Plant Profile: Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Southern grandeur. The classic Southern tree. The epitome of large plantations. Southern Magnolias. They are adored by virtually all those who grow them and they are the envy of many gardeners who don’t. Their gorgeous evergreen leaves are a favorite for Christmas decorations or any other special occasion that comes along.

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is native to all of the Deep South states including Texas and its northern range covers parts of Maryland. The ability to grow in such diverse conditions shows that Southern Magnolia is a tough tree. Southern Magnolia needs full sun to do its best, at least in the Mid-Atlantic gardening region. Perhaps in Texas it appreciates a little shade. It isn’t very particular about its soil type, so long as it’s not sitting in standing water. I’ve seen them used in streetscapes with very limited soil and they seem to do fine. In those conditions, they will never be as beautiful as the ones grown in an open area with lots of room to spread their roots, but that’s to be expected.

Southern Magnolia bloom in June and their flowers are simply fantastic. They are the subject of many pictures and paintings, most of which can be found in my Mom’s house…she just loves them. The 6″ to 8″ wide blooms are fragrant but not so much as to be overpowering. They are a vanilla white and persist on the tree for two to three weeks, depending on weather conditions. Here are some pictures of the buds, flowers and the seed pods.

Southern Magnolia
The buds

 

Southern Magnolia
The blooms

 

Southern Magnolia
The spent bloom

 

Southern magnolia
The beginning of the seed pod

 

southern magnoliaThe main drawback to growing Southern Magnolia is that they shed their leaves…right as the trees are flowering. Their thick, shiny green leaves don’t decompose readily and can’t just be chopped up with your lawnmower. This is one of those chores that require you to break out the rake in June. One way to solve this problem is to leave the full skirt on the tree instead of limbing it up. If you leave the skirt intact to the ground, most of the leaves will fall through the tree and remain as mulch for the tree. If you limb it up, you’ll have Magnolia leaves from one end of your property to the other.

There are many cultivars of Southern Magnolia that are available in the trade. Here are some of the most popular:

  1. Bracken’s Brown Beauty‘ – this variety grows from 30′ to 50′ tall by 15′ to 30′ wide versus 50′ to 80’ tall that the straight species can reach.
  2. Edith Bogue‘ – this selection takes a little longer to flower but it boasts two important characteristics: it’s more cold hardy (to Zone 6) and it has a tight pyramidal form.
  3. Little Gem‘ – if you need to squeeze a Southern Magnolia into a smaller space, ‘Little Gem’ is an option. Topping out at 20′ tall x 10′ wide, this is perfect for those more compact landscapes.

 

While all of the literature says that Southern Magnolia is only hardy to Zone 7, try pushing it if you have a warm area in your landscape. There are tons of microclimates within an average garden and you should try to utilize them when you can. Have you grown Southern Magnolia in your landscape? Have you pushed it past Zone 7? Leave me a comment below or shoot me an e-mail. If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me at Twitter. Happy gardening!

 

Did You Know? Ivy in Trees

Today’s post is about ivy in trees. If you look around, you’ll see it everywhere. It seems so innocent as it starts to creep and crawl up your trees. It’s even attractive. But then the crawl turns into a dash and before you know it, the ivy is at the top of your trees and it’s completely out of your reach.

Many people wonder if ivy in trees is really a bad thing. Let me assure you that it is bad…really bad. Let’s look at some of the reasons:

  1. Ivy grows at an almost exponential rate and shades out the foliage of your tree. Without the leaves of the tree photosynthesizing, your tree is a goner.
  2. With its thick growth, ivy also provides great cover for all sorts of pests and diseases that can affect your tree. The ivy also keeps the trunk and stems moist which invites disease all by itself.
  3. Perhaps one of the most overlooked reasons for not allowing ivy to take over your trees is the increased canopy that is susceptible to wind. The ivy acts like a sail on a sailboat and can cause your tree to go down during a summer thunderstorm, or worse, a hurricane.

