Saturday, March 30, 2013

Feature Spring Flowering Shrub: Viburnum

~Viburnum Varieties~

Spring has arrived and a favorite and versatile flowering shrub for the garden is viburnum.  There are over 150 varieties of this deciduous to semi-evergreen shrub ranging in size from three to twenty feet, many of which are native to Long Island.  Viburnum are known for their elegant pinkish-white blooms, some fragrant, followed by bright green foliage.  Many species are noted for their brilliant fall foliage followed by berries, which are an excellent food source for winter birds. Viburnum prefer to be grown in full sun to partial shade in a moist but well-drained slightly acidic (pH 5.6-6.6) soil.   Due to their versatility they fit beautifully into a number of landscapes including shrub borders, foundation plantings, screening or woodland plantings. The varieties of viburnum that will be discussed here have proven to be successful in the northeastern zone 7 garden.
Viburnum 'Summer Snowflake'
Height 6-8', Width 8-10'
Hardy to Zone 5
Viburnum 'Summer Snowflake' is definitely a favorite and one of the more popular varieties I use in my landscape designs because of its more compact habit and profuse flat white flowers that last throughout summer and somewhat resemble a dogwood bloom. 'Summer Snowflake' is commonly planted in groupings and can reach a height of 6-8 feet, but can be maintained as a smaller shrub.   It is a lovely addition to an informal foundation planting or in a woodland setting. 
Viburnum 'Carlcephalum' (Fragrant)
Height 6-10', Width 6-10'
Hardy to Zones 4-5

If you are looking to appeal to the senses then Viburnum 'Carlcephalum' will surround you with fragrant snowball like clusters of blooms in early spring.  This variety of viburnum is commonly used as a backdrop in a perennial border or as an individual focal point in the garden and is one of the first viburnums to bloom.
Viburnum 'Juddii' (Fragrant)
Height 4-6', Width 4-6'
Hardy to Zones 4-5

Viburnum 'Juddii' is a favorite for the informal woodland setting and and its lovely bright green foliage fits in nicely against a backdrop of darker evergreens.  'Juddii' produces sweetly fragrant clusters of pinkish-white blooms in early spring and stays full and rounded at a mature height and width of 4-6 feet.

Viburnum 'Juddii' Bloom 
Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesi'
Height 4-6', Width 4-6'
Hardy to Zones 4-5
 Viburnum 'Mariesi' produces deep green ridged foliage and beautiful white blooms resembling those of a lace cap hydrangea on a rounded 4-6' high by wide shrub in late spring.  Its tiered branching habit makes it a graceful addition to a mixed border or natural landscape.   
Viburnum carlesi 'Korean Spice' (Fragrant)
Height 4-6', Height 4-6'
Hardy to Zones 4-5
'Korean Spice' Viburnum is another favorite displaying pinkish buds in spring followed by clusters of highly fragrant pinkish-white blooms.   Given the name 'Korean Spice' the blooms give off an aroma resembling spice cake throughout the landscape.  The dark green foliage of this viburnum turns to a bright red in fall followed by the appearance of attractive berries.
Viburnum rhytidophyllum 'Leatherleaf' (Semi-Evergreen)-Fragrant
Height 10-15', Width 10-15'
Hardy to Zones 3-5

The last is 'Leatherleaf' Viburnum which is one of the semi-evergreen varieties in zone 7.  Due to its higher stature it is often used as hedging or as a backdrop in privacy border.  In spring Viburnum rhytidophyllum 'Leatherleaf' produces fragrant clusters of creamy-white blooms on coarsely textured blue-green foliage.  Fall interest includes the formation of blue berries starting in June and developing into mature black berries by September.  Leatherleaf Viburnum will tolerate shadier conditions and moister soil conditions than most other viburnums.

Viburnum are a wonderful way to welcome spring.  Their versatility makes them an excellent addition to many a landscape and while providing all season interest another attribute is that they are also "deer resistant".  Try one or more of the many varieties available as an addition to your landscape.

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2013. All rights reserved


Friday, March 22, 2013

Digital Garden Art: Part II With Adobe Photoshop

Ruffled Daylily Artistic Brush Stroke with Ink Outlines
 I finally made the move to purchase Adobe Photoshop and have been enjoying learning how to produce some digital art from my garden photos.  It is going to take some time to learn all the program has to offer and I am anticipating taking many new photos to work from.  Just when I thought my appreciation for the art of nature could not be any greater I am now enjoying the beauty of the garden through yet a different medium. 
Coneflower Adobe Photoshop Artistic Dry Brush
 I am using a variety of techniques including dry brush strokes, angled and crosshatch strokes, ink outlines and blurs to soften the effects. This Coneflower is a photo that I took at Old Westbury Gardens. I applied an Artistic Dry Brush Stroke to achieve this effect. 
Dahlia Adobe Photoshop Dry Brush
 This Dahlia photo was taken at the Planting Fields Arboretum last summer. It was also created with Artistic Dry Brush.   Dahlias have a lot of structure to begin with so this was an easy flower to work with.
Stargazer Lillium Adobe Photoshop Dry Brush Gaussian Blur
Artistic Dry Brush Sponge and Gaussian Blur were used to create the softer look of this Stargazer Lillium from my home garden ...

