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Archive for the ‘flowering trees’ Category

Oh, yes!  There is hope and renewal in the garden…everyone’s garden.  I took these pictures of our gardens just this week.  Go and look for yourselves!

Some things never died back.

img_6014 Some things are budding and preparing to burst forth.img_6015img_6017

Branches are forming.

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I noticed one of the roses (in fact the one pictured) has a plastic label around the stem.  It is too tight.  It has obviously been on there for a few years.  It’s time to cut it off.  Remember, even plastic will strangle a plant.  Cut those labels off as soon as you notice they are getting a bit tight.  But, goodness, look at those new stems just itching to get longer!!

Bulbs are pushing up toward the sun.img_6021

Have you begun checking out the gardening catalogues yet?  They are full of colorful ideas.  You don’t have to buy anything…just enjoy making plans!

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What is a tree anyway?

First, it is a plant that has a woody stem.  Second, it lives for a long time…maybe or usually longer than humans!  Here is a wonderful link to Utah State University Forestry Extension Service.  It gives a more complete explanation.  However, I’ll give you the abbreviated version here.

On the outside of the woody stem is the bark, with which we are all familiar.  screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-11-54-28-amRight under the bark is the cambium, which in it’s “process” forms the bark and the wood within.  We also know it as the wood “ring”, which forms each year, telling us the age of the tree.  A new ring for every year!

Next comes the phloem (also called “sapwood”) which moves the sugars, water, minerals, and other necessary ingredients for the life of the tree, up and down between leaves and roots.  It eventually becomes part of the outer bark, while new growth takes it’s place.  That phloem (sapwood) is what allows us to tap trees for things like maple syrup!    After awhile the interior wood dies and forms the “heartwood”.  Here is a sketch explaining all of that from the Utah State page.

But, wait!  Don’t shrubs have some of these same characteristics?  Yes, they do, but usually a tree is defined as having one central, large (3 inches +), stem.  A shrub usually has quite a number of stems.

Then there are woody vines, that cannot hold themselves erect.  They usually hold onto something by way of tendrils or by twining.  Sometimes they just grow along the ground.

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In a previous posting, I had mentioned that when shopping for plants, a Big Box store might not have the “vernacular” of the gardener down pat.

I am going to assume that you all know that a “Big Box” store is one that buys and sells most products in bulk or “Big Boxes”.  Places like Walmart, Samscreen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-24-47-am‘s, Costco, etc. qualify as Big Box stores.

They almost always have a huge garden center, with tons of plants for sale.  But, like the other sections of the store, the help you get is not always the best.  Looking for a particular kind of screw?  You’re on your own!  Looking for a variety of hosta? Again, you’re on your own!

If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you might do alright.  BUT, if you’re looking for help with choices…you’re in the wrong place.  On rare occasions you might find a competent gardener on the staff, but that IS a rarity.   If you’re looking for colorful annuals, and lots of them, this is a fine place.  BUT, if you intend to purchase a plant that will become a valued part of your garden and landscape, I’d sure go to a local nursery.

When Big Box stores purchase the plants they will sell, we have NO idea from where they come.  The best price may be plants from Florida, or Texas.  They will not have been grown in soil and weather even remotely like ours.  What that means is that when you get the plants into our soil, here in the PNW, the plants may just revolt.  They miss home!  It’s too wet.  It’s too warm.  It’s perhaps too cold. Not enough sun.  You get the idea.

When, on the other hand, you buy locally, most of those plants have been born and bred right here, near Seattle!  (This applies to ANYWHERE you live in the country…you ALL get the same plants from a Big Box Store, no matter WHERE you live!)  Most local nurseries grow their own plant material, or buy from a local “farm”.  They know that if they buy from far away, chances are the plants will not survive.  They can’t risk that, because most of the time they guarantee their plants.

Timg_5597o me that means I would only buy perennials, shrubs and trees from a local nursery.  Annuals I don’t worry about as they only last a season anyway.  IF you are very garden, or plant savvy, you know how to judge a plants health and variety…go for the lower prices in the Big Box Store.  If, however, you’re new at this…pay the little extra, and BUY LOCAL!

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We’ve been thinking about this for a few months now.  We have a number of large gardening planters in the middle of our Level D deck here at Horizon House.  There have been Redbud trees, Cercis canadensis, growing in them.  eastern_redbud_in_bloom 300 jwwAt the moment, they have been literally chopped down!  This happened in the early summer, and like all good cut back trees, they are sprouting valiantly, trying to re-establish themselves.  However, they are doomed to failure!

The trees have filled their rather large containers with roots, meaning there is barely space for anything else, and the trees are running out of space.  It’s time for a “re-start”.  Also, the planters are leaking from the bottom.  This creates dangerous, slippery, green streaks all over the decks.  That is NOT a good environment for folks with walking challenges.  So, the planters will be emptied, resurfaced, refilled with soil…and NEW trees!

At this point, all the gardeners are thinking about which kind of tree might replace the Redbudzuni_flower2_thumbs.  We could of course, put more Redbuds in there.  They are really a south eastern tree…but they have certainly been good here for us as well. Another thought might be Crape Myrtles, Lagerstroemia faurei.   Here’s a picture of one of those from the Clemson University website.

There are a few of these blooming around our “campus” and in the greater Seattle area.  They need a good deal of summer heat to bloom, so some years they will be gorgeous, others not so great.

styrax-obassia-gpp-01-gppAnother small tree that has been mentioned is a Fragrant Snowbell or Styrax obassia.  Here is a picture of one of those blooming.

All three of these will do well in our climate, it’s just a matter of choice.  The Gardening Committee will be thinking about these, and maybe some others that come to our attention over the winter months.  Hopefully the most lovely of them all will come to reside on our Level D gardens!

As is usual on my blog, there are links provided for you to click so you can get lots more information.  I hope you’ll use them, and be educated!  🙂

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