Saturday, November 28, 2020

Spring at the JC Raulston Arboretum

It's always nice to look back at the spring season and look forward to planning for the next spring. These pictures are from the JC Raulston Arboretum taken in a previous year, before it was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For over ten years I have forgotten to plant pansies in the fall so that they can get a foothold for a good display in the spring.

Purple foliage looks so beautiful when it unfurls in the spring but tends to revert to green or look muddy when exposed to our heat during the summer.

I love to look at plantings of iris because what I can grow in my garden seems to be somewhat limited. They need to be very vigorous and not prone to melting down. I have found a ridge next to our neighbor's pasture that they like, but voles are an issue too. I have planted all of my iris over wire mesh in the hope that if the voles can't get to the rhizomes they will leave the roots alone.

An Arilbred iris probably wouldn't be a good candidate in my garden unless it was in a raised sandy bed, but it certainly is beautiful to look at. I first read about Arilbreds in Scott Odgen's book Garden Bulbs for the South. Arilbreds are crosses between German bearded iris and the mourning iris (I. susiana), a desert species from the Middle East grows where summers have little to no rain. Ogden writes that "Its globular blooms bear heavily veined and stippled patterns. The background color of the rounded falls is a light cream, but the markings themselves are a dark brownish purple. The beard and standards verge on black." Here's a link if you want to see it. Arilbreds are characterized by a dark thumbprint at the top of the falls and/or extensive veining.

I have grown Camassia in the past, but one by one the bulbs disappeared. If I can find some mesh that's large enough for the stems to get out of the ground but not big enough for the voles to get through, or put them in tall pots. It'd be worth it because the flowers are lovely and unique in the spring landscape.

The Arboretum has a scree garden on a bridge over part of the garden. I think that's our native prickly pear that grows all over the Sandhills area, along with a tall beautiful dianthus.

Prunus 'Ukon', green flowering cherry, is a large tree, on par with a weeping cherry. The flowers are pale green when they open and change to cream tinged with pink and green.

The White Garden, not green but white in April, is the sight of many photo shoots and weddings.

You can see why this Japanese maple cultivar is called 'Dissectum'. Our plants professor told us that this tree was donated as a mature tree but managed to survive the move and thrive. Staff likely used a giant spade to move the tree; the prof also told us that a giant spade is used to move plants from the campus to the Arborbetum and vice versa.

I googled Rosa 'Hermone' and didn't come up with anything, so I take it this is a found rose, a tea is my guess.

I don't have any Heucherellas in my garden but I do have a Heuchera which I enjoy for the foliage. I should probably amend that. The purple silvery foliage is so beautiful and unique. I also appreciate the delicious sounding names of the Heucherellas: Sugar Plum, Pumpkin Spice, Sweet Tea, Mint Julep, Birthday Cake, Chocolate Lace, Caramel, Berry Smoothie.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Still here

Still here and still gardening. Part of the reason I stopped blogging is that my camera started acting up way back in 2015. The exposures were getting all wonky unless the light was just right.

I bought a new Pentax in 2018. Unfortunately I don't like it that much, or I don't know how to use it. Even more unfortunately I didnt even try it out until the 30 day return window was closed. Don't ask me why, I'm still kicking myself over that one. But since I spent the money I feel like I have to use it. I feel betrayed since I loved my other 2 Pentax cameras so much, but it could be as I get used to it I'll like it as much as the others.

We didn't get much fall color this year. We haven't in several years, actually. Last year the color was great in Wake County, one county north and west of us, but this year tropical storm Zeta ripped all of the leaves all in the western half of the state. We were starting to get some color, but then the 6 and a half inches of rain from tropical storm Eta finished off the ones here as well. We've been hit by rain from every single hurricane/tropical storm but one.

Fothergilla 'Mt Airy' might still color up fully, although it has never turned the fire engine red I've seen elsewhere.

The willowleaf spicebushes were beautiful, a glowing golden orange tinted with red. They never disappoint. Neither do the swamp cyrillas. The spicebushes are done and the brown leaves will remain until the new leaves push them out. The cyrillas have just started to turn yellow. They often have pumpkin orange and scarlet color well into December. I got over half a dozen seedlings going this year and will plant them next to to the old yard site once they're big enough.

I finally found the perfect spot for the hardy ginger. It's one of those plants that spreads all over but won't bloom and looks miserable in a hot dry year. So I planted some in front of where the buckets are dumped after soaking hay and it loves in there. It started blooming in August and will continue until a hard freeze cuts it down. They have a sweet fragrance that's like a cross between Japanese honeysuckle and coconut.

I have not, however, found the perfect spot for Camellia 'Yume'.

I planted Yume at the back of the big perennial bed, where rabbits or deer promptly ate it to the ground. So I put wire mesh around it and it just sat there. In spite of feeding, in spite of this being a wet year, it didn't grow an inch. Couldn't compete with the 2 loblolly pines in back of the bed I guess. Other people can grow camellias on high ground under pines but it didn't work for me. It wasnt even that close to the pine trees, but pine tree roots go everywhere.

'Mine-No-Yuki' has found a semi permanent place on the porch next to the bird feeders, where it has espaliered itself rather elegantly against the porch railing. The chickadees especially like to use its branches as a perch, both for waiting for an opening at the feeder and as a place to crack open sunflower seeds.

The happiest camellia is one I grew from seed from a white Camellia sasanqua, in a very wet place next to the stalls where the water table bubbles up out of the ground.
I think it grew up as a tree because of the Joe Pye Weed (that grew wild there) around the base of it. I have never pruned it and rather like the unexpected tree form. The flowers are sweetly fragrant and is even strong from a distance when the flowers start to dry out. Michael Dirr that camellias like moist well drained acid soil with a lot of organic matter. The camellia is getting everything but the well drained part. The obvious answer is to plant Yuma next to the stalls as well, since it's also a sasanqua, but I'd like to get some cuttings going in case I lose it.

The rugosas haven't even begun to turn, but like cyrillas they are late turners. Since there is little fall color going on now here is the garden covered in ice crystals from yesterday's frost.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...