Archive for the 'birds and animals' Category

The Great Viburnum List

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[above Viburnum opulus 'Compactus' | European Cranberry Bush]

Viburnum ssp | Viburnum

Ok Ray, you asked for this. Here is my list of Viburnums for all occasions. I hope to add to this list over time since there are so many to choose from and something for any garden circumstance. So when I have to dig deep to find the right plant, I will know to start here at this list. They are together here in one post so we can compare them easily.
CHARACTER
At home in the Northern hemisphere of the world, it’s difficult to describe this genus as a group since their traits are varried depending on species and cultivar. Generally, in the Mid-Atlantic, Viburnum is evergreen or at least semi-evergreen, adaptable but great in light shade, and have hydrangea-like blooms many with fragrance or berries. When I picture Viburnum in my head, I think of leathery down turned rhododendron-like leaves, but in fact their folliage can be quite different so it’s good to get to know the cultivars you like on a personal basis. Still the qualites listed above make them a versital standard for any garden. If you can’t figure out what would be a good plant to use for a specific need, turn to Viburnums before you get frustrated.

CARE
Easy to care for but many need and or benefit from annual pruning, especially the more woody larger ones. Occassionally effected by aphids or nematodes (in the south), but no serious problems on the whole.
NOTES
150 species of shrubs and small trees. The blooms are called corymbs and look like round pom poms or flatter landing pads. Selective or tip prune, don’t shear.
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 5 – 9 | full sun to part shade
GROWTH RATE ….. slow to medium
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL likes well drained acid soil. but very adaptable
Native all over northern hemisphere of the world

LINKS
dogwood*design on Flickr / pics in Viburnum set
Dave’s Garden / Viburnum comments on many cultivars

MO Botanical Garden / Doublefile Viburnum


RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO

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Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Mohawk’ | Burkwood Viburnum [above]
I WOULD use this cultivar, but my teacher says he wouldn’t because it’s not too exicting past bloom time. Nice specimen at Greensprings Garden in VA. Has really great soft pink emerging from tight wine colored buds.
USE FOR ….. good for woodland or contemporary garden, borders, in mass
HARDINESS ….. zones 4 to 8, hardiest of the pom pom frangrant cultivars
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 5′ to 6′, maybe smaller than other V. dilatatums
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. open, multi-stemmed, nice branching habit, never as dense as V. x juddii or V. carlesii
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1″-3″ spear or almost heart shaped, soft fuzzy, grooved viens
LEAF COLOR ….. Semi-evergreen | medium green, somewhat shiney, sporadic red in fall
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | 3″ to 5″, pale pink white pom poms, 10 days in May to June
FLORETS | many, spicey soft fragrance
BERRIES | cool shiney yellow Sept to Dec, heavy racimes

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Viburnum dilatatum
‘Michael Dodge’ | Linden Viburnum [above]
I WOULD use this cultivar, but may not be as available as other Viburnums. Nice specimen at Greensprings Garden in VA. Has really tremendously beautiful shiney yellow berries.
USE FOR ….. good for woodland or contemporary garden, borders
HARDINESS ….. zones 5 to 7, leaves hold late, better with some shade in Mid-Atlantic
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 5′ to 6′, maybe smaller than other V. dilatatums
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. open, but full of folliage, can get a bit leggy
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 2″-5″ rounded, grooved veins like others, leathery
LEAF COLOR ….. Semi-evergreen | medium green, somewhat shiney, coppery tinged in fall
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | 3″ to 5″, creamy white, flat landing pads covering the plant, 10 days in May to June
FLORETS | many
BERRIES | cool shiney yellow Sept to Dec, heavy berry show

Viburnum ‘Chesapeake’ | Chesapeake Viburnum
listed in Dirr as a cultivar under V. utile | Service Viburnum
developed at US Arboretum, I WOULD use, looks good against walls
USE FOR ….. more formal, old southern, romantic setting
HARDINESS ….. Not as hardy as ‘Eskimo’
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 6′/10′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. compact, mounded, wide
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1.5″-3″ spear shaped, leathery, wavy
LEAF COLOR ….. Semi-evergreen | dark green, turning bright yellow in fall
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | 3″, round balls dark pink buds openning to showy white, peak mid April, nice fragrance
FLORETS | 65 per flower
BERRIES | dull red to black