 

ivy in treesSo what can you if your ivy has already has escaped into your trees? Depending on the size of the vine, you can either try to physically pull the ivy out of the trees or cut the vine near the base of the tree. It’s not a bad idea to do both.  I must warn you that if you cut the vine and leave the remaining ivy in the tree, you won’t kill all of the ivy. Ivy is amazingly tough and has probably rooted into your tree. I don’t mean that it has tapped into the vascular system of the tree like mistletoe does but it has rooted onto the stems and with all of the shade that the ivy provides, there’s still a lot of moisture available to sustain the ivy. Don’t be discouraged…just keep battling the monster once pruning cut at a time.

Another warning: the ivy that is successfully killed by your pruning cuts will turn brown in your tree. It won’t last long but I wanted to warn you that the tree that you’re trying to save will look as though it has died. Take pleasure in seeing the brown ivy; you’re one step closer to an ivy-free tree.

Persistence is the key to eliminating the ivy in your trees. Realize that with every piece of ivy you remove from your tree, your tree is breathing a sigh of relief. If your tree is particularly overgrown with ivy, you may want to consider hiring a Certified Arborist with a bucket truck. They will be able to access much more of the canopy than you can from the ground.

Do you have any experience with ivy in trees? Do you have other methods that you’ve used to successfully remove ivy? Leave me a comment below or e-mail me…I’d love to hear what’s worked for you! If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me at Twitter. Happy gardening!

 

Plant Profile: Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)

golden rain tree
Photo courtesy of www.hort.uconn.edu

Golden rain tree is a delightful small tree with wonderful yellow flowers. It is a showstopper when it’s in bloom as it is now in Virginia. Hailing from China and Korea, golden rain tree grows to 30′ tall by 30′ wide. Make sure that you allow enough room for it to reach its 30′ width because it almost certainly will if left to its own devices.

Golden rain tree has several noteworthy characteristics that make it a desirable tree for your landscape. Let’s take a look at some of these:

THE FOLIAGE: Golden rain tree has pinnate or bipinnate leaves; that’s a fancy way of saying that the leaves are divided and feathery in appearance. The fall color is variable but if you purchase one with good fall color, you’ll be rewarded with yellow foliage.

golden rain tree
Photo courtesy of www.vanderbilt.edu

THE FLOWERS: This is the reason that most people want a golden rain tree in their landscape. The flowers really are quite phenomenal and have great presence in the garden. The yellow color draws your eye to the tree and if placed properly, the blooms can entice a visitor to a desired area of your garden when the tree is flowering. The blooms persist for upwards of a month and carpet the ground in yellow when they finally fall.

golden rain tree
Photo courtesy of www.finkegardens.com

THE FRUIT: After the yellow blooms fall, they are followed by papery fruits that resemble little Chinese lanterns. They are a great conversation starter and kids love to pop them open to see what’s inside. Inside the Chinese lanterns are viable seeds that germinate if you look at them twice. The only drawback to growing golden rain tree is that it self seeds readily. In my opinion, the seedlings aren’t a real issue. They are easily removed even when they reach a foot or so tall. But perhaps, if you have a more natural area of your landscape that you don’t tend very often, golden rain tree may not be the plant for you.

golden rain tree
Photo courtesy of www.discoverlife.org

 

I want to be sure that you realize that there is also a plant called golden chain tree. It is not the same as the golden rain tree. Golden chain tree’s latin name is Laburnum x anagyroides and it is a plant that is better suited for areas that are cooler than Zone 7. Here in Virginia, it is a short lived tree that isn’t worth growing. When you go to the nursery to pick out your tree, make sure that you ask for a golden rain tree.

If you have a sunny or lightly shaded area in your garden that needs a small tree, consider the golden rain tree. It is disease resistant and not a choice for garden pests. If you keep an eye on the seedlings, I think that you will be pleased with growing a golden rain tree in your landscape. Do you have any experience with growing golden rain tree? If so, leave me a comment below or shoot me an e-mail. If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me at Twitter. Happy gardening!

 

Plant Profile: Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Mountain laurel, Kalmia latifolia, is a wonderful native shrub that grows throughout much of the Mid-Atlantic gardening region. Mountain laurel is blooming right now in Central Virginia and is peeking from the woods’ edge all along the roads that I travel daily. Its light pink blooms provide a nice splash of color amongst all of the green leaves that decorate the trees. It’s growing in the same woods where all of the beech trees were hanging onto their palomino colored leaves this winter.

mountain laurel
Photo courtesy of www.nativetreesociety.org

 

Mountain laurel can be a finicky shrub to establish in the landscape here in Richmond, VA. I lost several new transplants in a customer’s yard a few years ago…I haven’t tried to plant any since. They enjoy partial shade and a cool moist soil. They seem to thrive in areas with less humidity than we have here in Richmond. They grow prolifically in the mountains of Virginia and in areas further north. Just because they didn’t do well in a landscape a few years ago is no reason to not give them a try again…I just haven’t had the opportunity.

