But enough of that. In addition to work and trying to study, I've been doing a lot of reading and looking for new-to-me blogs, especially in mild areas like the southern U.K., New Zealand, Chile, and the wetter parts of Australia and the Mediterranean region. Why? Because these climates are the most similar to the one I'd like to eventually live in, somewhere on the Oregon coast. Naturally, I've also been reading up on anything I can find about gardening on the Oregon coast and the north coast of California. (As a short aside, I find it funny how some people divide "northern" and "southern" California, with roughly two thirds of the state as "north". It makes it very difficult to find information when everything about "Northern California" seems to center around San Francisco, which is drier and warmer than points further north on the coast.) A couple blogs I've been enjoying lately are Jardins A L'Anglaise, and Creating my own garden of the Hesperides. The former is written by a landscape architect and garden designer in France, taking readers on virtual tours of beautiful gardens around France and elsewhere. The latter relates the pursuits of a home gardener in Italy. I stumbled across this blog, but didn't look closer until I learned of the meme this blogger hosts, Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day. I always welcome another opportunity to celebrate foliage in the garden, and look forward to following this meme and finding more fantastic foliage gardens.
And speaking of foliage, my two favorite plants this month are all about foliage. Actually, as usual, I have lots of favorites, but I'd have to write a book to cover them all. So for this End of the Month Favorites, hosted by Loree at The Danger Garden, I'm sharing two red twig dogwoods: Cornus sericea 'Hedgerows Gold', and Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire'. Follow the links for cultural information and sources on plantlust.com.
These two shrubs are two of the brightest plants in my garden right now. So many of my deciduous plants had their leaves blown and beaten off by wind and rain, but these two are just becoming more colorful. Would you believe I never thought much about red-twig dogwoods before? And now I'm featuring them in a post. A specimen of 'Midwinter Fire' growing in the gardens at Cistus Nursery finally sold me on them. It looked phenomenal, backed by a blue-needled dwarf Sequoia sempervirens. A mass of Midwinter Fire, dug from someone's garden, came to the nursery while I worked there, and after the choice pieces were potted up for sale I took home some of the scraps to plant along the dry creek bed. They'll have to be kept as cut-back shrubs, not allowed to grow to their full size. And I didn't have any dwarf redwoods to back them with, but I did mix in some blue Juncus, Podocarpus 'County Park Fire' and other plants that will play off the dogwood and each other in various ways. It's still filling in, but I have hope it will look good when it does.
|'Midwinter Fire' colors up with peachy yellow foliage in fall, freckled with ruddy red that expands across the leaves as they age. It's amazing backlit by the sun, or in the evening when everything else is starting to get lost in the dark.|
'Hedgerows Gold' was shared with me by a friend in Seattle, and began delighting me immediately when I decided to plant it in a bed covered with silver Carex comans.
|Cornus sericea 'Hedgerows Gold'|
It's amazing how a disregarded plant can suddenly become a favorite after finding a little inspiration and just the right spot in your own garden. I've also been planning to put in some of the native red-twig dogwood in a wet area on one side of the property, augmenting the existing plants in this natural area to increase interest for us, provide a bit of screening from the neighbors, and increase habitat for wildlife. I tried once, before the fence went up, but the deer pressure in this area is so great that the young plants didn't stand a chance. Luckily, the wet area in question is included within the fence, so I'll try again. It's not an area that needs complete screening, so a deciduous plant like dogwood is fine. And the increased sunlight in the area, created by the neighbor's logging, will allow them to grow much better and should be enough to give them color in fall. If you drive around now by any areas that keep a bit of moisture in the summer, you'll see the beautiful foliage, largely burgundy and green, but often with flaming yellow to red shades mixed in, starting to reveal the red stems for winter.