Phenology/Bloom Times

Winter Flowers on New Year's Day

Winter Flowers on New Year’s Day

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Let’s face it, “winter interest” in the garden often amounts to a few somber evergreens, a spray of colorful berries, and some shreddy bark. Honest-to-God winter flowers are rare, and flowers on January first? Well, that’s asking a bit much. Or so I thought. I went to Edgefield McMenamins in Troutdale, Oregon on New Year’s Day to take some “winter interest”… Read more →


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Seduced by Sassafras

Seduced by Sassafras

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Occasionally, somebody asks me that ridiculous question: “What’s your favorite tree?” As if I could choose just one. If pushed to decide, however, I usually find myself saying, “Sassafras.” Sassafras albidum is native from Massachusetts and Michigan in the north to the eastern edge of Oklahoma in the west and to North Florida in the south. It flourishes in the Cincinnati area,… Read more →


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Nine Fantastic Daffodils in Order of Bloom

Nine Fantastic Daffodils in Order of Bloom

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If I had to pick a favorite flower, I think it would be the daffodil. Does that make me a narcissist? Narcissus is a fascinating genus of plants. You wouldn’t think that daffodils would be so diverse. After all, they only come in a limited palette of yellow, orange, and white, and the form that makes a daffodil a daffodil… Read more →


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When Does Bamboo Bloom?  The Answer Will Blow Your Mind

When Does Bamboo Bloom? The Answer Will Blow Your Mind

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So, I’ve been looking for a plant to screen a gap in the hedge that looks right into the neighbors’ backyard (and trampoline).  I thought a well-behaved clumping bamboo might do the trick, and I checked out the helpful website of Bamboo Garden Nursery near Portland, Oregon. It seemed the common and quite hardy (to Zone 5) Fargesia nitida looked like… Read more →


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What Happens When You Tickle a Pine Tree in Spring?

What Happens When You Tickle a Pine Tree in Spring?

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On this trip around the neighborhood, I check in on conifers. Upstaged by the flamboyant flowers of high spring—azaleas and rhododendrons, peonies, irises, and poppies—conifers are often overlooked this time of year, which is a shame.  Although they don’t make a big spectacle, conifers are undergoing changes now, too. I love the contrast between the dark green old needles and… Read more →


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The Unsung Season of Baby Leaves

The Unsung Season of Baby Leaves

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In much of the country, April is a frenzy of blossoms–cherries and magnolias, crabapples, lilacs, and tulips.  The landscape is flooded with new flowers, and they receive all the glory. Another, more subtle season also unfolds now, however.  It is the season of tiny new leaves.  Out they come in shades of bronze, silver, mustard, toffee, and lime green:  maples… Read more →


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Four Seasons?  How about 43!

Four Seasons? How about 43!

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Spring, summer, fall, and winter.  That covers it, right? Not by a long shot. The more I have gardened, and observed, and become attuned to nature’s rhythms, the less satisfied I have become with our clumsy, generalized words for the seasons. Four measly divisions?!  It’s like trying to describe all the colors in the rainbow using only the terms red,… Read more →


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What Leafs When:  Early Foliage

What Leafs When: Early Foliage

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Not only do plants flower in a certain order, but they leaf out in a certain order, too, and some start to leaf even while frost is still a threat.  Winter flowers like hellebores, crocuses, and daffodils hog the limelight in March, but our color-starved eyes are also glad to see new foliage.  Look for the following early leafers to brighten up the… Read more →


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Annuals with Seasonality:  Part 2

Annuals with Seasonality: Part 2

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Think annuals are just “plant material,” plunked down for June to September color?  Think again.  Some annuals may not bloom all summer, but they do offer something unique at a specific time of the year. Don’t hate them because they’re not petunias!  They make their season special. With all the zinnias and lantanas, sunflowers and cannas in the garden in August… Read more →


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nigella damascena love in a mist flower

Not Just Blobs of Color: Annuals with Seasonality, Part 1

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“Why include annuals in a book on bloom times?” I used to think.  “They’re only blobs to be plunked down for summer-long color, right?” Well, though it might be the goal of breeders to produce plants that churn out an unwavering supply of blossoms for three months or more in summer, many annuals do not follow this program. But that’s… Read more →


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