Garden In The Burrow plants and rants by gardening diva Cheryl Monroe
  • In Praise of the Unsung Heroes of the Mixed Border : Woody Plants on GBBD

    Filed under Posts
    Jun 15

    It is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, when loads of bloggers post what is blooming in their neck of the woods and share the links on May Dreams Gardens hosted by Carol. It is always fun to see what is going on elsewhere and maybe get some ideas for your own space too.

    Walking around yesterday after Wil and I arrived home from a few days visiting Chanticleer and Longwood Gardens in PA, I was struck but just how much I rely on woody plants to give this garden lots of oomph throughout the season. The chief woody plant hands down is clematis, and many are in bloom right now, but the shrubs and trees here more than pull their weight  too providing long seasons of interest asking very little in return.044

    This small tree, Aesculus x carnea ‘Briotii’ is the most asked about plant in my garden . It is sited on the front corner of my yard and when in bloom is a show stopper. It is  a cross between the horse chestnut a. hippocatanum ( a tree which grew in my yard as a child ) and the red buckeye  a. pavia. The panicles of flowers are from 5-8 inches long and a stunning color that is certainly unusual for trees around here. This year for the first time those flowers are producing the conkers  associated with the horsechestnuts and I find that very cool and can’t wait for them to mature.040

    Philadelphus ‘Snowbelle’ is a compact growing Mock Orange that perfumes the area in the Dog’s Garden for at least a  couple of weeks . This year I have been battling aphids on it , and with the help of the lady bugs seem to have them under control now and the shrub is blooming beautifully.DSC_0009

    Another highly fragrant plant is calyacnthus florida. this suckering shrub has beautiful glossy green leaves and for weeks is covered in brown lotus looking flowers that are highly fragrant and on a warm afternoon you can smell their pineapple-strawberry perfume from the porch 20+ feet away.006

    Weigelias are a shrub that I use in just about every garden here . There are now available in nurseries weigelas that grow from 3 ft to as large as 10 ft, weigelas with gold, white or tri-colored variegation, and many with deep burgandy colored leaves. Flower colors range from pale white, to pink tinged, bright pink, to dark red. There are certainly enough choices for every gardener to find a few to fit in their landscape .026

     I use the straight species , Weigela florida in the back 40 where it’s graceful arching branches look lovely as a backdrop in bloom or not, but when they are over a long period of early summer they are stunning. This is a shrub you want to let fill out to it’s natural form so give it plenty of space. I do get a little die-back here in the winter but it is minimal and requires only a quick pruning to take off the few small twigs that don’t leaf out in the  spring. This shrub will also bloom well in partial shade, a bonus for those of you who need bloomers there.

    “Midnight Wine’ and ‘Wine and Roses’ are the two the many  burgandy -leaved weigelas I grow here and adore, and I grow several of the variegated versions as well..

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    The  lilac hedges are still providing loads of flowers, scent, and butterfly action as ‘Miss Canada’  ’Donald Wyman’ and ‘Miss Kim’ are still in full bloom,.

    Miss Canada

    Miss Canada

     

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    The roses, although they got off to a rough start ,are starting to delight visitors with their blooms.Rosa glauca, Captain Sam Holland,  the rosa rugosas growing wild out back, and Sunny Knockout,  are blooming and the new hedge of Rosa de’l'hay  ( a highly scented rugosa) will stop you in your tracks before you even get within 10 feet of it the fragrance is so strong.

    Captain Sam Holland

    Captain Sam Holland

     

    Roas glauca

    Roas glauca

    sunny knockout

    sunny knockout

     

    rosa de l'hay

    rosa de l’hay

    All of the ninebarks, or physocarpus are blooming as well including this bright colored “Dart’s Gold’ .

    DSC_0029It is funny that when I was writing this post all I could think of is how appropriate it was that it fell on Father’s Day. Often it is the  showy perennials that  get all the glory, the sentimental  poetry ,and  the real credit for making the garden what it is. But just  like the dads in the typical nuclear family, the workhorse trees and shrubs  give the garden it’s strength and backbone yet often get none of the sappy cards or taken out for a nice lunch. Here’s to you shrubs and  Here’s to you dads….thanks for all you do ;)

     

One Response to “In Praise of the Unsung Heroes of the Mixed Border : Woody Plants on GBBD”

  1. The photos are great. If only the fragrance came through too. Thanks for another interesting & helpful post. Looking forward to your next presentation at our garden club.

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