Monday, February 4, 2013

Sparkleberries and Oakleaf Hydrangeas

When I look at Google Images, invariably I find a picture that looks like something I'd like and it turns out to be my own. Usually it dates back to 2010 or 2011. I forget during the winter how gaudy my garden can get when the weather gets really warm and no cold nights.

Sparkleberries; birds have left them for last. 

He-who-mows came back from cutting limbs along the fence in the pasture south of the house. He said he saw what looked like the huckleberries they used to pick when he was a boy. I took the Kawasaki and went to look. Sparkleberries.

Striated bark, Vaccinum arboretum
Sparkleberries blooming on newer wood this week.
I turned a sparkleberry into an understory tree near the front of the Upper Garden by braiding the limber branches until they more or less stood upright.
Sparkleberry tree is in the center just to the right of the magnolia bloom.

When a former Arkansas governor wanted to emphasize his humble beginnings, he would say, "We were so poor we had to eat farkleberries." The names sparkleberry and farkleberry are interchangeable for Vaccinum arboretum, related to our edible blueberries Vaccinum ashei.

We won't have to eat sparkleberries, real blueberries are putting on buds, lots of buds.

Rabbit-eye blueberries budding now.

Buds on Hydrangea quercifolia.

Exfoliating bark is winter interest on Oakleaf hydrangeas.

Leaves on a sucker, out early.
They don't look much like an oak leaf here.

Oakleaf Hydrangea in bloom, April, 2012. It won't be long.
 Leaves like an oak leaf.
H. quercifolia bloom well ahead of the Big Blue (or pink) Hydrangeas of summer.
After bloom, the blossoms turn pink and eventually tan. The larger cultivars reach 8 or 10 feet. I have two different: one is more spreading and the blooms are a little smaller.

Both Oakleaf Hydrangea and Sparkleberry are native plants, understory plants that like a little shade.

Today was a beautiful day. I spent time loading up compost in the wheelbarrow, then gave attention to two roses, Sombrueil and Cecile Brunner. Each got dead limbs pruned off, the canes directed toward a good climb and bloom, and some compost and pinestraw. Lots of busywork went into pulling hateful Florida Betony. I potted up 3 Hippeastrum seedlings that have struggled in a bed, to see how they fare in a pot.

Made a note that Pineapple Sage might be a good companion to the KO rose in the Upper Garden when it's time to plant out Salvia. Made more notes for pre-Christmas bulbs for forcing and planting out.
Muscari and Voilas, 2012.

Claus Dalby blogged a bowl of Muscari that was successful in Sweden. Maybe I could pull it off here, Perlehyacintløg in little pots instead of regular hyacinths. Muscari tends to rebloom in the season. Muscari played well with violas in pots last year.

Some daffodils are up, even a few blooms in warm spots. Pink Charm is starting to send up green. Made a note for more of them next year, and Ice Follies. There are enough azalea blooms to start to show pics, even though the big show is a couple weeks off or more.

He-who-mows washed the truck, inside and out. Semi-loads of chickenlitter have been going past for 3 days, new biddies are coming to somebody's farm. Maybe Spring isn't far off after all.

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