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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label fall bloom. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label fall bloom. Show all posts

      Thursday, November 15, 2012

      AUTUMN IN NY, B.S.

      That's, Before Sandy. On the Sunday that the trains and buses shut down all over New York City I was at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden teaching my collage workshop. The winds had started but the rains were still holding off; my car service was scheduled to pick me up in 30 minutes to whisk me back to Manhattan. I had time to grab a few shots in the perennial border before I escaped, unfortunately not enough time to search for variety names. My apologies.
      We're so eager for our spring gardens that we sometimes neglect to order for late fall, so I was curious to see what colors the BBG could provide on October 28. Purples predominated, both in these asters and in the monkshood seen below and in some foliage. I remembered that monkshood  (Aconitum) was always the last flower to bloom on my Meadow Lark Flower & Herb Farm, zone 5 in NE Pennsylvania. I had planted a row for drying; they keep their form and color spectacularly, but usually couldn't bear to pick those last blooms of the season.
      Just when I think all is purple in the BBG border, there is a surprise with the bright white fall Anemone. It looks like a favorite I used to have, Anemone x hybrida  'Honorine Jobert'. It was a delightful reminder that I must order it this winter for my roof garden.

      Saturday, November 20, 2010

      Encore! Encore!

      Umm, Ellen, something's wrong with our azaleas.

      Most people think of azaleas as spring bloomers, and traditional azaleas certainly are. So when my client saw the azaleas in bloom in her garden in November (!!!), naturally she thought something was wrong. What she didn't know was that I'd planted Encore Azaleas: the exception to the spring-blooming rule.

      Originally advertised as hardy to zone 7, Encore Azaleas weren't considered suitable for most parts of the greater NYC area. But three years ago, at a Garden Writers' symposium, I was offered a few free plants to try and asked to give feedback on their performance. Even though they weren't guaranteed to thrive in zone 6 I figured it was worth a try, and hey, they were free!

      The first year I got no autumn bloom, and the second I saw only a few fall flowers. But this year...the encore burst forth! General wisdom for this part of the country says perennials take three years to really get established; perhaps the same can be said for flowering shrubs. In containers and in the ground, the Encore Azaleas have hit their stride.

      There are 24 different varieties of Encore Azaleas, but only 10 are rated hardy for zone 6. Still, there's a wide selection of colors to choose from. They're not demanding plants. Mine (well, my client's) get very little coddling: irrigation and perhaps one feeding per growing season. The plant by the sidewalk is subject to all kinds of abuse: both human and canine.

      I often hesitate to extol the virtues of a plant that's been given to me by a grower, lest someone think I have been bribed or unduly influenced. But I'm truly impressed by the performance of the Encore Azaleas and recommend them without hesitation. I'd even pay money for them.

      This azalea is not in jail. It's thriving in a sidewalk container garden on East 61st Street, despite being subject to all sorts of canine depredations.

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