Tag Archives: salix

Tour of the Garden – 8/24/17

The Grasses

What else would I lead with at this time of year? Duh. I’m well aware that my last post featured Flame Grass, but I couldn’t resist featuring it yet again. Those silvery blooms blowing in the wind bring the garden to life. Once that green foliage color turns every imaginable shade of orange, it will be sensory overload.

 

Can you say focal point? Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) is killer right now. While I love it massed for maximum effect, it can hold its own on its own. While the flowers or inflorescence are a show-stopper, give me the sturdy blue stems any day of the week. Even on a Monday.

 

Ho-hum, another Panicum ‘Northwind’ pic.

 

The red is really shining through on Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’. These grasses are incredibly fool-proof and have been for over a decade now.

 

Multiple grasses are anchoring this garden scene. I’ll say it again, as ubiquitous as it may be, the upright and tan blooms of Karl Foerster grass add so much to the late summer garden. Massed or dotted throughout the garden, it doesn’t matter. It works and I won’t stop using it any time soon.

 

Just a different Instagram filter for a different vibe.

 

Fine, you win

I cut it down to the ground in early spring. I cut it back again in June. I chopped off a ton of the branches after they were infested with Japanese beetles.

It doesn’t matter. This Salix ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ (Dappled Willow) just keeps growing and growing. If I’m being honest, I’m bored with it but I can’t imagine trying to remove it.

Oh well.

 

Not looking good

All of my Achillea (Yarrow) ‘Moonwalker’ look like this or worse. The funny thing is they thrived earlier in the summer like never before.

 

I told myself I wouldn’t dabble in red-blooming Lobelias any longer. They have never escaped the jaws of the deer or the rabbits. Just when all 5 were starting to look great while blooming together, this happened. I even sprayed the bastards with Deer Off the night before.

I’m done.

 

You know I love me some Sneezeweed ‘Mariachi Series’. But for the first time since I’ve planted them, they are toppling over. It may have been due to a recent deluge of rain so I’ll do my best to remain patient.

 

Still chasing

Yes, still awkwardly running after each and every Monarch butterfly.

 

Autumn has arrived

This is the Viburnum that I ceremoniously moved to a new location in the garden a few weeks back. I’m sure the red leaves are due to the stress I put on it and not the fact that fall has come a few weeks to early. Either way, that color is solid and I have big hopes for the future as it matures.

But even better is the sign of all of those berries. This is a Viburnum dentatum ‘All That Glitters’ which requires ‘All That Glows’ as a pollinator. I have both planted close to each other and I’m assuming this is the result of that pollination. They should turn purple in color in the coming weeks.

 

All of my Itea (Virginia Sweetspire) turn red prematurely in August. This is the dwarf cultivar ‘Little Henry’ which I’m allowing to sucker like mad in a very wet part of the garden.

 

While it may be slight, you can start to see the color transformation in the foliage of the Amsonia.

Amsonia tabernaemontana

Amsonia hubrichtii

 

The Red Twig Dogwood just displayed its red stems for the first time this week. And for those curious, the leaf damage was from Japanese beetles a few weeks back.

 

Ready to shine

The Eupatorium ‘Wayside’ (Hardy Ageratum) are starting to bloom.

But have they ever taken over.

So many of you warned me of this and it is coming to fruition. It may be OK this year, but I see a problem with the years to come. I’ll need to jump on this soon to prevent a total takeover.

 

Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ is rounding into form and they are all inundated with bees.

 

Helenium (Sneezweed) has popped up all over my garden where I least expected it and I’m good with that. That is until it falls over when the many flowers emerge at once.

 

They may not “shine” but Chelone lyonii (Turtlehead) ‘Hot Lips’ adds a nice dash of color in late summer.

 

My continuing use of annuals

I’ve added Heliotrope …

… and Persian Shield

… and I must admit I might be coming around even more on using annuals. As many of you know, I’ve rarely used annuals in the garden outside of containers but finally embraced them this year. I’m getting the “fill-in” functionality and long bursts of color. While I prefer to grow over time with my plants, I may be finally crossing the dark side.

 

I love you, but don’t know where to go with you

I am like totally in love with Aralia ‘Sun King’.

Look at that foliage.

Problem is I have no room for it in my garden. All of my shaded areas are accounted for and even if I made room, I worry about the deer destroying it.

So for now, I’m digging it in a container, shaded on my front porch, and will do my best to overwinter it in the container.

 

 

Spring pruning time

This moment could not have come soon enough. With some free time early this morning coupled with the fact that it was 60 degrees here in New Jersey, it was a no-brainer to get outdoors and cross some spring gardening tasks off of the list, specifically, some spring pruning.

For today, it was the pruning of two of the largest shrubs in my garden and two shrubs that I pruned to the ground (with success) last spring: Redtwig Dogwood and Dappled Willow (Salix ‘Hakuro Nishiki’).

