not unusual to see scattered blooms in late autumn.

Scattered late blooms of spirea, azalea, and Rankin jasmine vine are a curiosity (particularly as they stray into December), but hardly unusual following mild autumn temperatures.

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

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: Winter Is Near

Nighttime temperatures in the teens are likely to put a halt to flowering of ‘Eternal Fragrance’ daphne, though a few scattered blooms could return in an extended spell of mild winter weather.

Time is short. Winter is near, and more immediately, cold is forecast that should put an end to late season blooms of daphnes, camellias and ‘Autumn Amethyst’ azaleas.

Posted: 12/4/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: Bunches of Berries

Koehneana holly requires a pollinator, but I’m not certain what other holly assures consistently heavy berries.

I prefer plants that require little thinking, ones that do what’s expected without a fuss. There’s more than enough to think about with sunlight exposures and drainage.

Posted: 11/29/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: Autumn Fading

With regular overnight temperatures in the twenties, this developing camellia flower is likely to be damaged.

Flowering of camellias was exceptional through earlier parts of autumn, and though twenty degree nights brought ruin, many buds assure continued flowering for weeks.

Posted: 11/27/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: Flowers After the Freeze

Yellow bloom on a Rankin Jasmine plant

Despite repeated pleas by my wife, we will not be heading south for the winter. Not that I enjoy the Virginia winter, but her plan sounds costly.

Posted: 11/21/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: Too Close to Winter

Fall color on an oakleaf hydrangea

I’ve just returned from a delightful week along the Gulf Coast with daytime temperatures around eighty and few signs of autumn anywhere, much less of winter. I have nothing against winter, except that I’d rather it not be winter, though the cold is clearly necessary to grow the plants I treasure.

Posted: 11/17/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Ramblin' Through Dave's Garden: After the Freeze

This coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) seedling began flowering in early November. Predictably, the bloom is short lived after a typically cold November night.

A single twenty degree night changes the garden. A day before, coneflowers (below), azaleas, camellias (2nd photo, below), and toad lilies were flowering despite repeated frosts and a light freeze a few weeks ago.

Posted: 11/14/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)
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