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Articles by this author:

  • Small-flowered clematis are one of the great pleasures of the summer garden. They flower over an extended period, often from June into September.
  • We gardeners take inspiration wherever we find it. Nature, other gardens, books, and magazines are the obvious places.
  • Last summer I was obsessing over the purple-leaved redbud Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy. It had been planted in the early 1990s behind a large oak, and only glimpses of the foliage could be seen from the lawn and the house. It was perfect and charming.
  • Gardening worldwide is undergoing a sea change as ecological considerations become more influential in our garden-making decisions.
  • Bright golden conifers form a dramatic backdrop for a weeping blue Atlas cedar underplanted with handsome rocks by the street, the entrance gate is a luminous deodar cedar washed in soft gold.
  • The flowers on the witch hazels opened within a few days of the temperature rising above freezing. One large clump of crocuses that had begun flowering in January before the blizzard resumed blooming as if six weeks of bitter cold and continuous snow had never happened. As the snow recedes the buds of the early crocuses and snowdrops are pushing out and need only a little sunshine to open.

  • The Watnong cut-leaf maple is a tree of consummate beauty. It is pruned at least two times each year so you can see through it and admire the architecture of its branches, framed by clouds of dark green foliage flushed with ruby.

    In October its leaves steadily color to an intense burnt umber and scarlet that dazzles in the sun. Then a day comes when the leaves fall all at once, forming a pool of molten ore under the bare branches.

    But I think I loved that tree most of all when its graceful branches were etched under a mantle of fresh-fallen snow.

  • A small composition of perennials in saturated reds and purple-blue with a dash of yellow drew my attention throughout August and into September.

  • Why, you might reasonably ask, should you give space in your garden to a plant that is found all around us?

    Fragrance, that is why, and summersweet, or sweet pepperbush, Clethra alnifolia, has it in abundance. It is spicy, somewhat reminiscent of cloves and cinnamon, and a light breeze casts its perfume over a large area.

  • Purple is the darnedest color. It attracts us like bees to a honeypot. But get it home and it is nearly impossible to find a spot where it fits in. 

    After spending entirely too much time on this conundrum I’m coming to the conclusion that purple works well on a small scale or in a large park-like setting. But not in the smaller domestic properties in which most of us live and garden.