Archive for October, 2012

Blue Mist (Caryopteris) Sparkles in Late Summer Garden

Blue mist spirea or bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandodensis) is not commonly planted in U.S. landscapes. In mid- to late- summer, pale blue flowers open above the gray-green foliage. Leaves and stems are mildly aromatic to the touch.  There are now several good hybrid forms, thanks to plant breeders’ efforts to improve garden performance. Caryopteris (I prefer this name) grows in average soil, […]

Variegated Solomon’s Seal Designated 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year

Variegated Solomon’s seal ( Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’) is one of the finest perennials for the shade or woodland garden. It is the Asian cousin of U.S. native Solomon seal (P. commutatum). Both species are long- lived garden inhabitants. Variegated Solomon’s Seal handles 2-3 hours of direct morning sunlight in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA hardiness zones 6 and […]

‘Autumnalis’ Is Good Flowering Cherry, Perhaps Over-hyped

Autumnalis cherry (Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’) is a long-lived, fast growing flowering cherry. This variety of higan cherry grows to medium size, 20-40 feet in height and 15-30 feet in spread. Autumnalis produces a heavy bloom of semi-double pink flowers in spring and again, in sparse numbers in autumn (mid-October) in the Southern Appalachian region (USDA hardiness zones 6 and […]

Take Redtip Photinia Off Your Planting List

Some 30-40 years ago redtip photinia (Photinia x fraseri) was commonly planted as a broadleaf evergreen hedge in the Southeast U.S. (USDA hardiness zones 6 -8).  This dense growing 15 foot tall and wide shrub sports firey red new leaves in spring and summer. The red leaf tint fades to green within a few weeks. Many homeowners desire a  fast […]

Pignut Hickory: What’s In A Name

Pignut hickory (Carya glabra) is a medium to large tree that you may fortunately inherit when purchasing property. Pignut deserves a better name like “smooth bark hickory”. The species is commonly found in upland forests. Pignut hickory prefers fertile well-drained soil and in full sun to partial shade. A young seedling trees start off slowly from a large […]

Minor Bulbs Get A Jump On Spring

Companion bulbs, often called “minor bulbs”, are early signs that spring is coming. Three of the most reliable are snowdrops, winter aconites and Glory of the snow. They bloom before crocus. Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) returns with floral beauty less than three months after planting. Plants poke through the ground, grow and flower 3 to 6 inches […]

Emerald Ash Borer And Others Are Spreading – Don’t Transport Firewood

  Moving firewood across county or state lines may also distribute serious insect pests hundreds of miles. For whatever reasons that the tree(s) were cut down in your yard, insects (including termites) may be hiding inside the logs. They may remain alive for a long time. Over the past decade three serious exotic insect pests have been identified […]

Full Moon Japanese Maple Is Very Popular

  The term “full moon Japanese maple” may be confusing. There are actually three species and cultivars of Asian maples that are referred to as “full moon”. The most popular full moon cultivar planted in the Northeast and Southern Appalachian regions (USDA zones 5 thru 7) is Acer japonicum ‘Acontifolium’. A. j. ‘Acontifolium’ is hardy […]

Seven-Son Flower Is Flowering Again

Back in bloom for a second time in two months! This is my way of describing seven-son flower (Heptacodium miconioides), a small 15-20 foot tree or large shrub from China. Seven-son’s creamy white petals open in late August and finish up in early September. By late September, the petals have fallen, and the small green sepals (calyces) have […]

Don’t Forget The Sassafras

A common woodland tree, sassafras (Sassafras albidum), aka mitten tree, is a small tree which grows 20 to 40 feet tall; some may top out at over 60 feet. Tree spread is two-thirds its height.  Sassafras’ mitten shaped leaves, are easy to identify with one, two or no lobes. All three leaf shapes may be […]