Entries in spring garden (15)


Growing Loropetalums 

This has been a marvelous year for loropetalums. Loropetalum chinense, or Chinese fringe flower, is in full bloom, and every neighborhood in my area seems to have at least a few lovely specimens. The pink flowered varieties with purple leaves, Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum, are especially eye catching.A member of the Witch Hazel family, Hamanelidaceae, all of these shrubs have clusters of delicately scented, fringe shaped flowers. The green leafed cultivars have white to ivory flowers, while the purple-leafed ones have showy pink blooms.

Lorapetalum 'Carolina Moonlight' is a white flowering cultivar that grows to about 6 feet tall and wide.

Loropetalum 'Purple Diamond' grows in my own garden. It will reach 2-5 feet tall with a spread of 3-5 feet.Loropetalums will bloom heavily in spring, then again sporadically from summer into fall. All are evergreen, keeping their leaves through the winter, though some purple leafed ones may become greener during the summer.

Loropetalums come in various sizes to fit your needs. Selections vary from dwarf and low, spreading cultivars suitable for groundcover to selections that will grow up to 15 feet tall and wide. Loropetalums in Atlanta Botanical Gardens.In fact, there are some century old plants reported to have reached to 35 feet tall. The larger varieties may have their lower limbs removed to create lovely tree form specimens. Select larger shrubs for a tall hedge or as a backdrop for smaller plants. 

These are easy care shrubs that generally require little maintenance. They grow well in USDA hardiness zones 7- 9. They flourish in full sun and rich organic acid soil that is moist but well drained. Most are fast growing. Fertilize in early spring with fertilizer designed for acid loving plants or for evergreens. Choose appropriately sized cultivars for the location to minimize the need for pruning. If pruning is desired for shaping or to control size, prune after spring flowering has ended. 



April Showers and the Garden

As I walk in the garden, my feet leave imprints in the sodden soil. Moisture drips from leaves and flowers.A rose leaf is bejeweled with raindrops.A spray of water soaks me when I brush against a branch. My friends and I warn one another to not complain about the weeks of rain; for in July, when the fierce summer sun becomes oppressive, we will be begging for rain. Let the plants soak it up, let the earth store it up, let the streams and lakes and rivers be filled with it; let us all rejoice in it now.Columbine grows in the front garden next to purple sage.

I am enjoying April. It is a beautiful month in the garden, saturated with colors, and even the rain cannot take away the glory of Japanese maples, azaleas, dogwoods, magnolias and camelias.

Some April blooms, clockwise from top left: Apple blossoms; Unknown camellia, planted in 1983; Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'; Erigeron, a wild aster also called fleabane

In the woodland garden I have a new bridge! I thought to replace the old wooden one, which had become infested with termites, with one crafted of iron. But then I found the very same bridge kit at half the price I originally paid. I couldn't resist! We treated it with linseed oil, meticulously caulked all the joints, and painted it with a high grade solid stain in hopes of deterring termites. The color is a bit different from the original one, and there is a new companion to the bridge. Do you see him?The little fox was a Christmas present from Lou. I called the old bridge my squirrel crossing, but this one will be for the foxes.

Here are more images taken in the April woodland garden:In the front are Autumn fern, epimedium, spreading yew and 'Waterfall' Japanese maple. Toward the back you can glimpse the new fern glade.

I place a number of potted tropical plants in the woodland garden for the summer, including Stromanthe tricolor in the left image and on the right in the middle: Bird's Nest Fern, variegated fig and Dracaena marginata. In the foreground of both images is the evergreen Distylium

Above, Upper left and right: Uvularia, also called merry bells; Lower left: native columbine; lower right: Heucherella 'Alabama sunrise.'

I like to walk in the garden in late afternoon. After a day of rain, I took the following photos as the sun was setting:

Blessings to you all!     Deb

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