Spring garden tour – day 2

With flowering of early magnolias and cherries delayed by the frigid late winter, today, in mid April everything is blooming. Well, not everything, but enough to salve the soul of the harried gardener. With a poor start to the spring clean up, messes that should have been taken care of weeks ago have been tidied up only recently. This garden is a challenge even in a good year, but finally, the end is in sight and I’m more into the puttering stage where nothing must be done this minute. This is what I do best, work a bit at a time with long naps in between.

Already, there have been too many troubles in the garden this spring, though none as heartbreaking as the losses a year ago. Mophead hydrangeas have been injured by cold, again. ‘Endless Summer’ and other blue remontant (reblooming on new wood) hydrangeas have died back substantially, though not to the roots as happened last year. Lacecap and Oakleaf hydrangeas suffered no injury at all, just as a year ago. While newly planted gardenias have died again, paperbushes (Edgeworthia chrysantha, below) have fared better this spring, though there will be only a single flower when there should hundreds.

Of seven large shrubs, only one partial flower has survived the winter. Typically, there would be hundreds.
Of seven large shrubs, only one partial flower has survived the winter. Typically, there would be hundreds. Compare to the full flower, below.

Edgeworthia beginning to bloom in mid-March

I think that I will be completely over these troubles in another week as Japanese maples leaf out and large leaf hostas cover over the few piles of leaves that remain. There are likely to be a few more dead branches to prune than is typical, but I don’t anticipate any big problems. Today, and again a few days from now, we’ll not be bothered by these troubles. We’ll just enjoy the blooms, and worry some other day.

Sulfureum euphorbia
The spring flowering epimediums are splendid for a few weeks, and then they become sturdy plants with pleasant, but not exceptional foliage. They don’t seem to mind the extreme dry shade of the side garden.


Glory of the Snow
Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa) has spread down the hillside. A few handfuls of the small bulbs have become hundreds. These don’t interfere with anything, so I’m not complaining.


Ogon spirea
The foliage and flowers of Ogon spirea are delightful, but it grows an ill mannered form to the point that annually I consider cutting it out. In a far back corner this unruly shrub is well suited. At the front, not so much.


I am now discovering some of the bulbs that were planted last autumn that I had completely forgotten about. I’m overjoyed that one was this group of fritillarias.


Grecian windflower
There are many fewer windflowers than there would be if I did not constantly mistake them for weeds after they are finished flowering. Despite my worst efforts, these continue to spread, just not as densely as they would if I left them alone.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Cyn in NoVA says:

    Are the beautiful yellow panicles euphorbia or epimedium?

    1. Dave says:

      I’m an idiot. I suppose there’s just too much blooming for my tiny brain to keep up with it all. Thanks, I’ve made the change.

  2. Dave, so very sorry your Edgeworthia didn’t bloom well this year. How sad. We had the same troubles here in Williamsburg last year with the Hydrangeas, which we sorely missed last season. Ours are sporadically leafing out at the moment and we still have hope for a few flowers. Our Lavender and Rosemary took a beating again this winter and I’ve already simply pulled a few, pruning others way back. We’ll see what happens as spring unfolds. Here are some photos of our Edgeworthia, in its third spring here in our garden. We thoroughly enjoyed its beautiful display over several weeks. https://forestgardenblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/in-bloom/
    I’ve been enjoying visits to the GBGH this spring with my father. He taught me to love gardening, and I’m helping him with his planting this spring. GBGH has changed so much since it was my favorite haunt when I lived in the Fan in the 80’s. Thank you for such a wonderful resource in the Richmond area 😉 Best wishes, WG

    1. Dave says:

      Imagine your three year old paperbush as a dome ten and maybe twelve feet across by six feet tall. The four shrubs this size were amazing in bloom, but after winter damage a year ago they are no more than three feet across. Thankfully, though the flowers have been lost all are leafing to the tips, so I expect good growth this year. In another three or four years they might get back to where they were.

      1. Dave, that story is a tragic one, and I’m so very sorry for your Edgeworthias. It shows how extreme our winters have been these last 2 years. We often get by as a Zone 8 here, but we’ve been pushing the envelope for 7 these last 2 winters. I hope your Edgeworthias recover their glory. Change remains the one constant in our garden… Best wishes, WG

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