Here is the original post on the spring pruning of the redtwig dogwood:
pruning redtwig dogwood

And the original post on the spring pruning of the dappled willow:
pruning Salix

And here is an update I posted on the progress of both shrubs last June:
pruning updates in June

And to further update you on the results of the severe spring pruning, here is a photo of the redtwig dogwood prior to it being pruned this morning:

redtwig winter

Even after being cut to the ground last March, this deciduous shrub ended up growing to about 5-6′ feet tall and 3-4′ wide. And the red stem color was killer all fall/winter.

late fall garden 2

I heard more compliments and more “what is this shrub” comments from visitors this winter than ever before. In other words, “success”.

The Dappled Willow went bananas after it was also pruned to the ground last March. Check these pics out.

In June.

salix

And in September.

salix

Totally out of control. This year I need to do a better job of cutting this back a few times throughout the year to keep it in bounds.

Back to this morning.

The redtwig dogwood was up first.

spring pruning

As much as it pained me to see it go, it is necessary for me to keep it at a size that doesn’t outgrow its location. I’ve tried other redtwig dogwood shrubs in other parts of my garden, and the deer have destroyed it every time. In this location along the front foundation of my home, it has escaped them. The only issues are that it is a tighter fit and not full sun. But three years in, we are still good to go.

By the way, I make it a point to save the cut stems for indoor decorating because you know, I’m all about the interior decorating.

redtwig branches

Next up was the Salix.

spring pruning

A little bit tougher to cut back with the thicker stems.

spring pruning

But if you have nice and sharp loppers like I do and if you are as brutally strong as I am, you should be fine.

salix branches

This was the second year in a row that a bird nested in this shrub during the winter and I made sure all was clear before proceeding this morning. No birds were injured as part of this project.

bird egg salix

With nothing but warm weather on the horizon, expect to see more spring chore completion over the next few days.

Pruning updates

This spring (end of March) I pruned my Redtwig Dogwood just about to the ground.

pruning redtwig dogwood 3

And here is how it looks as of today, June 10th.

redtwig dogwood

It took a while to get going in April and early May but man has it taken off since. And it couldn’t look more fresh and healthy. I’m even convinced the leaves are much larger than they have ever been.

redtwig dogwood 2

So to date, all is good. The next test will be in the Fall/Winter as we analyze the redness of the stems.

Next up is the Salix (Dappled Willow). This deciduous shrub was also cut back severely in March.

pruning salix 6

And holy crap Batman has this savage shrub recovered quickly.

salix

We’re talking about 6 feet high and wide.

The coloration early on was phenomenal.

salix

And then settled in at about the same color as it was at this time last year.

What I now know for sure, is that it will require a yearly pruning in early spring in order to not outgrow its current location.

Such is the life of an avid gardener.

Pruning Salix ‘Hakuro Nishiki’

Today was the official start of the gardening season. I completed my first official gardening “task”. And by task, I mean getting outside, freezing the ass off and performing some sort of physical labor. That task was pruning Salix ‘Hakuro Nishiki’. A shrub that I absolutely adore. 

But first, allow myself … to introduce myself and what the plan of attack would be for this shrub.

With that in mind, here is what she looked like by the end of last summer.

salix4

Just about ready to really take over my deck. The only choice I see is to cut it back severely in order to keep it in bounds. Not to mention the possibility of improving on the white and pink variegation in spring.   

So this is where we started off today.

pruning salix

As you can see below, the buds have just started to form on the branches so pruning Salix time is of the essence.

pruning salix 2

I didn’t take photos of the actual pruning of the Salix, as I basically cut all of the branches down to about 12-18 inches off of the ground. Even with some of the thicker branches (close to 2″ in diameter) I was able to cut these down using hand pruners and a little brute force.

I did my best, where possible, to cut right above a bud in hopes of having the newly chopped down branches leaf out in a well shaped manner. Honestly I don’t even know if it was necessary but we will see how it plays out.

pruning salix 4

After the severe pruning of the Salix ‘Hakuro Nishiki’, here is what she looked like.

pruning salix 3

pruning salix 6

A rather large hole in the garden right now, but I’m willing to put up with it knowing how quickly this shrub puts out growth each year.

All in all, the pruning took no more than 5 minutes with minimal effort. Now the waiting game begins.

pruning salix 5

Pruning Salix is only one of the many planned severe prunings I have planned for this spring. As always, I will be sure to track the results throughout the spring/summer/fall/winter.

I would love to hear all of your feedback in the comments section if you’ve pruned your Salix in the past.

 

Salix Hakuro Nishiki

A little over two years ago, I created a masterpiece post about Salix Hakuro Nishiki (Dappled Willow) and my new found love of this shrub. I was immediately taken by the variegation of the leaves with its mix of pink, white and green hues. Not to mention the appeal of it’s fast growth rate and love of wet soil.

