There are several ongoing trials in the garden, with tribulations certain to follow. If forecasts for another mild winter hold true, though one as “warm” as last winter cannot be expected, ‘Spider Web’ fatsias (below) might survive again without protection. Though rated as hardy to zero, I lack trust that these will tolerate temperatures below ten degrees (Fahrenheit).
One of three will be unprotected by leaf filled cages this winter, though all will be left without the wire enclosures until a period when extreme cold is near. That cold never arrived a year ago, but what are chances of a repeat? A leaf filled plastic container will protect the newly planted Mexican Bird of Paradise shrub (Caesalpinia gilliesii). It is reported that this shrub survives in Denver, but in this first winter I am as much concerned by damp soils that are typical of our winters. After this winter, it will be on its own.
Several Lady Slipper orchids (above) were recently transplanted from near the greenhouse to a much shadier spot along a stone path near the house. I misjudged the intensity of the late afternoon sun in the greenhouse planting bed, and while Bletilla orchids thrive a few feet away, I’ve witnessed wild Lady Slippers thriving in near full shade. I should not have been surprised when leaves turned brown in July, and I’m thankful that the roots appeared alive and well when they were dug.
Several newly delivered Lady Slippers were planted on the far side of the narrow stone path, which I expect will be a better fit for the orchids. While planting the orchids and several new woodland treasures, I noticed that an evergreen Solomon’s Seal (Disporopsis pernyi, above) had tripled in size since planting in the spring. I was not satisfied with its location from the start, so it was split into fourths, with one remaining and the others placed more prominently. As confirmation that the first location was less than ideal, I discovered the Solomon’s Seal was flowering, but out of sight for a bloom so small.
With the lower third of the rear garden continually damp, I’ve regularly checked on two dark leafed crape myrtles (above) planted in late summer. Crape myrtles are tolerant of less than ideal conditions, but soggy soils are a problem for most plants. So far, I don’t see a problem, but long term, I’ll have to wait to see, and I figure if they make it through to next summer they’ll be good to go. I hope so, since this area can use the mass of the trees, and the dark foliage should be a good contrast.