Do you remember in 2009 when I gave up buying plants for Lent? This Lent, I decided to give up desserts instead. It’s a much more feasible choice. I’ll work outside and maybe lose a pound or two without sacrificing my sanity.
As one friend said, this spring, I’ve been a plant buying fool. The buying frenzy started with Cercis canadensis The Rising Sun™. This small redbud which tops out at twelve feet blooms purple and has orange emerging foliage which later turns a pleasant light green. It debuted last spring, and I finally found it this year. It is a very special tree selected near Muskogee, Oklahoma at Greenleaf Nursery.
I also purchased my first Forsythia x intermedia ‘Linwood Gold.’ There is a rumor I don’t like forsythia, but I do. I just don’t like how people put them in the worst places, and then prune them within an inch of their little shrubby lives. Forsythias are not meant to be squares, or small rounded tufts, or crammed into a small flower bed (unless you get a small cultivar of course). They are meant to look slightly wild and unrestrained like the springtime of love. Give them some room and leave them in their natural shape, and I’ll love your forsythias too. Near the forsythia, I placed an apricot tree. Apricots bloom early so, due to late freezes, there will be several years where I don’t get fruit. However, I planted the apricot mostly for the blooms. Fruit is a bonus. It is on the other side of the fence from the three apple trees.
Today, I also picked up Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’ and three small containers of Nandina domestica Obsession™. I’ve wanted this mahonia ever since I saw one like it in a Portland garden. As for the nandinas, what can I say? They are tough little plants which can be chopped on and thrive. Also, this new variety has foliage which is purple when new.
A favorite tree this year is Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Fernspray Gold.’ I have a border which is against the garage wall. It faces east which is my all-time, favorite sun exposure. You get morning sun and afternoon shade. What could be better? I bought the smaller version of this plant so it will take years for it to mature. I may need to move a few things around to accommodate it, but I’m used to this because I am never satisfied.
After my son and I laid the brick sidewalk from the potager to the kitchen door, I began creating the border where there were the David Austins roses I trialed last summer reside. Today, I added a clumping bamboo from Monrovia, Fargesia rufa ‘Sunset Glow,’ so named because new growth has reddish sheaths. This is not an invasive bamboo. I placed it on the corner of the house because it is extremely cold tolerant and will grow to eight feet. I wanted the curve of the sidewalk to have a bit of mystery, and the bamboo is one aspect of this. It also sounds lovely rustling in the wind. Because of surrounding trees and being on the side of a hill, I get less wind than other parts of the state, but I wanted sound with the breeze.
To add even more mystery, I also planted Salix purpurea, ‘Canyon Blue’ (Arctic blue leaf willow) around another bend. It can be trimmed to make it shorter, but I think I like the height. You know how we’re always told to place shorter plants in front and larger in back a la choir loft? With an airy plant like the blue willow, rules just beg to be broken. I also bought Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, Eucomis ‘Comosa Pink’ (pineapple lily) and a white crinum, Crinum powelli ‘Alba.’ Bulbs aren’t just for fall planting you know.
I made a bit of extra money this year with my writing. I saved half of it, and decided to buy trees and shrubs with the rest. Like so many gardeners, I was seduced early in my gardening career by one particular plant, the rose. Then, I had daylily fever.
In the last few years, I decided I needed more structure, some of it evergreen, in the garden; and, with roses falling prey to rose rosette throughout Edmond and Guthrie, I think I need other trees and shrubs. Also, like I’ve said before, I’m not getting any younger.
When I am old, I want to gaze outside at mature trees and shrubs, so I’m starting now. Want to join me?