Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Coker Arboretum in April

These pictures are from a trip that we took to Chapel Hill in in the spring. The roses in front of the planetarium were in bloom. No labels, unfortunately. The hybrid teas and floribundas looked good because they had been sprayed within an inch of their lives. I always wish they'd plant more old-fashioned and species roses, since they do so much better here, but that isn't Witherspoon's thing. At any rate the roses were lovely even if they did smell like fungicide and insecticide.

A lovely holly with an unlovely name (Ilex vomitoria), otherwise known as Yaupon holly. The berries have a beautiful translucent quality. The Coker Arboretum is right behind the planetarium and we always visit it after having lunch on Franklin Street.

Alumroot, Camassia, and Baptisia

I enjoy visiting the arboretum to see all of the different specimens, native and otherwise, and it gives me a lot of ideas for my own garden. I really should plant Epimedium in my garden. It looks very dainty and delicate but I've read that it's tough as nails.

Bigleaf magnolia

I see a purple columbine here every year and had to have one in my own garden after seeing one here.

Fernleaf scorpionweed with an Amsonia in the center.

Spanish bluebells

Chinese Parasol Tree with Star of Bethlehem underneath and American beech in the background.

Cutleaf lilac

Piedmont azalea or pinxterflower

Spanish bluebells, Florida azalea, Piedmont azalea/pinxterflower, columbine and monkshood

The azaleas come in all shades of beautiful pinks.


Crossvine on pergola, my guess is 'Tangerine Beauty'.


Dwarf crested iris


Lily-of-the-valley bush, Pieris japonica

Florida azalea 'Harrison's Red'. I knew that Florida azalea came in red, having read about it in Dirr's Manual, but the colors I had seen before this one were yellow to orange. This one isn't red either, more of a very pale pink with tangerine tones and very bright pink buds and stamens, but certainly a departure from what I have seen before.


Usually I'm not very interested in pines, since we have so many loblolly pines at home and they are such a sculptural presence, but this Japanese red pine was appealing with its beautiful very soft needles and many cones.

Iris virginica

Coral honeysuckle

There are wild parsley leaf hawthorns that grow near the creek on the farm, but they don't usually bloom this profusely. They pop up when a storm downs trees and then are eventually shaded over again. I grew one from seed that is about 5' tall but has never bloomed. They seem to like conditions with a lot of moisture. The arboretum was at one time a swampy cow pasture(the faculty put their livestock there) before the stream was channeled. Probably dirt and Chapel Hill grit (decomposed sandstone) were hauled in to build up areas as well.

After visiting the Coker Arboretum we walked to Gimghoul Road, which I will save for another post. We visited around Easter and the sisters' garden was in full bloom.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ice storm

In this latest go-round of winter weather we got ice, and thankfully all we lost was internet access for 12 hours.

Some of these pictures look rather post-apocalyptic, especially since they are dark, but the damage was more annoying than serious. G. had to spend a couple of hours chainsawing pine boughs off of the fences and got whacked in the leg by an errant branch for his pains.

Everything with leaves was bowed way down. Young pines had the most damage, losing major branches and/or tops, but most everything else has bounced back. Not this wax myrtle though. It's the second time it's imploded, I think because it's a volunteer that's been cut down to the ground before so its multiple trunks all branch out straight from the base.

The pine boughs were weighed down with ice but most sprang back up after the ice melted.

Another weighed down wax myrtle.

I was reminded of winter in Narnia.

The broken down max myrtle from the other direction. It'll make a comeback. Wax myrtles are basically unstoppable.

What a difference between the leafless Rose-of-Sharon and the leafy witch hazel. The witch hazel won't lose its leaves until it's done blooming, a trait typical of witch hazels. It bounced right back.

The Knockout rose to the right of the witch hazel did not - the weight of the ice pulled the plant right over and the roots weren't able to hold it up. I need to get in there to at least take out the dead wood, and probably thin out some of the live branches too. It has vicious thorns, the kind that goes through even thick leather gloves, so I'm not really looking forward to that.

Baptisia with ice

This gardenia didn't bounce back either - and that's because voles had nearly chewed through the base of nearly half the branches. I was able to pull them out with one hand. I mulched the base with gravel and left it at that, since my attempts to trap voles weren't very successful. This is a single-flowered gardenia that I grew from seed. The big gardenia from G.'s grandmother's garden, with huge double flowers and good rebloom, is fine.

Sad gardenia, now thinned by half.

When the sun came out on Saturday the ice glittered like a thousand jewels.

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