As we move into spring the number of blooming plants can blow you away. With all the flowers and color present in Durham during this time of year, it is easy to find plant combinations that give you a bold effect. The challenge is to develop combinations that can move beyond the bloom frenzy of spring. Below are two incredible spring combinations that will work all the way until fall.
As winter winds down it is time to think about changes to make in your yard come spring. The earlier you get plants established this spring the better off they will be, and the more time you’ll have to enjoy them come summer. If your plans include designing or redesigning a portion of your landscape read on for a guide to start the process.
Selecting Winter Plants
Evergreens are some of the hardest working plants in the garden – they provide a backdrop for flowering plants in spring and summer, highlight vibrant fall color, and provide structure and interest in the winter garden.While the value of evergreens is widely understood, many gardeners see them as a necessary evil – plants that are important but that can be boring, without the dynamic seasonal changes of other types of plants. One evergreen that is definitely not boring is the Thunderhead. A shrub form pine, the Thunderhead, can be broader than tall with an irregular form and showy candles. Consider using the Thunderhead where you would ordinarily use a midsize deciduous specimen like a Japanese Maple.
It’s not officially winter yet, but it is a great time to start planning for your garden’s winter maintenance needs. In the last few weeks the leaves have fallen from the trees, making it a great time to mulch. Winter mulching gives your plants extra insulation against the coldest months of the year, while also giving your yard a fresh neat look for winter visitors. Mulching in the winter is also a good way to get a head start on next season’s yard work.
Winter is also a great time to prune trees and shrubs. Plants without their leaves show their underlying structure, this makes it easier to see where to make the best cuts. For many plants winter is also the healthiest time to prune – many summer blooming plants as well as many varieties of conifers prefer to be pruned during dormancy.
A project we installed a few weeks ago got me thinking about front entrances and how we use them. If you’re like me (and Jonathan) you probably enter your house through a back door or garage. It seems that as housing styles have changed so has the way that we look at and interact with our home’s primary entrance.
So, the project that we recently completed is in an older neighborhood of Durham, where street parking is dominant, and many residents still enter through their front door. If you’re wondering why this matters – I mean, a front yard is always very prominent, even if only for people driving by on the street – here’s my answer – FRAGRANCE! A space that is used every day and one where you can predict exactly where the users will walk is a great opportunity to incorporate fragrant plants.
Some of my favorite fragrant plants actually come into bloom in late winter and early spring. Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis, or Himalayan Sweetbox is one of these plants. It is very low growing, evergreen, and a great option for part shade or full shade conditions. Daphne odora ‘Aureo-marginata’ is also a fantastic plant for fragrance. Daphne can be somewhat finicky, but once established makes a beautiful addition to the garden by providing glossy variegated evergreen foliage in a mid size shrub.
Spring Pruning Guidelines
Pruning your trees and shrubs can bring about new growth, healthier plants and add to the finished look of your landscape. Our PDF explains how to correctly prune shrubs and trees, tools to use, where to make the cut and much more. Click the link below for more information.
Come up with exciting new ideas for your garden!
Rather than stay inside during the recent ice storm, we went to the Green and Growin’ Show in Greensboro. In addition to showcasing the best plants suppliers and growers in our area, this was also an opportunity for us as landscape designers and installers to learn what is new and interesting in our industry. We take what we learn from this and other events and incorporate new ideas into the plans for our Durham landscaping clients.
One of the highlights was a presentation by Bryce Lane host of UNC-TV’s In The Garden. The presentation covered new plant combinations as well as some ways to deal with changing climactic conditions in Durham and surrounding areas.
Beth’s favorite new idea was a pairing of Edgeworthia Papyrifera with Daphne Genkwa for an early spring bloom combination with great fragrance.