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Coming next week!

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Our Spring 2019 Plant List is ready. Schedule a day with us to stop by and pick up your new shrubs, perennials and ground covers for your new pollinator garden!

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Thoughts of Spring During the Dead of Winter.

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How many of these plants can you identify?

As I look forward to seeing all of the plants in the garden reawaken in the spring, this particular image of green leaves on my desktop caught my eye. It reminded me of how important it can be to have a green carpet underfoot; not just one composed solely of Kentucky bluegrass.

Originally, this garden bed in my shady, woodland garden located adjacent to a grass path was planted with a running cultivar of foamflower and hosta. But as the years passed, other plant species naturalized and took up residence. A reading of the plants in the image above reveals how quickly various species can interact to create a unique, walkable palette. Two species of native trees, black cherry and chestnut oak, have anchored themselves in the garden bed, along the left side in the image. Someday, they may replace the mature specimens that already exist nearby. A small Norway maple hopes to dominate the scene, but will not last long on this property! Norway maples are invasive, to say the least, and should be removed.  Native vine five-leaved Virginia creeper meanders throughout the ground covers, interspersed with non-natives Duchesnea indica, or mock strawberry, which is often confused with wild strawberry and ajuga reptans. The perennial stalwart which has taken up residence at the top in this scene, is the native white wood aster, a Long Island perennial well suited to the dry, sandy woodland soils found along the north shore. Finally, a sprinkling of golden creeping Jenny splashes across the steps on the right. Another non-native, it escaped from a pot of annuals a number of years ago, and been held in check by the occasional plunge into the deep freeze. Throw in some sedges, mosses, and violets, and a groundcover that is easy to care for can replace “lawn” in those woodland, shadier places of the garden.

Soon, Mother Oak’s Garden will be offering a variety of shrubs, perennials, and herbs that can be added to your woodland garden, which will support the survival of local pollinators by providing food and habitat. Some of the native and non-native plants we hope to carry include:

Tiarella ‘Running Tapestry’, Asarum europeum, Uvularia grandiflora, Dicentraspectabilis, Smilacina racemosa aka Maianthemum dilatatum, Geranium maculatum, Iris cristata, Japanese Painted Fern and Ajuga reptans.

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Native Plant Beauty: Mountain Laurel

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The recent, generous rains have brought forth the fresh glory of late spring, with it’s lush greens, and brilliant hues of pink, fuchsia and magenta, falling in cascades from the trees. One particular shrub that holds a demure place in the landscape is Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia). It’s scraggly outline can be seen on the slopes of wooded hillsides. It’s pointy buds emerge pink; their oddly shaped buds are reminiscent of a space probe, or spiky virus!

Kalmia latifolia – Mountain Laurel

However, these lovely, broadleaf evergreens tolerate the dry, sandy soil found on Long Island’s North Shore. Although slow to establish, it is worth the wait to watch their buds develop, and subsequently bloom. But you may need to protect them from the deer! Deer are voraceous foragers, especially in early spring when the pickin’s are slim, will chew those tender green shoots off before you get to see them open. Mountain laurels grow best when left undisturbed in the ground, so proper siting is essential from the outset, as they do not tolerate transplanting very well.

Mountain Laurel in Bloom

Contact us at Mother Oak’s Garden today to plan your woodland garden!