Tag Archives: Carolina Sapphire

Late February Garden Report

This Eastern Bluebird is perched on the folded tip of the juniper next door.

Eastern Bluebird Atop Juniper

Eastern Bluebird Atop Juniper

A heavy wet snow overnight transformed the winter garden.

Snow Dressed Garden

Snow Dressed Garden

Once again the birds are scurrying back and forth between feeders and favorite perches.

Female Cardinal Perched Above Feeder

Female Cardinal Perched Above Feeder

Surrounded by draping branches of ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress, a Northern Cardinal waits patiently on a redbud branch while the Eastern Bluebirds take a turn at the feeder.

Northern Cardinal and Eastern Bluebirds

Northern Cardinal and Eastern Bluebirds

Looking below and to the right of the cardinal, the green clumps on the ground are Hellebores. Here are the same ones seen looking more colorful yesterday. This collection of Hellebores in the garden’s southwest corner were among the last to bloom.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Speaking of hellebores, I highly recommend this new video from a well-known, North Carolina-based nursery: Hellebore (Lenten Rose) Production at Plant Delights Nursery. Owner Tony Avent explains how he grows and selects Hellebores to sell at his nursery.

Fortunately with a high forecast of 37 °F today the snow is already beginning to melt, but winter refuses to leave. Low temperatures for the next 3 nights: 26 °F; 18 °F; and 12 °F.  There are broken branches in the neighbors’ yards and lots of bent branches and shrubs in the back garden. Out front the Crape Myrtle pair have once again been damaged. The crushed one on the left had make such a nice recovery too, after having been flattened by a freakish summer wind shear several years ago. The tree on the right lost a lower branch this time.

Crape Myrtles At Front Walkway

Crape Myrtles At Front Walkway

This bird flew up into the bottom of the feeder two or three times before finally landing on the feeding perch. I wonder if it was trying to shake down the seeds toward the front or was just beating itself up over this weather. Spring is coming, spring is coming, spring is coming…

Avian Antics

Avian Antics

In A Vase On Monday—Early March

Early March Floral Design

Early March Floral Design

In preparation for joining Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday challenge I went out yesterday in late afternoon to see what plants I could rescue. After Sunday’s sunny 71°F. high the forecast for the upcoming week brings a blast of Arctic air with possible snow and ice, and low temperatures near 15° tonight.

It turned out there was little to rescue. The long-awaited fragrance of Daphne is beginning to be detectable near the front entrance, but the shrubs still are not in full bloom. Though there is a touch of color on several Camellia japonica buds, the daffodils continue to bide their time. Except for the hellebores the garden has surprisingly little in flower.

Early March Floral Design2

To hold the plant material for today’s arrangement I used 3 floral pin holders inserted into a shallow, blue and sienna glazed ceramic dish. First I added two stalks of Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose). Then I selected some branches of spiraea to add height and airiness in the back of the container.

Early March Floral Design1

Spherical brown cones and clipped sprigs of greenery from ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress made a contrasting filler along the baseline of the arrangement.

Early March Floral Design3

[Note: I liked the way the helleborus looked in the arrangement but sadly they did not last even overnight this time.]

Thanks very much to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Visit her site to see her arrangement this week and see what other participants are placing In A Vase On Monday.

A Companion’s Garden

Companion's Garden, foreground

Companion’s Garden, foreground

Yesterday I worked on a new planting bed that came about as the result of needing a place this winter to offload and store some extra mulch. Selecting a spot where the grass retreats and dies back every summer once the weather gets the least bit dry, in February, I lay down 3-4 sheets of newspapers, wet them, and stored my excess mulch on top.

By yesterday most of the mulch had been distributed. I removed most of the remaining mulch, added a good quality topsoil mixed with mushroom compost. No digging. Touched just a bit by the shadow of a Red Maple, this area receives early morning sun, then is shaded from the other direction by a ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress in early afternoon.

Coleus

Coleus

My husband is intrigued with the variegated leaves of coleus, always pointing them out in other gardens we visit (especially at the trial gardens at the Raulston Arboretum). With an emphasis on foliage, this little garden of annuals is planted for him this year. For now companions to the coleus are caladiums and a few impatiens. I might move several Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells) into this bed as well. We will just experiment here.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – February 2013

'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

I am partial to evergreen foliage. At the southwest corner of the garden stand a couple of two-story tall ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypresses planted more than a decade ago. These large evergreen trees are nicely fragrant and give some boundary and privacy to the property. They have the bonus effect of offering a protective home or perch to a variety of birds.

