Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blooms in the Shade

The name of this azalea is a mystery; it was here when we moved in almost 20 years ago.  It is our latest-blooming azalea, and it kind of clashes with all the others, so I'm glad it's a little later than most, and on the side of the house where you don't notice the color difference so much.  I look forward to it every year because it never disappoints, blooming profusely up against the house where I see it as I go in and out (and where the deer leave it alone).

Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora)

The azalea's coral hue looks great with the autumn ferns near it which send up new peach-edged fronds this time of year.

Azalea 'George L. Tabor'

Orange undertones don't look very good with the blue-pink azaleas in the woodland garden.  Southern indica azalea 'George Tabor,' for example; it's still blooming, but barely.

Fortunately, white goes with everything, and my favorite white azalea is blooming.  It's another nameless one, because we inherited it with the house.  I love the green throats of these flowers, and the leaves are lighter, brighter green than most azaleas.  It's getting so old now that the branches are kind of gnarled and twisted.  I love it.  I pinned one of the branches down a couple of years ago, and it is firmly rooted in, so now I have two!

Sweetshrub (x Sinocalycalycanthus raulstonii)

Two more favorite shrubs are blooming in the woodland garden, Sweetshrub and Buckeye.  My husband and I both love these shrubs, and, unlike me, he doesn't like everything, so that's saying something.  We just put the sweetshrub in last year, but already it looks at home.

Calycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine', is a cross between our native Calycanthus floridus and an Asian species, Sinocalycanthus chinensis.  This sweetshrub has lots of three to four inch maroon colored blossoms with creamy white centers, and the medium-sized leaves are a nice shade of green. You can read more about what is also known as Raulston allspice here; if you have shade, you are going to want this plant.

Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
Close by, a three year old red buckeye is finally looking settled in.  A few buckeyes are even beginning to form this year as the flowers fade.

If you live in Charlotte, you probably know all about the canker worm problem, which was especially HORRIBLE this year. I think they are the caterpillars that made the holes in this plant, and in a lot of the others, too. They can do significant damage, and their droppings make a mess of things (like driveways, cars and houses) underneath them.  We will have to band our trees this fall to try to reduce the population.

Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)

Green and gold brightens up the shade underneath trees and shrubs with its yellow Asteraceae blooms.  Remember this handy little plant;  it's one of the few native, evergreen (or semi-evergreen) ground covers for shade.  It even tolerates dry shade, and/or some foot traffic, and it blooms for a long time.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is on the 15th of every month, and is the brainchild of Carol at May Dreams Gardens.  Visit her blog to see what's blooming in gardens around the world!