At the time, I wondered aloud about how best to prune it and when. I had quickly realized it could wear out its welcome in it current location yet I enjoyed having something substantial in my relatively young garden. I also wanted to determine the best way to maximize the variegation and stem color. How was one to deal with such a life altering dilemma?

Fast forward to this past spring and I had yet to touch it.

willow

And she looked damn good.

Upon closer inspection, I even had catkins growing for the first time. Small and delicate in nature and a nice added bonus to its spring appeal.

willow-bug

And that fantastic Salix Hakuro Nishiki leaf color was still in play as the spring progressed.

salix2

willow2

The sight of the back lit leaves with the late afternoon sun grabbed my eye every time I gazed out on to my deck.

willow2

But as you will see in the following pics, homegirl finally outgrew her spot.

salix4

salix

So now the time has finally arrived to prune Salix Hakuro Nishiki back hard in late winter 2015. I’m thinking a severe pruning down to about a foot hoping that by season’s end, this willow will recover to a size of about 4′ x 4′.

I’m also hoping to continue to have the appealing red winter stems I’ve seen on this willow with the current season’s growth.

winter salix

More to come in 2015.

 

Random musings

Some thoughts as we head into the weekend:

I am now realizing the ornamental interest with Baptisia seed pods:

The grasses are starting to make their presence known:

Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’:

Panicum ‘Northwind’:

From left to right – Miscanthus ‘Gracillimus’, Miscanthus ‘Purpurascens’ and Calamagrostis ‘Eldorado’:

 

Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’:

 

I planted Veronica ‘Royal Candles’ in mass this spring and the color blast is most welcomed right now:

Daylily ‘Little Grapette’ is still chugging away and I am enjoying the blooms for the first time in three years as the deer have stayed away. Like I’ve always said, daylillies are the greatest:

And finally, Salix ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ is kind of liking its space. Looking at a severe pruning next winter:

 

 

Have a great one.

A garden update

Here’s what’s new out in the garden:

My young Malus (Crabapple) ‘Prairie Fire’, recently saved from an invasion of tent caterpillars, is in full bloom and I am loving it:

Not so long ago I complained about the lack of variegation on the Salix (Dappled Willow) ‘Hakuro Nishiki’. Not so much any more:

  

Newly in bloom is Geranium ‘Espresso’, but the foliage is the true winner here:

I have promised my daughter she will faint at the sight of the bloom of Allium ‘Globemaster’. Why I planted only one is still a mystery to me:

Here come the peonies and a potential showdown with the neighborhood deer:

I continue to love Juniper ‘Gold Cone’ more and more:

The heliotrope are planted and me likey:

And the pansies continue to thrive:

My precious lemon has turned into … well … a lemon … and soon we will all enjoy said lemon in some sort of celebratory ceremony, still to be determined:

Emerging foliage of spring

Spring refuses to fully embrace itself so we continue to move at a snail’s pace out in the garden. But the plants are finally revealing their emerging foliage, almost out of fear.

Like Crataegus viridis (Hawthorn) ‘Winter King’:

And Betula nigra (River Birch):

Some of the deciduous shrubs have finally shown emerging foliage, like this Cornus sericea (Redtwig Dogwood):

And Physocarpus (Ninebark) ‘Diablo’:

A few perennials decided to finally make an appearance. Hello Cimicifuga (Bugbane) ‘Pink Spire’:

Peonies unfurling at their own steady pace:

 

Now there has been some serious progress on other fronts. Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’ buds have turned full blown pink and look phenomenal: 

 

 

Speaking of this Viburnum. I count today as its first day of having “interest” and it will continue to do provide such “interest” all the way into early November. If you do the math, that is almost seven months of interest. And that means it is fantastic 7/12 of the year. And that translates to a 58% “interest” rate which I might just calculate for every plant I own and add it to the plant spreadsheet.

Just thought you should know that.

While we are at it, let’s enjoy the emerging foliage of the Astilbes:

And the buds on Fothergilla ‘Mount Airy’

 

 

And finally, the tulips I’ve successfully grown in containers (hand pats back):

Good stuff, right? Well now let’s move over to the not so good or potentially not so good.

My Amelanchier (Serviceberry) ‘Autumn Brilliance’ is blooming:

But from a larger view, eh:

But more importantly, or more annoyingly, we have some serious bare legs:

I understand that this is the nature of this tree, but this extreme? I need to work on this one in some way.

Do I worry about this? Tent caterpillars?

I’m all for letting nature take its course, but not at the expense of my beloved Crabapple tree. More to come.

And finally, I am already regretting not strongly pruning the Salix (Dappled Willow) ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ in early spring. That awesome variegation is missing:

 

Look at the same shrub from only two years ago:

Chalk it up to experience and a new task added to the 2015 ledger.