Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Plantings in Winter Looking for Shapes and Textures
Cabin fever is setting in pretty deep as January winds down. Long Island has had an unusually snowy and icy month with temperatures which haven't broken the freezing mark. I started my walk about with the six blueberry bushes out back. Severe Fall pruning resulted in new growth that turned out to be red.No evidence of the many Snowdrop bulbs, Galanthus, that line my garden boarders could be found. Over the last thirty plus years, these bulbs have been planted, dug up and replanted, so that there are thousands of them outlining the backyard. It is almost impossible to get every bulblet when moving these little winter gems, but that's O.K. because they create small clumps in a few years time. No Snowdrops, but there were Daffodils huddled up next to the foundation of my kitchen wing that were showing. Snowdrops on Long Island can bloom right through the snow in January or February, hence the name, but we have been so cold this year they are still underground.This is a Clematis vine. Not a terribly special one, just the usual deep purple flowers,but this plant has been growing for over ten years. Sometimes the more common varieties of plants do best and last the longest. In the fall brush away any dried up tendrils and tie it up for Spring.Some Hosta seed pods are larger than most. This old variety, just plain green, has interesting pods in winter.Maybe birds eat the seeds but it was worth leaving them on until March to find out. Many of the plants and shrubs that are at Jarvis House have been planted with Winter birds in mind.This common variety Japonica shrub came with the Jarvis House. It has been moved it to its present location. Japonica, along with Forsythia, and Star Magnolia buds, make wonderful branches for forcing, which is another way to bridge the really cold days of Winter with Spring in the garden. Mahonia, or Oregon Grape Holly, is a very beautiful bush all year long.This picture was taken today. The shiny interesting leaves and grape like berries berries are stand outs in the Winter landscape. This particular bush was a rescue shrub, that someone was about to bulldoze while subdividing an older property. It has grown to enormous proportions. Rose of Sharon pods open up like blossoms in Winter. This shrub, which some think of as a weed, can be the only thing of color in August. Just to be safe,it is planted on the lot line as they are notorious self starters and can pop up everywhere.Bamboo should only be planted in areas where boundaries are not a concern. Not only is this shrub a rampant grower, but it is extremely difficult to dig up. This variety grows very tall and has large leaves. It was in a swampy area of the garden. Never plant bamboo near a pool. They have been known to pierce pool liners. If one insists, then find a 50 gallon drum, metal, they grow through plastic, and sink into into the soil, then plant the clump of bamboo. Bamboo comes in thousands of varieties and this one seems to be evergreen on Long Island. One can make excellent plant stakes from spent bamboo canes.Butterfly bushes in the Jarvis Garden grow as much as three feet in a season. They receive a severe pruning in the fall. Little gray clumps of leaves follow. Butterfly bushes were planted under both kitchen windows so that butterflies in the summer months can be plainly seen while we are cooking.