Thanks to our friend Jackie Marro, we now have a video about our gardens. Learn of the history and the founder, George Howarth, as well as some great information on the care of rhododendrons. Here is the link – hope you enjoy!!! http://vimeo.com/57589212
In August of 2012, with great sadness, we said good-bye to a faithful friend, Nikki. Nikki was with us from the day we moved into Gleaner Gardens as a rambunctious puppy and became the ultimate watch-dog, always letting us know when something or someone was in the yard, that is, until she lost her hearing. Her favorite pastime was hunting rabbits and voles, and an occasional woodchuck, which she was very good at. Just short of her 14th birthday, we laid her to rest in the pet cemetery under the pine trees, surrounded by rhododendrons. She will be forever in our hearts and forever missed.
We are welcoming everyone to our 13th annual open gardens event this weekend and hope you can come by to say Hi and enjoy the gardens. A lot of rhodies are already passed, but there is always something good to look at here. You can click this link to see some guidelines for visitors:
Hope to see you!
I know, I know, it is almost Memorial Day Weekend, and I am still posting blogs for April. It is just one of those years…Cindy and I have had a lot of other things going on, and blogging has had to take a back seat. Sorry for that! Anyways, back to an epic April, just wanted to put some more photos up. First, some before and after photos. This is a photo of a dogwood bloom. Contrary to what many people may think, it is not a four-petaled flower. The white “petals” are actually modified leaves. The compound flowers are actually in the center of the “bloom” and are not yet open in this photo.
That photo was taken in early April. Two weeks later, the flowers in the center are starting to open:
OK, another before and after series: Many of our Yakushimanum hybrid rhodies are favorites of ours because of the different colors we get between the new buds and the open flowers. Typically, the emerging flowers are dark pink, as in this photo:
One the flowers open, they generally turn a lighter pink, sometimes almost becoming white. This particular bloom belongs to a Yakushimanum Rhododendron FCC.
OK, two more rhododendrons, and then I’m moving onto some other flowers that came into bloom in the latter half of April. Next to the Malta is an early-blooming nearly-white rhododendron that we have not been able to identify. It is possibly a Girard’s White:
And finally, one of our favorites due to its extraordinary color, is the “Purple Gem”, a very small-flowered, small-leaved rhody…although this picture is deceptive:
Ok, moving on to some more flowers, we had a number of native wildflowers and other blooming plants in blossom this April, such as the native Dicentra “bleeding hearts”:
We also have several patches of the native hardy geraniums, in several colors. These are true, perrenial Geraniums, not to be confused with the more commonly known Geraniums that have to be brought inside in the winter, which are actually in the genus Pelargonium. Here is a single bloom from one of ours:
My final entry on the wildflower front is our white trillium, also known as a white wake-robin (Trillium grandiflorum), a real nice addition to our gardens:
And last but not least, in the flowering-tree category, we planted a Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina) a few years ago. Last year, it had a few flowers. This year, it was absolutely full of flowers! The tree branches look like they are lined with hanging bells, which is nice, but I think they look even neater from below, such as here:
So, in summary, it had been an amazing April. It has also been an incredible May as well, but unfortunately we have been remiss in getting new photos out. And our peak bloom, which usually occurs a couple days either side of Memorial Day Weekend, was probably 4 or 5 days ago, so things are already starting to fade out, rhododendron-wise. But there is always something in bloom here, and we hope to put a few more photos up here and there. And don’t forget to stop by this coming Memorial Day Weekend for our 13th Annual open garden event! Hope to see you!
This April has been one for the record books! Although temperatures have been more seasonal this month than they were in March, we have had our share of warm days and, with a little bit of rain, the yard has really started to explode. We have never seen this much in bloom already as we get ready to start the month of May. We usually don’t see things this advanced until maybe the third week in May!
So this will be mostly a photoblog entry, with pictures of some of the plants that have been blooming this month. Early in the month, Malta and Mary Fleming were in bloom. And we had honeybees in them too! It is unusual to see anything but bumble bees this early in the year.
Also blooming earlier than usual was our Eastern Redbud tree (Cercis canadensis). The buds started swelling in late March, and by the second week in April, they started popping open.
At another corner of the house, bursting into bloom before we even noticed it was getting started, was our Flowering Almond (Prunus japonica), also known as a Korean Cherry or an Oriental Bush Cherry.
