Sunday, February 26, 2017

Love my Sweet Mock-orange

Thanks for all who chimed in on the picture I posted for "Think About It Thursday".  I hope you will think about putting this plant in your gardens...

I believe that this early bloomer is a Sweet Mock-orange Bush. It was already thriving here when we bought this property over 20 some years ago. I am not positive of the variety. It definitely is an older variety as the blossoms are single, delicate and breathtakingly fragrant.  So I am going with (Philadelphus coronarius).  However since this bush was first cultivated in1560, I am not putting a bet on this assumption. 
This variety is hardy in Zone 4-8. It is a very rapid grower . It can grow as much as 24” a year. Several years ago, after a very cold winter, I gave mine a  needed haircut. That has resulted in a more compact, more attractive bush and actually more blooms. 
This bush needs at least 4 hours of direct sun a day. So partial shade will do. It lives very happily in one of my “island gardens.”  This area shines in the spring as it has Forsythia and many different varieties of daffodils. In the summer this area host a wonderful Smoke Tree and a Japanese Red Maple that comes into its own under the shade of the Mock-orange. The daffodils are hidden under a wonderful living mulch of ferns. So little mulch is needed. Finally a very old Holly gives me shiny green leaves and bright red berries. My little “island garden” shines all year long. 

Some feel this shrub is boring except for the two weeks of blooms. But I love it for many good reasons. # 1 being my Mother had one in her garden and she was so happy to see one in my landscape.  Plus, according to Doug Tallamy, certain varieties of this shrub fit right into my mission to transition amy gardens over to more native plants. This shrub provides cover for wildlife, nest sites for birds, pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies and food for caterpillars. So what is not to love about Mock-Orange?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Blooms on February 20th!!

I am going to let these photos speak for themselves.... Is it really only February 20th?  I hope we are not in for a wicked March, because February has been delightful!!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hello Hellebores

This plant is for any gardener who watches impatiently for the first signs of spring. I hate the gray winter skies and as any one who follows me knows, I hate the winter. So I think this plant was sent by the “plant ruler” to keep me from being such a winter “bitch”. 

Hellebore, what about this plant is not to love? Basically, the big broad leaves are green in my garden all winter long and the blooms start emerging in January or maybe a little later depending on winter weather conditions. 

I started with several plants and now have two large clumps. They spread so happily, and can be easily divided in the spring, after the blooms are done. These plants seem to do best on the edges of my shade garden, where they receive filtered sunlight. But they do great with no more than a few hours of dappled light  but seem to do ok in deep shade as well. This makes them great candidates for growing under deciduous trees or scattered in a woodland scene. 
Once established little care is needed. I remove the dead or damaged leaves  on a warm December Day, and that is about it. This plant is deer resistant and actually is poisonous so keep children and pets at bay. 
There are so many varieties, especially since their popularity has increased. Colors of the blooms are varied from white and black. They are long lasting and very fragrant. ‘Hellebores orientalis ‘ is among the earliest of winter bloomers and the wides selection of colors. 

So plant this plant in your shade garden for a lovely late winter surprise, I bet it will help your mood as it does mine. 


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