Almost complete recovery


Though several Japanese maples continue to show minor damage from the ill timed April freezes (below), questions about their long term health have been answered. Most have fully recovered. Leaves that hang limply on damaged maples will soon become brown and fall off without any action taken by the gardener, and there seems little doubt that this event will be quickly forgotten.

Freeze damaged leaves on the Fern Leaf Japanese maple remain, but these should fall off within weeks.
Freeze damaged leaves on the Fern Leaf Japanese maple remain, but these should fall off within weeks.

Mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) continue to recover, though slowly, and I suspect these will be the last plants in the garden to regain the appearance of full health. Flowers will be delayed for reblooming hydrangeas until this recovery is complete, and older varieties are not likely to flower at all. Oakleaf hydrangeas and paniculata varieties were injured slightly by the freezes, but flowering should not be effected. With these notable exceptions, the garden in early May is at its peak with little other evidence of cold damage. Even the small sections of neglected lawn are green and lush, though without attention this is likely to be a temporary condition until the first extended period of hot weather.

Gold Star is one of the ground covers planted to fill open spaces to minimize weeding. In a few years it has spread nicely.
Gold Star (Chrysogonum virginianum) is one of the ground covers planted to fill open spaces to minimize weeding. In a few years it has spread nicely.

Ground cover perennials planted in recent years continue to thrive, and I look forward to the day when weeding is an easier chore. In fact, open spaces have been few in the garden for years, with tree and shrubs occupying large areas. But, as I become less motivated to undertake routine tasks (older and lazier), I have settled on the idea to cover every inch of ground with one plant or another to completely eliminate labor. I understand this hypothesis might not work precisely as planned, but the plants are filling in splendidly, and every bit of help is welcomed.

Seedling geraniums
Seedlings of wild geranium show the variation of foliage color that is typical of seedlings. This is why many plants are not propagated from seed. In this instance, the variations do not matter.

Many dozens of seedlings of the dark leafed ‘Espresso’ geranium (Geranium maculatum ‘Espresso’, above) are weeded out, but others are encouraged to grow if they are not encroaching on the space of neighbors. The seedlings of native, wild geraniums are quite sturdy, tolerant of a range of conditions, and vigorous enough to crowd out a Cypress sprurge (Euphorbia cyparissias, below) that is considered overly aggressive. You will note that in two seedlings, side by side, one has markedly darker foliage than the other, which is not unusual with seedlings. Flowers of both are excellent, and foliage persists through the heat of summer. So as long as they land in the right spot, they’re welcome to stay.

Cypress spurge and geranium
A year ago the seedling geranium had begun to crowd out the spurge, but today the spurge is almost completely gone from this spot. If the wild geranium will crowd out aggressive plants such as spurge, certainly it will keep out weeds.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Eric says:

    Fascinating how differently the same plants can perform in different gardens. For me wild geranium grew weakly and was quickly overwhelmed by golden ragwort (Packera aurea), which seems all-conquering. Another ground cover plant that’s been unstoppable here is Korean bellflower (Campanula takesimana). Whether that’s a good thing or not, the jury’s still out.

    1. Dave says:

      Yes. I hesitate to draw conclusions based upon my experiences. I have failed miserably with ‘Rozanne’ geranium, several times, but I hear that some consider it weedy. With considerations for soil, moisture, sun exposure, and microclimates we should be overjoyed when a plant flourishes. Take a division,or move it to another spot and you will possibly have a different result. When something is happy in this garden, it is free to roam until my wife begins to prowl with her pruners.

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