The temperature has dipped eleven degrees in twenty-four hours, [ but nothing to the degree of shock that Grace experienced earlier this week!]bringing a sense of restored calm, although we are still five or six degrees warmer than the normal March temperatures for this time of year! I donned my spring windbreaker to go out and do some digging and snooping in the garden this morning. What was I digging you ask?
Yes, you can even see the handle of the shovel! If you look closely enough at the branches, you should be able to indentify this, the newest tree in the garden’s repertoire. A few hints before I reveal it: Definitely one that is a Springtime showstopper with its wonderful clusters of pink flowers! And sumptuous heart shaped foliage that follows said flowers.
Why yes, its Cercis canadensis, also known as the ‘Redbud.’ A super gardening friend of mine had what he described as ‘seedlings’ that were threatening to overpower his parent’s property and kindly offered me two. I was shocked to discover that to him a seedling was over 2m in height with a well branched crown! There are masses of its signature flowers, as well as evidence of it stunning foliage. I will be pampering this baby for a time to come as here in Zone 5, they are not reliably hardy without a degree of protection. It amazes me that the distance between here and Guelph [fifteen kilometers] can make all the difference in the world where Cercis is concerned!
I have a thing for plants that are not easy to photograph! Larix decidua ‘Horstmann’s Recurva’ is budding out in its signature green shell shaped pinnate foliage that is often mistaken for needles. A new addition last year, I was concerned that it might not have gotten enough moisture, but it seems to have overwintered just fine! I was thinking that I would espalier it against the side of the house in order to show off its magnificently contorted habit more effectively, but Shawn said if it were him, he’d simply stake it and let it weep and twist to it’s heart content. Methinks he has a point, besides, the side of the garage is brick which would cause me undue stress in deducing how I would secure its branches against it!
Every Spring, I wait in anticipation for the swollen buds of my Corylopsis spicata burst open and reveal the delightful racemes of flowers seen above and in the header photo of this posting. While others are equally smitten with Hamamelis, also known as ‘witch hazels’ I wouldn’t be without my twisted and contorted ‘Cory’ number two!
Esteemed plantsman Michael Dirr, in his ‘Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs, comments that, ‘… in my April forays through the Arnold Arboretum, I found that spike winter-hazel appeared to be the best behaved and most floriferous of thw winter-hazels.’ The pendulous racemes of chartreuse-whipped buttery yellow flowers cover the bare branches, and seem to shift with every breeze that passes by! Sumptuous rich vinous purple new foliage emerges, and as it ages takes on a blue-green hue. This lovely shrub becomes a mass of crooked, flexible branches at maturity, with a height and spread of 2m in each direction. As with most members of the genus, it performs best in acidic soil in a partially shaded protected site away from the harsh winter winds!