Saturday, February 26, 2011

Winter Burn on Blue Atlas Cedar and Other Evergreens

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar
Some winters have been known to be unusually harsh on the landscape.  I for one have been getting a lot of questions regarding winter burn on weeping and upright Blue Atlas Cedar as well as on Cryptomeria and Golden Oriental Spruce.  The narrow needles on these evergreens can be prone to dehydration due to the drying effect of winter winds that can cause the needles to appear brown.  The intense snow and reflection of rays from the sun can also magnify this effect. 

Winter Burn on Blue Atlas Cedar

This browning of the needles or "winter burn" should correct itself once the weather starts to warm and water is able to get to the cells of the plant and once again activate the chlorophyll within.  If the tree is well established it should most likely fully recover and start to push out new growth as the temperatures rise.  If the tree looks severely damaged then getting water to the roots and deep root feeding in early spring are recommended to help the plant to recover.  Deep root feeding is a controlled fertilization process that supplies immediate beneficial nutrients directly to the root system to give it a boost. There is also a product on the market called PHC BioPak Plus which contains micro nutrients and beneficial bacteria to help the roots to absorb nutrients and help plants in stress.

Just an added note that the needles of Cryptomeria japonica do turn a bronze color in winter which is perfectly normal.  I have found that with the severe weather there has also been an increased number of fallen branches and browning of needles and branches; however, the winter winds seem to be nature's way of giving the trees a good cleaning out.   In the spring sunlight will be able to reach the inner portion of these evergreens and cause the trees to push out new growth.  

Skylands Oriental Spruce
There may be some winter burn and dead branches on your Oriental Spruce as well from the winter's winds and snow.  Spring is the best time to cut out any dead branches and the browned needles should recover once water moves back into the cells and chlorophyll causes the plant to re-gain its color. 

It is not recommended to spray the above-mentioned trees with anti-desiccant because it has been known to change the beautiful color of these trees. When in doubt always ask a tree professional.

Many evergreens do go through a natural shed of their inner needles approximately every three years in order to make room for new growth.  Once the harshness of the winter winds diminish and spring arrives new growth will eventually push out and restore the natural beauty of your evergreens.


Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2011. All rights reserved

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Berry Producing Shrubs: Color in the Landscape

Berry Producing Shrubs
There are a variety of wonderful berry producing shrubs that can add color and interest to the landscape. Some of these shrubs include Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo), Ilex 'Nellie R. Stevens' (Nellie Stevens Holly), Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape Holly), Barberry 'Rosy Glow' (Rosy Glow Barberry), Ilex verticillata (Winterberry) and Callicarpa Americana (Beauty Bush). All of these shrubs add color and interest to the landscape throughout the different seasons and are an important food source for birds as well.
Callicarpa Americana (Beauty Bush)

Callicarpa Americana or Beauty Bush is known for its beautiful purple berries produced in fall on open cascading branches. It is a native to  North America and is enjoyed by many as an addition to the natural garden. This plant is deciduous, is hardy to USDA zones 7-10 and does best in full sun to partial shade.
Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo)

Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) is not a bamboo at all but a hybrid evergreen plant that produces white flowers in spring followed by vibrant pinkish-red berries in late summer to fall that last throughout the winter months. Nandina prefers full sun to partial shade, is hardy in zones 4-10, and grows to approximately 5-8 feet tall.  There are also dwarf cultivars such as Nandina domestica 'Firepower' that stay on the smaller side to approximately 2-3 feet in height.

Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape Holly) 

Another interesting plant is Mahonia aquifolium or Oregon Grape Holly.  Known for its purple-blue grape-like berries in summer preceded by yellow blooms in spring it makes a nice addition to the natural garden. Mahonia is a bold broadleaf evergreen shrub with deep green summer foliage and deep burgundy-bronze winter foliage.  It has a holly appearance but is related to the barberry.  Mahonia grows to 3-6 feet tall and wide and is hardy to USDA Zone 5.
Ilex 'Nellie R. Stevens' (Nellie Stevens Holly) 

If you are looking for more of a privacy screening then Ilex 'Nellie Stevens' or Nellie Stevens Holly may be the plant for you. This holly has a showy dark green glossy foliage and produces bright red berries throughout fall and winter. Ilex 'Nellie Stevens' grows to 15-25 in height by approximately 10 feet in width and is hardy to USDA Zone 6.  It prefers to be grown in full to partial sun with afternoon shade and keeps its beautiful deep green foliage throughout the winter.  
Barberris 'Rosy Glow' (Rosy Glow Barberry) in Winter