Japanese Iris Adobe Photoshop Artistic Sponge

as well as this Japanese Iris. The sponge tool gives more of a watercolor appearance to the photograph.
Daylily Adobe Photoshop Artistic Dry Brush

Photographs of the Daylily (above) and Coneflower (below) were also taken at Old Westbury Gardens. I used the Dry Brush and Cut Out tools but then altered the brush stroke size to get the look I wanted. 
Coneflower Adobe Photoshop Artistic Dry Brush Cut Out
The peony (below) is a favorite bloom in my personal garden. The photograph has been created using the Filter Oil Painting Application.  Thanks to Donna at GWGT and my graphic designer cousin I learned this part of the program and am hooked!
Peony Adobe Photoshop Filter Oil Painting (Newly Added)
This is a Ruffled Daylily from Planting Fields Arboretum with the Filter Oil Paint Application. 
Daylily Photoshop Filter Oil Paint Application (Newly Added)

Here is the same coneflower as above with the Filter Oil Paint Application.
Coneflower Adobe Filter Oil Paint (Newly Added)
Last but not least is the Wisteria in my backyard created using the Artistic Dry Brush-Cut Out Brush Stroke.
Wisteria Adobe Photoshop Artistic Dry Brush Cut Out

I have found the Artistic tools to be my favorites so far but this is just the very beginning of my venture.  Next it is onto layering several photos onto one which I have been told is a challenge and may take extensive reading of my Adobe book.  I am enjoying my newest indoor hobby of transforming the beauty of nature into digital art while the weather outside is freezing but will be soon venturing back into the garden. Thanks to all the wonderful digital artists out there who have inspired me to give this a try. 

As Always...Happy Gardening!
Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2013. All rights reserved

Friday, March 15, 2013

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day March 2013: Signs of Spring

It is now mid March and less than a week until spring officially arrives! The Weeping Pussy Willow catkins are bursting open out of their winters sleep and the temperatures are finally rising up into the 40's and 50's as another Garden Blogger's Bloom Day is here. The seasons have re-adjusted themselves and the garden seems delayed when compared to last year but blooms are starting to show. The winter started off quiet with milder than usual temperatures and little snow followed by frigid temperatures in January and then the blanket of white which arrived in February. I am now as ready for spring as could ever be. Come take a walk with me to see what is showing in the garden. 
Weeping Pussy Willow Catkins
Hyacinth Buds
There are signs of spring with Hyacinth bulbs starting to emerge showing their buds. 

Last year this time the garden was looking more like this but everything was a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. 
Glad to see the crocus are coming out of their hiding...showing their wonderful green and white striped foliage up through the mulch.  It won't be long now before they display their beautiful purple blooms.
Heuchera 'Caramel'

I love my new Heuchera 'Caramel' in the garden for its third season.  This is what is looks like at the end of winter even with all the snow.  It is starting to develop its new brighter foliage for spring.
Stachys (Lamb's Ear)

Welcome Lamb's Ear!  It is coming out of its winter rest and showing its soft new growth.

Sedum 'Brilliant' New Spring Growth

Sedum 'Brilliant' is showing is lovely rosette-like foliage.  It looks like it may be a banner year for these brilliant pink blooms in late summer.

Backyard Gardens

In the gardens the Barberry 'Rosy Glow' is developing its pinkish-burgundy foliage and the Gold Mop Cypress are coming back to life with their golden color.  As the weather warms I anticipate the arrival of colorful perennials to fill in the beds with a sea of purple and yellow. 

Spring is such a wonderful time of the year when the garden comes back to life and there is so much to anticipate as the garden slowly emerges day by day.  Thanks to our hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens we can experience blooms every month of the year.  Please be sure to visit Carol to see what else is blooming in March in other gardens from around the world.