There are many cultivars available in the nursery trade. Here are some of the most popular:

  1. ‘Bullseye’ – this cultivar reaches 5′ tall x 5′ wide and has white blooms with purple banding
  2. ‘Carousel’ – this cultivar reaches 5′ tall x 5′ wide and has white blooms with cinnamon red accents
  3. ‘Elf’ – if you’re looking for a shorter cultivar, ‘Elf’ only gets 3′ tall and has pink buds that open to white flowers
  4. ‘Olympic Fire’ – this cultivar reaches 5′ tall x 5′ wide and has clear pink blooms
  5. ‘Pristine’ – if you need a clear white bloom, ‘Pristine’ has an abundance of them on 5′ tall plants

 

Mountain laurel has deep green, evergreen leaves that are reminescent of Rhododendrons. Both rhodies and mountain laurel are in the Ericaceae family and they have similar cultural requirements: acidic soil, shade and moist soil. That’s not to say that they won’t tolerate less than ideal conditions; it’s just that if they were picking a place to live, it would have all of those characteristics.

A bonus of mountain laurel is that all of its parts are poisonous. That means that they are deer resistant. That’s a bonus and beats azaleas, otherwise known as deer candy, hands down. Do you grow mountain laurel? What conditions is it growing in? What’s your favorite cultivar? Share your experiences with other Mid-Atlantic Gardening readers by leaving us a comment below. If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me at Twitter. Happy gardening!

Plant Profile: Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)

Today’s Plant Profile is about one of my favorite small trees: the Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa). Kousas, as they’re commonly referred to, hail from eastern Asia and also go by the common name Japanese Dogwood. They are showstoppers in the landscape and for those who aren’t familar with them, expect the “what is that beautiful tree” questions to ensue.

kousa
Photo courtesy of www.rutgers.edu

 

As compared to the native dogwood Cornus florida, kousas bloom later in the spring. Here in Virginia, native dogwoods tend to bloom in April and kousas make their entrance into the flowering world in May. They also bloom when the leaves are on the trees whereas native dogwoods bloom before the leaves unfurl. Since the kousa blooms come out after the leaves emerge, they have a layered appearance that is stunning in the landscape. The blooms last for 4 weeks or more and carry the landscape into the early days of “unofficial” summer.

I enjoy using kousas in the landscape because they are much more tolerant of sun than the native dogwoods. So many times, well meaning folks plant native dogwoods in full sun and then wonder why it starts declining a few years later. “But it has more blooms in full sun” they say. Sure it does…and I hope that you enjoy them for the 10-15 years that the plant survives. If they are planted in the partial shade that they prefer in the wild, the trees will live a much longer life. But back to the kousa dogwoods. They are much better suited to full sun and actually prefer it over partial shade. Many new landscapes have little to no shade and kousas easily fit into these harsher environments.

Kousas rarely succumb to pests and diseases. Dogwood anthracnose has plagued our native dogwoods and I don’t personally recommend planting the straight species anymore. But the kousa dogwoods are there to fill the bill. There are many kousa cultivars that have hit the market recently. Let’s look at a few:

  • ‘Little Poncho’ – if you’re looking for a dwarf kousa that only reaches 8′-10′ tall in the landscape
  • ‘Milky Way’ – this cultivar is probably the one that you’ll see available most at garden centers. It has a broad bushy form and is loaded with flowers in the spring and fruits in the fall.
  • ‘Wolf Eye’ – this is a cultivar that has green leaves with a crisp, clear white margin. It is primarily grown for its foliage but it still has the same beautiful flowers as its non-variegated family members.

 

kousa
Photo courtesy of www.aragriculture.org

Kousa dogwoods have attractive salmon colored fruits that appear in the fall and are attractive in and of themselves.  The fruits can be eaten and turned into jelly or jam if your heart desires. That is if you can get to them before the birds and squirrels do…it’s pretty stiff competition in the fall.