The softly textured leaves of this conical-shaped tree are interesting and the one-inch round seed pods are striking. In fall the color of the foliage tends toward blue-green; the seed pods change from silvery to reddish mahogany.

Seed pods-'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Seed pods-‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

Seed pods-'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Seed pods-‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

These two trees used to have a large sister ‘Carolina Sapphire’ on the opposite corner of the western border. In 2009 it anchored the garden and showed off a rare snowfall, but sadly began to die in 2011 and had to be removed. I think a badly-timed pruning was the problem. Normally these trees are carefree.

Arizona Cypress-January 2009

Arizona Cypress-January 2009

Northwest corner, dying 'Carolina Sapphire'-September 2011

Northwest corner, dying ‘Carolina Sapphire’-September 2011

Today at the northwest corner is a young replacement, trying hard to fill the large void left by its now deceased predecessor. This little one has nearly doubled in size in eleven months, but it will be some time before the balance returns to the border. Last year I filled the space with zinnias.

'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress planted March 2013

‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress planted March 2013

Moss

In the meditation circle I have become enamored of the tiny bits of moss showing up between the stepping stones.

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

I dream of winning the lottery so I could bring in Moss & Stone Gardens, whose owners I heard speak last year at a garden club meeting. I would love to cover all the planting areas in the labyrinth with this soft greenness. Mosses are drought tolerant once they become established, which can take a year I think. Although I have enjoyed planting colorful flowers here, I would like to eliminate seeing any mulch. The soft texture of moss seems like an appropriate and appealing choice for this meditative aspect of the garden.

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

Moss In Meditation Circle

Thanks to Christine at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for hosting GBFD each month.

Birds Around The Garden


The wintry chill arrived as predicted and today’s afternoon is a sunny, 33 degrees (feels like 25). Near the front walk three bluebirds sit unhurriedly on the edge and sip from the semi-thawed bird bath.

Elsewhere a yellow-bellied sapsucker, numerous cardinals and assorted other friends of the garden vie for openings at the two feeders, while an eastern towhee scratches in the underbrush nearby. With heads bobbing, a graceful pair of mourning doves pushes aside leaves in search for seeds.

Camera shy, the birds chide me and warn each other as I walk around the garden.

They tuck themselves into the two ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypresses in the back corner or behind the gardenias or spirea until my approach is too much for them.

Finally then they flitter off to a nearby, safer spot to observe. Rustling, adjusting themselves, they wait.

Back inside, I watch from the glass as these lovely creatures gradually resume their activities and reclaim the garden.

A Tree Lost

A dying Arizona Cypress “Carolina Sapphire” was removed Tuesday from the northwest corner of the garden where it had grown for almost ten years. One of three small evergreen trees along the back corners of the property line, this cypress not only anchored the garden and provided privacy, it hosted many of the garden’s birds.

Northwest corner "Carolina Sapphire" 9-27-2011

The tree succumbed to some aggressive and apparently ill-timed pruning this past Spring when limbs were removed to accommodate the new picket fence. Sap started rushing out from the fresh cuts and soon the tree began browning. The cypress worsened throughout the summer. Fortunately the two Carolina Sapphires at the southwest corner were unscathed, although they were pruned at the same time.

Northwest corner 9-28-2011

The garden renovation plans begun last winter have been on hold much of the summer. Perhaps finding a replacement for this lost tree will help revive them. The new fence and the meditation circle were successful additions to the garden and now there is an opportunity to make new decisions about the garden’s structure.

Especially in winter this tree will be missed.

Arizona Cypress - January 2011 Snow

Eastern Redbud

In-between rain showers, with a deep blue threat approaching from the west, there were a few minutes this afternoon to check out the Eastern Redbud, which began just hinting its color midweek.

Nearby the redbud many birds, including a brown thrasher and an eastern towhee, cardinals, house finches, a bluebird, and a mockingbird, have gathered around the feeder today, but they all tucked themselves away as I approached to inspect the dark pink flowers.

Clusters of magenta flowers sit along the long, gray branches.  Some flowers emerge from the redbud’s trunk itself.

Temporarily “dug in” and never moved, this redbud sits much too close to the Carolina Sapphire (Arizona cypress), but the cypress is a nice background for the redbud’s showy blossoms.

Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Cercis
Species: C. canadensis
Binomial name
Cercis canadensis
L.