Tag Archives: Edgeworthia chrysantha

Six on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018

How time flies. I left for a 10-day trip to Eastern Europe on August 30, followed up with eight weeks of GFWC Region Meetings in eight states (Nevada, Nebraska, Maine, Indiana, New York, Mississippi, Texas, and North Carolina), and returned home last night from a super-secret (and very exciting!) location where I evaluated hotels for a convention (yes, GFWC again) that will be held in 2021.

The neglected garden, as you would guess, doesn’t offer much to crow about. Even still, I thought it would be good for us to catch up with Six on Saturday (hosted by the Propagator) for a look at what’s happening outdoors now.

(1) Our rainy spring and summer have been followed by an equally wet autumn, but while some of the season’s colorful foliage was washed away with the 5+ inches of rain that assaulted us earlier this week, this small hickory (seen from the sunporch) tempted me outside early this morning to find more seasonal treasures.


At the peak of its color, this hickory (Carya) is a sight to behold, especially when touched by the sun in early morning.

(2) Surprisingly, other deciduous trees and shrubs, including many of our oaks and this frosty Chinese paperbush, are still green. It’s good to see, however, that its flower buds have formed and are growing quickly.


A favorite shrub, the Chinese paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha), blooms in late winter.

(3) Nearby, nestled under a small tree and surrounded by ferns and low-growing shrubs, a large bear’s-foot hellebore is also in good form. Its inch-wide flowers, which will begin to open in just weeks, will be pale green with purplish-red edges.


An eye-catcher, this bear’s-foot hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) offers lime-colored bloom stalks and silvery flower buds against dark, fine-textured foliage.

(4) In the secret garden, another plant with fine-textured foliage, Mahonia ‘Soft Caress,’ is already in bloom. During the growing season, its plant companions include Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), hosta, and other shade-loving perennials. But as you can see through the shrub’s bamboo-like foliage, these herbaceous plants are sleeping now.


This Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’ grows in part shade.

(5) I typically photograph this native shrub, commonly called silver-leaf hydrangea (for the white flocking on the underside of its foliage), in midsummer with its blooms covered in pollinators. The plant is just as beautiful in the cool season, though, don’t you think? Dried to a crisp, the flower heads will persist through winter wind and snow.


Native to Appalachia, this Hydrangea radiata grows in the woodland garden on the north-facing terraces that slope down to the Reedy River.

(6) Finally, I couldn’t resist sharing this photo of autumn foliage on the floor of the woodland garden, which features a torn and crumpled discard from a bigleaf magnolia. The tree, planted just 3 years ago, will grow slowly until it reaches 30 or more feet tall. It’s less than a third of that size now, but this leaf is more than 2-feet long. Incredible!


The leaves of Magnolia macrophylla can reach 2 to 3-feet long.




This photo was shared for Valentine’s Day, but with the addition of a caption also serves as a heartfelt tribute and link to February’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

The camellias (Camellia japonica) predate me in the garden, but the ones I can name are ‘Memphis Belle’, center top and bottom; ‘Jordan’s Pride’, also called ‘Hermi’, pink with white edges; and ‘Professor Sargent’, just above ‘Jordan’s Pride’.  The smaller flowers, top to bottom, on both left and right are pansy; Autumnalis cherry (Prunus subhirtella); Chinese fringe (Loropetalum chinense); Carolina jessamine, with green leaves (Gelsemium sempervirens); Chinese paperbush, a yellow rosette (Edgeworthia chrysantha); Tete-a-tete miniature daffodil; Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis); and viola.  At the center is a single Algerian iris (I. unguicularis).

IAVOM and More


Hippeastrum ‘Blossom Peacock’

After spending nine mid-January days in Washington, DC, I was thrilled to arrive home early last week to find blooms, inside and out, including the first flower on a Hippeastrum I ordered just before Christmas. I chose ‘Blossom Peacock’ from Brent and Becky’s online catalog because it was described as Brent’s favorite for its incredible symmetry, color, and mildly sweet fragrance. Now, I think it’s my favorite too.


‘Blossom Peacock’ illuminated by the morning sun.

As soon as the bulb arrived, I “planted” it in a container of pebbles, but as the flowers opened and the top-heavy stalk tilted one way and another, and I worried I might have to cut its stem before finding it could be squeezed, bulb and all, into an upright glass vase. Moved from the kitchen window to the sunporch, where it shines each morning in the early light, I can barely take my eyes off it.

Today, it’s perfect for In a Vase on Monday, hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

The first warm welcome home, however, was hailed by ‘Peggy Clarke’, a Japanese flowering apricot (Prunus mume), which I spied even before turning into the driveway.


Prunus mume ‘Peggy Clarke’

Although the small tree’s common name would lead you to believe it’s native to Japan, where it was first found in cultivation by Europeans, it’s actually indigenous to China and Korea. In China, the plant is commonly called mei, or plum, and it’s known as one of the three friends of winter along with pine and bamboo.