Reaching 15′ to 20′ tall at maturity, kousas can be worked into virtually any landscape. If 15′ to 20′ is too tall for you, consider ‘Little Poncho’ for a smaller space. I hope that you will consider working a kousa dogwood somewhere into your landscape. Or if you have a kousa in your yard, tell other Mid-Atlantic Gardening readers your experience with them. Leave me a comment below or e-mail me at stacey@midatlanticgardening.com. Happy gardening!

 

Plant Profile: Wisteria

In today’s Plant Profile, we are going to take a look at Wisteria. The latin name for this vine is Wisteria sinensis and it is also known as Chinese Wisteria. There is another species that is grown in the Mid-Atlantic gardening region and it is Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda). Chinese wisteria is by far the most common type that is grown and so it is on this species that we will focus our attention.

Many people are left stunned when they see the pendulous blooms of wisteria. They are a beautiful lilac purple color and can last for several weeks. The longevity of the blooms depends on the ambient temperatures when the vines are blooming. They generally bloom in late April but they have been blooming for a couple of weeks here in the Richmond, VA area. Our weather has been moderate so I expect them to last for a couple more weeks before they disappear into the background for the rest of the year.

wisteria

Let’s take a look at how the Wisteria vine grows. In case you aren’t familiar, vines generally grow in one of three ways: 1. Tendrils (think passion flower) 2. Clinging (like with Boston ivy) or 3. Wrapping (think honeysuckle). Wisteria grows by wrapping itself around a structure or a tree if there isn’t a structure around. If you are planting wisteria on a pergola or another structure, make sure that the structure is well made and heavy duty. Wisteria is the type of plant that can bring a loosely constructed arbor to its knees in a couple of years. If you are familiar with Maymont’s Italian Garden, it is wisteria that grows up and over the pergola there…and it is amazing when it is in flower. It’s no wonder that April is a favorite time for outdoor weddings there.

I have to throw in a good bit of caution regarding planting wisteria. It must be planted in an area where it can’t escape into the surrounding woods. If you doubt this, take a Sunday drive through a rural area near you and observe all of the wisteria growing in the woods. It’s readily apparent that someone planted the wisteria on an old homestead and the vine just got away from them. It will kill mature trees over time as it girdles them like a boa constrictor and also shades the tree’s leaves and reduces photosynthesis.

To help keep Wisteria in check, give it an annual winter pruning to reduce its size. Prune the main leaders (leaders are the stems that come off of the main trunk) back to 4 or 5 buds. This will keep the plant’s size in check and will help to promote flowering. It is amazing how quickly they can grow…here is a picture of one that hasn’t been pruned for approximately 3 years. It’s going to take a bit of pruning before anyone can sit comfortably under there.

wisteria

Let me know if you have experience with wisteria…the good, bad and the ugly. Most people either love or hate wisteria. What side of the fence do you fall on? Leave me a comment below or e-mail me at stacey@midatlanticgardening.com. Happy gardening!

 

Reader Question: Powdery Mildew on Lilac

Today’s Reader Question comes from Tommy in Halifax County, Virginia:

I live in an older home and there are lilacs growing on the property. Last year, their leaves turned almost white with some type of disease. Can you tell me what this was and if there is anything I can do to prevent it?

powdery mildew on lilac

Photo courtesy of ag.utah.gov

Tommy, it sounds like your lilacs (Syringa spp.) have a classic case of powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is a type of fungus that infects the leaves of many plants including dogwood, Monarda (bee balm), garden phlox and lilacs. It’s interesting to note that the parasitic fungi that infects one genus of plant will not necessarily infect other genera. Conditions that are favorable for powdery mildew growth include high humidity at night, low humidity during the day and temperatures of 70 to 80 degrees. That describes most springs in the Mid-Atlantic gardening region.

So what can you do to discourage powdery mildew on lilac?

