Sunday, 22 March 2015

Spring Snow

It's been a wild week. We went from 60 degreees (F) early in the week to 30 degrees (F) and a wet, heavy 4" of snow Friday (the first day of Spring). Evidently winter wasn't conceding without a fight.

We were really fortunate to get our burn of the Sporobolus heterolepis done earlier in the week when we had a window of dry, calm weather. This is done to mimic natural rejuvenation systems in their native prairie habitats.

Before: creating burn buffer around woody plants 

After: charred remains under blanket of snow

A few scenes from our latest (and hopefully last) snowfall:

Looking up towards the house from below the ponds

Persisting leaves of American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

Snow-capped Hamamelis mollis 'Early Bright'

I will say although I'm ready for Spring, it's always special to experience the garden after a fresh snow. Friday was no exception- it was quite peaceful to walk around in the stillness and serenity after work. 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

More pruning

I've spent most of the week pruning in different parts of the garden. I quite enjoy pruning. Actually I just love being outside this time of year doing whatever, after having been inside a good bit over the winter. Today was another beautiful day in the mid 50's, and I was working with Jonathan. I started off pruning a couple Roses, Physocarpus, and a Hibiscus behind the main house. Then towards the end of the day we worked on pollarding a group of Salix alba 'Britzensis' near the Serpentine. It's hard to finally prune these as they look so wonderful right now. The brilliant orange-red stems from last season's growth glow above an underplanting of Schizachyrium scoparium. 

These are managed by removing the new growth right back to the older, brown wood. By doing this you are able to maintain the desired size of the tree and ensure that each year you will have these beautiful, bright colored stems through winter. 

Another detail that could be missed just walking by is the woven branches.  Most Salix sp. have very pliable new growth, which make them great candidates for bending and weaving and for creative uses in the garden. We saved all the pruned stems and will use them in some display capacity.  

Monday, 9 March 2015

Back in the garden...finally!

Well, after a bit of a hiatus, I was back in the garden today. This year I'm doing an internship at Chanticleer, where I ended my year last year (as the North American Christopher Lloyd Scholar). I'm excited about the prospect of being here for 9 months and the opportunities to learn and experience the garden over this period.

It was a nice first day. After a late-season snow storm that produced about 8 inches of snow last week, we were blessed with a beautiful 50 degree (F) day today.  With this week's temps we should see significant snow melt and the emerging of early bulbs.

Today I worked on pruning the majority of the day. As there is still so much snow cover, we're somewhat limited in what projects we can undertake. Pruning, however, is a perfect job these days. We pruned a series of Hydrangea paniculata and H. arborescens, both of which flower on current
seasons growth, making it safe to prune this late. We also pruned Catalpa bignonioides 'Aurea'. Both the H. paniculata and the Catalpa were pollarded back to their base framwork, which allows us control their size while providing necessary stability for the plant from season to season. 

Remaining framework on pruned H. paniculata