OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD - MAY 23RD, 2019

In enumerating spring-blooming trees and shrubs in this space recently,  how on earth could I forget to give mention to Fothergilla ( no common name) and Exochorda (Pearlbush)? Both are at their blooming best right now.

Fothergilla sports creamy white bottlebrush - like flowers at branch ends long before leaves emerge and have a faint honey-like scent.  Flowers are attractive for a couple of weeks.

Poor Pearlbush. For 50 1/2 weeks of the year it maintains a rather obscure position in the landscape, not especially showy in outline or leaf.  But for a brief shining moment in late May, boy, does Pearlbush take center stage.  Glistening white pearl-like buds up and down every stem followed by charming daisy-like flowers transform the dowdy old maid into a stellar beauty.

Neither of these shrubs have gained the attention I think they deserve.  Well-worth looking for.

I guess it's high time to start weeding - if only the rains would cease long enough to allow us time in the garden.  We remember this time of the year the millions and millions of seeds Maple and Elms pawned off on us last fall.  A week ago Elms germinated, followed by Maples bothering us this week.  We could start a nursery.  Garlic Mustard is abloom now - best to knock it out before it goes to seed or you'll be sorry.



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   THOUGHTS FROM STEVE KELLEY
OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD - MAY 23RD, 2019

In enumerating spring-blooming trees and shrubs in this space recently,  how on earth could I forget to give mention to Fothergilla ( no common name) and Exochorda (Pearlbush)? Both are at their blooming best right now.

Fothergilla sports creamy white bottlebrush - like flowers at branch ends long before leaves emerge and have a faint honey-like scent.  Flowers are attractive for a couple of weeks.

Poor Pearlbush. For 50 1/2 weeks of the year it maintains a rather obscure position in the landscape, not especially showy in outline or leaf.  But for a brief shining moment in late May, boy, does Pearlbush take center stage.  Glistening white pearl-like buds up and down every stem followed by charming daisy-like flowers transform the dowdy old maid into a stellar beauty.

Neither of these shrubs have gained the attention I think they deserve.  Well-worth looking for.

I guess it's high time to start weeding - if only the rains would cease long enough to allow us time in the garden.  We remember this time of the year the millions and millions of seeds Maple and Elms pawned off on us last fall.  A week ago Elms germinated, followed by Maples bothering us this week.  We could start a nursery.  Garlic Mustard is abloom now - best to knock it out before it goes to seed or you'll be sorry.



Seems like we're infested with a broader range of landscape pests these days than when I was a kid so many years
ago.  Bugs have safer travel plans these days.  Hitchhiking around the world is no big deal for critters threatening entire classes of plants.  Elms are the classic one of course, they're the pester children for all that can go wrong.
But we've also seen devastation wrought on Birch, Ash, Oak, Maple, Spruce, Pine, what's next?  Well, I'll tell you.

We've recommended Magnolias for years.  There's nothing quite like their large fragrant booms seen this time of year.  Magnolia 'Merrill' was a particular favorite that we'd used frequently.  I say "was" because we've had to pull in our horns in our recommendation of Magnolias, a heart-wrenching decision.  Several years ago an ugly scale that encased Magnolis branches leading, if unchecked, to a weakening and eventual death of the plant.  A slow death, but death nonetheless.  There is a treatment, but the chemical used sounded more injurious to wildlife than we were willing to accept.  We made the decision to destroy mature Magnolias at home and at the nursery.
Sad , as there's no substitute for Magnolias.

Monday, May 20th

The cold, windy rainy weekend just past kept us inside.  To bad, as there's much to accomplish in the yard and garden.  Between bouts of spring housecleaning, glances out the windows revealed splendid bursts of bloom despite the gloom.  By the way, spring cleaning always brings to mind me, at a young age, helping grandmother Kelley, who lived next door, airing out her rugs-hanging them on the clothesline and vigorously whacking at them with a large wire beater made for the purpose.  Back to the garden - the cool weather is helping prolong spring bulb color - daffs and tulips are magnificent.  Sadly, though, the froth of Serviceberry bloom has been knocked to smithereens by rain and wind.  Coming along, however, are flowers on Lilacs and Crabapples, which appear abundant this year. We see Violets are at their best just now - we let them naturalize in our lawn - a welcome sight and an excuse to hold off moving the grass.  Wild Plum is showing off in wooded roadsides, the only time of year that the tree is noticed.

Oaks, Honey Locusts, nut trees and Kentucky Coffee trees are always late to leaf out, prompting folks to think they've failed winter's test.  No, no. A friend relates that every spring her husband would look out from his morning coffee and claim the ancient Ginkgo in the yard was finally dead and should be chopped down. She knows better and the splendid tree exists today, thankfully.

More rain on the way this week?  We shouldn't have to water anything for a while.
OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD - MAY 02, 2019

Even before spring arrives for good, we delight in spotting hints that seasons are changing.  Pussy Willows bring a smile and attract early-bird pollinators.  The chartreuse foliage of weeping willows brighten up the lowlands and, beacon - like, can be seen from afar. Isn't this the time of year that Willows are at their best?
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