Barberris thunbergii 'Rosy Glow' (Rosy Glow Barberry) is a deciduous berry producing shrub growing 2-3 feet tall that exhibits bright burgundy foliage throughout the entire summer followed by bright red berries throughout winter that are a favorite food for your winter bird friends. The initial foliage of this plant is a purplish color mottled with pink to red splotches that matures into a deep burgundy followed by insignificant yellow flowers and red berries. There are many forms of barberry including Barberris 'Royal Burgundy', a smaller version growing 1-2 feet in height and a personal favorite!  Barberry  is hardy in USDA Zones 4-8 and prefers to be grown in full sun.
Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)

Ilex verticillata or Winterberry is native to the eastern portion of North America and southeastern portion of Canada and is hardy in zones USDA 3-9. It is one of the deciduous forms of holly growing 5-15 feet tall, preferring partial shade and moist conditions. The attractive red fruits of Winterberry are a food source to many small mammals and more than 48 species of birds. It is commonly used in landscaping in its native northeastern location and provides nice winter interest. Winterberry is not self pollinating so its does require one male plant per group of females in order for the females to produce their vibrant berries.

Color and interest can be achieved in the landscape throughout the entire year. Try incorporating any of these berry-producing plants into your garden and enjoy the benefits they have to offer. You will experience vibrant color in your landscape and all season interest while providing a natural food source for your feathered visitors!   

As Always...Happy gardening!

Author: Lee @A Guide To Northeastern Gardening Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day February 2011

I am so excited to be participating in my very first Bloom Day! It was a breath of fresh air to be able to walk out into the garden on this cold winter day and see signs of spring as pussy willow catkins emerge and nature starts to show its wonders.
More to see.  Let's take a tour!

Garden gal is even smiling because her mondo grass is starting to show signs of life.
The sage has survived the winter (so far!)
Little green sprouts in the herb garden!
Alright...a little cheating.  Some blooms from the peace lily indoors.
And of course some pretty flowers on the counter to chase away the winter blues!
The snow is finally starting to melt here in the northeast and one month from now it will be a week away from spring and the garden will again awaken. 

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of each month, garden bloggers from around the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens.

Thank you to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for being our hostess and be sure to check out all the other wonderful blooms. Enjoy all the wonder that nature has to give and always be a gardener at heart.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Art of Gardening-Garden Photos

Elizabeth Murray~"Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas." A garden can be looked at as an art form created for the enjoyment of those who appreciate it.   It is a window to the imagination and creativity within.   I started this blog in order to share my love of gardening and information about gardening with others.  That being said and through the inspiration from fellow bloggers I have decided to go out on a limb (garden humor!) and deviate from the usual.  Since gardening itself can be looked upon as an art I decided to take some of my favorite garden photos and do some creating. The process involved incorporating the photos into Paint Shop Pro and experimenting with the various art media effects.  This is what I came up with.  I have not been able to master the art of collage/montage, as of yet but here’s what I have so far.  Hope you enjoy the photos and thank you to all you creative bloggers out there who have inspired me to step “outside of the box” and try something new!  

Perennial Garden in Spring (Layering & Distortion)
Perennial/Evergreen Garden ( Layering, Brush Stroke & Warp Combo)

Cottage Garden (Brush Stroke & Soften)

Peony (Brush Stroke & Enhance)

 Garden (Brush Stroke & Enhance)
Cottage Garden ( Layering, Brush Stroke & Enhance)
Perennial Garden (Brush Stroke, Enhance, Contrast)

Color in the Garden (Layering & Brush Stroke)
Hosta (Brush Stroke & Enhance)
My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece. ~ Claude Monet

Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed this little bit of garden whimsy.  I welcome any comments, advice or tips that you may have to share.  Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar-Focal Point in the Garden

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Pendula') 
One of my all time favorite evergreens in the landscape is Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’. Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar is a conical evergreen known for its graceful flowing nature and beautiful silvery blue-green needles.  It is a focal point and specimen in the garden and quite the conversation piece for its shape and irregular weeping pattern resembling a cascading waterfall. Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’ is hardy to USDA Zones 6-8, prefers an acidic-slightly alkaline well-drained loam soil and location in full sun (6-8 hours sunlight). They are tolerant of many soil types but will not fair well in soils with poor drainage such as clay.  
Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar Zones 6-8
Use this beautiful evergreen as a specimen planting where it will not be crowded and has plenty of room to spread. Depending on the structure of your tree it can reach a height of 10-15 feet and a width of 8-10 feet across and would be difficult to transplant once established. As your tree matures its cascading branches will drape down to the ground giving your tree grace and charm.

