autumn’s colors

October 14, 2009

We’ve had our first hard frost here in Bristol- this past Monday night.  On Tuesday morning, the lawn was white, and the large leaves of the Paulownia were drooping.  Whatever sensitive plants we didn’t get under cover are history now.  Just up the hill, there was snow.  Still, the colors of fall are stunning, and many flowers continue to bloom including Aconitum, Anemone, Aster, Rosa, Phlox, Solidago and Gentian, (to name a few).  The Heptacodium’s white flowers have faded and now we’re enjoying the pink capsules and sepals- it’s beautiful!  Michael Dirr referred to this plant as the “Northern Crape Myrtle”- I like that!

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I made a decision to remove all but one of the Hazelnuts from the garden.  Right now they’re cut back and the effect is both shocking and gratifying.  It’s nice to take in a larger wide angle view of the garden.  When I bought Rocky Dale in 2004, we had 8 large clumps of Hazelnuts that had been growing on this property for over 30 years.  I removed two clusters right away to minimize the “green wall” that was eliminating views into the garden.  Each group easily occupied a minimum of 225 square feet and in most cases considerably more. They have a beautiful vase shape and grow 12-15 feet high.  Their fall color is a tapestry of red, orange and yellow.  They produce heavy clusters of Hazelnuts that Blue Jays seem especially attracted to.  One down side is that they produce a lot of dead wood and they need to maintained in a formal setting.  Their flowers are insignificant.

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The Hazelnut AlleeThe Hazelnuts Before

IMG_9678The Hazelnuts After

IMG_9670The Hazelnuts After

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So- you can see why it was hard to make the decision.  However, we are running out of room to showcase new varieties of plants as the garden has matured and trees have taken up significantly more space.  I thought one group of Hazelnuts was a good representation for a plant very few people have shown interest in.  I now look forward to having space to plant new varieties and bring back some old favorites including:  A variegated River Birch, a variegated Cornus mas, Nyssa ‘Autumn Cascade’, Acer rubrum ‘Candy Ice’, Stewartia ‘Gold Spring’ and Scarlet Sentinel’, Cercis ‘Covey’, Cledastris,  Sorbus magnifica, and a few more.  the list is long and there isn’t enough room for all of them!  We’ll start getting them in the ground next spring.

Here are some photos of the garden taken yesterday.  Enjoy the season- fall is a great time to work in the garden!

Michael Dirr

October 2, 2009

To those of you who made it to Michael Dirr- you have to agree that his talk was inspiring!  We may be crazy for loving unusual trees- but we’re in good company!  To those who didn’t make the talk- be reassured- there are still a lot of people who are passionate about trees.  What a great day!  Today I’m motivated!

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Michael Dirr
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