A Gardening Journal


Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: The Mysterious Volunteer Mulberry

For brilliant gold foliage that stays bright all Summer, the aureate forms of Scots elm and paper mulberry are unsurpassable. The mulberry adds unusually shaped foliage, each leaf of which is mitten-like but variable: Sometimes there's one thumb (and on either side), sometimes two, and sometimes none. 

Broussonetia papyrifera Golden Shadow volunteer 082116 320

This is not my original mulberry, which is about eighteen feet away. And yet, here it is, sprouting up through the wide joints between the terrace's dry-laid slabs. How did it arise?

Read more: Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: The Mysterious Volunteer Mulberry


Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Golden European Ash in Spring & Summer

The stems and buds of golden European ash are plenty interesting during the long leafless months of Fall, Winter, and early Spring. The show continues when the buds swell in April and, by late August, shows no sign of flagging.

Fraxinus excelsior Aureafolia foliage just starting to emerge from a tip foliage bud 043016 320

Is this another of the rare trees that never has a bad hair day all year long? For which each season brings yet another dramatic display? Fall foliage won't tip its hand until October or November but, from flowers and emerging leaves in Spring to full foliage during the dog days, the show during warm weather is as lively as it was in cold.

Read more: Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Golden European Ash in Spring & Summer


The Best Season Ever: Spindle Tree in Bloom

With so many trees in bloom in the Spring, those that flower in Summer are all the more noticeable. These are the flowers of a rare species of spindle tree, Euonymus carnosus, that began flowering the second week of June. Now it's the third week in August, and flowers are still present.

Euonymus carnosus 081516 closer 320

How many other hardy trees mount a floral performance for over a month, let alone June into August? Add dark green glossy leaves (that caterpillars ignore!) and sensational Fall color, and you have an ornamental that should be in every garden where it's hardy.

 

Now to the weird common name, fleshy-flowered spindle tree. Fleshy-flowered? Yuck, but perhaps that's part of the answer to the flowers' peculiar longevity.

Read more: The Best Season Ever: Spindle Tree in Bloom


Golden Lotus Banana

The show has begun! Two weeks after the astonishing inflorescence of Chinese dwarf banana emerged, yolk-yellow bracts have begun to open around a huge cone that seems like the lotus bud of the gods.

Musella lasiocarpa overall 072616 320

 

While a lotus flower's lifespan is a mere three or four days, this inflorescence will produce hundreds of flowers over three to six months. Weirdly, they aren't at all showy compared to the inflorescence itself. Weirder still, this plant's most remarkable performance may well be completely hidden.

Read more: Golden Lotus Banana


Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Morning Calm' Trumpet Vine

By August, the trumpet vines are in bloom. It's time to compare them. At the left, flower clusters at the far edge of a large standard of the native species, Campsis radicans. The deep orange blooms are showy but hardly unusual.

Campsis radicans in focus 080116 320

In the distance, two standards of a hybrid of the subtropical Asian species, Campsis grandiflora, with the native Campsis radicans. Even though they are farther away, the display is still more powerful. Truly, there's no comparison.

Read more: Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Morning Calm' Trumpet Vine

 
 
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