Many of our PJM Rhododendrons popped open in March, but we have a couple varieties that
do open later. Usually, our row of PJM “Olga” opens up in late April, as does our PJM “Checkmate”, but this year both were open by the second week.
Last year was the first year that our Fothergilla, also known as witch hobble, bloomed, and this year it has twice as many blooms on it! I imagine that in about ten years or so, thanks to its position near the road, it will stop traffic. It is not a very common shrub around here.
There are two other groups of shrubs near the Fothergilla that also have white flowers on them One of them is a plant that visitors ask often about, since it is an unusual four-petaled flower. This thin shrub with a parabolic growth habit is known as Jet Bead, named after jet-black berries that it produces after it blooms. Its botanical name is Rhodotypos scandens.
No one ever asks us about the other shrub, which is a shame. Despite the fact that its flowers are much smaller and rarely noticed, Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) is prettier when viewed close up.
Moving along the stone wall, near the street, and adding a bit of color, is another new plant of ours. We’ve added a couple patches of creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera), a native herbaceous perrenial.
That pretty much sums up what was in bloom by the middle of April. It is quite a lot, and April was only halfway over by then! In our next entry we will continue with more pics of what turned out to be an April quite like no other we have ever seen. Until then, here is a teaser.
In the 13 years that Cindy and I have owned the property we call Gleaner Gardens, we have never seen PJM Rhododendrons in bloom in April. Here is one of our clumps on March 23, 2012:
Right on the other side of the driveway from this clump, we have a small garden, where we have the pink Andromeda that was featured in the last post. In front of it is a Magnolia tree, which also has never had blooms that have seen the month of March. While most of the blooms were still merely swelling, one decided that enough was enough.
A landscaper friend of mine who knows a lot more about lawns than I do, once told me that the best time to put down a pre-emergent for crab-grass control was as soon as the Forsythia started blooming. Well, if you usually put down pre-emergents, and you haven’t yet done so, it may be too late. Here are some of ours a week ago:
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint) the cold weather of this last week has slowed things down a bit. Hopefully, there has not been so much cold that it damaged any of the flowers that are starting to form on our less-hardy plants. We have had late-spring bud-kill in the past, and it is always disappointing. But, so far so good. Our Eastern Redbud tree is loaded with flowers, and the buds are going to be ready to pop open at the next warm spell, we think.
As we already noted, the birds seem to be early as well. Red-winged blackbirds and grackles have been through, and all of the robins are starting to work out their territories and building nests. We have already seen eastern phoebes and red-shafted flickers, and are pretty sure we heard a hummingbird buzz by. The great-blue herons are back as well. Most amazingly to me: I have already heard American Toads trilling in the evening, and this is at least a month early for them!
And usually it doesn’t seem like Spring to me until the mulch goes down. Well…that happened this week! Usually we’re lucky to get it done by mid April. So we’re ahead of the game. How about you?
A daffy spring indeed! Spring peepers have been calling for a week, along with red-winged blackbirds and grackles. Robins are already setting up territories, and I saw my first yellow-shafted flicker today! This is very early.
Usually, our first rhododendron to bloom every year, the Korean Rhododendrons (Rhododendron mucronulatum), are in bloom by the second week in April. Early for them is maybe the last few days of March. This year, they started popping open 5 days ago! Here is our largest as of today, March 19!
The Dauricums and the PJM Rhodies are not too far behind!! All of our Andromeda are in bloom as well, which is quite early for these plants.
There were not, of course, the first shrubs in bloom. Those prizes always go to the witch hazels. This year, we
have added a couple varieties of Hamamelis intermedia, which are spring bloomers. One, called Arnold’s Promise, has a spectacular yellow cascading bloom. The other
is more sparsely flowered, and the blooms themselves are not nearly as dense, but up close, the flower is spectacular in its own right.
Looking around the yard today, it appears that there are many plants right behind these. Our magnolia tree ought to be sending out its large pink blooms any day now. More daffodils will be opening up, and the redbud tree will soon be lacing its branches in pink. We hope that we don’t get another hard freeze at this point, otherwise it could damage many blooms that are starting to open early. Keep your fingers crossed!
So, Happy Spring from Gleaner Gardens!