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Viburnum ‘Conoy’ | Conoy Viburnum [above]
listed in Dirr as a cultivar under V. utile | Service Viburnum
developed at US Arboretum, I probably won’t use, it’s fine but I like others
I prefer ‘Chesapeake’ because of fragrance, Conoy is also too uniform for me
USE FOR ….. more formal, old southern, romantic setting
HARDINESS ….. Not as hardy as ‘Eskimo’
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 6′/10′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. spreading, mounded, wide
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1.5″-3″ spear shaped, leathery, wavy
LEAF COLOR ….. Semi-evergreen | glossy dark green, turning maroon in fall
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | 3″, round balls dark pink buds openning to showy white, peak mid April, mildly fragrant
FLORETS | 75 per flower
BERRIES | dull red to black

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Viburnum
‘Eskimo’ | Eskimo Viburnum [above]
listed in Dirr as a cultivar under V. utile | Service Viburnum
developed at US Arboretum, I WOULD use
Eskimo has really nice little ball blooms packed with florets but no fragrance
USE FOR ….. more formal, old southern, romantic setting
HARDINESS ….. hardiest of US Arboretum hybrids
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 6′ to 8′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. compact, stretched mounded, super dense
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1.5″-3″ spear shaped, flat, not wavey like others
LEAF COLOR ….. Semi-evergreen | glossy dark green, turning bright yellow in fall
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | 3″ to 4″, round balls dark pink buds openning to showy white, peak later April, no frangrance
FLORETS | 80 to 120 florets per flower, “show stoppers” says Dirr
BERRIES | dull red to black

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Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’ | Winterthur Viburnum aka Smooth Witherod [above]
listed in Dirr with Viburnum cassinoides | Witherrod Viburnum.
I Will use, if I can find, especially this cultivar. The very lustrous green and red leaf color is really a treat in the fall.
USE FOR ….. Good for screens, or specimen in border or woodland setting
HARDINESS ….. does well in Mid-Atlantic
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 5′ to 6′, medium to slow growing
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. compact, rounded, full, dense
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 3.5″-4.5″/.75″ tp 2.5″ eliptical with point, very smooth but veins still a bit grooved
LEAF COLOR ….. Semi-evergreen | almost waxy bronze to chocolate when emerging, turning bright green, even more smooth than V. cassinoides
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | 2″ to 5″, landing pads, white with yellow stamens in June to July
FLORETS | many
BERRIES | wonderful feature, turning from green to pink to red to blue and finally black, many colors seen simultanously

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Viburnum opulus | European Cranberry Bush Viburnum [above]
Similar 3 lobed leaves to Viburnum trilobum | American Cranberry Bush and Viburnum sargentii | Sargent Viburnum.
I WOULD use, I need to learn more about the cultivars but there is one listed ‘Nanum’, only 24″ that I will seek out.
USE FOR ….. Great for screens, on large residential, park or comercial landscapes
HARDINESS ….. zonese 3 – 8
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 8′ to 10′, spreading
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. upright, multi-stemmed, arching branches formes thicket
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 2″-4″, tri-lobed with soft serration
LEAF COLOR ….. Deciduous | medium to bright green, new growth tinged with red, really nice like maple
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | 2″ to 4″, landing pads white in May
FLORETS | white outer ring with fertile inner, creating a lovely “pinwheel effect” says Dirr
BERRIES | showy red in Sept-Oct, birds love, shrivle to raisons in winter

