No Longer Winter

Is there anything more miraculous than taking a walk on a late January afternoon in zone 7a and encountering masses of flowers?  Not “winter interest”, no, but full-on, voluptuous, lipstick-colored blossoms?

img_5071This is Camellia ‘Autumn Pink Icicle’ — thriving at Green Spring Gardens — which is a hybrid of the already cold hardy ‘Pink Icicle’, an Ackerman hybrid.

Anyway, as I walked along with the sun shining overhead and these hot pink blooms reaching out to say hello, well for a minute it was no longer winter.

Winter Outing

Testing out a new camera phone and trying to take pictures of nature with a companion who wanted to be featured in every shot.  At Green Spring Gardens. Alexandria, VA.

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New Home Found for Tiny Acer griseum

Check out the little cutie I stumbled upon at Green Spring Gardens’ plant shop a few days ago:

What you’re looking at here, my friends, is a baby Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) which (in case you’ve been living in Antarctica or something) you know is one one of the most coveted of ornamental trees.

Well, the minute I saw this little guy I knew it was coming home with me.  When I worked at a local nursery a few years ago, 5 to 6 foot specimens of A. griseum were selling for close to five hundred Big Ones.  They must be a bit more readily available now, and I know this one is a runt, but I couldn’t walk away from the $15 price tag.  Plus, if you look closely at the tiny little trunk, you can see the bark already exfoliating!  Awwww!

Never mind that I have no place to put it.  No sir, not even close!  I’ve already used up the three sunniest locations in my backyard with other ornamental trees that I yearned for (a river birch, a silverbell, and a sweetbay magnolia).  And my front yard is spoken for as well.  It already contains two large trees and three small ones.  To try to throw the new Acer into the mix would just be disrespectful to all involved.

So I’m doing the noble thing and giving it away to a family that can give it a decent chance in life (my mom and dad).   Their backyard has the sun and space that I simply cannot offer it at this point in my life.  It pains me to give it up, but I know I am doing the right thing and giving it the greatest chance to fulfill its destiny! 

Plus, maybe my parents will let me come over and water it sometimes.  Sniff.

Junk on the Trunk

Here’s a few pics I’ve taken recently of some cool-looking tree trunks.  The first was taken at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale, VA, one of my favorite garden haunts.  They have a few mature crape myrtles in front of the visitor center there with the prettiest cinnamon-brown bark you’ve ever seen.  It helps that the folks there know how to prune crape myrtles; it really makes a difference in showing off the smooth bark.   With its coloring and muscle-like texture, the tree trunk reminds me of the flank of a thoroughbred racehorse.  I believe this is cultivar ‘Biloxi’.

Crape Myrtle 'Biloxi'

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