The Latest Plants Louis Is Loving
Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Big-leaved Bamboo
After a winter that brought the coldest temperature in thirty years, it's no surprise that the foliage of big-leaved bamboo has long turned completely tawny. I.e., it's dead. Spring is the trough of the annual cycle of bamboos, when such dead leaves are still being shed reluctantly, and new canes and foliage have yet to emerge.
Although canes can produce new foliage, it's cleanest togive the colony a fresh start bycutting old canes to the ground. But by summer, is the result better?
Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Fuzzy Cow Parsnip
"Spring" is a taunting name for a season when so many plants are anything but eager to greet days that are often only grudgingly warm. "Cautious," "Creep," or "Crawl" would be more accurate. Bulbs and some early-season woodies really do "spring" into action at the merest hint of winter's end. Most perennials, though, bide their time.
But, then, there are the cow parnips. Their foliage is gigantic by June, so must get the earliest possible start, overnight freezes of early spring be damned. The rewards for being quick-out-of-the-gate more than offset the dangers.
Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: China Fir Rededicated
For years, I have been treating my China fir as a low-lying second banana to an espaliered gold Deodar cedar. But last week, I encountered this China fir far north of my garden: in Providence, Rhode Isand. It is thriving so bodaciously it's blocking windows of a "painted lady" Victorian house.
China fir is only borderline hardy even in my garden thirty miles farther south. But this free-range specimen is lusty and even out of control, and yet it's significantly farther north. How could Inotwelcome mine into the upper reaches of the cozy espalier it shares with the Deodar cedar?
Elegant New Foliage of Tellmann's Honeysuckle
Nearly seven year ago, I introduced Tellmann's honeysuckle via its June calling card: large sprays of mango-orange flowers. Yum! But in still-chilly April, the promise of such luscious beauty is cold comfort. No problem: Tellmann's sophisticated young foliage—plum and burgundy netted with green—is a worthy beckon out into the bracing weather.
Indeed, foliage of the honeysuckles that flower in warm weather tends toward an early as well as colorful debut. It's worth it to check them out.
Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Woronow's Snowdrop
Snowdrops are at once surprising and routine: They appear suddenly, andso early in the new year that any sign of new life is a surprise. And yet, once you have snowdrops happily in your garden, there's no surprise that they will in fact return.
This snowdrop added third, fourth, and fifth surprises: I planted it twice—and plentifully—over several years, but never saw anything the following springs. Fine, and on to other things. But this spring was its siren song to emerge after years of below-ground contemplation. Plus, there's the all-green foliage that, for a snowdrop, really is a surprise. Snowdrops: so tiny, so interesting.