Confederate jasmine, 3/26/2013
A plain green vine cloaking a fence in March – ho hum. Confederate jasmine is ho hum most of the year but not a bad ho hum. A vine that hides ugly fences, comes through at least this mild winter well-clothed in pristine leaves (no ugly black spots) and flowers well in at least some shade is not a bad plant, but you don’t grow Trachelospermum jasminoides for its evergreen leaves. You grow it for its divine, carrying, summertime fragrance – anything else it give you is just gravy.
For more on Confederate jasmine, check out thispost – August, If only the internet was scratch and sniff.
Louise Beebe Wilder (who died in 1938) wrote of snowdrops (Galanthus sp.) saying that she’d seen them force their way upward in mid-winter, “through solid ice and blossom, each surrounded by a tiny melted circle in the ice as if the chill little blossoms emanated a slight warmth before which the frigid element must needs give way.” I believe if I lived in a harsher climate, I would better appreciate these tough little beauties. Read more »
Fuchsia magellanica 1/27/2013
Fuchsia magellanica. It blooms and blooms and blooms and then it is dead. Not actually dead but dormant and of an ugliness surpassed by few plants that haven’t been badly pruned. The moral of course, is to plant Fuchsia magellanica where a bunch of sticks going every which way won’t be a blight on the winter garden.
In the right winter light, the branches of Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ glow. This photo was not taken in such light but the tree is still pretty eye-catching. Read more »
Koelreuteria paniculata, golden rain tree, 11/5/2012
I keep liking this tree more and more. The big seedpods, rather than looking ratty as I’d feared, give this tree a reddish glow in early November. I wanted to say “autumnal umber glow” but when I checked, the umber in my head didn’t agree with the color the all-knowing internet showed as umber. Read more »
Prunus laurocerasus limbed up
Cherry laurels are reviled and I admit that the full-sized version (Prunus laurocerasus) can be supremely annoying. They are often planted as hedges in Seattle. A plant that wants to reach 15-30′ wide being used as a hedge on anything smaller that an estate is criminal. I had one. It engulfed stairs, other plants and small children whenever you looked the other way. Prune, prune, slave, slave and not even great flowers to cut for the house. Cherry laurel hedges always win. Read more »
In April I wrote about hardy cyclamen, the little sweeties that are so tough they can even live among the drought ridden soil beneath conifers. In April, only the leaves were on show, now things look a little different. Read more »
Fuchsias were one of the first plants I grew – not the hardy kind but the kind you get in baskets or little 4″ pots at the grocery store. I worked at a nursery and got one for free and I thought the bi-colored pink and purple blooms were the coolest thing in the world. It bloomed all summer, really bloomed, not just a few paltry flowers here and there. Read more »
Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ (6-8″H x 12″W)
The plant breeders clearly spend a lot of time working on hostas which is rather refreshing since a hosta is all about leaves and not flowers. The up side of the leaves being the focal point of the plant is that you get your pleasure throughout the growing season – unless the slugs enjoy themselves too well when the hostas wake in the spring, eating holes right through the curled leaves so that every leaf has a hole. For the rest of the summer you gnash your teeth every time you look at that holey hosta. If only you’d put out bait, bought sieboldiana hybrids (more slug-resistant) or found a really nice fake hosta. That would teach the slugs. Read more »
Germander, Teucrium chamaedrys
Back when I did garden design I would occasionally want to drive my head into a wall at some of the design decisions that I found in the garden. Parsimonious sidewalks 3′ wide (or even less) with measly 2′ beds on either side. Inevitably those 2′ beds would be planted with hydrangeas or rhodies, or camellias, or heaven-help-us prickly junipers, shrubs way wider than 2′. Of course they got hacked. Read more »