What’s In Bloom: Who Says?

By | What's In Bloom | November 29, 2013 | No comments

Who says you can’t plant bulbs through the snow in November?  Well I’ll be planting on until they’re all in – rain, sun, or snow!  The ground hasn’t frozen through so once I break through the inch or less of hard crust its good to go!

Viburnum sargentii 'Onondaga'

Viburnum sargentii ‘Onondaga’ (Sargent viburnum) in the Nature Garden, keeps on giving.  Its purple leaves of autumn have dropped and given way to brilliant red berries, perfectly offset with a layer of snow.

Myrica pensylvanica

Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry) not more than a stone’s throw from Onondaga, provides plenty of winter interest with smoky blue berries clustered along & close to its branches.  This fruit is covered with a waxy substance good for making candles.

Symphoricarpos albus

Symphoricarpos albus (snowberry) in the Woodland Walk …

Symphoricarpos albus

… holding its own after the snow and freezing temperatures.  The white berries will remain on the stems through most of winter since not many birds find them appealing.

Betula nigra bark detail

And who wouldn’t say the exfoliating bark of Betula nigra (river birch) isn’t simply stunning any time of year, but perhaps particularly in winter (I know it isn’t officially winter – yet!).  Remember: don’t prune this beauty in spring while the sap is running.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus'

When is it okay to prune ornamental grasses?  When Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variegatus’ (striped eulalia) in the Perennial Border is falling over from the weight of a fair snowfall, its time.  Foliage should be left standing over winter to protect the crown, therefore only cut back to where the grass is bent over, waiting until late winter & early spring to make a proper job of it.



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Sandra Pella about the author: Sandra Pella

Sandra Pella has worked as Head Gardener of the Toronto Botanical Garden since 2008. She holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario, and upon graduation worked in the financial sector until the pull of plants was too much to resist, whereupon she found herself at Janet Anderson Perennials (formerly JEA Perennials) as a horticultural technician. She has been the Perennial Manager at Summerhill Nursery & Floral followed by the Assistant Horticulturist at the TBG prior to its renovation. Sandra worked as a Gardener for two seasons with the City of Toronto as well as seasonal Gardener for the TBG prior to being named Head Gardener. She is self-taught in the field and thus greatly appreciated the experience a gardening internship in 2009 at Great Dixter in the UK brought to her. Sandra has a regular What’s In Bloom blog and is one of the spokespeople for the TBG.

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