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Viburnum plicatum var tomentosum
| Doublefile Viburnum [both above]
I WOULD this sometimes, can get kinda large, so pick small sized cultivars. Some including ‘Mariesii’ are not sterile, be careful with this one. Some, including ‘Shasta’ are sterile and won’t spread. Great bird food.
USE FOR ….. elegant, strong architecture, fatastic blooms both pom poms and landing pads depending on cultivar.
HARDINESS ….. zones 3 to 7, perfect for Mid-Atlantic
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 8′ to 10′, slowish, lives 45 years
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. tiered horizontal branching, with long spires, ID by this, unique look for Viburnum
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 2″-4″ rounded with very pointy tip, serrate
LEAF COLOR ….. Deciduous | medium green, impressed viens
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | 3″ to 5″, white pom poms, but mostly landing pads, depending
FLORETS | many, no fragrance
BERRIES | egg shaped, bright red, friuts early June to August

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Viburnum prunifolium | Blackhaw Viburnum [above]
I WOULD use, especially nice as a small tree. It has striking dark purplish leaves so needs either open space or light green for best contrast and to make it stand out. Does well in dry soil, too.
USE FOR ….. good for woodland or formal, alone or in mass, handsome
HARDINESS ….. zones 3 to 9, sun or shade, adaptable to soil
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 12′ to 20′, slow to medium
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. multi-stemmed or single, rounded outline but “stiffly branched”, shape and brnches look a bit like a Hawthorne
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1.5″-3.5″ eleptical spear, course
LEAF COLOR ….. Semi-evergreen | dark green, smooth, red to purple brighter in fall
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | 2″ to 4″, creamy white landing pads
FLORETS | many
BERRIES | pinkish rose drupe changing to blueish black, etible, tastes pretty good at least the Colonists liked it

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Viburnum x pragense | Prague Viburnum [Prague above right, Eskimo left]
listed in Dirr as related to V. rhytidophyllum | Leatherleaf Viburnum
I WOULD use, sparingly I guess although because you can have too much of this good thing.
Supposed to be extremely hardy, yes from Prague the city.
USE FOR ….. Good for screens, only in extra-large residential, park or comercial landscapes
HARDINESS ….. super hardy to -17 degrees
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 10′ to 15′, fast growing, spreading
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. woody, full
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 3″-7″ largest, narrow spear shaped
LEAF COLOR ….. Semi-evergreen | lustrous dark green, new growth soft and soft on bottom
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | 3″ to 4″, landing pads start pink to brown to white
FLORETS | 100+ florets per flower, warm smelling
BERRIES | dull red to black

IMG_7885.JPGViburnum rhytidophyllum | Leatherleaf Viburnum [above]
I probably WON’T use, has eaten my neighbor’s back yard. We will try to most of it out but it is indeed a successful screen, but looks kinda droopy most of the time.
USE FOR ….. Good for screens, only in extra-large residential, park or comercial landscapes
HARDINESS ….. super hardy to -17 degrees
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 10′ to 15′, fast growing, spreading
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. woody, leggy, rounded outline, multi-stemmed
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 3″-7″ largest, very narrow spear shaped
LEAF COLOR ….. Semi-evergreen | lduller green, strongly grooved
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | 3″ to 4″, landing pads start pink to brown to white, the brown is down right dingy looking
FLORETS | 100+ florets per flower
BERRIES | dull red to black

Chionanthus virginicus | Fringe Tree

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above Chionanthus retusus blooms, closely related to the native version

Chionanthus virginicus | Fringe Tree

CHARACTER
Native to MD and the east coast piedmont and accross to the mid-west, found wild in the woods or available at the nursery. This is a versital tree, a good pick for a variety of circulmstances. Open and airy branching with very showy, fringey blooms that have a lovely spicey scent. The native Fringe Tree is smaller than its Asian cousin, Chionanthus retusus | Chinese Fringe Tree which is also beautiful with gorgeous exfoliating bark with denser folliage. Both have graceful branches and like to live on the edges peaking into the sun from the shadey side. Good in mass or alone.

