January 18, 2012

'Royal Raindrops' Crabapple Photos

These photos of my three 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees are from May of last year. Maturing at 20 feet high and 15 feet wide, these trees will be a great size for my suburban backyard.

More information on this tree can be found here, on J. Frank Schmidt's website.

Lately I've been looking at a number of Schmidt's tree introductions. I wish I could collect bunches of them the way I do roses or perennials, but that's harder to do with trees!

Their list includes a number of smaller trees that are perfect for urban/suburban sites like my yard. I'm considering putting a couple of their 'Wireless Zelkova' trees in my front yard, even though the power lines in our neighborhood are buried, so we don't have to worry about the trees growing into the lines. But I love the spreading shape.

These crabapples put on a ton of new growth last year, since they are planted in great soil (imported, of course). In fact there are some longitudinal cracks in their bark from the fast growth rate, and I'm hoping they'll heal over all right.

Here you can see the fall color starting to show up. The leaves lighten and turn orangey. Our falls are too short to get the full fall color, though.

These are the bright little crabapples, which still cover the trees.

This is another sight that I'm looking forward to in May, which is a great month in the garden.

Added May 27, 2014 - Since this page is still getting a lot of views, I want to update with a little more information about my 'Royal Raindrops' trees.  I still love these trees for their gorgeous spring blooms and fall color, plus the rich maroon leaves all summer.  I don't appreciate all the little seedlings that sprout from the thousands of tiny crabapples that are produced each year, but if you planted these in the lawn, used heavy mulch around them, or spread Preen each year, you could eliminate most of that problem.  I also have to prune them up regularly as the branches are almost weeping - though maybe you would like the weeping look.  Here is a photo of the fall color last year.

The photo below was taken this spring just as the flowers emerged.  They are vivid magenta at first and then fade to pale pink just before the petals fall.
Here is another shot from this spring.  The lesson here is that if you plant trees in a mound of fluffy imported soil, you're going to need to stake them for several years until they get their roots down into the firm soil below.  I didn't leave the stakes in long enough and that's why I have some leaners, but this wouldn't be a problem if you just planted them in the ground.

January 9, 2012

Red & Violet Flowers for January

January is a good month for vivid colored arrangements, even in a year with little snow (knock on wood). These red roses and violet statice make yummy eye candy.

I put this arrangement together for my grandmother. Every amateur floral arranger should have an appreciative grandmother to ooh and ahh over each creation, regardless of how well it turns out.

The roses came from Safeway and the greenery from a little floral shop in town. The shop only charged me 35 cents per stem of plumosa fern (Asparagus setaceus). What a great deal!

Even though these roses aren't as pretty as old-fashioned or English roses, I'm happy to see anything blooming in the dead of winter. Maybe I wouldn't appreciate crimson 'William Shakespeare 2000' English roses as much if they bloomed year-round?

Have you heard that David Austin is getting into the cut flower trade? Check this link out. Their flowers are gorgeous but rather expensive.

Good thing my grandma doesn't mind plain old hybrid teas for her kitchen table.

January 7, 2012

Plant Orders for Spring 2012

The garden is all brown and grey right now, but these 'Queen Charlotte' violets will be among the first flowers to bloom in a month or two. After rummaging through all the catalogs that keep coming in the mail, I've made several plant orders for the spring.

From David Austin Roses I ordered three pink 'Harlow Carr' English roses. Can't ever have too many pink English roses! From Bluestone Perennials, I selected Anemone tomentosa 'Robustissima', Echinacea purpurea 'Pink Poodle', Aquilegia vulgaris 'Lime Sorbet' and Scabiosa caucasica 'Fama'. Heronswood will be sending Anemone nemorosa 'Vestal' (a pretty double form) and Helleborus x hybridus 'Kingston Cardinal' (to replace the one I killed last year by transplanting too much). And I requested Campanula porcharskyana 'Blue Gown', Hemerocallis 'Woodside Romance' and Epimedium 'Alabaster' (another double white flower - for dry shade) from White Flower Farm. What have you other gardeners been ordering? Anything that I really need but don't know it yet?