Gotta Garden

Monday, February 23, 2009

February...On the Path Toward Spring

Yesterday I finally remembered that I wanted to get a picture of the orange/red Witch Hazel in full bloom. What is noteworthy about this is that it is the very first time it has ever bloomed without a bunch of raggedy brown leaves hanging all over. See for yourself...


Wow. I hope it decides to do this from now on. It took quite some doing to cut out the things I didn't want to show (it is the backyard, after all). Here the blooms are closer (without my having to actually go closer...such a thrill)...


The good thing about going around back is that I got to take a look at things I otherwise wouldn't have noticed (today)...like that the Pink Dawn Viburnum is beginning to bloom. This is such a great easy care fragrant shrub. Always one of the first things to bloom (looking back...from January, at times,...with blooms into March...)...


That's pretty hard to appreciate, isn't it...so...


Near the Pink Dawn are some Summer Snowflakes....I believe I have Leucojum aestivum...which actually bloom in spring...I show you this group because it started as a small group of bulbs (maybe six or so?)...and look now...


They obviously won't be blooming for a bit. But, what makes this interesting to me is that I read somewhere that they will tolerate moisture and this is a damp area. Looks like they might even like it. I popped over to Wikipedia and found out they do indeed prefer the moisture...which explains why some of the others are not nearly as robust...they miss the water. I'll have to be on the lookout for some Spring Snowflakes. They apparently bloom earlier and have yellow spots.

This is for fans (like me) of Winter Daphne. Here's the infamous backless one in the backyard as of yesterday...


What's that I see?? Do you see it, too?? Look closely at the bottom...oh here, this will be better...


Yippee! One of the best fragrances in nature is about to perfume my backyard! I'll have to go have a look at the others.

While we're back here, in the backyard, I'll show you a few other things...a mixed bag, so to say...

I have a continuing erosion problem...that I'm working on...not too successfully so far....


As the water picks up speed and/or is less diverted, it is pretty powerful going through here...enough to knock out the stacked castlewalls. I have a dry stream of rocks, but that clever water has now just decided to go around the rocks. I need to get above it, I think, and figure out new diversions.

Below this area...liking the moisture...is my moss farm (just kidding)...


As you know if you're read other things here, I like moss! So, I'm actually pretty cool with this. It's certainly better than weeds, although there are still weeds here. This area probably has maple roots under it, is shady and quite sloped...it appears moss would be a fine solution...apparently, nature agrees.

All of you people out there who have nice flat yards filled with wonderful soil to garden in...where's the challenge in that??! (Just kidding...don't I wish)

While standing up near the orange/red Witch Hazel, it occurred to me to wonder if my other Witch Hazel might be in bloom. Far be it from me to actually walk down there (very muddy right now), so I trained the zoom over there...and look what I found...


Now, that is beyond neat! I couldn't even see the blooms (there are just a few...it's just getting going), but through the wonder of a zoom lens...there it is.

I am beginning to realize...like in so many things...that one must know the right questions to ask to get the right answers. While this lens is wonderful, I think it might not actually be what I need for tour gardens. I don't blame the salesman (he was great) because I didn't really know and based on what I said/thought...this was the lens he recommended. I thought I might not be able to get too close (lots of people) but I now know that I will eventually get close (sometimes you might have to wait a few minutes...or just go look at something else in the garden)...and this lens, great as it is...doesn't allow me to stand close enough...even at 70mm. I think I need a new lens (haha)! This one is terrific, just like I showed with the yellow Witch Hazel....but for touring, I need one that lets me stand by the flower and take a picture...and then zoom in even closer (no, the macro doesn't meet those requirements, although it is fabulous, too). Another trip to the camera store is in my future...maybe this time, I'll be able to better express what I need....and I just know there must be a lens out there that will be...as Goldilocks said...just right.

9 comments:

Tatyana said...

I love moss, but I don't like it growing on the lawn. I've been trying to figure out what to do with that part of the lawn. It seems to be a fight that we can not win because of the constant moisture here in the NW. So, I'm thinking what to plant there instead of grass that will do well with the moss. Thanks for your post!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Your Witch Hazel is stunning! Mine stubbornly refuses to shed all its leaves before blooming. (There was nothing about that in the description in the catalogue!) I hope yours continues to be winter-leafless.

Shady Gardener said...

Virginia is quite a step ahead of us up here in the midwest. I've been seeing so much Witch Hazel. It makes me curious to learn about it... perhaps I should have one? :-)
You and I have some landscaping issues in common. Steep slopes with powerful run-off and moss.

lynn'sgarden said...

Hi, wonderful witch hazel! I've seen blooms that are more of a yellow in color. I think a daphne may be on my shrub list this year as I love flowers with fragrance. And I used to dig and discard my moss..what was I thinking! I "grow" them now for terrariums...

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Yep, spring is coming. Nothing can stop it now. The photos are like a breath of fresh air.

Griumpy Gardener said...

Wow, I love that orange-red witch hazel! Which one is it? Jelena? Diane? Mine always held their leaves all winter. I had to manually strip them off. I suspect they shed leaves better farther north (I'm in north-central Alabama). Yes? No?

Swimray said...

I visited my landscape architect friends' house today where their 12-foot tall yellow witch hazel was in full bloom. I never knew it had such a sweet smell to it. We could smell it from 20-feet away. Very nice this time of year.

Gotta Garden said...

Good luck, Tatyana...having lived in the Seattle area (Kent) for a couple years...I know about moss. I like it, though.

Me, too, MMG! Thanks!

Oh poor you, Shady Gardener! The bad three...! We can certainly relate with each other. If you do go for a witch hazel, I'd go for one with fragrance. It's wonderful and quite a treat when there isn't much else happening.

Yeah, Lynn...it can be a good thing...see, you're making it work for you! The color is nice on this witch hazel, just a lucky thing.

Thanks, Tom!

Now, Grumpy Gardener, you've put me on the spot! If I only knew! I bought this one from a vendor who claimed he did the grafting (so you'd think he would know)...and he wasn't quite sure (my first clue)...so, I asked him, "Is it yellow and fragrant?" To which he replied, "Yes, I'm pretty sure." Lesson learned, shall we say!

Well, now it's been here a while, so I suppose it's staying (laughing). Especially if it will do this every year (which I doubt...this is the very first time it has ever shed its leaves before blooming). So, no, I don't think they shed better up here. This is just a good year (maybe). (Fingers crossed)

Oh Swimray, what a treat! I do have a fragrant yellow one in the bottom of my yard. It has not nearly attained that height (or glory). Plus (what was I thinking) it's in an area that tends to be pretty muddy this time of year...making it difficult to appreciate it. However, if it would perform like the one you saw, I could appreciate it from up the hill! Ha.

Thanks everyone!

kate smudges said...

I love witch hazel ~ I have never seen one here though. I can give you some info about camera lens ~ so that you can take closer shots ... I've become rather, um, addicted to taking flowers at close range.

Will write soon ~ I've been terrible about it. Hope you are doing fine!!!

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