Like others of its kind, ‘Peggy Clarke’ blooms January to March when the weather is mild. Its 1-inch wide, rosy-pink, double flowers, each accented with a red calyx and many long, thread-like stamens, perfume the garden with a spicy-sweet fragrance. Today, which is rather warm for the season, the tree is buzzing with a variety of bees and other insects in search of nectar and pollen. Some buds, however, are still tightly closed, waiting for winter’s next warm spell.


‘Peggy Clark’ close up.

Surprisingly, I also found paper bush (Edgeworthia chrysanthia) beginning to open its fragrant flowers and ‘Wisley Supreme’ witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) in full regalia, with epaulets flying.


Edgeworthia chrysantha (so hard to photograph!) with it’s bell-like clusters of flowers just beginning to open.


‘Wisley Supreme’ Hamamelis mollis

In the week that followed, I was glad to have these cheerful friends as I was caught off guard by a debilitating cold while struggling with a full schedule of meetings, appointments, and work. Then, when the weekend arrived, I don’t know that I’ve ever been so happy to enjoy a quiet Saturday and Sunday.

Now, it’s time to be up and at ’em again, and I’m excited to see a week of fine weather ahead. Fingers crossed for an afternoon or two in the garden.

For those hoping to hear a little about the Women’s March on Washington, I’m happy to share. It was an amazing event, though I was sad to see later (on television) that much of the rhetoric from the rally was not representative. Madonna….really? I don’t think 1 in 10,000 would say she speaks for them.  Certainly I wouldn’t.

It was a great crowd, very friendly, patient, and upbeat, and lots you didn’t see in the
media. Varied ethnic and religious groups participated, as well as disabled persons. There were lots of young families with children, many mother and daughter pairs, and an astounding number of young people under 30, including young men.

All in all, it was a positive and hopeful experience. The March on Washington might not make an immediate impact on policy, but I believe it will make all the difference for those engaging in human rights for the first time.

Here’s my favorite image of the day–a little girl named Maeve promoting equality on her third birthday!


Marching on Washington, January 21.



Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day–March 2015

After surviving a week of cold, wet weather in Washington, DC, I’m back in my office this morning, window open, relishing bird song, blue skies, and a warm day, with temperatures predicted to reach 80 degrees F (26 C).  Best of all, look what I found blooming in the garden when I returned home.

Flowers & Foliage, March 2015

Flowers & Foliage, March 2015

The collection of Camellia japonica includes (top, left to right) ‘Jordan’s Pride’, ‘Memphis Bell’, unknown white, (bottom) ‘Glen 40’, ‘Memphis Bell’, and an unknown red.  All of these cultivars were likely planted in the 1950s and/or 1960s.  The other flowers are forsythia, Helleborus orientalis (Lenten roses), Edgeworthia chrysantha, Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’, pansies, violas, Pieris japonica ‘Temple Bells’, and Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (miniature daffodil).  The foliage is Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’, Rumex sanguineus (bloody dock), Asarum (Chinese ginger), Nandina domestica, Aucuba japonica ‘Gold Dust’, and Gardenia sp. ‘Variegata’ (commonly called “double variegated”).

The millefliori-style photograph is inspired by the work of Ellen Hoverkamp, but my process is much simpler.  Here’s another inside peek at my studio…

To see what’s blooming in other parts of the world, visit May Dreams Gardens.


How fun to be tagged with the Liebster Award, a gardener’s Q&A, by John at A Walk in the Garden.  If you like to read a variety of blogs, you’ll be interested to know John previously wrote a garden column and though he lives up the road a bit in Stallings, NC, he has ties to Greenville too.

How would you describe your gardening style?  In the garden, and life, I like order, so a symmetrical layout with carefully considered points of interest is the most pleasing to me personally.  I love plants, but I’m not a collector.  What’s important to me is how the garden reflects the best of each season and the natural progression of the year.  I favor plants that offer multiple seasons of interest with their flowers, fruits, foliage, and bark, but not those developed to rebloom contrary to their typical pattern.  That said, however, I like most garden styles and more than a handful of nearly worthless plants.

Previous garden, July 2008--View of the back garden from the house.  There was also a cottage garden around the front porch, a woodland garden, and a tiny vegetable plot which you can just spy in the left of this photo.

Previous garden, July 2008–View of the back garden from the house. There was also a cottage garden around the front porch, a woodland garden, and a tiny vegetable plot which you can just spy in the left of this photo.

What new plant have you been dreaming about planting this year?  I’m still looking for the plant that’s going to make me fall in love with shade.  My previous garden was groomed to be its best in autumn, which just isn’t going to happen in the shady space I have now.  But I’m making the effort to embrace spring, which is the shady garden’s big moment, and the many winter-bloomers which I already love.  Chloris at The Blooming Garden recently mentioned a shrub that caught my notice, Lonicera purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’, but I haven’t yet been able to find a source in the U.S.

What is the most important lesson you learned last year?  I couldn’t tell you what I learned yesterday, much less last year!  But I think the most important lessons to be gleaned from the garden are about patience, tenacity, and our part in the web of life.

Flowers or foliage?  Both; I favor flowers, especially those with perfume, but the shady garden dictates foliage.

