Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We Interrupt Your Previously Scheduled Tree Posting

Yes, I realize many of you are looking for this week's tree posting.  Let's just say that a lovely day got the better of me.  We have had much needed rain for the last few days and today--THE SUN WAS SHINING!  I called one of my neighbors and we went over to Park Seed Company/Wayside Gardens.  This lovely Japanese Maple was just shimmering with its spring apricot colors. 
The Trial Gardens are getting prepped for the new year's trial plantings.  Surrounding the garden beds are some wonderful garden areas.  There is a Ornamental Grass and Its Companions garden, a Rose Garden, a Deer Resistant Garden, a Winter Interest Garden.....all sorts of great plants to enjoy. 

I  love the River Birch in the foreground and the Redbud down near the garden trial beds.  There are some mature trees through this garden and add much needed shade come June and the Festival of Flowers.  The Festival of Flowers is a month long celebration in Greenwood, SC that has many activities throughout the month.  Check out the link and see all the wonderful gardening events there are for this festival.   Today the gardens were quiet, relaxing and an enjoyable place to spend a little time.

Doesn't this yellow Magnolia look lovely?  I asked inside about the name of this one, but since there was no longer a name tag, they were unsure.  I am hoping it is Magnolia 'Elizabeth'.  (more about that later)

There were a couple different varieties of Cercis in bloom.  What a color!! I love it.    The blue sky was the perfect backdrop to this magenta bloom.

So many trees and plants budding out, love the yellow foliage on this Dawn Redwood.  With a name like 'Gold Rush' one would believe it will stay yellow.

You would not believe how large this Bleeding Hearts plant was-- I would estimate it was about 24 inches tall and equally wide.  It was impressive.

In addition to the pink of the Bleeding Hearts there was a glorious display from a Flowering Cherry.  I couldn't find the tag for this one, so it will just be labeled 'Flowering Cherry'.

I love the foliage of this Hydrangea, believe it is H. quercifolia 'Little Honey' .....the yellow echoes the yellow in the center of these Primroses.  The photo doesn't do it justice.

As we were leaving we checked out the large shade loving plants against the building.   A large (about 8- 10 feet tall) deciduious azalea was just getting ready to open... alas, no fragrance. 

Rest assured my fellow garden friends.....I did not come home empty handed!!  As Park Seed was having a special on Hemerocallis, I bought 10 of them and a few other things as well......

So the tally is-- 4 Hemerocallis 'Strawberry Candy', 3 H. 'Aztec Gold', 3 H. 'Sammy Russell', a Magnolia 'Elizabeth' (hoping it is like the one pictured above!!), a no-name green foliage Japanese maple, one Baptista 'Solar Flare/ Prairieblue', and one Achillea 'Red Shades'.  Most of the Daylilies were divided at least in two, the Achillea divided into four pieces, and yes.....everything is in the ground!!! 

©Copyright 2011 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Some Spring Successes and Some, Not So Much

Spring has burst forth with an abundance of dogwoods opening all over our landscape.   The big things; trees and shrubs, are easily seen in the garden as they bud and leaf out.  In our garden we added 5 dogwoods, all in various stages of opening.  The native ones in the woods around us are further along. 

Under this Dogwood and in between the Hellebore I scattered some seeds.  Lona, A Hocking Hills Gardener, sent me some seeds last summer.  I had admired her Nicotianas and she sent me some of those and a couple varieties of Columbine.  Columbine should be scattered in the fall/winter.  This is the area between the Hellebore---

There are lots of leaves and pinecones and pinestraw on my garden floor.  This is the semi-shady garden.  I have oaks and hickory and some elm in my garden area.  This fall I let the leaves stay where they fell, adding to my mulch layer.  When the seeds were scattered I moved all the mulch off to the side and made sure of good seed to soil contact.  Well, now I wanted to find these little seedlings.  Like I said, some were under the Dogwood and some between the Hellebore. 

Success in both locations!!! Hallelujah!  Not sure if they will continue to thrive, they are so small and the dogs still run through the garden.  I try to plant tender things near a tree or shrub to protect it.  Keep your fingers crossed!

During the hottest and driest part of the summer/fall I thought these tiny Astillbes were getting enough water.  After looking more closely at the Dogwood they were planted in front of and seeing it showing signs of needing water, I wondered if these Astillbe would make it.  I planted ten little plugs of a pink variety.  Yesterday I counted 10 little plants!!  Woo hooo.

Out front I have some bulbs in the driest, worst soil --- near where we had planted 'Little Bluestem' grasses.  I have a sundial and thought some Muscari and Daffodils surrounding it would be nice.  Another success story!  The Daffodils are blooming yet, but they are all up. 

Three Rhus aromatica 'Lo Grow' are starting to leaf out.  Very nice.
 This is growing along the bank near the water.  It will be nice as it fills in.  Right now there are just three sprigs....but they are alive and growing!

Also on the bank are five Geranium 'Rozanne', and yes, all five are accounted for.  Hoping they are happy in this location as it will bring some nice color to the bank.

