Taking Root: A Garden Blog

 American Holly, Ilex opaca, is a familiar broadleaf evergreen found throughout Bucks County.  It is one of those native evergreens we have grown up with.  Its glossy green leaves and bright red berries grace the winter landscape and are used to decorate homes and greeting cards for Christmas.

This month my cottage garden is in full swing. Some of my favorite native plants are playing star roles. Orange Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberose), False Yellow Lupine (Thermopsis villosa), Coreopsis (Tickweed) and Stokes Daisy (Stokesia) sing soprano to rest of the choir. Filling the musical gaps are the non-natives; Happy Returns and Stella Dora Daylilies, Red-hot Poker (Kniphofia), Catmint (Nepeta) and Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'). It is a symphony of sunset colors.

It is bulb planting season.  As the fresh autumn breezes rustle through the changing fall leaves, spring is not the first thing that comes to mind.  In order to be rewarded with brilliant colored spring flowers we need to get a move on. Put an order into a bulb supplier or visit a garden center. We all know those stop you in your tracks favorites like yellow Daffodils and Red Tulips, but have you thought about extending your spring season with Snowdrops and Winter Aconite that can begin flowering as early as February? Blue Siberian Squill and Chionodoxa are soon to follow. These bulbs all flower ahead of the common Crocus, which is now available in some not so common new colors. Try some pastel varieties of crocus such as Blue Pearl, Romance and Firefly. Crocuses are not only for spring.   Fall flowering varieties can also be planted now along with their cousin the Fall Blooming Colchicum.

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