Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas trees

This year, as every year, I went into the woods with my daughter and we cut five naturally growing small balsam firs at the edge of our woods.  Then I stuck all 5 in one large planter and ran the branches from each tree trough those of the others so they looked natural and I have quite a nice looking groves of trees.   I think it's prettier than the sheared tight Christmas trees you can buy and I would personally never have a fake tree.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


We are getting some very beautiful new Epimedium in here.  My favorite might be the yellow one: E. x versicolor 'Sulphureum' but 'Orange Queen' and 'Amber Queen' both seem promising as does the newer variety 'Frohnleiten'- it took quite a bit to figure out the meaning of Frohnleiten- it's a 13th century Austrian town the name of which means open (free) hillside.  All bishop's cap have wonderful foliage and they can take it drier than alot of other shade plants.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

snow on tree branches

Today was so beautiful with new snow sticking on all the tree branches that I had to stop and do a small sketchy painting.  Then at work, I did a small drawing of my the Union Village church where Bertha Brown (my boss) is the pastor.  We did pull out some weed bushes today but it was both cold and wet underfoot so not as fun going as sometimes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Buxus microphylla

This morning at the nursery, while clearing some brush from a hillside, we noticed some boxwood growing as weeds.  Almost any plant can come up by itself, from seed.  I've never seed boxwoods doing it before today- you see or learn something new every day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

clearing brush

At the nursery we are trying to rid the place of some of our autumn olive, Tatarian honeysuckle and buckthorn.  With the ground still unfrozen and no snow, it pretty easy pulling out these invasive weed shrubs with a tractor and chain.  At my house, I'm cutting off little trees that are encroaching on my plantings- shading them. Hopefully, alot of them will die once cut off.  It may not be for much longer, however, that the mild December holds.

Monday, December 5, 2011


I made quite a nice "eco"wreath using only natural biodegradable stuff with no plastic or metal.  The frame is grape vines tied with untreated bailing twine, these were reused from the farm where I live and work in the winters.  The body is twisted-needled white pine (Pinus strobus 'Torulosa') which broke off during our snow storm the day before Thanksgiving and white fir (Abies concolor) which were prunings.  I stuck in some twigs with winterberry for color.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Highgate: Prince Charles' estate

While I was visiting my sister-in-law over the Thanksgivings weekend, I looked through two books by or about Prince Charles.  One was about his views on architecture and included several of his loose, sketch-like water colors.  The other book was about his gardens and landscaping at Highgate.  He turned it into a very beautiful spot incorporating some existing features and having built some beautiful fences and gateways of stumps, some exceedingly tasteful pergolas and other outbuildings (temples?), and  a system to cleanse sewage. He uses lots of compost and is organic in his aproach. He's also interested in rare trees and shrubs.  I don't really follow the comings and goings of the royal family but I'm glad the one of them is a plantsman and artist.