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Wordless Wednesday–“Candy” for the Birds

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This is what I call “winter interest.” Because these are crab apples, and therefore sour, they remain on the tree until spring, when the birds come to get them after they (they fruit, not the birds) have mellowed a bit and the birds are hungry after migration.

It’s a win-win for everyone!

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Wordless Wednesday

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These Japanese maples are not as lovely as usual this year. First a late summer dry spell, then an abnormally warm late autumn–followed by a “flash freeze” so to speak, left the leaves suspended on the tree.

But the leaves are always very late to drop–one of the last to fall off. It’s partly a protection for the delicate nub of leaf forming underneath for next year’s leaf.

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On this red leafed variety, it’s even worse. It drives the Spoiler mad–and of course, we track them in until January or later.

But of course, there’s no hurrying nature. When you see the brown oak leaves in this photo, however, you know that these maple leaves are very late to fall since oak leaves are one of the last to come off the tree!

Wordless Wednesday–Ways of Seeing

Every so often I get fixated on a particular tree. In this case, it’s an Eastern White Pine that’s clearly been topped by a storm at one point.

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When you look at the thing, you wonder how long it will even be alive.

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Clearly it had been double-trunked at one point. But now, it’s just a sad mass of needles, really.

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The trees around it don’t look much better. There are some hemlock struggling to hang on, between the years of drought and the adelgid infestations.

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One last look. I wonder if this tree captivates you as much as it does me, or if you have to see it in person?

 

Wordless Wednesday–Spring Color

 

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After my whining last Friday about how we were never going to get spring,  a few warm days have brought out the flowers.

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You can see how early it is. The trees still have no leaves and very little is greening up. These photos were taken April 14–the very day that I was whining that we don’t have spring.

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So it’s nice to see a little color to prove me wrong.

Picking Good Plants–Round Two

On Friday I talked about picking a plant that looked most like every other plant. This is a good rule no matter what type of plant you are buying.

Today I want to get into a few more specifics about  what to do when you get to the garden center–and let’s presume you are at a garden center today, simply because  it will have more signage about varieties and possibly more information on the plant tags that will be accurate for your location.

What do I mean by that? When I go to a box store, I am told that the plant “lantana” is a perennial. That’s technically true. It is not, however, a perennial for me here in New England.

I know that in some parts of the country lantana is considered an invasive pest and can grow to the size of a shrub. Here, we grow it as a nicely behaved hanging basket that has flowers that feed our butterflies and hummingbirds and the plant dies at the first hard freeze. See what I mean now about “for your location?”

So, when you walk into your garden center, depending on where you are, you might find lantana in a hanging basket, you might find it with the perennials, or you might not find it at all because it is invasive in your part of the country. There you are. But chances are, you’re not going to just find it willy-nilly labeled “perennial.”

I know the box stores are working on this–and one reason has to do with their guarantee for a year. They don’t want New England customers bringing in their dead lantana the following spring and asking for a refund–and rightly so! No one is happy in that scenario.

Enough plants die in our now unpredictable winters that they shouldn’t have to give for plants that are mis-labeled. But if they mis-label them, well, they get what they deserve.

Apparently I have gone on long enough about why you should be going to the garden center for your spring plant shopping and not a box store–at least if you are a brand new plant buyer. We’ll talk about what to look for on Friday.