Yes, there are two Loropetalum left...out of 8.  The deer took them out of the ground, rootball and all.  The two that are left are blooming right now...this is a small success.

Now, my 'Not So Much' category-- I bought 24 plugs of Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' and planted it in a few locations.  Of those 24 plants, I have found ONE returning.  Now there may be more still under the leaf litter, but so far I have not found any.

How did your garden fair over the winter?  Successes or Not So Much? 

©Copyright 2011 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday's Trees- Wax Myrtle, Myrica cerifera

Yes, yes I know, you say this is a shrub.  Well, ok, shrub or small tree, either way, this is the plant we are profiling this week. 
I planted five of these small, evergreen trees last fall.  We interplanted them with Osmanthus fragrans.  The row of these two evergreens was planted to establish a barrier along the side of our property.  As spring rolled into our midst I noticed that some of these Wax myrtles had some flower buds.  Let the investigation begin!

Wax myrtle is an evergreen tree that can reach heights of 40 feet, but more often is 15 feet tall.   The width is 6- 12 feet.  The glossy olive green leaves are alternating along the branches and aromatic when crushed.   

It can be left to its open and airy structure or sheared to form a hedge row or a tree.  It sends up suckering growth from the  root collar.  It also spreads laterally by underground runners to form colonies.  This tree has the capability of fixing nitrogen because of root nodules with a symbiotic actinomycete.  Because of this Wax myrtle thrives in infertile soils.   
The Myrica cerifera, now called Morella cerifera (don't you hate it when botanical names change???) has both male and female flowers on different plants, making it dioecious.  Flowers that are missing either the carpel or the stamen are called unisexual flowers.  I found mine were showing a good number of males flowers.  See the photo on the left.  Both the male and female flowers form in the leaf axils.
I searched and searched on the five plants for some evidence of some female flowers.  Duke's web site has some great photos of both the male and female catkins (flowers).  I believe this is a photo of very immature female flowers on my ONE tree.

I believe this because here is evidence of last year's drupes, also pehaps showing some beginnings of this years female flowers.   I first learned of Waxmyrtles when I was on a field trip to Colonial Williamsburg.  These tiny drupes have a waxy coating (hence the name cerifera--in Latin means wax-bearing)  The colonists took these drupes and boiled off the wax and used the wax for candles--Bayberry candles.  Some places still use this technique to harvest wax for candles.
The aromatic leaves can be used as a insect repellent, especially fleas according to the  Floridata website.  They go so far as to say a sprig of this in your closet or drawer will keep cockroaches away.  The fruits are high energy drupes for the birds, especially in the winter.  The Myrica cerifera is also the host plant for the larva of the Red-banded Hairstreak and the Banded Hairstreak butterflies. Photos of these can be seen at the LBJ Wildflower website.

This tree is hardy from zones 7- 10 and is a native to the Southeast regions of the United States.   Plant is in full sun and give it the room to form a nice sized plant.  It can handle wet or dry conditions and grows in heavy soils.  The Forestry Service website has plenty more information on growth, habitat, reproduction and other ecological data.

Additional information sites-- VATech and NCState, both good descriptions of this plant.

I hope more than one of my five trees are females, I would like lots of drupes for the birds and other wildlife. 

Stay tuned next week for more Tuesday's trees.

©Copyright 2011 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tra- la la la It's Spring!!

Today after walking the dogs I strolled around the garden, front and back.  Spring is happening so fast it seems you could find hourly changes!
Bright daffodils blooming screams springtime!  These are Narcissus 'Gold Metal' just opening up along the side of the house.   This is a nice bold yellow bloom.

As I ventured out back one of the Dogwoods we planted is starting to open.  Seems like overnight the bracts have started to open.

This Dicentra was just planted about 4 weeks ago and it is ready to bloom.  Very satifying!

Maybe I should have saved this photo for my exciting 'closer' photo.  It is exciting to me, this is one of the Hellebore planted last summer.  I had 5 Hellebore installed by the landscaper and I moved them into a bit more shade. (We thought the first area was going to be shadier, but it turned out there was a lot of afternoon sun)  None of them had bloomed this winter and I was getting concerned.  Well, this morning I found a bud that will soon open.  Gardening teaches you patience, sometimes over and over again if you are like me.

The Dogwood in the front yard is one that Mother Nature provided.  I wanted any and all dogwoods saved, this one is beside the driveway.

The native Carolina Jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens, is starting to open in the woods in the front yard. 

The Coralbark Maple is putting forth great color.

Even the weeds are pretty.

This is the container by my front door, it has these pink Hyacinths, 'Jan Bos' and pink Snapdragons and an ivy called 'Pink 'n' Very Curly'.  Hoping the snaps rebloom while the Hyacinth is still blooming. 

Last, but not least, the Red Buckeye's progress..... think last spring this was a seed.....

Happy Spring to all--- enjoy!

