Showing posts with label epimedium 'black sea'. Show all posts
Showing posts with label epimedium 'black sea'. Show all posts

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fall color I'm digging

This spring I went on the hunt for Fothergilla gardenii 'Jane Platt,' which was rumored to have the nicest fall color of all the fothergillas. She did not disappoint.

A few weeks ago some of the leaves starting changing, turning a screaming red at the tips.

Now it looks like this.

WHAT. Some of the green is deepening to a dusky purple that looks so nice with the hot carmine leaves.

I love! I read somewhere on the internet that its color can vary from year to year, though I can't find where anymore.

This spring I kept looking for 'Jane Platt' and finding only Fothergilla x intermedia 'Blue Shadow,' which has the most beautiful blue foliage. I am definitely making room for one of these next. Even if the fall show is half as good as Jane Platt I'll be happy.

Image source: Rick's Custom Nursery

I bought my Jane Platt from Gossler Farms Nursery, if you feel the need to add one to your garden.

I'm also deeply in love with my Spiraea japonica 'Magic Carpet.' In spring it is the most wonderful zinging chartreuse.

It mellows a bit in summer.

And then in the fall it turns every color imaginable.

I hesitated to add this shrub to my garden because it's used so widely in grocery store parking lots here. It's really tough and can take a lot of abuse, though it tends to get sheared into unsightly blobs by landscapers. I will never understand the need by landscaping crews to shear everything into blobs. I know it's fast and easy but it looks terrible.

When I am dictator people will prune with hand pruners until they've been deemed worthy of using tools of mass uglification like hedge trimmers. Anyway. I'm glad I added it to my garden because the color is totally doing it for me.

I just picked up another spirea for the front garden at Xera Plants recently: Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida. I waited until it lost almost all of its leaves to get my act together to take a picture, so this doesn't really show off the kaleidoscope of colors this native boasts. It's stunning.

One of my Epimedium 'Black Sea' went rogue and turned completely red.

. . . While the others look like this. If I could get them all to spread out, bulk up, and turn that blazing red color next to the Hakonechloa grass, I'd be the happiest of campers.

You know what else would make me happy? If I could go back in time and not buy this Sedum cauticola 'Lidakense', AKA "Clown whore sedum."


Friday, February 8, 2013

Best laid plans

In the backyard I have a mature Western red cedar that has thwarted all my under-planting attempts. I've tried a number of natives, few of which have thrived. Of course, I never bothered to plant things that could survive with almost no water. One lonely hosta looks great until August, at which point it dramatically keels over. The sword ferns are happy but everything else malingers. It's my fault.

There are sad neglected boxwoods in the corner that I leave only because they're evergreen and they live despite getting no water. I really want something large to fill the space in the foreground but I've yet to find a medium shrub that can handle dry shade (but sometimes hot summer sun!) and fierce root competition. My next attempt will be gro-low sumac (Rhus aromatica), which won't get quite as tall as I want, but should be able to survive here.

I consulted with a guy at Joy Creek about ground covers because my wild ginger just never took off here. He suggested hellebores and epimediums, so I'll try that, damn it. I moved my hellebores here and thus far they are doing great.

I searched high and low for an epimedium I liked and found one called 'Black Sea.' It's supposed to turn almost black, which I thought would look great interplanted with Hakonechloa macra.

The only problem is that this epimedium turns black in winter, when everything else is dormant. You can't even see it, it melds with the mulch so well. During the warmer months it turns a very unremarkable shade of medium green. And I planted hakonechloa eight feet away. It's like I'm not even thinking, some days.

So I'm not quitting my day job. What other dry shade (but sometimes hot summer sun!) workhorses am I missing?