March 2017 Garden
As we head into spring, it is time to reflect on the garden once again. It has certainly been another unusual winter here in the northeast. There have been significant signs of a changing climate over the past few years with seasons shifting by several weeks. While Autumn has lingered well into December and January with milder than normal temperatures, winter has set back in with hopefully its last performance. Spring arrives in just five days, but the true arrival of spring temperatures this year and over the past few years have been delayed. There are many signs of spring however; and it's time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up. Come along and walk with me in my Long Island garden to see what's new for month of March!
Heuchera 'Caramel' and 'Evergold' Sedge
There have been visible foliage changes on many of the semi-evergreen perennials, such as on Heuchera 'Caramel' and 'Evergold' Sedge. Several days with temperatures up into the 60's over the past couple of weeks have prompted new growth. Right before new growth emerges, some of the foliage turns into a rainbow of color.
|Heuchera 'Caramel' (Coral Bells)|
|Hellebore 'Shooting Star'|
The Hellebore 'Shooting Star' is now in full bloom now during the month of March. They bring such a joy to the garden during the winter months, with blooms right into spring.
|Hellebore 'Shooting Star'|
I have three clusters of Hellebores on the north side of the property and they have been blooming ever since January. All they really need is a mostly shaded area with a well-drained soil. The only maintenance required is the removal of worn out leaves to allow for new growth. You can read more about Hellebores in a recent post.
|Hellebore 'Shooting Star' Bud|
The newly formed buds display a pinkish hue before opening to a large mature greenish-white flower with a tinge of pink towards the center.
Along on the northern side of the property with the Hellebores is Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Crippsii' (Crippsii Hinoki Cypress). The evergreen keeps its bright golden foliage all year long, and in spring new growth is lighter in color than deeper tones within. Next to the cypress is Nandina 'domestica' with its bright winter berries. Nandina domestica is also known as "false bamboo" because even though the foliage resembles bamboo, it is not a member of the bamboo family.
The outer silvery hairs that appear as catkins are actually a protective cover for the reproductive parts below. Larger male catkins and smaller female catkins form in March on the same plant and burst open later in the month, exposing yellow pollen-bearing anthers and stigmas.
|'Crippsii' Hinoki Cypress (Left) and Nandina 'domestica' (Right)|
|Nellie Stevens Berries March|
Here are the Nellie Stevens Holly on the west side of the property. This winter has been very good for their production of berries and these evergreen trees can be perceived from a distance as almost glowing!
|Weeping Pussy Willow March|
One of my favorite trees at this time of year is Weeping Pussy Willow (Salix caprea Pendula). Weeping Pussy Willow is hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and grows to an approximate height and width of 6-8 feet. Its beautiful weeping characteristic is almost fountain-like and adds much interest to the landscape. The development of its large silvery-white catkins are one of the first signs of spring!
|Weeping Pussy Willow Catkins March|
Here is Sedum 'Brilliant' forming its perfectly shaped rosettes that signal spring. Bright shocking pink blooms don't appear until late summer on this plant, but the foliage is just as to be admired. It is one of the most dependable and maintenance free perennials in the garden.
|Hinoki Cypress 'Nana' and 'Montgomery' Globe Blue Spruce|
As I have mentioned in the past, evergreens are the backbone of the garden, especially during the winter months. Here is a combination you have not seen before. In the backdrop is Dwarf Hinoki Cypress 'Nana' with Montgomery Globe Spruce in the foreground. Cypress 'Nana' is a true dwarf, this one reaching a height of only five feet in fifteen years. It is perfect for small spaces. In this case, I wanted the golden color of the evergreen without too much height in front of the pool area.
I always find the male Cardinals to look so majestic!
Many of the birds that reside on the property have been carefully analyzing trees for housing, as they are anticipating building their nests for spring. I have noticed this ritual over the years and have seen a pattern of particular birds preferring certain trees. They get very territorial and tend to claim their real estate quickly!
The month of March has certainly been an interesting one. While I had already been out working in the garden during the milder days, the weekend right before Bloom Day brought about some of the coldest days of the winter, with a snowfall on the 10th.
As quickly as spring bulbs were emerging, the snow came down and covered them, insulating them a little longer from the colder temperatures on the way.
The weekend before Bloom Day brought the northeast some of the coldest days of the entire winter with wind chills of -10 to -15 below zero, and now as Bloom Day has arrived, Winter Storm Stella just slammed much of the northeast with blizzard force winds and over a foot of snow. Due to the storm shifting west, the snow on the south shore of Long Island quickly changed over to sleet and rain.
While winter gets in its final farewell, this gardener is dreaming of spring.
I hope you enjoyed your stroll through my March garden. Special thanks go out to our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Today's Flowers, Floral Fridays, Macro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides and Saturday's Critters at Viewing Nature with Eileen.
Gardening season is on the way! Have you had a chance to check out my books? If not, you can see my author page with links to previews of both books here. The first, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening focuses on specific types of gardens with plant recommendations and maintenance tips to keep your garden looking its best. The second book, Landscape Design Combinations goes into greater detail, teaching the concepts of design, while offering a multitude of garden plans with numbering and detailed descriptions of each plant suggested. If you have read either A Guide to Northeastern Gardening or Landscape Design Combinations and found them to be useful, please consider leaving a brief review. Reviews help a book get noticed (especially when new), and I would really appreciate your help!
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As Always...Happy Gardening!