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Pendula')
Generally the trunk of a Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar can be trained as a spiral, grown horizontally or in a more upright form; therefore, they can be purchased at a variety of heights and shapes and will stay around the height at which they were trained. To prune the tree wait until late October-early November (mid-Fall) to clip off any weak or bent branches which are resting on the ground to an inch or two above the soil. The branches look best when cascading to the ground but it is recommended to perform this routine pruning in order to prevent any fungal disease that may result from the branches resting on soil. Branches that reach out beyond a desired point can also be pruned back to give fullness and strength to the structure of the tree. Other than that Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar do not require much pruning.  

 Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar takes on its own unique shape.

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar is not prone to any particular pests or diseases. Another plus is that they are also deer resistant! They do benefit from an early spring feeding and should be protected from strong winter winds. If you have clay soil break up the soil and add gypsum, which will help to improve drainage, or if the clay is very compact use a post-hole digger to dig down and add gravel to help water flow. When planting, allow this specimen plenty of room to grow so that it can reach its full potential.

If you are looking for something different, this specimen tree will highlight your landscape and bring you many years of enjoyment. Its silvery-blue needles and beautiful weeping habit make it an excellent addition as a focal point in the garden…an attribute that will only improve as your tree matures in age.  

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2011. All rights reserved

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hydrangea in Landscape Design

