NEW Trips to Take!

Myrtle's easy when the conditions are right.


NEW Plants to Try!

Louis tries to capture the exact words to describe the fleeting but deep pleasures to be found in these Summer-into-Autumn incredibles.


New Gardening to Do!

Allergic to bees? You can still have an exciting garden, full of flowers and color and wildlife.


A Gardening Journal

American Olive, or Devilwood

Look what has survived the Winter with nary a scratch: American olive. Its thick glossy leaves are evergreen, it can mature to heights of anywhere from six feet to fifty, it bears powerfully fragrant white flowers in Spring, it's hardy from Florida to Maine, it grows in wet ground as well as normal, it bears olive-sized purple fruits, it's native, and it's usually deer-proof. 

Osmanthus americanus B 032015 320

Why aren't we all growing this multi-talented plant already?


Must Have: Oriental Spicebush

Spring? Nature isn't reading the calendar, because more snow is on the way. Thank goodness, there are always more plants to consider that look amazing in the cold. The graceful narrow leaves of oriental spicebush turn pale tan in Winter—and remain on the branches no matter how long it takes for Spring to arrive.

Lindera angustifolia Arnold Arboretum 031515 320

They persist even as the early-season flowers emerge in April, and are shed only as new foliage follows. Shrubs don't need psychiatry, but this one seems nearly phobic about showing bare branches.


Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Hardy Orange, Hardy Indeed

The wide shot of the magnolia espalier in the March 10 post was only possible with my twelve-foot stepladder. Otherwise, the huge cake-stand topiary of hardy orange would have been in the way. In the shot below, the camera hadn't yet cleared the top branch of the topiary, which I had tied to a stake just last Fall as part of its training as the topiary's newest, highest layer.

Poncirus trifoliata top twig unharmed by Winter 031215 320

The ball-in-training will only form if that top twig survived. The Winter was historic in its severity—and the topmost twigs of woody plants are most susceptible to damage. How did this one do? 


Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Graham Blandy' Boxwood

This Winter's extreme and sustained cold has bronzed much of the foliage of the southern magnolias espaliered up the west side of the house. The magnolias will recover just fine—and, meanwhile, the unusual mahogany hue of their foliage only enhances the bright green foliage of the columnar box in front.

Buxus sempervirens Graham Blandy North of the pair overall 031215 320

This strikingly narrow box cultivar is 'Graham Blandy'. Already nine feet tall, it will grow to more than twice that high in the decades to come.


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