Friday, November 2, 2012

A few of my garden favorites (and some I wish I'd never planted)... post #1

In considering what to post on through the winter, I've decided that it might be an interesting concept to feature plants from my gardens and to share my personal feelings and experiences with them. At the end of each profile I will feature a YES, MAYBE, OR NO in reference to whether this is a plant I am happy with or not (would plant again)... most will be Yes as I generally remove plants I'm not happy with... anyway, you get the point... so here goes...

 Picea pungens 'Moerheim' (above)
My personal favorite large blue spruce due to its exceptional color year round 
Some of this cultivar tend to be irregular growers
Smaller spruce to 40'
Plantings of Picea pungens cultivars should carefully considered as they are 
very diseased prone after about twenty-five years... 
there are other spruce varieties that have less disease concerns, 
such as Picea omorika and orientalis selections
Acer plantanoides 'Emerald Queen'
To 45' in width by 50' in height
What can I say... we were young and wanted a shade tree
I would never have planted a Norway Maple knowing what I know now...
Shallow roots/ crotches tend to split
Attractive flowers in spring but the samaras are a pain to deal with...
This is an invasive plant in many places!

Cornus x Rutgers 'Stellar Pink'
to 25' or more
I expect this to be hardy here in colder parts of zone 5
New addition but I've seen good sized plants in bloom (bracts actually)... amazing sight!
(Yes! (so far))
Carex hachijoensis 'Evergold'
An evergreen sweet flag out of Japan
My first attempt at growing sedges
I know it prefers average to moist soil/ love the mounded form  
If it does well here in zone 5, I'll be adding many as they really light up the garden!
(Yes! (so far))

Magnolia kobus va. loebneri 'White Rose'
This will eventually get quite large (15-20' ht and 12-15' in width)
Tiny buds open to small blooms that resemble gardenias or roses
zone 4 hardy and the fall color is excellent for a magnolia!
(Yes!) although it may get large for where I have it

Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki'
This a fairly fast growing Japanese maple renown for its fall color which is said to be the very best red of the Japanese maples... the problem is, mine gets hit by hard frost every year before it gets to its best color. It is still pretty however as can be seen by the photo below even if it doesn't make it all the way to 'really red'.
Zone 5 hardy with an ultimate size of 18' in colder climates 
Possible spread of 15' or more although considered an upright tree
Foliage color is a rich green all season until fall color begins
Color progresses through brownish brick reds to red and very red
I really like the look of this tree, including the summer foliage
(although I have restless nights out of concern over early 
spring frosts once the leaf buds have expanded and I'm always on the 
lookout for fungal diseases)
2nd photo is of my friends plant which colors better because 
100 miles south of here and is also a more mature tree)

Magnolia x 'Elizabeth'

Elizabeth is an excellent magnolia first hybridized in1956 
at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden by Evamaria Sperber.
I would personally rate it in my top five (along with about 20 other magnolias!!)
I personally feel that Elizabeth is zone 4 hardy despite what one generally reads.
I also have seen plants approaching 50' by up to 35' wide despite what some sources say.
Elizabeth is a fast grower, and I was pleased to see lots of bloom this 
year after the original round of blossoms froze.
Elizabeth has minmal disease concerns.
This year's fall color is pictured below as well as blossoming habit.
As I have repeated often on this blog, 
and directly from Dennis Ledvina (my magnolia hybridizing friend)... 
to be sure of hardiness, look for acuminata in a cultivar's background...
Elizabeth is Magnolia acuminata x M. denudata
(YES (YES and YES again!))

Malus 'Snowdrift'
Wow... talk about mixed emotions! This is a beloved plant in Spring and almost detested in mid-summer through fall...winter's ok.
Like so many other flowering crab apples, Snowdrift has problems with apple scab... now if you research dealing with this situation, you'll get all sorts of totally unrealistic in real life methods of dealing with the fungus. I should know... for years I sprayed twenty-five flowering crab apples and was successful in delaying the leaf drop two or three weeks. It was simply not worth 
the effort, the expense, or the risk.

When you've had a flowering crab for 35 years, it's difficult to let go... after all, the spring show is 'to die for' on Snowdrift and it has been developed with a form that I really appreciate. So I keep it... with some other flowering crabs, leaf drop occurred as early as mid-June... they are now gone, I guess you could say that Snowdrift has "some" resistance to scab unlike those others I've just referred to.

The main issues in limiting scab problems involve excellent air circulation and getting rid of the diseased fallen leaves where the spores live over winter... in some cases this isn't all that difficult while in other circumstances it's next to impossible. Finally, I decided twenty years ago that my health was more important than losing leaves on crab apples mid-summer, so I no longer spray.

Snowdrift has a spread of 20' and the height may be in that range as well. I've learned through experience that it is somewhat resistant to the dreadful Fire Blight that took many of my apple and crab trees years ago. With appropriate pruning practices, I was able to save Snowdrift after about two years of difficult maintenance.

That's it for today! Larry


Patty said...

Hi Larry. I never seem to visit your site often enough. Glorious trees on your property as always. I love the theme of this and future posts. YES. Be back soon-er. Patty

The Sage Butterfly said...

A fine list of plants that can assist any gardener with making the right selection.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Larry, we are all sorry we planted certain plants but that's what gardeners do.

The Malus species is native in some of our areas therefore people assume it is a viable tree. Not so, it is not recommended by our local arboretum because of the diseases and high maintenance to keep it beautiful.

It's like the Purple Plum still planted by many landscapers even though they succumb to scale.


Beth said...

Hi Larry, Very good post - I found it very interesting. Snowdrift is definitely a beauty! Even if it is a "NO." Have a nice wknd, Larry.

Larry said...

Thanks for visiting folks! Eileen... I do agree with you with only one exception... any flowering crabs with Sargentii have been excellent for me and I will include them in a post soon... I've never had a disease problem with Sargent itself, Tina, Firebird, or Mary Potter... they have been excellent. I also haven't seen a disease problem on a 'Strawberry Parfait' or 'Louisa' and I need to look into the parentage there. I think that the bottom line has to be a lot of research before picking a flowering crab... I also wish that mine were grafted on the new non-suckering root stocks.... it would make life a bit easier as well... Larry

stuffbysteff said...

Awesome pictures...I am inspired to not only plant some of these unique plants but to get my camera and take better pictures.

Claudia Fugate said...

Great idea for a topic. We gardeners are always looking for a 'good thing' and what better recommendation than from another gardener. Nice collection. Thanks for sharing. said...

I am so glad you gave Norway Maples a resounding NO. Every gardener who has one wishes they didn't. Plus they are destroying our native forests around here. Magnolia 'White Rose' looks spectacular---I will have to look into it. I really chuckled when I read about the 20 magnolias in your top 5. As you know magnolias are my favorite trees. But the white crab....a NO with the most beautiful photos of all!!!

Larry said...

Hi Carolyn... some plants are simply worth the trouble but for sure, there are better crab choices... I am very pleased with the ones that use Sargentii in their makeup. In this climate there is really no other way to capture the sense of beauty created by dogwoods farther south so a few flowering crabs are almost a necessity! I'll include a few photos illustrating that sense of being beneath a cloud of blooms next post... Larry