©Copyright 2011 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday's Trees- Eastern White Pine, Pinus strobus

You might have guessed I was going to talk about Eastern White Pines this week.  After our trip to Missouri last week and seeing these trees lining the highway, I had to find out more about them. 
This photo is one I cropped a little more for you to see the layers of branching on the Pinus strobus.  As we drove along the highway I kept thinking that this branching structure reminded me of something....what was it?  Sure the tree would lend itself to be a nice Christmas tree. 

Then I remembered the Playmobil Christmas tree that we have in one of the Advent Calendars.   As you can see it has the layered branching structure like the Eastern White Pine.   Another interesting aspect of the White Pine is the layers of branching are arranged in a whorled fashion. 

Just like this.  Kind of funny.  Think the folks at Playmobil used this type of pine to model their tree?

Ok, back to the real world.  The bark on the White Pine is smooth, another thing that stood out to me, yes, as we zipped by along the highway.  The other pines I have profiled have rough deeply ridges blocks of bark. 

 Lucky for me there are Pinus strobus around here so I could get a few more photos.  This is a young specimen but you can see the whorled branch arrangement and the layered stacking of these whorls.

This is a native pine, one of the most valuable trees in the United States.  According to the Silvics Manual the native range includes New England, south through the Appalachian Mountains.  It is a rapid grower and is prized for its lumber as well as being used for Christmas trees!   It is one of the most planted trees in America. 

Pinus strobus is monoecious and female flowers appear when the tree is about 5- 10 years old but the male flowers don't show up until much later.  The female flowers are up in the upper crown of the tree.  Good seed production doesn't really happen until the tree is far more mature, upwards of 20- 30 years.   Even after good production the tree doesn't have good seed years every year.  This occurs about every 3- 5 years.   The VTech web fact sheet has a good photo of the cones.  The seeds are a good food source for many birds and animals.

Eastern White Pines are long lived trees, if left undisturbed.  Ages averaging 200 years is not uncommon though there are some that have been recorded to be 450 years old.   The form of this tree is pyramidal with a strong central leader.   Heights of 150 feet were common in virgin forests of white pine though average heights are 70 - 100 feet.   Two champion trees --one in Michigan is 158 feet tall and one in Maine, 147 feet tall. 

The limbs on this tree live longer than most pines, about  15 years.  Limbs persist on the tree for more than 25 years after they die.

This tree is recognized by its leaves, clustered in bunches of five slender, flexible needles.  According to the VTech sheet they can be 3 to 5 inches long. 

The leaves are arranged tightly along the limbs.   There is a bluish green coloring to the needles.

  There are lots more references on the web if you want to read more about this tree. 
Thanks for visiting another installment of the tree series.  Next week, another  tree.

©Copyright 2011 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring is in South Carolina!

Doesn't this piece of land look like it needs a little pizzazz?  This is our 1/2 acre across the street that has our drainage field for the septic.  I will leave most of it alone for that reason.  I still wanted to add some color.  So.....

Out comes the rototiller..

Charlie tilled a curved pathway along the front edge, near the road.  He did a number of passes to make the soil workable.  We left the grasses and other dead material, incorporating it into the soil.  

I recently bought 100+ daffodil bulbs and scattered them along the curved, tilled area.
I planted an early variety, a mid-season, and a later blooming daffodil.  I planted Narcissus 'Glen Cova', N. 'Osiris', N. 'Cheerfulness'.

I held out about 10 or so bulbs to plant on our side of the street near the road between the two newly planted pecan trees.

These are all just barely showing their foliage up through the ground....but give it another couple weeks.  I will have quite a show!

Now, in other parts of the garden many of my spring bloomers are putting on a show.  Here is the Pieris japonica 'Cavatine'.

This bloom is very similar to the Pieris but it is one of the native Vaccinium along the shore line. 

One of the bulbs I brought with me from Virginia and planted last fall is N. 'Cum Laude'.  I love the peachy color. 

'Cum Laude' is planted near of my 'Jane' magnolias.  A great combination that bloom at the same time.

This is one of the two seedling Red Buckeyes, Aesculus pavia, I brought with me.  They both made it through the winter and are putting forth leaves!!!  Right now they both are only about 8 inches tall.  I have faith they will continue to grow and thrive.

Another Virginia transplant was a pot full of N. 'Tete-a-tete'.  These little ones are so sweet. 

There are a mixture of Hyacinths planted, all starting to show their buds.  I planted these really late, hope I get a nice showing.

I try to repeat colors in my landscape.  Planted next to the Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku' it a Narcissus 'Tahiti' that has a reddish orange/ yellow color combination.  As you can see 'Tahiti' isn't open yet....but it is getting there!

The Coral Bark Maple is opening nicely.

Aren't these colors wonderful??

And finally, more daffodils planted in between the Deutzia have come up and will be blooming soon.  Theses are N. 'Gold Medal'.  Looking forward to seeing these new (to me) varieties. 

Happy Spring to one and all.  What's blooming in your neighborhood?

©Copyright 2011 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.