CARE
Basically problem free – EASY. This one is for you, if you don’t want to do any maintenance. Can be pruned if it becomes leggy.
NOTES
Dioecious – you need both, but both flower. Males slightly more showy. Blooms in late May to June when not much else is blooming, good for transition.
RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
Cultivars (vs liberating one from the wild) will produce nicer plants in general, not surprisingly, but the distinctions between those available at the nursery aren’t significant. Any Fringe Tree will do.

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Chionanathus retusus | Chinese Fringe Tree (above)
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 20′-30′/same
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Upright, spreading and rounded but more dense than C. retusus
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 2″-6″ rounded, sometimes with point
FLOWERS | white fringey long 1″ long petals, lacey, lasts 2 weeks
LEAF COLOR ….. Deciduous | darker green, glossier green
BARK ….. outstanding exfoliating exfoliating

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Chionanathus viginicus | Fringe Tree (above)
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 10′ to 15′ /8′ to 12′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Loose, rounded; many horizontal and ascending branches, single or multi-stemmed, small tree or large shrub, fountain-like outline, folliage at end of stems
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 2.5″to 6″ spear shaped, narrow
FLOWERS | white fringey long 2″ long petals, lacey, lasts a month
LEAF COLOR ….. Deciduous | medium green, a bit duller than C. retusus
STEM ….. squarish, brown with prominant lenticils, but basically smooth

BOTH
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 7 – 9 | full sun to full shade
GROWTH RATE ….. slow to medium
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, opposite
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FALL COLOR | soft yellow
FRUIT | insignificant, small drupes of blue in September

NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL prefers deep moist, well drained, but very adaptable, in the wild found along streams
C. viginicus native MD, NJ to FL and west to TX
C. retusus native to Asia but well suited to east coast and not invasive
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MO Botanical Gardens / Chionanthus viginicus

Dave’s Garden / Chionanthus virginicus

MO Botanical Gardens / Chionanthus retusus

Dave’s Garden / Chionanthus retusus

Flickr / dogwood*design / Chionanthus pics

Aesculus x carnea | Red Horsechestnut

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Aesculus x carnea | Red Horsechestnut

CHARACTER
One of the most popular trees in England, according to Dirr. One of it parents, Aesculus pavia | Red Buckeye, is a native (id with rattlesnake like nuts pods) and so well suited to Mid-Atlantic planting. Dirr goes on to explain that this somewhat mysterious hybrid is the result of chromosomal doubling somewhere along the line. What ever the cause, the Red Horsechestnut is tidy looking small tree, a naturalizer with palmately compound leaves and wonderful extra large pink spire blooms (the florets are actually white, yellow and pink all at the same time). ‘Briotti’ is especially nice with deeper, redder, larger panicles of flowers in earluy May. Nice for DC Townhouse garden patios.
CARE
Prune in early spring.
NOTES
Adaptable to different soil types, tough-ish. Nuts are good food for deer and squirrels.
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RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
‘Briotti’ Blood red blooms, up to 12″ tall
‘Ft. McNair’ a recent introduction from Ft. McNair in Washington, DC
Aesculus hippocastanum | Common Horsechestnut 50′ tall for parks, too big for residential
Aesculus parviflora | Bottlebrush Buckeye great native shrub with cool bottlebrush white blooms
Aesculus pavia | Red Buckeye native giant shrub or clumping tree, rattlesnake nut pods

ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 4 – 7 | full sun to full shade
GROWTH RATE ….. medium
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 30′-40′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Rounded, multi-branched
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 3″to 6″, 5 leaflets with long petiole
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. palmately compound, opposite, doubley serrate
LEAF COLOR ….. Deciduous | dark green, lustrous and leathery

FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | beautiful, pink, white and yellow 6″ to 8″ tall and 4″ wide panicle turn into Buckeyes (nuts)

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NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL needs well drained, pH adaptable, grows well in Mid-Atlantic
Native to Europe, possibly developed in Germany

