The Pond Cypress

I can’t seem to get over my infatuation with the native pond cypress, Cypress ascendens. A deciduous conifer displaying a remarkable pyramidal shape when young, this tree quickly grows into a magnificent specimen tree. Unlike the bald cypress, knees are just not a problem. Individual trees are especially majestic when…

Fall Crocuses

I seem to be spending too much time raking leaves and not enough time enjoying these little gems blooming in the garden. Most of us know the spring crocuses, which add yet another layer of bloom in the riot that is spring in Birmingham. But in the fall, if you…

Botanical Reboot

The drought of 2016 was rough. We lost many trees and shrubs, and we are still seeing damage as a result of stress even though we have had good rainfall this year. Many trees have dead limbs, and in our storms we have lots of dead limbs coming down. Some…

Daylily ‘Autumn Minaret’

In Alabama, the daylily is the workhorse of our sunny borders. She puts so much energy into producing all those blooms (daily, for weeks) that by the time the last bloom shows, the foliage is yellowing, the scapes are a collection of brown sticks, and the seed pods are forming,…

Formosa Lilies

By September, I am running out of steam. I am weary of cutting this grass, and now my lawns are covered with the first leaves off the deciduous trees. It takes a lot to impress me right now. So, let’s take a look at the wonderful Formosa Lily. This cluster,…

Pruning vs. Shearing

I just finished my final grooming of the year for this espalier cotoneaster and a tea olive. With the cotoneaster, I make careful cuts with my trusty Felco bypass pruners. I removed the long, soft shoots where they branched off the main, trained branches. I was careful to preserve the…

Foliage Color in the Garden

This is the time of year most of our Birmingham gardens are at their peak. It seems like every day something else is starting to bloom. The crepe myrtles, those great stalwarts of summer, are showing color. Lilies and daylilies are starting to bloom. The hydrangeas are about to put on…

Bring on the Bugs!

Despite our desire to have a beautiful garden, all gardeners would do well to consider the role our plant selection plays in nurturing our soul AND the environment. How many of us would go running for the pesticides when we came upon these caterpillars chewing up our vine? But, would you kill…

A Simple, Homemade Container

Courtesy of the North Carolina Arboretum, here is a handsome, easily assembled container. This one is constructed of heavy duty treated pine, 2 x 10 inch lumber, cut to the desired length and screwed together. Planted without a bottom, and sunk in the earth several inches, this simple container will provide years of…

Seedling Clematis Up and Over Almost Everything

In our old garden, we have lots of seedling clematis. We started out with several varieties from nurseries. That’s how you get those insanely large, colorful flowers. But over the years, as a result of some plant sex, we have been able to score some free offspring. Most NEARLY approximate the…