November 24, 2006

Giving thanks for foliage

English Oak -Quercus rober

This collumnular english Oak not only produces beautiful slender acorns, it also displays this curios color of chartruse yellow in the autumn, if frosts are gentle, as they have been this year. Most of out naitive oaks here in New England turn brown or beige, and a few turn a dark burgundy red. But this English Oak at the corner of our home is the favorite, especially for cutting since it's foliage is so small and looks great even cut in a vase.

Enkiathus campanulatus var. sikokianus

Native to Honshu, in Japan, this Enkianthus is different than many other Enkianthis species available since it has dark red flowers, and always draws attention during spring garden tours here. I think that the foliage is even finer in color than the other Enkianthus species that I have, and since this variety has been hard to track down lately, it relinds me that I should propagate it since now that Heronswood Nursery is gone (closed by Burpees after they found it non profitable), I don't knwo where else to find this particular species unless I feel like heading over to Honshu again!. Hey, it's an excuse!
which is a treadure which I puchased from the first Heronswood Nursery catalog that I ever had in 1996, and which never seemed to carry it again, and now that the nursery had been purchased and thus closed by Burpee Seed Company,...blah, blah, blah....don't get me going, but you know what? It's all business at the end of the day, and Dan Hinkley will surely move beyond all of this,( as if it was his fault) and he will soar higer with a new vision since the development part of any venture is certainly more invigorating than maintaing expectations to a customer base. If I was he, I would find the exploration and discovery part of the process most stimulating, since it's all about invention and tweaking that curious part of the brain...isn't that why we are so fscinated with nature and plants that are authentic and real? This Enkianthus reminds me everything will be new and better and he will do something even more brilliant in the future, I am sure. And until then, only those who have it, have it! (Of course, now as I think about it, maybe I bought it at Gossler Farms?!) Whatever.

A Acer japonicum which lost it's label, but it was a choice one.

Yes. Even I loose labels. But this Japanese maple was planted from seed in 1996 which I brough back from Japan, and without a key handy, It's still quite nice with it's foliage that progresses the spectrum from light saffron to persimmon all on the same branch.

Sasa vietchii

Speaking of Japan. OF all of the hardy bamboo that we can grow here in NEw England, this relatively manageable groundcover is annually spectacular, especially in the fall and winter, since the foliage dies just on the edges, producing this bicolor variegated effect. Also native to Japan, this is perhaps the nicesest of the Sasa bamboos, yet we grow another Sasa, Sasa japonica with is taller than the 2 foot dense growth of this species, but it does tend to run a bit more, yet hardly a pest. ....really.

Other bamboos?.......that's another story.
More and bamboos on another post. If you ever see Sasa vietchii, get it.

OK, Bloodgood is everywhere. It's arguably the most common japanese maple variety, available at any home center, and shouldn't even be allowed on this blog which is dedicated to rare and unusual plants. But I am talking abotu foliage here, and not rareness....so....presenting, an exceptionally nice year for Acer japonicum "Bloodgood". Go home Dept.

Lastly, a lone primula in bloom in the woodland garden. It's not uncommon at all for many spring blooming primula to show a few blossoms in the late fall. This P. aucaulis will be one of the first primroses in bloom in the late winter or spring, blooming along with snowdrops, even while the snow is still falling. Since it is almost December, I can now say that we can have flowered out doors year round, here in USDA zone 5.


  1. Beautiful shots of the fall foliage. Just came across your blog and I'm really enjoying it. Look forward to dropping by from time to time.
    Bob of bobsgarden.com

  2. Matt,
    Are you able to grow quite a variety of primulas outside there? I'm in Iowa, and it's not our winters that get them; it's our hot, dry summers, so we're very limited in the types we can grow.

  3. Thanks Don
    Well, you are absolutely correct, it's mpt the winter that Primula suffer, it is the summer. Many people grow them outside in Alaska, for that reason. They can handle zone 2 temperatures, but like they say, it't the heat and humidity.

    I grow my Auricula and fancier forms in a small alpine house, which gets morning sun in the summer, but I strategically placed it on the east side of the house, so that it gets shade from the house for the rest of the day, starting at about 11:00 AM in the summer.

    I also use shade cloth, keep the pots in a damp cool sand plunge bed in and take the twin-wall sides off of the greenhouse, but keep the top on, so that they get cooling breezes but no rain on the foliage. That said, I still loose about a third of my collection every year. In the garden they jsut go dorment. May I suggest joining the American Primrose Society, there are many people growing Prims across the country, and everyone shares info, they are an amazing genus and worth exploring. I was just in Iowa for Biz, for the first time, it was very beautiful with all of the farmland, vistas and corn.

  4. Matt, thanks for the info; I've got an attached greenhouse, but it's on the south side of the house... I just use it to over-winter plants. I have moderate luck outside with the vulgaris complex, especially Julianas, and of course sieboldii, cortusoides, kisoana (which is almost a weed), and a few others. What I really need to do is set up an irrigated bed, as we've had awful hot, dry summers.

  5. As an East Coast person, I'm happy that Heronswood moved

    out this way. It's allowed for me to go to the East Coast

    opens now. The last one was very good. Nice article here

    talks about the last one. Picked up some nice hellebores.


    Future Opens


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