And As Always...Welcome and Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2013. All rights reserved


Friday, March 1, 2013

Spring Flowering Trees: Pretty in Pink and White

Spring Flowering Trees
As spring approaches it is time to access the garden and plan for the upcoming season. Do you have any spring flowering landscape plants? Spring blooming trees are a welcome and desired sight in the landscape, and there are many varieties that can add lasting beauty, while starting the season off right in your garden. In this article I will discuss some of the landscape trees that I have found to be most successful and that will add early blooms and in some cases fragrance to your space.
Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula' (Weeping Cherry)
Height 20-30', Width 15-20'  
Cold Hardy to Zone 4
Full Sun
The first is Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula', otherwise known as Weeping Cherry.  Weeping Cherry is sure to be a favorite in the landscape with its open graceful weeping habit and soft pink flowers to be welcomed in spring.  This tree grows to be moderately wide (15-20 feet) so be sure to give adequate space. I would recommend this tree as a stand alone piece with understory plantings. It looks beautiful as a focal point on a raised berm area and is a show stopper when displayed at the entrance of a property.
Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan' (Kwanzan Cherry)
Height and Width 20-30 '
Cold Hardy to Zone 5
Full Sun
Kwanzan Cherry Blossom
Next is the well known 'Kwanzan' Cherry. 'Kwanzan' Cherry are magnificent trees producing large double-pink flowers in early spring. The dense vase shaped branch structure of the tree along with its deep mahogany-colored bark makes it majestic.  Plant this tree as a single specimen or in a grouping for a more dramatic effect. 'Kwanzan' Cherry is adaptable to seashore conditions and is somewhat 'drought tolerant'.  It is definitely a favorite of many a gardener. Give this beauty plenty of space to grow!

Prunus subhirtella 'Snofozam' (Weeping Snow Fountain Cherry)
Height 6-12', Width 6-8'
Cold Hardy to Zone 4
Full Sun
'Snofozam' Cherry is a popular spring flowering tree used in residential landscapes.  This smaller variety of Weeping Cherry makes it perfect for smaller spaces. It displays delicate white flowers on cascading branches in early spring. Its compact form and height of 6-12 feet makes it excellent addition as an anchor plant in a foundation planting. I would definitely recommend this tree as a welcomed addition to your landscape.
Prunus cerasifera 'Thundercloud' (Thundercloud Plum)
Height and Width 15-25'
Cold Hardy to Zone 4
Full Sun 
Prunus cerasifera 'Thundercloud' (Thundercloud Plum) Spring Blossom

An extremely versatile tree, 'Thundercloud' Plum displays mildly fragrant light pink flowers in spring followed by deep burgundy foliage that lasts well into fall.  This tree has attributes that continue throughout the entire season. Display Thundercloud Plum as a single anchor specimen in a foundation planting or in a group planting such as on a raised island bed.  It will be sure to add years of enjoyment to your landscape. Another variety is 'Krater Vesuvius' with even more pronounced burgundy foliage.
Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star' (Star Magnolia)
Height and Width 12-20'
Cold Hardy to Zone 4
Full Sun
'Star' Magnolia displays fragrant white star-like flowers in early spring followed by green foliage. Magnolia 'Royal Star' grows as wide as it is tall and can be regularly pruned to keep a compact shape. This tree fits in very nicely as as addition to a poolscape garden as seen here and will welcome spring with its wonderful fragrance. Magnolia forms catkin-looking buds in late winter which are an additional attribute. 
Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star' (Star Magnolia) Spring Blossom

Magnolia liliflora 'Jane' (Lily Magnolia)
Height 20-25', Width 15-20'
Cold Hardy to Zone 5
Full Sun
This beautiful more upright form of Magnolia displays fragrant purple and white tulip-shaped flowers in May followed by deep green foliage and on a rounded branch structure. It serves nicely as a stand alone piece or in a woodland garden setting. Its delicate and beautiful blooms make it a conversation piece in the garden.
Pyrus calleryana 'Cleveland Select' (Ornamental Pear)
Height 25-40', Width 15-20'
Cold Hardy to Zone 5
Full Sun

Pyrus calleryana 'Cleveland Select' (Ornamental Pear) Spring Blossom

Ornamental Pear has become a popular landscape plant in both commercial and residential areas over the past several years. 'Traditionally Bradford Pear' was the species widely planted but has been found to notorious for overweight branches that break in high winds.  An improved variety known as 'Cleveland Select' displays a more narrow upright form that is superior for flower production and better structure. The tree is covered in pure white blossoms in early spring followed by green foliage throughout the rest of the season. Ornamental Pear display nicely as a single specimen planting or planted in groupings for maximum impact.
Cornus 'Kousa' (Japanese Dogwood)
Height and Width 15-25'
Cold Hardy to Zone 5
Full Sun to Partial Shade

Japanese Dogwood is a beautiful late spring-early summer flowering tree that can be used in a variety of landscape settings. The tree has a characteristic rounded appearance at maturity and displays long lasting flat white flowers that give way to rounded strawberry-like fruit in fall, which is enjoyed by wildlife. 'Kousa' Dogwood has proven to be more disease resistant than the pink variety and is the perfect size to be used as an anchor tree in a foundation planting and also serves nicely as part of a natural woodland planting. It is sure to fit into a variety of landscapes and supply years of enjoyment.

To welcome spring with early blooms and fragrance try adding one or more of these beautiful trees to your outdoor space. They will be sure to supply years of enjoyment and be a welcomed sight when the warm weather arrives.