  1. If you have the luxury of planting a lilac, pick a mildew resistant variety. ‘Miss Kim’ comes to mind immediately but I’m sure that there are other cultivars available.
  2. If you are going to be planting lilac, be sure to site them in an area with plenty of air circulation. If you have an area that always seems to be windy, this would be an ideal location for a new lilac.
  3. Lilacs will benefit from a sunny location to help the foliage dry before evening.
  4. In your case Tommy, one of the best things that you can do to prevent powdery mildew is thin the plant. By doing this, you’ll be helping the foliage to dry if you receive rainfall late in the evening or overnight.
  5. Speaking of rainfall and watering, don’t water in the evening. This watering rule pretty much applies to all plants, but it’s especially important with lilacs.

 

The last resort is to spray a fungicide. I don’t like chemicals in general so I don’t recommend going this route. Powdery mildew will rarely cause severe damage or kill the plant. Do everything that you can to promote healthy growth: add compost and mulch the plant to establish a deep root system. Enjoy the wonderfully fragrant blooms of the lilac and don’t worry so much about the powdery mildew. If you plant them in a mixed border, you’ll have other things blooming to distract your eye from the mildew.

If you like what we’re doing here at Mid-Atlantic Gardening, please subscribe to the website to receive updates to the latest posts as well as to be eligible for our subscriber giveaways. You can subscribe by joining our e-mail list on the top right of this page. Thank you for your support! If you have experience with powdery mildew on lilac, leave me a comment below or e-mail me at stacey@midatlanticgardening.com. Happy gardening!

 

March 29, 2012Permalink 1 Comment

Plant Profile: Bradford Pears

 

Normally, Bradford Pears bloom at this time of the year but with the winter that we’ve had this year, the Bradford Pears have bloomed and already have their leaves. But I thought that we would still take a look at them. My hope is that I can discourage you from planting them. There aren’t many plants that I would tell you NOT to plant…gardening is a very personal experience and if you like a particular plant, my theory is to go for it. But I hope that you’ll pass the Bradford Pears by when you head to the garden center next time.

Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’ is a fast growing tree that has been planted ad nauseum in the Mid-Atlantic gardening region. In fact, it’s been planted everywhere across the country and it has become a monoculture. What happens with monocultures? Often times, a pest or disease moves in and decimates the population. One of the many downfalls of Bradford Pears is that they end up with fireblight. If your tree looks like someone set fire to the new growth in the spring, it has fireblight.

Fireblight is really the least of the problems that Bradford Pears experience. The worst problem with them is that they break apart. The crotch angles are very close, and while this isn’t really a problem when the tree is young, as the tree ages it leads to included bark. Included bark basically describes bark that is encapsulated in the tree instead of being pushed out as it grows. Here is a picture that more accurately describes it then I can.

bradford pears

If you notice the dark V-shaped area at the bottom, that is the included bark. When there is enough wind or weight placed on the branch, it gives way and you end up with this:

bradford pears

That is a very large wound that the tree will have a hard time recovering from. Besides, you wanted a tree that was beautiful, not one with large gaping holes in the canopy.

You may be wondering about other options that will still provide beautiful blooms in the spring but be less susceptible to breaking apart. Here are some options:

  1. Real pear trees – you know, the ones that actually produce fruit that you can eat. If you’re worried about having to clean up the fruit that falls, make plans for it ahead of time. You can make preserves, pies or donate it to a food bank. The obsession that this country has with planting trees that intentionally don’t produce food bewilders me.
  2. Apple trees – the blooms are just as beautiful as Bradford Pears and again, you get fruit as an added bonus. Read yesterday’s post about Cedar Apple Rust so that you can identify it if your trees come down with a case.
  3. Cherry trees – again, these have gorgeous blooms and you get a crop of cherries that will satisfy your needs as well as the needs of many other people you know.

 

I hope that I’ve given you enough ammunition to discourage you from planting Bradford pears. If you like what we’re doing here at Mid-Atlantic Gardening, please subscribe to the website to receive updates to the latest posts as well as to be eligible for our subscriber giveaways. You can subscribe by joining our e-mail list on the top right of this page. Thank you for your support! If you have experience with Bradford Pears, leave me a comment below or e-mail me at stacey@midatlanticgardening.com. Happy gardening!

Reader Question: Shrubs that Thrive in Shade

 

Today’s Reader Question comes from Jesse in Prince George, VA:

I have a shady yard and am looking for advice on shrubs that thrive in shade. I have azaleas but am looking for something a little more exciting.

