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Arbutus – The Delightful Strawberry Tree

Posted by on Dec 3, 2018 in Featured, Trees and Shrubs | 0 comments

Arbutus – The Delightful Strawberry Tree

I am often asked to suggest a plant that looks good year-round. For gardeners in USDA zone 7 and warmer, my first thought is the Strawberry Tree. Arbutus unedo is among the most attractive tree/shrubs for temperate gardens. Arbutus features evergreen, leathery foliage which is deep-green and contrasts impeccably with its cinnamon-colored flaky bark. I would consider it ornamental enough if it had stopped there! Delicate pale-pink to white bell-shaped blossoms add to its beauty from fall into winter. The blooms develop into showy,...

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Metasequoia glyptostroboides – The Dawn Redwood

Posted by on Sep 19, 2018 in Featured, Trees and Shrubs | 0 comments

Metasequoia glyptostroboides – The Dawn Redwood

Metasequoia glyptostroboides is one of the most remarkable trees the world has ever known. Known as the dawn redwood, it is a glorious deciduous conifer which reaches an impressive 70-150 feet tall. This tree eventually develops into a distinctly conical shape and features lovely, feathery light-green needles which are soft to the touch.   Metasequoia glyptostroboides is different from most conifers in that it loses its leaves in the autumn. The foliage drops after turning gorgeous shades of apricot and copper.   The dawn redwood...

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Cotinus – The Striking Summer Smoketree

Posted by on Jun 20, 2018 in Featured, Trees and Shrubs | 0 comments

Cotinus – The Striking Summer Smoketree

As we enter into summer, the magnificent ‘smoke’ of Cotinus is on full display. I love the cool, graceful plumes of fuzzy hairs that envelope the flowers carrying on them a scattering of seeds. You would be hard pressed to find a specimen that adds more spectacular color and style to the garden. Cotinus, depending on the species and cultivar, can take the form of a single trunked tree, shrub or somewhere in between! The smoketree’s jewel-toned foliage can be green, pink, bluish, deep-purple or even bright-yellow. If you think that their...

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Ginkgo biloba—The Magnificent Maidenhair Tree

Posted by on May 3, 2018 in Featured, Trees and Shrubs | 0 comments

Ginkgo biloba—The Magnificent Maidenhair Tree

I am amazed by the history of Ginkgo trees. They are often called ‘living fossils’ as Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest trees on earth. Ginkgo biloba are the sole surviving species of a group of trees that date back to the dinosaurs and beyond. Fossil records depicting multiple Ginkgo species appearing on many continents date back to the early Jurassic period. By the end of the Pliocene period, fossils only appear in central China. It is interesting to note that although these trees do not look anything like a typical conifer they are in...

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Flowering Cherries – A gift from Japan

Posted by on Mar 29, 2018 in Featured, Trees and Shrubs | 0 comments

Flowering Cherries – A gift from Japan

As spring approaches, I find myself fervently anticipating the Cherry blossoms. The first swelling of the buds creates an eagerness for the coming blooms. I impatiently wait as the buds swell to the ‘popcorn’ stage and finally I celebrate the open flowers; another spring to rejoice in. I am not alone in this revelry. The Japanese have held the cherry blossom as sacred for centuries. The blossoms are called sakura and they represent the impermanence of life. Like life, the blossoms are beautiful, yet the season is woefully short. Cherry...

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Laburnum – The Glorious Goldenchain Tree

Posted by on Jan 25, 2018 in Featured, Trees and Shrubs | 0 comments

Laburnum – The Glorious Goldenchain Tree

I rejoice in late spring when the long clusters of lemon yellow pea-like flowers hang down like spectacular golden Wisteria blooms. The ‘golden chain’ that the blooms make creates a feeling of pure joy. There are few plants that can put on such a delightful show of color. Trifoliate, clover-like leaves are a lovely complement to the cheerful blossoms. Laburnum trees are native to the Mediterranean and central areas of Europe. These glorious specimens are easily grown in almost all soil types other than wet ground; they will not survive...

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Amelanchier – A Fruit of Many Names

Posted by on Oct 12, 2017 in Featured, Trees and Shrubs | 0 comments

Amelanchier – A Fruit of Many Names

To my mind few sights are as pretty as when the flowers of the Amelanchier start to bloom. The pure-white clusters are made up of many (1-20) five-petaled flowers which are either erect or drooping depending on the species. The flowers give way to wonderful dark-purple pome fruits which are reminiscent of blueberries. The seeds have a distinct almond flavor that adds to their appeal. Amelanchier tend to be shrubby and spread by suckers, although some do take more of a tree form. Their leaves are deciduous, pale to medium green, simple and...

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Ruscus aculeatus – The Unique Butcher’s Broom

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in Featured, Trees and Shrubs | 0 comments

Ruscus aculeatus – The Unique Butcher’s Broom

I have a great interest in plants that are either useful or unusual, Ruscus aculeatus is both! This unusual evergreen from Europe and the Mediterranean is a wonderful shrub for shaded spots. It is an uncommon edible and also a useful medicinal plant. A smallish woodland shrub growing to just 3 feet high. It is made of strange flattened shoots which are really modified stems known as cladodes. These shoots look as if they are made up of small green spine-tipped leaves. Some say the common name of Butcher’s Broom comes from the sharp foliage...

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Tetracentron sinense – A Rare Wonder from China

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 in Featured, Trees and Shrubs | 0 comments

Tetracentron sinense – A Rare Wonder from China

This rare and elegant find from China has captured my heart. Tetracentron sinense is a wonderful and unique tree native to southern China and the eastern Himalaya. A strong growing deciduous tree, it typically reaches 30-50 feet in cultivation, although it can become as tall as 90 feet in the wild. Graceful arching branches radiate from the trunk to form a broad-rounded crown. The rough-textured 3-5 inch heart-shaped leaves feature serrated margins with 5-7 palmate veins. The leaves drape down in alternate arrangement along the brown-red...

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Romneya coulteri – The Matilija Poppy

Posted by on Jul 12, 2017 in Featured, Perennials | 0 comments

Romneya coulteri – The Matilija Poppy

The Matilija poppy is my absolute favorite summer flower, one I anticipate all year long. I love the way the silvery new shoots with their ruffled tips first start emerging from the roots in spring.  Each slender gray stalk rises up and sends out its unusual gray-green leaves with their lance-shaped lobes. Atop those stalks sit the glory of Romneya coulteri, their exquisite white blooms. Each large (up to 6 inch) flower is made up of six petals that look like crinkled white silk surrounding a brilliant center of golden-yellow stamens. The...

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