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Epimedium x rubrum or Red Barrenwort is this week’s flowering beauty. I always look forward to these small jewels. They aren’t as showy as many other spring flowers and are easily overlooked. They hover a few inches above the soil and can be easily missed if you aren’t looking for them. The flowers come out before or just as the leaf stalks are emerging.
The leaflets are heart-shaped and tinged with red in the spring. They turn a bronzy red in the fall and are usually evergreen in my Cary, NC garden. I remove the old foliage before they bloom so I can see the flowers better. These flowers nod so I needed to hold the camera under them to get these photos. They are such a pleasure to see in early spring.
There are many Epimediums available for gardeners. Tony Avent at Plant Delights Nursery near Raleigh, NC has many species and hybrids available.
We had a gorgeously warm day here in the Triangle. While traveling around to clients’ homes today I hit the brakes when I noticed a lovely yellow glow in an otherwise dull bed. Among the dormant grasses and perennials these lovelies stood up with grace and courage.
We’ll keep having a warm February. I’ve seen crocuses up, cherries starting to bloom and, of course hellebores emerging from the mulch. We’ll likely get some cold weather before winter’s over (I’m hoping for a bit more snow), but we can enjoy this weather while it lasts.
Today began with a bright, clear sky. The unfiltered sun is melting the ice we got Monday night.
I always love it when the sun comes out after an ice storm. I recall an icy morning as a girl traveling a street where the trees grew right overhead. The sun shone through the trees creating what I thought looked like a glittering hall in a massive crystal palace.
While my daughter was sledding* an icy slope I noticed a dogwood tree in the sun. It was covered with diamonds of light and I grabbed my camera.
I only wish my photographic skills were better so the photos could truly show the beauty outside this morning.
*I bought a plastic saucer for her after the Christmas snowstorm.
I finished the pots I posted about previously. The pots fit beautifully into their settings and definitely complement the landscaping and home. I used plants that will provide some great winter color and texture. Winter color can be challenging anywhere but in NC gardeners do have many options.
Two pots were added to the front porch turning matching pairs of pots into threesomes. The four pots weren’t enough for the large, gracious entry of this traditional brick home. I had already potted the existing containers when the new ones arrived. Standard dwarf ginkgos were used to add some vertical interest–and as something very unique. I reused some variegated ivy to spill from the pots with the ginkgos. The smaller pots got a mixture of pansies, snapdragons, ornamental kale, Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’ and Sedum tetractinum. I used the same plants in the new pots but added some variegated boxwoods as a permanent accent. The boxwoods, quite small now, will grow to add substance and year-round color to the planters.
The Ginkgos will lose their leaves, but will be perfect for some winter lights to brighten the porch.
Two more pots were installed in the back woodland garden next to a gazebo. These pots replaced some old half barrel planters that were rotting away. Removing those was a bit more work than I’d expected. Ferns, variegated ivy and a few more plants were growing in these planters. The ivy had escaped going right into the ground and even growing up and under the gazebo. I removed all of the plants, soil and the rotting wood. There were even rocks that had been in the bottom of the barrels. The new pots were quite a bit taller than the barrels. I trashed the ivy and planted the ferns and some Epimedium between the pots and the gazebo. The large growing ferns will soften the space and be lovely next year. A fall blooming Japanese Anemone was growing with a fern and that was planted also. It has room to spread around and will bloom better out of the pot.
The new pots got evergreen Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora), Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis), Epimedium, some miniature Narcissus and a few Pansies. The Lenten Rose had been growing (rather poorly) in the barrel planters.
All of these containers are irrigated with drip lines. This makes maintenance much easier. It is hard to hide the black 1/4″ tubing, but as the plants grow and fill in, they are hard to notice. The tubing can be routed through the drainage holes in the pots which can make them less noticeable. I do hope the homeowners are happy with their new pots. It’ll be fun planting them again in the spring.
They’ve arrived! I ordered some wonderful new pots for a client and they arrived today. Next week, I’ll be adding the plants.
My clients had two pairs of pots on their large front terrace, but the space still cried out for more. I suggested a new pair to go with them. Then I mentioned an area near the backyard gazebo. Half barrel planters had been planted there long ago. The ivy had escaped from them and the wood was decaying. I suggested we consider new pots for that space as well. It was agreed that I would pick out pots for both of these locations.
Then I got to go shopping! I love choosing accessories for gardens. Plants can be accessories and I get to choose them all the time. But pots and furniture are even more fun– like candy. Most gardens aren’t complete without some carefully chosen accessories. I checked out Market Imports at the NC Farmers Market in Raleigh. I found these pots:
Click the pics to embiggen and find out where the pots will go and why I chose each. But I’ll bet you guessed that already.
Now it’s off to pick out more plants for these new pots. I’ll need more of the panolas (viola x pansy–cute smaller pansy flower, no faces) and snapdragons like I put in the other pots. I also used a nice dark Ajuga cultivar called Black Scallop. Oh, and some soil too. More shopping!
They’ll look great.
I spotted this great looking winter color today:
What a wonderful antidote to dreary January weather.
Winterberry or Ilex verticillata provides wonderful berries in the winter. The plant doesn’t do much until winter, then pow! The berried plants are female and need a male pollinator. You can use males called ’Apollo’ or ‘Southern Gentleman’. Sometimes other nearby hollies will do as long as they bloom at the same time.
Be patient. I’d say it takes at least 3 years to get a decent show. These are probably at least 5 years old.