Hydrangea Varieties, Requirements & Pruning 
The next welcome addition to your landscape could be one of the many show-stopping varieties of hydrangea. Hydrangea produces a display of voluminous blooms on large deep green foliage throughout the summer months adding ongoing color and interest to your garden.  There are different varieties of hydrangea that you can choose from that differ slightly in lighting and soil requirements and time frame for pruning.
'Nikko  Blue'  Flower Head
The Mopheads (Hydrangea macrophylla) are the most widely planted hydrangea in home landscapes and are usually blue or pink in color with large leaves.Hydrangea ‘Nikko Blue’ is very well known in the landscape for its large blue ball-shaped flowers that bloom towards the later part of the summer and deepen in color as they mature. ‘Nikko Blue’ Hydrangea does bloom on old wood, which means that if you are looking to prune your plant it needs to be done immediately after flowering before the fall. Hydrangea ‘Nikko Blue’ grows best in moist, well-drained soil in partial shade. It reaches 3-5 feet in height and is hardy to USDA Zone 5. 
Hydrangea 'Endless Summer'
An alternative to Hydrangea ‘Nikko Blue’ is the new culitvar Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ which blooms on both old and new wood and ‘All Summer Beauty’ that blooms on the new growth of the season. Both of the later mentioned also have a much longer bloom time and repeatedly bloom throughout the summer. Each of these plants grows to approximately 3-5 feet in height, each grows best in partially shaded conditions (afternoon shade) and moist well drained soil and are hardy to USDA Zone 5. Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blushing Bride’ in the Endless Summer Collection displays white blooms that turn pink with age.  
 French Miniature Hydrangea macrophylla Pia 'Pink Elf''
Hydrangea ‘Pia’ is a miniature French hybrid with broad pink flowers growing only to 2 to 3 feet in height, a good candidate for small spaces in zones 5-9. ‘Pia’ grows best in partial sun with afternoon shade and prefers a rich organic soil. Pia hydrangea bloom on old wood and generally need little to no pruning; however, if needed, prune immediately after flowering by cutting back flowering stems to a point of healthy buds. 
Hydrangea 'Tokyo Delight'
Another variety of Hydrangea ‘macrophylla’ is the Lacecap Hydrangea that displays a smaller inner circle of lace-like flowers surrounded by a ring of larger showier flowers. A favorite is Hydrangea ‘Tokyo Delight’ that displays beautiful cobalt blue flowers with an inner ring of delicate white flowers, grows to 4-6 feet and blooms late July through August, prefers afternoon shade, moist well drained soil and is hardy to USDA Zone 6. Prune Hydrangea ‘Tokyo Delight’ immediately after bloom since new buds form on the older wood from the previous season.
Hydrangea 'Twist & Shout'
If you like Lacecap hydrangea, new to the Endless Summer Collection is Hydrangea 'Twist & Shout'. Introduced in 2010 this show stopper is the first lacecap variety in this collection and blooms on old and new wood like the others. Lacy deep-pink centers are surrounded by larger blossoms of pink or periwinkle blue depending on pH of the soil. Leaves turn red-burgundy in fall to offer year-round interest in the garden. Hydrangea 'Twist & Shout is hardy to zone 4 and grows to a height of 3-4 feet.
Peegee Hydrangea Tree Form
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ or the ‘Peegee' Hydrangea is a personal favorite of mine for extremely large pyramidal white blooms in July throughout fall and abundant fragrance in the garden. Hydrangea ‘Peegee’ can be grown as a shrub or tree form and can serve as either a group planting or as a single specimen in a landscape design. Hydrangea ‘Grandiflora’ also grows 3-5 feet or higher in its tree form. This particular hydrangea can grow well in full to partial sun and blooms on new wood. Sent to the US from Japan in 1861 this beauty is a showpiece in the garden
and is hardy in Zones 4-8.
Panicle Hydrangea 'Tardivia'
Panicle hydrangea are known for being the most cold hardy and are very tolerant of pruning.  They can reach a height of ten to fifteen feet or can be pruned to keep more compact.  For a similar look to ‘Peegee’ with creamy-white panicle-shaped blooms and a more open look is Hydrangea ‘Tardivia’. Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ is a newer introduction with beautiful elongated lime colored panicles that bloom in late summer and last through fall. Hydrangea 'Tardivia' and ‘Limelight’ both do best in full to partial sun and bloom on new wood. 
Hydrangea 'Annabelle'
Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, a native of the U.S., is a more shade tolerant hydrangea that produces showy ball shaped white blooms in summer, grows 3-5 feet in height and is hardy to USDA Zone 3. ‘Annabelle’ blooms on new wood and can be severely pruned in winter in order to restore shape. 
Hydrangea 'Bella Anna' (Endless Summer Collection)
Hydrangea 'Bella Anna' is the first variety of Hydrangea arborescens to be introduced into the Endless Summer Collection.  Bella Anna prefers to be grown in a moist, well-drained soil  in full sun to partial shade.  It is hardy in zones 4-9, grows 3-5 feet in height and is a repeat bloomer. Its strong stalks support huge magenta-pink flower heads and it blooms on new and old wood.
Oakleaf Hydrangea
The last two varieties of hydrangea are Hydrangea quercifolia or ‘Oakleaf ‘Hydrangea and Climbing Hydrangea. The Oakleaf hydrangea serves as an excellent plant for massing in a woodland setting.  The name ‘Oakleaf’ comes from the oak-shaped leaves that turn a bright mahogany red in fall for a brilliant display. The upright panicles of large white flowers appear in June and the plant has a rounded habit, grows 4-6 feet in height and is hardy to USDA Zone 5. Hydrangea quercifolia does well in partial shade in a well drained most soil. This hydrangea blooms on old wood and should be pruned immediately after flowering. Climbing Hydrangea (H. anomala petiolaris) is an upcoming variety becoming more popular in the landscape. As the name implies this hydrangea once established produces vigorous vines and a profusion of lightly scented blooms. 
H. anomala petiolaris-Climbing Hydrangea
Hydrangea are deciduous and can be complemented nicely by a backdrop of evergreens that serve as a "foundation" for the planting to maintain all year interest in the garden. Arborvitae, Skip Laurel, Cherry Laurel, Holly and Yew are good companions that can serve this purpose. Other companion plants for hydrangea are perennials such as hosta, heuchera (coral bells), astilbe and rudbeckia which can add extra color and interest throughout the summer months.
Endless Summer Collection
Hydrangea has been a favorite plant of gardeners for centuries and will continue to show off their beauty in the landscape. There are selections for every taste and with the new cultivars that bloom on new and old wood pruning is now made easier. Hydrangea can fit into a variety of landscape styles and serve as an excellent addition for color in a partially shaded area. Give this plant a chance to shine in your garden and you will be happy you did!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.