UCONN plant database / Aesculus x carnea

Salisberry Arboretum / Aesculus x carnea

Flickr / search for Aesculus x carnea

Amelanchier arborea | Serviceberry

IMG_6503.JPGAmelanchier arborea | Serviceberry

CHARACTER
Native to MD, and Northeast US. Beautiful small tree or very large shrub. Multistemmed with amazing red fall color. But the lacey white racemes of flowers which cover the plants are the real joy of this plant. Can be id’d by its yellow-green buds and pendulous friuts. Serviceberry has red edible fruit, berry like pomes, that tastes like the sweetest blueberries and are enjoyed by birds. Great to soften building corners or naturalize yards where there is space. Nice with dark backdrops to emphasize the shape. They hardly need any attention to thrive.
CARE
Transplant B&B. Keep in shape by removing unwanted succors.
NOTES
Also known as Juneberry and Shadblow (weird name) refferring to the bloom time when shad run.

Amelanchier arborea grove

Amelanchier arborea grove | photo: AnnaMollyMadison

RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
Amelanchier grandiflora ‘Princess Diana’ at Greensprings, VA
Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Fire’ and ‘Autumn Brilliance’ recommended by my designer friend, Cathy
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 4 – 9 | full sun to part shade
GROWTH RATE ….. medium, 9′ to 10′ in 8 years
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 15′-25′ but sometimes up to 40′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Loose, rounded; many horizontal and ascending branches
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1.5″-3″ obovate, impressed veins, obtusely serrated, thin, light
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. Deciduous | medium green, turning yellow, apricot or deep red in fall
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
STEM
| olive green to red-brown, green pith, smooth
FLOWERS | 5 petals, 2″ to 4″ long racemes, small white in early April
BERRIES | beautiful bright orange red, orange shaped pome (rose family) 1/4″ diameter
NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL tollerates streambanks to dry roadsides to hillsides, but not particularly polution tollerant, acid lovers
Native MD to FL and west to TX

UCONN plant database / Amelanchier arborea

MO Botanic Garden / Amelancheir arborea
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Cornus alba | Red Twig Dogwood

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Cornus alba | Red Twig, Orange Twig or Yellow Twig Dogwood
CHARACTER
Winter interest is this plant’s middle name. The stems can be red, orange or yellow and make a striking statement when planted in a mass of 5 to 10 plants, creating a bright stroke of color in the grayness of winter. They look lovely on neighborhood street corners. Summertime leaves quite similar to Cornus florida, familiar Flowering Dogwood trees of southern naustalgia. White berries are lovely, too. Can be used on banks for erosion control. All dogwoods seem to brighten my day. I’m devoted.

CARE
Dogwood family can get several diseases, cancer, leaf spot, and twif blight among them, but they have few pests and are generally healthy. Pruning will promote canopy air circulation, compactness, and healthy coloring of stems and variegated leaf color. In the first couple years prune only the largest stems untill the plant is established. After that, prune most stems back to 18″ tall every 3 years in Jan or Feb to rejuvinate. Deer will nibble and thus may eliminate the need for pruning.

Variegated dogwood, originally uploaded by weretable.

NOTES
aka: Red Stem Dogwood. Virtually impossible to tell cultivars apart. Closely related to Cornus sericea. Fibrous rooted. Cornus from Latin “Cornu” horn or antler. The common name, dogwood, comes from England. Years ago, people there used the bark of the bloodtwig dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) to bathe mangy dogs. On this continent, flowering dogwood has been used by Native Americans to make scarlet dyes and tinctures. Although the fruits are poisonous to humans, in the late 1700s, colonists made a tea from dogwood bark to reduce fevers and soothe colds. The wood of the dogwood tree is used today to make small tools and ornaments. It has been under cultivation in North America since the 1730s. Today, flowering dogwoods are popular landscaping trees. They are slow growing (often only a few centimeters per year in dense shade), resilient, and beautiful.
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RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
‘Bloodgood’ supposedly the showiest red stem
‘Midwinter Fire’ maybe a bit bigger and slightly longer lasting
‘Ivory Halo’ peachy orange, sensational color, finer texture, more compact 5′ to 6′, variegated leaves
Cornus sericea | Redosia Dogwood 10′, similar characteristics to C. alba
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ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 3 – 7 | sun to part shade
GROWTH RATE ….. fast
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 8′ to 10′ / 5′ to 10′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Open, suckering, erect branches
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. ovate, round at base, pointy at tip, 2″ to 4″ long, half as wide
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. dark green, some variegated
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | yellow white and sporadic, 1.5″
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BERRIES | cool blueish white droopes
STEM | color changes from bright reds and yellows in winter to bold green in summer, best color is on younger stems
NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL moist, well drained
Native Siberia, Manchuria, Korea
Ohio State University / Cornus alba