Current garden, July 2013--The white flowers of hosta scent the secret garden with their perfume.

Current garden, July 2013–The white flowers of hosta scent the secret garden with their perfume.

What characterizes the ideal nursery/garden center/etc. as the best place to obtain plants?  Quality merchandise, knowledgeable and helpful staff, and creative display, in that order.

Potting soil: Buy or mix your own?  Buy, but I make a very satisfactory leaf mold.

How did your love of gardening begin?  I grew up on a farm and couldn’t wait to escape, which I did for more than a decade.  A hanging basket of red geraniums (Pelargonium), a birthday gift from my Aunt Jean, circled me back towards my agrarian roots and kindled a passion for ornamental gardening.

What training/classes have you attended to improve your gardening knowledge and skills?  I earned the distinction of Master Gardener in 1994 and Master Naturalist in 2007, but pass-along knowledge and practical experience top everything.  I absorb a lot through my writing too, and traveling to study gardens and garden history has broadened my views as well as my understanding.

What plants together produce your favorite color combination?  I like a narrow color scheme.  My favorite is what I think of as “silver and gold.”  Essentially, it’s white and yellow with small touches of blue for contrast and it depends on foliage as well as flowers.  Needless to say, I’m a big fan of single-color gardens, such as the purple border and the white garden at Sissinghurst.

Silver and gold at Bosvigo Garden near Truro in Cornwall, England.

Silver and gold at Bosvigo Garden near Truro in Cornwall, England.

What garden(s) is on your bucket list?  Lucky for me, I’m visiting several gardens on my bucket list this year—Gresgarth Hall, Arley Hall, Chatsworth, York Gate, and Scampston Walled Garden.  (Yes, I have a very long bucket list!)  The garden most yearned for and not yet on tap is Beth Chatto Gardens, but I’m angling towards an autumn visit.  I also want to visit Powis Castle and a handful of gardens in southern Wales, including Veddw House.  Gardens of the Netherlands and some in Japan are on the list.  Of the places I’ve seen, I would most like to revisit the gardens of northern Italy.  I won’t see all these places, I know, but it’s fun to dream.

What is your favorite winter plant?  My friend Margot once said, “Picking a favorite plant is like choosing a favorite child or dog, senseless and impossible when you love them all.”  For me, this holds true with winter plants—I truly do love them all.  Prunus mume is a stand out, of course, Edgeworthia chrysantha is so ridiculously easy to grow, Iris unguicularis reminds me of my grandmother who loved purple iris, and nothing beats the decorative show of Ilex verticillata and some other species of deciduous hollies.

Curbside display of Ilex verticillata at BB Barnes Garden Center in Arden, NC.

Curbside display of Ilex verticillata at BB Barnes Garden Center in Arden, NC.

Wordless Wednesday–February 26, 2014–Millefiori

I fiori e le foglie del mio giardino.  (The flowers and foliage of my garden.)

I fiori e le foglie del mio giardino. (The flowers and foliage of my garden.)

Wordless Wednesday–February 12, 2014–Frozen

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Cornus florida

Cornus florida

Camellia japonica

Camellia japonica

Prunus mume 'Peggy Clark'

Prunus mume ‘Peggy Clark’

Old Man Winter tightens his grip

Old Man Winter tightens his grip

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day—February 15, 2013

I saw my first (and probably only) snowflakes this winter on Saturday, February 2, but the precipitation turned to rain within the hour. The Upstate has had plenty of gray days and moisture since January’s Bloom Day posting, with temperatures fluctuating from the 20s into the 70s. I’ve heard, but haven’t been able to confirm, our most recent cold weather destroyed much of this year’s peach crop. Fingers crossed the sad news isn’t true. More cold is on the way this weekend, however, as Saturday’s forcast predicts a low of 24 degrees F.

Even still, there are blooms in the garden. The vignette below is inspired by Ellen HoverKamp‘s stunning botanical photgraphs in Natural Companions: The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations by Ken Druse, a favorite Christmas gift I simply can’t put down.

Vignette inspired by Ken Druse

Vignette inspired by Ken Druse

Flowers include several Camellia japonica (top) and various Helleborus hybrids (bottom). The rosette of yellow near the center of the photo is Edgeworthia chrysantha (Chinese paper bush), and the yellow fringe at the bottom is Hamamelis mollis ‘Wisley Supreme’ (witch hazel). The pansy is ‘Dynamite Wine Flash’, while the smaller viola is ‘Sorbet Antique Shades.’ The early yellow daffodils draw attention to the ‘Gold Dust’ Aucuba japonica (aucuba), and the slightly smaller leaves of variegated Gardenia jasminoides (gardenia). The red-veined foliage is Rumex sanguineus (bloody dock), and the silver-veined is Saxifraga stolonifera (strawberry begonia).

Even better, here’s what’s blooming or almost blooming in the woodland.

Erythronium americanum (trout lily)

Erythronium americanum (trout lily)

Trillium cuneatum (Sweet Betsy)

Trillium cuneatum (Sweet Betsy)

Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)

Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)

To discover what’s blooming in gardens around the world, visit the host of Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens.