Think for a moment about the origins of the various culinary and medicinal purposes to which plants have been put over the millennia. For every fruit, nut, leaf, berry, etc. that became food or medicine for us at some point in history or prehistory, somebody initially served as the “guinea pig.” That is, somebody in a particular tribe was the first to try ingesting taro root, for example (better known as elephant ears). Said guinea pig survived (in this case), and others followed suit. Through a less fortunate guinea pig, people learned that foxglove didn’t make for a very good snack! Read more…
Every autumn as the days get shorter trees across the country produce spectacular displays of fall leaf colors. Adding trees with great fall foliage trees is a great landscape design technique because of the color it adds to your yard. Here are 9 trees that I thought had great fall color.
We take our consolations in life where we can. I live in a cold climate and dislike the onset of winter, which brings harsh weather, along with shoveling snow, scraping ice off car windshields, etc. As if the dreariness and the drudgery weren’t bad enough, winter robs me of one of my chief passions in life: my outdoor plants. Oh, sure, I can still enjoy my evergreen shrubs and ornamental grass; and other plants inject some visual interest into the winter landscape via interesting branching patterns and whatnot. But none of this makes up for the loss I’ve suffered. I’ll mourn till spring.
That’s why I drain every ounce of satisfaction out of fall foliage season. Whether it’s “leaf peeping” on vacation or selecting superior fall foliage plants for my own yard, fall foliage is a big deal to this Hyperborean: It’s my ultimate consolation as another long winter stares me in the face.
If you should ever find yourself luxuriating in the French Riviera, and in the unlikely event you grow tired of the sand and sea, a walk in the hills will introduce you to the unique woodlands of the Mediterranean. There, among the scrubby oaks and umbrella pines you will find a familiar bush or small tree, the European smoketree – in its native environment.
There are only two species of trees in the genus Cotinus. One is the American smoketree, the other is its close relative from Europe. For both, their claim to fame is the wispy clumps of filaments that look all the world like smoke. The mirage has given rise to other names such as mist tree, cloud tree, wig tree, and Jupiter’s beard. By whatever name, the site of this tree is what Minnesota garden writer Don Engebretson has called “one of the most arresting shrubs available to…gardeners today.”
Writer-naturalist Donald Peattie once wrote, “Lovely as it is, dogwood stoops also to be useful.”
What’s in a Name?
For all the beauty of this tree, the common name of dogwood may come from something less lovely – “dagger.” This, in turn, may actually come from its early use as a skewer, or thin piece of wood used to hold meat together. The tendency of its wood to not splinter made it popular for this purpose.
The scientific genus name, Cornus, derives from the Latin, cornu, or horn, in reference to another use of its hard wood. The species name, florida, is also from Latin, flos, meaning flowery.
The blossoms of dogwood add a welcome touch of color in early spring. If space allows, the white can be accentuated with a background of conifers. Bright autumn foliage and red berries that linger into winter add a bold stroke of color to any landscape design. Read more…
It’s August now, and I admit that part of me is starting to think about the upcoming fall season. It’s the landscaper part of me that’s looking ahead; the outdoor enthusiast part of me is quite content with the current season and has no desire to rush the summer!
Paper Birch and River Birch are some of the most popular landscape trees. These deer resistant trees have gained popularity due their unique bark and great yellow fall color. You may notice that some yards have a single tree birch tree while others have clumps or multiple birch trees. If you enjoy the multi stem look here is how you can do it yourself.