Watch Out for Leaning Pawpaws!

I believe that if this were an apple tree, with an apple tree’s superficial and small root system, it would have been completely ripped out of the ground by this storm. Pawpaws have taproots, and I think that’s whats holding the tree up.

Using a level app on my phone, I see that the trunk is leaning roughly 17° off vertical, and the big cluster of pawpaws at the top are pulling the top section to  horizontal. Just add adolescent raccoons…. If the tree were to go over, it would probably land on the blue fescue and whack the western edge of the oakleaf hydrangea.

A pink line highlights the edges of the main trunk of the leaning pawpaw.
The heavily fruiting pawpaw is leaning badly after a couple of inches of rain at the end of August. Photographed on August 29, 2020.

It has a very heavy crop ripening, mostly just beyond the upper righthand corner of this photograph. The lower branches form a tent you could hide in. I will be even more careful about where I stand under this tree.

I have to assess it this winter when I can see the trunk and branches. I may be removing both pawpaw trees in late winter. There’s no use keeping one—they are not self-fruitful.

Texture in the Summer Garden

A relaxing garden has both restful places for your eyes and focal points to enjoy. Green is restful, but it can get monotonous if it’s all identical, as in a yard with a well-kept lawn, but nothing else. Texture is a good way to add interest without losing the restfulness of green. Massing, an application of the design principles of repetition and proximity, is a great way to develop texture that is sufficiently interesting to lead your eyes to an interesting larger plant or something in bloom. Continue reading “Texture in the Summer Garden”

Irises, Native and Not

I mentioned rearranging plants in my last post. This is the best time to rearrange your irises. They are dormant, and they are happier to remain dry this time of year, which makes post-planting attention simple.

Native Irises

I moved blue-eyed grass last week. It seeds where it wants to, but the plants are very easy to move. They are small enough to be a trowel job, even when they have reached blooming size.

Blue-eyed grass in bloom in moderate shade. Photographed on June 6, 2020.

Continue reading “Irises, Native and Not”

A Look Back: Purple, Winding Down

There is a lot of purple in May and early June. Here are four purple-flowered plants, two natives and two not, that have done very well. They will all take light shade, although the geranium would probably be happiest with more sun than the others.

False Indigo, Baptisia australis

This native plant erupts from the ground the second week of May, and is blooming by the end of the month! It is very popular with our bumblebees.

Baptisia with a bumblebee. Photographed on June 6, 2020.

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Summer in a Nutshell: Outacontrol, But Sorting Itself Out

Somehow, it’s August. Not only that, l spent last week, one of two between-semester weeks off, cooking, paying bills, catching up with my accountant, weeding, mowing, rearranging a few plants, and having meetings with mixed success. I did get a few things done towards a drawing that is, so far, a year in the making.

I knew that my garden was fraying, but it really didn’t sink in fully until I realized that I had completely forgotten about an empty spot right by the back door that I would have to deal should have dealt with in the spring—of 2020. Last week I realized that spot had taken care of itself. It’s not subtle in bloom.

Rudbeckia hirta, self sown and in bloom. Photographed on August 12, 2020.

Continue reading “Summer in a Nutshell: Outacontrol, But Sorting Itself Out”

How Can You Look at a Trillium and Not Smile?

Indeed. A friend asked me this when I sent her a photo of the newly popped flowers. There is something very peaceful about them.

Trillium. Photographed on May 8, 2020.

I put in a few nursery-raised bare-root plants several years ago and now have a nice little group. They are a sturdy little plant as long as you leave them alone. These are under one of my pawpaws, far enough away from foot traffic to be safe, but not so far that they are hard to see.

They broke ground about a month ago…

The trillium have erupted! They share space with Dutchman’s breeches. Photographed on April 11, 2020.

…and about a month from now they will fade, but beautifully. Trillium flowers go pink before they depart.

One of my Favorite Irises, Out of Season

November 12. Answering the question of which iris is my favorite would be almost as difficult as answering the question of who is my favorite child, but right now I am casting a very fond eye at my Iris cristata.

This is one of the edging plants  I wrote about at the beginning of October. By the end of October, the overall color is yellow-green, which looks terrific next to the well-hydrated lawn.

Iris cristata. Photographed on October 27, 2019.

Continue reading “One of my Favorite Irises, Out of Season”