Plants of the Week: April 20

Pieris japonica JTB [1]

Pieris japonica

 By far, one of my favorite fragrances in the spring is in April when the delicate, pendulous, clusters of bell-like flowers of Pieris japonica bloom. They have a strong, sweet scent that isn’t overpowering, but similar to hyacinth. The leaves emerge bronze-colored and are evergreen while the bark is interestingly striped and shallowly furrowed. As a member of the family Ericaceae it is related to Rhododendron. Pieris is commonly called the Japanese andromeda as a remnant from a previous taxonomic classification in the genus Andromeda. Though native to Eastern Asia, it has become a common garden plant …

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Carpinus caroliniana

Carpinus carolinianaIn celebration of Arbor Day, let discuss the amazing native American Hornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana.

This native tree has seeds, buds, and catkins that are eaten by songbirds, ruffed grouse, ring-necked pheasants, bobwhites, turkeys, foxes, and gray squirrels. Cottontails, beavers, and white-tailed deer enjoy the leaves, twigs, and larger stems.

Just as early Americans used this solid hardwood to fashion their homes and agricultural tools, beavers love this hardwood to build their habitats.

The American hornbeam is a medium-sized, slow-growing, deciduous tree and can be found in wild near ravine bottoms and on rocky slopes along streams. These sites generally have …

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Inspiration from the Turn of Century American Garden Movement

Spring is a time to be inspired. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is currently exhibiting how the Turn of Century Garden Movement (1887-1920) inspired American impressionism. As a modern gardener it is fascinating to see the plants which inspired these American artists and gardeners.

While cottage-style gardening is not often used in our modern landscapes, most modern gardeners will recognize some of the genera of plants used. Let’s explore some of the modern cultivars of the plants represented by these painters.

The Crimson Rambler by Phillip Leslie Hale c. 1908 featured the Rosa ‘Crimson Rambler’.

The Crimson Rambler

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