Earl J.S. Rook / Cornus alba
I’ve never seen this site before but looks pretty interesting

MO Botanical Garden / Cornus alba Ivory Halo

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Mahonia bealei | Leatherleaf Mahonia

image Mahonia bealei

Look closely and you’ll notice at bottom left the hidden ac unit.

Mahonia bealei | Leatherleaf Mahonia

STRENGTHS
A unique evergreen posessing pinatley compound leaves that look prehistoric and add great texture in the garden. Woodland naturalizing shrubs with branches that grow out in horizontal tiers. Although its leaves have an agressive appearance, learning a bit about it makes Mahonia shine in a new light. My favorites have a silvery chartruese tint. Fragrant lemon yellow flowers appear in late winter and burst into robin’s egg blue and then blue-black berries that dangle like grapes. Looks great in mass plantings and works well with grasses, coreopsis and ferns. Is often seen masking residential ac compressors, a stressful and rigorous job for any plant. Fantastic in deep shade in the deep South. It is a nice source of food for wildlife, too.

image Mahonia bealei

CARE
You don’t need to pull the volunteers that sprout in the spring. Most won’t last. Prune selectively on “THE 3 YEAR CYCLE”, prune 1/3 off of 1/3 of your plants each year. If you have 3 plants, each year prune 1/3rd of the branches off 1 of them. Keep moist with plenty of mulch.

NOTES
A relative of Barberries and Nandina (if you can believe it). It may not flower if it doesn’t get at least a couple hours of sun each day, though. Best position is one that gives 2-4 hours of morning sun. One of the only plants that can tolerate the heat of an ac unit nearby. Choose plants based on color, some are not as attractive as others. Not happy in cold.

RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
Mahonia aquifolia | Oregan Grapeholly available 3′ to 7′/ 5′, very similar to M. bealei but redder in color with shiney leaves, nice in combo
Mahonia japonica | Japanese Mahonia available, almost identical to M. bealei, Dir says differences are not manifest, especially since individual plants are many times hybrids anyway.

variegated forms available
ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 7 – 9 | part sun to (prefers) full shade
GROWTH RATE ….. slow
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 6′ to 10′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Erect, rounded, horizontal branches, some stems shoot up tall
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 9 to 13 leaflets, rigid and leathery, ovate, each leaflet is 1″ to 4″ long, 1″ to 2″ wide, terminal is largest, prominant spines
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. alternate, pinately compound
LEAF COLOR ….. Evergreen | many shades, matte green, often bluish on top and pale green below
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | fragrant lemon yellow panicles in March-April
BERRIES | beautiful bright robin’s egg blue turning black
NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL does well in moist, slightly acid
Native to China introduced in 1845
image Mahonia bealei

image Mohonia bealei blooms

Beautiful vination on leaves. I really like this Mahonia bealei.

Ilex opaca | American Holly

image Ilex opaca matte leavesIlex opaca | American Holly

STRENGTHS
Native to MD, a woodland naturalizer. If you see a holly in the wild, it’s likely this one. Sturdy and easy, I like it much better than the standard Chinese Holly. Has a nice pendulous banches. id an I. opaca by its flat matte green leaves with 1 to 3 spikes. Adds winter interest with large red berries that ripen in fall and persist to April. Requires plenty of space. Songbirds, especially Robins are almost fanatical.

image Ilex opaca image Ilex opaca berries

CARE
Winter burn can occur. They have quite a few pests but they’re so tough there’s usually no problem.
NOTES
Dioecious – needs male nearby for females to berry. Take care when spiney leaves drop on the ground.


RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
‘Warren’s Red’ available, heavy fruiting 15′ tall
‘Xanthocarpa’ has gorgeous yellow berries 40′ – 50′/15′ – 40′

ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 5 – 9 | full sun to part shade
GROWTH RATE ….. medium
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 20′-30′/7′ to 15′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Loose, rounded; many horizontal and ascending branches, pendulous

image Ilex opaca tree
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1.5″-3″ obovate, impressed veins, obtusely serrated, thin, light
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. Deciduous | dark green, turning bright yellow in fall
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | small white in spring
BERRIES | beautiful bright orange red
NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL does well in moist to dry and slightly alkaline
Native MD to FL and west to TX

Duke / Ilex opaca

BBC Gardening / Ilex opaca

Dave’s Garden / Ilex opaca

Cheasepeake Bay / American Holly

image Ilex opaca 'Xanthocarpa' yellow berries

Ilex opaca, originally uploaded by 3 John 1:4.

Ilex opaca, originally uploaded by intheburg.

Looking Out for Our Feathered-Friends

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Looking Out For Our Feathered-Friends
By Kathleen Franklin (kfranklin@potomacnet.com)

The birds in our area certainly haven’t suffered this winter, what with record high temperatures and ample rainfall. Here are ways to encourage avian diversity in your backyard even in winter.

First, clean feeders and birdhouses. Birdseed – particularly seed left at the bottom of tube and tray feeders – gets moldy. The best cleaning method is a solution of 50 percent HOT water and 50 percent white vinegar. Let the feeder dry completely before refilling. Same goes for unoccupied bird houses. Purge leftover nesting materials from last spring and summer, unless you spot evidence of active nest-building.

Second, place feeders at least eight feet from your house if you want to see shyer birds, such as Carolina wren, black-capped chickadee, nuthatch, tufted titmouse, or – if you’re really lucky – Eastern bluebird. Use feeders that have squirrel-deterring mechanisms, and make sure the feeder is near an evergreen shrub or tree to provide some shelter.

Third, buy good birdseed. Most seed at hardware and grocery stores is “junk food” for birds. It’s cheap, but it’s full of fillers that don’t provide much nourishment and create an unholy mess under your feeders. These low-end seeds often produce unwanted weeds in your lawn and garden once they drop from the feeder or work their way through birds’ digestive systems. Opt instead for “cleaner” seed varieties, such as sunflower hearts, which won’t leave shells everywhere. These seeds – irradiated to prevent sprouting – are well worth the extra cost at stores that cater to bird enthusiasts.

Plus, cheaper seed (often packaged as “mixed” or “songbird” seed) is a feast for sparrows, which are notorious feeder hogs. Sparrows are non-native invasive birds and are not protected under the migratory bird laws. They take over nests of native cavity-nesters and chase them away from feeders.

The more varied your seed and feeder types, the more variety of birds you’ll see. Suet feeders, for example, attract woodpeckers and sapsuckers. Niger (thistle) seed attracts finches. Robins, bluebirds, and cardinals love raisins. Orioles love grape jelly and other fruity snacks. Nuthatches like mealworms, available at birdseed stores. Most birds also like salt, so leave out a salt block. Plant a variety of fruit/berry-bearing trees and shrubs (away from sidewalks and paths to reduce mess) to attract even more birds.

Don’t forget water. Birdbaths should be no more than three inches deep and have rough edges to help birds maintain traction while drinking (plastic and glass are too slippery.) Never use chemicals to clean birdbaths; scrub out regularly with just a touch of bleach. In summer, drop in a “Mosquito Dunk” (a commercially available organic repellent) to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the water.

Next week: Tips on Caring for Jade Plants

© 2006 – Kathleen Franklin, All Rights Reserved. Kathleen is a county-certified Master Gardener and a longtime employee of a local garden nursery. To ask a question or to schedule a garden consultation, contact kfranklin@potomacnet.com