Fragrant Sumac in winter

Weeping katsura, hemlock and grasses in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer For those of us enduring long periods of dormancy in our seasonal landscapes, winter bones help to keep our outdoor environments lively and inviting. Structures popping out of the snow and forms drizzled in frost create artistic objects that we may gaze upon and enjoy during the coldest days. For no matter the season, and even without the benefit of green adornments, our gardens can be incredibly beautiful and interesting with the simple addition of living framework. Andrew Wyeth said it best: “I prefer winter and fall, when you can feel the bone structure in the landscape-something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”

Indeed, the exposed trees and shrubs of the winter landscape appear as skeletons, yet they need not be scary; instead offering an aura of mystery, while alluding to the future promise of spring.River Birch blends nicely in the winter landscape in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer antage of the opportunity during these quiet months; to re-evaluate our designs and consider areas that may be enhanced with the addition of either a deciduous or evergreen planting. It is when our landscape is in its most serene state that we may truly view the potential for improvement; the optimal blank palette so to speak.

And creating a timeless landscape isn’t as daunting as it might seem; once you determine the sun exposure and zone hardiness for your garden, and then choose features you want to incorporate into your design (interesting bark, unusual trunk form, evergreen foliage color, to name a few). You will be pleasantly surprised to discover the many options available to you. Here are a few of my favorite winter forms to help you on your way:

Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides): Considered a living fossil, metasequoia was once one of the most widespread tree species in the Northern hemisphere.Weeping larch with mixed evergreens in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer led mahogany trunk and peeling bark, especially attractive in winter. Its upright form and unusual branching habit provides a comfortable perch for birds, and the soft deciduous needles turn gold in the fall before dropping. As it matures, the roots come up from the ground like prehistoric serpents swimming around the base. It is hard to find a good specimen, so take the time to find one with a conical, well branched form and you will be amply rewarded for your efforts. Dawn Redwood will easily grow 30 feet or more in your lifetime, eventually reaching over 100 feet tall by 20 feet wide in sunny zones 5-8.

River Birch (Betula nigra): Is a recent introduction to my garden, one that I’ve quickly fallen in love with. While other star struck lovers are dreaming of their beloved, (or perhaps a box of chocolates), I’m besotted with a tree! But not just any tree can sweep me off my feet, enchanting me with its ravishing exterior . . . Betula nigra, an Eastern U.S. native in zones 4-9, subtly compliments any landscape from spring through fall with its delicate, fluttering foliage, while absolutely igniting the winter scene with captivating ornamental scrolls of bronze, gently peeling away from its ivory trunk (this display is particularly dramatic on trees with multiple trunks). Preferring moist soil, but tolerant of dryer conditions (even drought-once established), river birch is another fast grower, tripling its size in three years, with the potential of reaching 70 feet tall by 40 feet wide.

Dawn Redwood's mahogany bark stands out against the snowy background in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer River birch's ornate peeling bark in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer Red & yellow twig dogwood stems dazzle in the winter garden in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Part 2

2012-11-13 08:39:45 by Nurseryman75

In North America, the Smooth Sumac (R. glabra) and the Staghorn Sumac (R. typhina) are sometimes used to make a beverage termed "sumac-ade," "Indian lemonade" or "rhus juice". This drink is made by soaking the drupes in cool water, rubbing them to extract the essence, straining the liquid through a cotton cloth and sweetening it. Native Americans also used the leaves and drupes of the Smooth and Staghorn Sumacs combined with tobacco in traditional smoking mixtures.
Species including the Fragrant Sumac (R. aromatica), the Littleleaf Sumac (R. microphylla), the Skunkbush Sumac (R. trilobata), the Smooth Sumac and the Staghorn Sumac are grown for ornament, either as the wild types or as cultivars

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