Monday, November 28, 2011

Seeing Red!

The long cool, not cold, fall really gave way to some brilliant colors. Most are now gone due to wind and rain but I took a few photos of some of the best. These are all plants that we will have for sale at the nursery next spring and I have included a variety of Viburnum dilatatum called 'Cardinal Candy' that we are growing. Be sure to make note of your favorites so you can extend your season of color next year.

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
Dwarf Plumbago is a fast growing, deciduous ground cover that will adapt to full sun, part sun or full shade. It grows to a height of 10 inches and can spread by underground runners to at least 2 feet wide. Its bronzy green leaves set off the intense, half inch blue flowers that appear in July and last until first frost. As you can see this perennial has gorgeous red fall color. It is cold hardy to 20 below and depending on the location is a low to moderate water user.

Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Karmina"
This true geranium is a nearly evergreen perennial groundcover that grows to 8-10 inches high but spreads by underground rhizomes to 2-3 feet wide.The late spring/early summer 1-2 inch flowers are lavender pink and are borne on stems above the foliage. It is hardy to 20 below zero and would be happy planted where it gets at least some afternoon shade. The red fall and winter foliage is an added bonus to this deer resistant plant.

Euonymus alata 'Compacta
A moderate growing deciduous shrub whose claim to fame is its brilliant red autumn color is Dwarf Burning Bush. It will reach a mature height and width of 4-6 feet. Its leaves are dark green and the branches have corky wings. Cold hardy to 30 below zero it makes a good informal hedge or accent plant.

Nandina domestica
Heavenly Bamboo is not a true bamboo at all but is given that common name due to the canelike stems and lacy foliage. This evergreen shrub is a moderate grower and will reach 4-6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It has red berries in the fall and colored foliage that lasts through winter. Hardy to 10 below it is a low water plant that will adapt to full sun or full shade but colors better in the sun. It makes a good screen or specimen.

Rosa rugosa
The Rugosa Rose comes in several cultivars. All are cold, wind and drought tolerant and resistant to insects and diseases. The flowers are very fragrant and it produces large hips. This deciduous rose will grow to 6 feet tall and wide and turns a lovely golden in the fall. It is striking paired with the Dwarf Burning Bush. Because of the prickly stems it makes a impenetrable barrier.

Viburnum dilitatum 'Cardinal Candy'
This relative of the Snowball Bush is one of the Proven Winners shrubs that we are growing this year. The scarlet red fall and winter berries of this Viburnum are a wild bird favorite. It will grow at a moderate rate to a 4-5 foot rounded shrub. Lacy, white, 5 inch clusters of small flowers appear in early summer. The 2-3 inch leaves are grayish green with a dusky underside. This is a very cold hardy plant that grows in full sun or part shade and can be planted as a specimen or in mass as a hedge or border.

Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'
The Bradford Flowering Pear is one of my favorite trees for its year round interest. Showy white spring flowers followed by glossy, dark green, roundish leaves and spectacular gold, orange, purple and red fall color. In winter its rounded crown is still appealing and makes a great perch for birds. This deciduous tree is a moderate to fast grower up to 35 feet high by 25 feet wide, and a moderate water user.  It is cold hardy to minus 20 and can be planted as an accent or for shade. It produces no edible fruit.

This is a short list of the best plants for our area that will provide you with an autumn full of vibrant colors!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


As I mentioned last month, having a seasonal business allows us some good vacation time and no matter where we go or what we do it is really the light at the end of the tunnel every year. This year we went to France and for those of you who know us well know Steve and I are total Francophiles. Any chance we get, we go! This year we walked in Burgundy for 5 days and then rented an apartment in Paris for a week. It was fabulous. I would highly recommend both itineraries. The walk was on a route called the  Voie Verte  and it is a black-topped lane that replaced old railroad tracks. We rambled through farmland, pastures full of Charlois munching the greenest grass I've seen in a while and of course centuries old vineyards. The views of small villages perched on hills with a castle or church steeple peeking out were truly magnificent. We back-packed from town to town and drank local wine and kir and ate regional specialties like Bouef Bourguignon, Ouefs Meurette, Coc au Vin and Gougeres. In a somewhat work related event we visited the Chateau Cormatin and its formal gardens. The Chateau was built in the 17th century, fell into disrepair and was rescued and returned to its former glory in 1980. Formal gardens are really a thing of beauty. Just the control over nature is inspiring. Two-foot tall espaliered apples, rows of rounded lavender, squared hedges, pollarded trees, perfect rows of everything and of course Boxwood trimmed into various shapes.
Here are a few photos of the garden and if you get inspired, we will have Boxwood for sale next spring!

Paris was great! The food, the museums, the architecture, the Metro, the people and our little apartment was the perfect respite after a long day. We found this American based rental company Vacation in Paris through Judy Williams and are forever in her debt. The prices are in dollars so you don't have to worry about the fluctuating Euro, they mailed us the key before we left, there were no hidden fees, and the apartment was clean and about the same cost as a hotel room while being much larger and last but not least we had this killer view!

Hope you enjoyed this quick trip to France...we sure did!