The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Farewell Malus 'Red Jade'

I planted a weeping crabapple called 'Red Jade' in the Lower Garden in 1993 and I have been training its canopy ever since. It was barely a whip when I started and I have enjoyed watching it mature. In the springtime, the pendulous branches are covered with light pink apple blossoms and in the fall, a flock of cedar waxwings devour the persistent small red fruit in less than a day. However, this Malus doesn't always look its best in the summer when the leaves prematurely turn brown and fall off. It has also been getting too large for its location near the terrace. It is taking more and more light from the perennial border and as it grows to its mature size, 15 tall and nearly 20 feet wide, it is clear that it will be too big for the site.

I have been contemplating removing the tree for about a year. A very early spring with a sudden cold snap made my decision easier when all the buds froze and I realized that there would be no fruit this autumn. Last week, I removed the tree. It was sad, but also liberating. The scale of the plantings in the mixed border felt better immediately. As the Acer griseum x 'Gingerbread' on the opposite side of the terrace has gotten larger, the terrace has become too shady. Now I have spot on the terrace for all my sun-loving potted plants which I have been having an increasingly more difficult time making happy in the shade.

After I amended the soil with compost, I planted a small shrub called Leptodermis oblonga and two Persicaria 'S'cunnet Pink' in place of the crabapple. Leptodermis oblonga, also known as false lilac, grows to about 3 feet and  has small fragrant purple blooms that begin in spring and last all summer. Persicaria 'S'cunnet Pink' is a plant from Opus, Ed Bowen's nano-nursery in Little Compton, RI. Ed selected this plant for its "6+ inch tapers of pink flowers, each with a deeper pink eye, from still deeper calyces atop 3-5 foot stems midsummer to frost." Ed says it is a Zone 6 plant. I'm hoping the site, against a newly revealed stone wall with southern exposure, will be make this beauty happy.







Friday, September 21, 2012

Peterborough Parks in Mid-September

Volunteers Amy and Laura displaying Teamwork

The Pavilion Garden at Depot Park

The yellow foliage of Arundo donax 'Gold Variegated' reads well against the yew hedge

Salvia 'Indigo Spires', Solanum quitoense and Nicotiana langdorfii

Cupea 'David Verity' at the Pavilion Garden at Depot Park

 Boccelli Garden

 The Developing Rain Garden at Putnam Park

The Planter at Putnam Park planted with Tagetes 'Cinnabar', grown from seed I got at Great Dixter

September is probably my favorite month in the garden. I tend to favor plants that get blowsy and look voluptuous at the end of summer. The tender annuals always look their best in New Hampshire at this time of year. This moment in the garden needs to be cherished for an early frost could make it suddenly vanish.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Heptacodium miconioides, Star of the September Woodland Garden

Heptacodium miconioides, in bloom, behind the Blue Bench Terrace and Shed

Three views of dozens of butterflies collecting nectar

It had never crossed my mind, until I read Doug Tallamy's book, Bringing Nature Home, that butterflies might be in trees. Now that I have limbed up the oak tree in the woodland garden, the butterflies seemed to have made a pilgrimage to the newly revealed Heptacodium miconioides tree behind the shed in the lower garden.

Heptacodium miconioides, or the Seven-Son flower, 15-20 foot tall China-native that has clusters of seven white flowers which bloom in late summer. The flowers are followed by small redish-purple friuts on persistent, and equally ornamental, rose-colored calyces that look good well into autumn. As I mentioned in earlier posts, Heptacodium miconioides also has exfoliating tan bark that is a garden feature throughout the winter.


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