An almost evergreen dogwood

Temperatures have warmed to eighteen degrees (Fahrenheit) on this sunny morning the first week of February. Last night’s wind gusts have subsided, so it’s safe to go outdoors without restrictive layers of clothing. I am particularly anxious since forecasts call for milder weather beginning tomorrow. The itch to get going in the garden is growing by the day.

I see that in its second winter in the garden, the evergreen ‘Empress of China’ dogwood (Cornus elliptica, in leaf above, winter, below) has nearly defoliated in recent weeks. A year ago, it also dropped leaves by midwinter but recovered and leafed acceptably. Flowering was sparse in late spring, so I hope for better this year.

While defoliation of evergreens is guaranteed to raise concern, I expect this is no more than a matter of a young tree becoming acclimated to this garden. Still, if the dogwood does not recover fully this spring, I’ll consider moving it to a less prominent spot. With spring near, I regularly scout for a spot to plant the variegated, pendulous branched ‘Whitewater’ redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Whitewater’, below). Even if a location is not worked out, one will sit on the driveway in another month.

Flats of seeds of blackberry lilies (Iris domestica, below) and the ivy relative Dendropanax trifidus, and a variety of young orchids are regularly frozen in the unheated greenhouse. But, after a thirteen degree night, there is no damage. While the iris seeds will not germinate until late in the month, I’ve no clue about the dendropanax. I hope it sprouts quickly since it is likely to perish if it must be held for long. A year ago, handfuls of blackberry lily seedlings started in late winter were given away, with dozens planted back into the garden. I’ll do the same this spring once roots fill the small pots.

The various orchids are being started in the greenhouse, so the tender new stems are protected from rabbits that were such a problem a year ago. Stems of several well established fringed orchids (Platanthera ciliaris, below) were severed along with ones newly planted, so I hope to plant them out once the stems are up and sturdy (and likely with additional protection).

Fringed orchid

Rabbits are not a problem for the native pink and yellow lady’s slippers (Cypripedium, above and below), but I will take time to consider the best spots once temperatures are not so chilly.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Linus says:

    Where’d you get the Platanthera and Cyp pubscens from?

    1. Dave says:

      From Pretty Little Orchids on Etsy. I’ve ordered from this company a few times. Prices are good and the roots are decent size.

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