Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Respite from Early Spring??? and Sky Pencil Holly

Its the 50F degree nights that force spring's hand. This morning it is 57F so here goes the season. Ironically enough we are headed today to the Philadelphia Flower Show. Flowers shows, I think, have traditionally been scheduled to help us get through that final bit of winter. What with Global Warming, spring comes so early that today we will be spending the day inside looking at forced plants while the season surges forward and temperatures climb to shirtsleeve levels. when I need a respite from winter, if we can't go to Florida, I conjure up images of warmer days. This picture of the Adelphi garden is obviously late summer, witness the flowers on Laerstroemia x 'Dynamite' and the size of Musa basjoo, the hardy banana.

Another ineresting plant visible on the left side of the picture is the 'Sky Pencil' Japanese holly, a fastigiate cultivar of Ilex crenata; it grows, ultimately, to about 12' high and only 1-1.5' in diameter. A critically useful plant in garden design, this was introducted by my employer, the US National Arboretum. It is one of a handful of evergreens that are this strictly columnar. While I like it as an accent, I have used it many times in designs to flank doors, stairways, walks, etc. There are places, like adjacent to a side door close to the property line, where a row of 'Sky Pencil' hollies can be a great visial barrier. Other evergreens would be too wide (or might reqire more sun) and fences can normally only be 6' high. Still, I love it as an accent in the mixed border!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Musa, there is a great article written by people at Plant Delights Nursery at : http://www.plantdelights.com/Tony/Articles/Banana-Musa/