Near the peak

I suppose that most area gardens hit their peak in May, and certainly this one does. Still, I’m overjoyed in this last week of April, though still waiting for several ferns that seem tardy but probably are always slow to come out.

I am always on the lookout for interesting plants to add to the garden. Of course, my interests far surpass the amount of available space, but one of my best recent purchases was finding two stocky, four foot tall Pagoda dogwoods (Cornus alternifolia, above) a year ago. Inevitably, this led to a need to obtain the green-white variegated variety. None of good size could be found, so I ended up with a small, yellow-green ‘Golden Shadows’ (below) that isn’t much of anything for now, but it’s put on enough growth in recent weeks to be encouraged I might live long enough to see it become a tree. I hold out hope that a green-white Pagoda dogwood of good size will pop up, or equally prized is the larger growing Wedding Cake dogwood (Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’). Space would be made for either one.

A year ago, branch tips of the spider azalea (Rhododendron stenopetalum ‘Linearifolium’, below) planted a year earlier were nibbled by deer. Along with most of the narrow leaves, the spring’s flowers were lost, so the blooms now are its first in the garden. This is not a showpiece, but a quirky change from the typical azalea.

The spider azalea in full bloom does not make a grand show.

The common, evergreen azaleas are flowering, though with the exception of several Delaware Valley White (above) at the forest’s edge, the remainder are reblooming Encore azaleas (below). Curiously, failure to spray deer repellent in early November encouraged deer to nip branch tips of many while ignoring a closeby neighbor, so these have few leaves and fewer flowers. All will survive, and with azaleas and Japanese aucubas nearly defoliated in late autumn perhaps I’ll learn this lesson. It is doubtful I’ll remember since these evergreens need protection only through the winter when there is less foliage available.

I am quite pleased with early growth from the small Batwing Japanese maple (Acer pictum ‘Usugumo’, below). Again, this will not be a standout in the garden to anyone but me, though it is prominently placed beside the walk leading to the greenhouse. A public garden must please its audience, I must please myself, and the Batwing is out of the ordinary and a new favorite.

Beneath the Batwing maple is a thriving clump of crested irises (Iris cristata, below) that struggled in damp soil until most of the clump was transplanted a year ago into this drier ground. The clump has doubled in size in the year, but almost certainly it will need to be moved again once the maple shades it. Finding ideal positions for plants can be a work in progress, but heck, that’s what I do.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Linus says:

    I love the batwing JM also. Where do you get your your Usugumo? Mine is from MrMaple. The one I really want is Naguri nishiki, but every time they list it for sale it seems to sell out immediately.

    1. Dave says:

      Mine is from Mr. Maple also. Of course, I’d like every maple in the catalog, but there’s no room and I’m sure I have more than enough maples in containers.

  2. That Golden Shadows dogwood is beautiful even while small. Gorgeous leaves!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s