Berry Lovely

Although our trees haven’t changed as vibrantly this fall as they have other years, their more muted show has allowed me to appreciate all of the color provided by berries, crab apples, and rosehips. While hiking out at Dawes, I loved seeing the hazy splashes of color in the distance coming from things like crabapples, winterberries, and serviceberries:035and look at the berries on this Sparkleberry winterberry shrub in their collection:

053While we were there, we browsed the selection of plants for sale at the visitor’s center. We found a white-berried version of a shrub already in our garden at home, the Japanese beautyberry, so we had to add that to our collection. Here’s a peek at the berries and such coloring our garden at the moment:


clockwise from top: Japanese beautyberry (Callicarpa japonica), Golden raindrops crabapple (Malus transitoria ‘Schmidtcutleaf’), white Japanese beautyberry (Callicarpa japonica ‘Leucocarpa’), American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), Sugar tyme crabapples (Malus ‘Sugar Tyme’), and center, hips on our Scotch rose bush (Rosa spinosissima).


Persimmon Time

Popped out to Dawes this weekend. Had a lovely time hiking the grounds. Was tickled to see the fruit on a persimmon tree:


Seems like usually the animals get to them before I actually see them on the tree. I must confess, I’m not much use in the kitchen but these fruits could almost inspire me to try! I had persimmon pie once and replicating that flavor would be worth an awful lot of effort.

This tree is younger than the one I shared pictures of a few months ago ( -this one was planted in 1997. The bark isn’t quite as craggy looking as that on the more mature one, but you can see it is getting there. Would love to add one or two to my yard, but, alas, there just isn’t space. I’ll have to save that for my someday-move-to-the-country-dream-file!


Primordial Texture

Given that winter can seem so long, I have become a bigger and bigger fan of trees with interesting barks the longer I garden. I love exfoliating barks, like that of a river birch, and I love muscular, colorful barks, like you find on a lacebark pine or a Japanese Stewartia. I also love craggley, deeply furrowed barks. Like this beauty we saw at Dawes Arboretum:

bark of a common persimmon tree (Diospyros virginiana)

Bark of a common persimmon tree (Diospyros virginiana)

Isn’t that just something? Nevermind that this native tree produces delicious sweet fruits or that the wood is very strong –I could see planting it just for that wonderful, primordial, alligator-skin bark. Doesn’t it seem like it would be completely feasible to see a dinosaur come strolling by this tree?

I love this picture that my husband took of me taking a picture of one of the persimmon trees- I love how my braid looks lined up with the bark!

Check out the picture my husband took of me taking a picture of one of the persimmon trees- I love how my braid looks lined up with the bark!

Although, come to think of it, I had some persimmon pie once and it was pretty heavenly. So not just for the bark. If only I had room in my yard! I would plant some persimmon trees. And you do need to plant ‘some’ to get fruit from these trees. Some trees bear male flowers while others have female flowers. One tree won’t have both.  So to properly pollinate and end up with fruit, you need a few of these trees. And they want to get rather tall.

Which brings me to a little wish to the lottery gods…a sizable chunk of land adjacent to Dawes Arboretum is for sale by owner. We saw the signs while driving on the motor loop. Wouldn’t it be beyond wonderful to buy that land and turn it into an arboretum west? I’d donate it to the arboretum when I died, but I’d sure enjoy planting a bunch of trees on it while I lived!

I know exactly what I'd do first if I had a winning lottery ticket...! :)

I know exactly what I’d do first if I had a winning lottery ticket…! 🙂

Beautiful Blooming Buckeyes

The Buckeye is a symbol of the state of Ohio. The nut from the Buckeye tree, also called a buckeye, is even the mascot for the Ohio State University. (I can’t imagine many other schools choosing to be represented by a toxic nut!) No surprise, then, that the Chadwick Arboretum has several spectacular Buckeye trees in their collection.

Dawes Arboretum also has an amazing collection of  Ohio Buckeyes (Aesculus glabra), Buckeyes (Aesculus pavia), Bottlebrush Buckeyes (Aesculus parviflora) and Horse-Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) trees. The Buckeyes and Horse-Chestnuts look quite similar, but the Horse-Chestnut is a European native. The Buckeye is native to North America. Both are pretty spectacular when in bloom. The blooms persist for a few weeks…take a look at few!

Aesculus pavia ‘Ohio State Scarlet’, Ohio State Scarlet Buckeye in Chadwick Arboretum

Aesculus pavia ‘Ohio State Scarlet’, Ohio State Scarlet Buckeye in Chadwick Arboretum

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blossoms on the Ohio State Scarlet Buckeye

Blooming buckeyes and horse-chestnuts at Dawes Arboretum.

Blooming buckeyes and horse-chestnuts at Dawes Arboretum.


A ruby red horse-chestnut blooms in the foreground.


Close-up of the blooms on the ruby red horse-chestnut (Aesculus x carnea ‘Briotii’)

I find myself especially drawn to the ruby red horse-chestnut. The individual blossoms almost look orchid-like to me. Alas, they get much too large to have one in our garden. But Buckeyes tend to be smaller, so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to squeeze one in somewhere! For now, I’ll have to content myself with visiting some of the spectacular specimens in our area.

Azalea Glen at Dawes Arboretum

It amazes me how wide a range there can be, year-to-year, in peak bloom time for plants. The Dawes Arboretum plant sale has been held, as far as I can remember, on the third Saturday of May for at least the last 7 years. Some years when we’re there for the sale, we’ve missed the azaleas entirely. Some years, we get to see them at the height of their glory. This year was an example of the latter!

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178175022036Because we’ve been blessed with plenty of rain this spring, things looked lush and wonderful. It was actually raining while we walked around the glen, appreciating the wide sweeps of color and the close-up beauty of individual blossoms. The colors were so intense on some of the plants that they practically seemed to vibrate! The rain ended up giving some of our pictures a weird texture or blur. Small price to pay to see such a spectacular floral display.

If you get out to Dawes you can’t miss the azalea glen. It’s located off of the larger parking lot near the visitor center, and you can see much of it if you drive the auto loop. But to really appreciate all the glen has to offer, I highly recommend parking and walking around. There is just so much beauty to drink in, it’s too much to take in while just driving past.065


Happy Vernal Equinox! (Yes, darn it, even though it feels way more hiems-ish than vernal outside just yet. Astronomically speaking, it’s now Spring!)  I’m torn between savoring the signs that Spring is springing and wanting to tell the buds to go back to sleep for a little bit.  Yet my heart leaps to see the crocuses croaking and the daffodils starting to surge upwards.  This year, there’s a new sign of spring in our yard:

Cornus offincinalis 'Kintoki'

Cornus offincinalis ‘Kintoki’

At last year’s Dawes Arboretum plant sales, we picked up a new-to-us type of dogwood, a Japanese cornelian cherry or Japanese Cornel Dogwood.  The variety we got is supposed to be particularly suited to small spaces (great for our packed  yard) and should provide a brilliant Spring show with its early yellow blooms, plus the exfoliating bark has winter interest and the fall color is supposed to be good, too.  Last fall was too dry for anything to have good color, and this tree isn’t mature enough yet for the bark to be doing much exfoliating, but look at these buds!  It’s not even properly blooming yet, and it’s already a sunny happy bit of punctuation in our backyard.  Hooray!


buds nearly ready to bloom on the cornelian cherry…