A Late Frost

Trillium grandiflorum

A late frost in May is not uncommon, but we’re always happy when we skirt the possibility. For many of the plants that are blooming and at their peak ( Magnolia, Rhododendrum dauricum, primula, and the species peonies, to name a few), a frost can destroy the flowers and damage their foliage. Luckily, as I write this at 5:00 this morning and after being up several times through the night to check on the temperature, the greenhouse, and to be certain that any plants we’ve covered are still in fact covered, the deep cold has missed us by a couple of degrees. Yeah!

Mertensia virginica

On a different note, here are a few photos of what’s blooming at the moment. Blessed treasures, they are. Happy Mother’s day to all! And, a poem by e.e. cummings for this fine spring day ( just sent to me this morning by a dear friend…thank you, Joanne!)

Trillium erectum

“o Sweet Spontaneous”
sweet spontaneous
earth how often have

fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched

, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

beauty, how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable
couch of death thy

thou answerest

them only with


Azalea ‘Candy Pink’ and Magnolia stellata in one of the woodland gardens


My posting activity has been on the slack side of things, apologies everyone! I’ve just returned from a graduation and a quick visit to Virginia. It is a very difficult time to leave home but this was an event I couldn’t miss, so off I went. Rick held down the fort here at the nursery, keeping the world of Fernwood running smoothly.
I have never been to Virginia, who claims the flowering dogwood as its state flower and tree, but I was very impressed with these things that make Virginia a special place…
Virginia is beautiful! The flowering magnolias (Magnolia grandiflora), the dogwoods ( Cornus kousa and Cornus florida) and the sweet smelling gardenia were all in bloom and lovely. It is a very tidy state and well mapped out (this being very helpful considering how easily I can navigate myself out of the wilderness but am terrible with finding my way through congested cities). I hardly saw any trash scattered on the roadsides! Virginians should be very proud of this, it makes all the difference when the roadsides and streets are kept tidy! The people of Virginia are very friendly, smiling and saying howdy, never passing you on the street without a smile and a hello. I loved this. The beauty of Virginia was felt everywhere…in its towns, along the beaches, and throughout the rural areas. In addition to having a wonderful time with our son, Noah and his fiancee, I traveled with a dear friend ( a Virginian!) who offered up the very essence of her state….kindness, generosity and a welcoming that beat all. Thank you, thank you, Kari!
I’m home now and back in full swing. We’ll be posting any summer classes this week. We’ll be weeding and planting and harvesting. We’ll be greeting a new WWOOF volunteer. We’ll be continuing to stock the nursery with mid-summer delights. Come on by and say hello, the gardens are bursting and there will be lots to share!
Happy Day everyone!

These Days In May

If we were to count the trips made from the nursery area to the greenhouse, from the vegetable gardens to the display beds, I think the distance we cover would be measured in miles…..many. No gym work outs for us, just the regular lifting, hauling, bending, walking, and constant moving that goes along with what we do everyday. No complaints, it all feels great. And, here are a few things in the gardens that make all this worthwhile.

Peony veitchii

Peony veitchii

Magnolia  seedling

Magnolia seedling

Darmera peltata

Darmera peltata

One giant task every season is labeling the plants in the nursery. This is pretty much always Rick’s job, his plant nomenclature far exceeds mine, as customers well know! Everyday new plants are potted, then labeled, and put out into the sales area.Picture 994
Our friend Lucky likes to keep the plants company

Our friend Lucky likes to keep the plants company

And…..two more plants that we feel are worth mentioning……
Glaucidium palmatum

Glaucidium palmatum

Podphyllum peltatum

Podphyllum peltatum

Magnolia stellata

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMagnolia stellata is one of the earlier trees to bloom in our area. Its blooms are a welcome sight after a long winter, and just as ornamental are the flower buds, looking very much like giant pussy willows. From the time the leaves fall off in autumn, until they open in early spring, the fuzzy buds  add interest to the winter landscape . While most people are waiting for the flowers to appear in the spring, we appreciate the buds all winter long. As the weather warms and the days get longer, the buds swell and then open to  white star-like (stellata) flowers. Some cultivars of M. stellata, of which there are many, have pink to pinkish colored flowers.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This small tree, with its buds, flowers, and deep green foliage, has something of interest most of the year. Magnolia stellata and most of its cultivars are readily available.