March 25, 2012

Gotta Love 'Em

You just have to love some old standbys in the garden.  Spireas are plants that never seem to inspire garden designers.  Overused?  Too rangy?  For whatever reason planting a spirea just isn't sexy.

And then Spirea thunbergii 'Ogon' comes into bloom -- in March this year -- and it is a stunning bright spot in the brown awakening garden.  I love this plant.

This March has been crazy warm, and 'Ogon' is in bloom early.  In prior years it showed off its white fountains in mid April, and at least the greening grass gave it a nicer frame.

Here it is last Thanksgiving day, also enriching what becomes a subdued browning scene in late fall.

And you just gotta love the star magnolias.  They aren't the big shows that saucer magnolias are, and they are not rare forms or achingly soft pink colors.

But how could you not smile at this baby Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star', planted last fall, blooming in March for all it is worth on its tiny little branches?

The forsythias, much maligned all the rest of the year, are just gorgeous right now all over the neighborhood, along the highways and everywhere you look.  You have to love a plant that doesn't care what we all think, and blooms with such obvious happy enthusiasm.

Big old "Lynwood' forsythia shrubs live out by the road, under big utility wires, among the Eastern red cedars and brown meadow weeds, not minding that they are not in a prime spot in the garden.  They just bloom away.

And who ever notices that maple trees flower?  When you are out there scanning the mud for newly opened daffodils or emerging spring bulbs, do you ever look up?  The Acer rubrum red maples are in flower in March.

They are not called red maples because of their leaves --- they have green leaves and look like other maple trees.  They are called red maples because they have hazes of red flowers in early spring.

Look up.

You gotta love 'em.

 

24 comments:

  1. Beautiful standbys are welcome here. I'm awaiting the spirea's blooms and the lilacs.

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    1. Thanks! Lilacs are another beautiful shrub that are "out of fashion" but so nice to have.

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  2. I love spirea. I have a teensy 'Princess' spirea in my front garden that always comes through winter looking completely dead until it begins to leaf out. I find it funny that plants fall in and out of fashion. I wonder which plants would be considered the parachute pants and bullet bras of 2012? :o) Thanks for your kind comments on my post. I have a book by Temple Grandin that I've always been meaning to read. I think it's headed to the top of my list.

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    1. It is interesting that plants come in and out of fashion. We think of them as such durable, permanent elements but they are like everything else we buy I guess... some get hot and others are looked down on at different times.

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  3. I do love them! I consider spirea a great multi season shrub in my garden. I wouldn't be without them.

    I also enjoyed your previous posts. I have been catching up on my blogging. It seems I am always behind! I like your new foot bridge!

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    1. Thanks, Deborah. I need to do more with spireas than just Ogon (and I have one other, a Korean spirea). But there are so many that can be used lots of ways.

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  4. Laurrie, I agree with you about Spirea. I like it anyway. They are easy and beautiful. What's not to like? Also nice to see in your picture, forsythia as a backdrop and border. I love the bright yellow but hate taking care of them when they are ill placed! Red Maple at this time is tremendous! So glad to see it getting the respect it deserves.

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    1. Forest Keeper, I'm definitely giving the red maples some respect here. I do love them when they are full of red hazes of flowers.

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  5. Spiraeas are stars of spring in my garden and properly adored. But it's hard to find them in nurseries because, as you say, they're out of fashion. Let's keep promoting wonderful plants like this and asking for them in nurseries, then maybe we'll create a demand.

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    1. Lyn, it is frustrating when really great plants are not available because they are not new or fashionable. You're right, we need to create the demand!

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  6. I agree, you got to love the old classics! I have a forsythia, a pearlbush and a beautybush for that reason.

    I do notice Red Maples just because there are a lot of them around here. They are lovely in flower.

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    1. Sweetbay, some of the old standbys really are classics!

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  7. I love those old fashioned spireas. I have two different kinds in my garden. One is blooming right now. I brought a piece of it from where I used to live and can't remember the name of it.The other is the Van Houtte Wedding bouquet. I don't really care what the designers think. I think they are cheerful and oh so reliable. Of course I have forsythia too. :) Happy Spring.

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    1. Lisa, they surely are reliable, and that's why designers get tired of them, I guess. But reliable is exactly what I want, and beautiful is a bonus!

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  8. I fell in love with the early blooming spireas after refurbishing healthy growth of those long neglected byt he previous owners of my former home. They became a highlight in my early spring garden. I've yet to find a spot for them in my present home, mostly due to the need to protect young shrubs from deer browsing, but they are still on my 'possible' list.

    My newly planted star magnolia bravely gave me one blossom this past week after suffering from ... you guessed it ... deer. I didn't get the fence up quickly enough. Sigh. Maybe more blooms will show next spring.

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    1. Joene, how sad to see my happy little star magnolia this morning, all frost-browned. Every bloom was turned to mush. If the deer don't drive us crazy, the weather will.

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  9. I remember seeing that photo in a recent post and I didn't realize it was a maple. Had no idea they had red flowers in spring, I thought it referred to red leaves in fall. Now I want to plant one!

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    1. Marguerite, Red maples (Acer rubrum) are easy native maples to grow and I am sure PEI has them in the woods all around. You have the space and setting for a large maple, so go for it!

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  10. That is a gorgeous spirea--I love the fall color, too! I had no idea that red maples had flowers in the spring--thanks for the info; I'll definitely have to check these out. I have been looking up, though, a lot--the flowering crabapples are blooming a month early, too, and putting on quite a show as well.

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    1. Rose, There is nothing like flowering crabs for beautiful blossoms against the spring sky. The red maple is more subtle, and most people don't even realize the red haze is the maple in flower.

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  11. I love all of them, really want that spirea but haven't seen it at a nursery yet. Can't wait till I get home, it has been torture this year with spring coming soooo early.

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    1. Deborah, the spirea is a classic, I hope you can find 'Ogon' at your nursery. I know you will be so happy to get to see your garden again!

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  12. Sometimes, some of these plants are those that withstand most types of weather or season. However, if we give them the attention that they need, it can still be very rewarding for us when they flourish.

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    1. Sergios Landscaping, you are right, the old standbys are classics because they thrive, and when we grow them right, they are rewarding!

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