Well Jesse, it really depends on how much shade you have. As a general rule, if your garden only has morning shade you can grow many full sun shrubs as the afternoon sun is much more intense. If your garden only has afternoon shade, you can consider your landscape to be a shady one. Of course, there are always variables to take into account such as the denseness of your shade and your sun exposure in the winter.

Assuming that you have a shady yard as you indicated, there are a number of shrubs that will fit the bill. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  1. AZALEAS – I know you said that you were looking for something a bit more exciting but have you considered the Encore azaleas? They reliably rebloom in the fall so they offer you two seasons of color. They come in all sorts of colors and heights so there is probably one that will work for your landscape.
  2. CAMELLIAS – I love, love, love camellias but many are only hardy to Zone 7. Since you’re just a couple of counties away from me in Prince George, camellias will offer you beautiful evergreen foliage and fantastic blooms. There are two types of camellias: sasanqua types which bloom in the fall and japonicas which bloom in the late winter and early spring. Instead of making it an either/or decision, why not plant both?
  3. PIERIS – These gorgeous shrubs bloom in the spring and also have evergreen foliage. There are many cultivars available ranging in color from red to pink to white.
  4. shrubs that thrive in shadeHYDRANGEA – Hydrangeas are deciduous but well worth it for their blooms. There are two types of hydrangeas…mopheads and lacecaps. On top of that, many of the older hydrangea cultivars bloom on old wood while the newer varieties bloom on new wood. The newer cultivars can be cut back in the spring without the fear of pruning away your blooms. The picture here is the foliage of ‘Mariesii Variegata’ emerging in the spring.
  5. GARDENIA – In the southern portion of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening region, gardenias appreciate some shade from the afternoon sun. Their blooms are fragrant and make beautiful cut flowers. They can be prone to whiteflies if they are sited in too much sun so take care to plant them in at least light shade.
  6. GOOSEBERRIES – If you are looking to grow a shrub that also produces edible fruit, consider the gooseberry. They won’t thrive in dense shade but if they are afforded good air movement, they will produce a bounty of fruit that can be used in preserves, pies and jams.

 

Jesse, I hope that I’ve given you some ideas regarding shrubs that thrive in shade. All of these plants are low maintenance shrubs that will thrive with little care once established. If other Mid-Atlantic Gardening readers would like to chime in with their favorite shrubs for shade, leave me a comment below or e-mail me at stacey@midatlanticgardening.com. Happy gardening!

March 22, 2012Permalink 9 Comments

The Vernal Equinox: It’s the First Day of Spring!

 

Today is the first day of spring! Woo-hoo…spring has sprung in the Mid-Atlantic gardening region. But quite honestly, we didn’t have much of a winter so we don’t really have the same enthusiasm as we had two years ago after “Snowapalooza”. But even still, it’s good to know that sustained warm temperatures are right around the corner. For those who don’t know, I’d like to quickly explain what determines our seasons on the calendar:

The Vernal Equinox – March 21 – SPRING – this is the first time in the calendar year when the hours of daylight and darkness are equal…12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

The Summer Solstice – June 21 – SUMMER – this is the longest period of daylight in the year…from December 22 until June 21 the days get longer and longer.

The Autumnal Equinox – September 21 – AUTUMN – this is the second time in the calendar year when the hours of daylight and darkness are equal…12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

The Winter Solstice – December 21 – WINTER – this is the shortest period of daylight in the year.

Plants are blooming like crazy now. The trees are blooming, the tulips, the forsythia, the grape hyacinths…you name it and it’s blooming. I thought that I would share a few pictures of the plants that are blooming in the central Virginia area.

Camellia (this one fell into a bed of creeping jenny)

vernal equinox

Redbud (Cercis canadensis

vernal equinox

Daphne odora

vernal equinox

Helleborus orientalis

verna; equinox

Flowering Almond (Prunus mume)

vernal equinox

I hope and pray that we don’t get a hard freeze now…that would be devastating to plants of all sorts. I remember that happening while I was a student at Virginia Tech. Trees had to have all sorts of branches removed as the freeze even killed much of the previous season’s growth. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen this year! What’s going on in your area? What plants are blooming in your hometown? Leave me a comment below or e-mail me at stacey@midatlanticgardening.com. Happy gardening!