Entries in Deodar Cedar (2)


First Fall Images 2016

Autumn officially begins this week on September 22. The dog days of summer have lingered endlessly with day after day of temps in the mid 90's. Even worse, we had almost no rain for nearly a month. At last there is hope, for we had some rain this weekend, though barely enough to wet the soil. The days are shorter, and mornings and evenings are finally cooler, giving proof that the earth is still rotating around the sun on its proper axis and a new season is coming, no matter what. 

Under misty skies I went hunting for evidence of fall today. A few leaves are changing on the trees, and there are a number of crinkly piles on the earth. Some are the result of droughty conditions, rather than the arrival of autumn.

Here is a welcome raindrop on a Japanese maple:This photo makes me sad. It is taken of the doomed Japanese maple I wrote about last week. We cut out a large section of the tree, but today I found new ambrosia beetle damage on a couple of the trunks we did not remove. 

On a happier note, I am seeing lots of butterflies.Cloudless Sulfur butterfly

I recently planted Asclepias, AKA Butterfly Weed, hoping to attract some Monarch butterflies. I was thrilled to see that it worked! I was watering the garden last week when a Monarch flew past me, headed for my new stand of Asclepias. I saw another one today, though he did not stick around to let me take his photo. Here is the Asclepias:

I can't take credit for the beauty of my Butterfly Weed.  It was already fully grown and full of buds when I bought it. I am eager to see how it does next year. I have planted Asclepias several times, and it has never done well. However, this is a different location, and so far the new plants seem far happier than the previous ones. 

I kept our hydrangeas watered during the weeks of drought, and I was rewarded with continuing blooms on my Endless Summer hydrangeas:I might tell the plant that I appreciate the flowers, but I am ready for summer to end!

My Deodar cedars are putting out fresh blue-green growth, an indication that cooler weather is coming:

But Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium' shows no signs of the brilliant colors it will soon display:

This Coleus, called Freckles, has been successful this year with little effort on my part. I will take some cuttings and try to keep it alive indoors through the winter, so I will be assured to have some next year:

Am I the only one who thinks dried up seed pods are lovely? Here are some I found today:Hardy begonia seed pods

Finally, the blooms of Hydrangea 'Lady in Red' are aging gently into fall:

Have a great week!   Deb


The Tree of the Gods

Cedrus deodara is an evergreen coniferous tree native to the western Himalayas. It is the national tree of Pakistan. Its name comes from the sanskrit word "devdar", which means divine tree. Tibetan monks would travel deep into a forest of deodar cedars for meditation, and I can see how these trees would inspire spiritual thoughts. It is a magnificent tree, and I am fortunate to have a couple of different cultivars growing successfully in my yard.

This Deodar Cedar is about twenty feet tall. It has a lot of growing to do!

In its native habitat these trees can reach well over 150 feet tall, with trunks over ten feet in diameter. The larger cultivars need to be sited carefully. They need to be in a park-like setting with room to grow and spread. It is a mistake to plant one next to a house or driveway. Although evergreen, they will drop old needles, and sweeping these fine needles off a drive can be a real pain.

In North America, they will grow along the Pacific coast as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia and in the southeastern USA from Texas to Virginia. They are limited to areas with mild winters, being hardy to about zone 7, with some cultivars surviving in parts of zone 6. Some of these trees also grow in the UK. It likes neutral soil, about ph 6.6 to 7.5. The inner wood is aromatic and is used to make incense, while cedar oil is used in aromatherapy. It has a pleasant, woody odor. Insects avoid this tree, and it requires little care once established. It has average water needs and likes full sun to part shade.

The Deodar Cedar is related to the Atlas and the Cedar of Lebanon. It's easy to tell the difference. The Atlas Cedar has upright branches and the Cedar of Lebanon has horizontal branches, while the Deodar Cedar's branches are drooping. The needle-like leaves, in the various cultivars, range from bright green to gold, to glaucous blue-green. The needle-like foliage of the tree seen in the first photo of this postThe dwarf Deodar Cedar, 'Feelin' Blue', in my woodland garden is characterized by fantastic blue-green color and weeping branches. After a decade, it is about six feet tall and just as wide. This is the tree I mentioned limbing up in my last post, "Why it takes so long to get things done in my garden."From the drive, an upper view of 'Feelin' Blue' "Feelin Blue' from below, after I trimmed the lower branchesA close-up of 'Feelin' Blue' foliage

 I love this tree for its ornamental value and easy care, and my garden would not be complete without it.