I think I messed the weather up the past two years by doing my annual countdown to March. Maybe I am jinxing it, who knows? But we are not letting it hold us back! We have been fertilizing our very large collection of green goodies and getting them ready for spring. Some things are already starting to grow in the greenhouses. The Hellebores have been blooming. I must say I am partial to Helleborus 'Onyx Odyssey’. Some of the Pulmonaria such as ‘Dark Vader’ and ‘David Ward’ are flowering as well. I always say, "Spring comes early in the nursery!"
I cannot wait to get back to one of my main passions, which is growing trees. Early in March every year we begin potting trees. I never can put my finger on why I enjoy it so much. Maybe it's nostalgia? I remember potting trees with my Dad and my good friend Matt Simmons, early in our nursery’s existence. Or maybe it's the pond of mud that always seems to form in front of the dirt pile during tree potting season. It's certainly high grade mud!
I am really amped up about growing two particular trees this year. One is the 'Eyestopper' Cork Tree, aka Phellodendron. We grew species Phellodendron for years. It was a gorgeous tree with a compound leaf similar to an ash, but not affected by the ash borer. The fall color was a delightful gold. These trees had thick branches and nice canopies. My good friends Terry and Yvonne liked them so much, they put three in their yard: an excellent call! The other tree I cannot wait to start growing again is the Gymnocladus dioicus, aka Kentucky Coffee Tree. The plus to this cultivar, ‘Espresso’, is that it begins branching sooner than the straight species.
I like cultivars, or named varieties of plants. I suppose I am a cultivar junkie. These two happen to be well named in my opinion, always a bonus! That being said, there are many straight species trees around the nursery.
In regards to species conifers, the White Spruce and the Eastern White Pine are personal favorites. The Tigertail Spruce, Picea polita, is certainly worth mentioning too. Although the Tigertail Spruce is not a native, it grows just as well if not better than the native conifers. Its dark green, short, thick needles are outstanding. The buds are big, and the form or habit of the plant is a 9 on a 10 scale. It's a much better tree than a Norway Spruce for residential applications.
I certainly like the longer days and the slightly higher temperatures. (Are we having slightly higher
temperatures??) All these things go together and get this spring vibe going that eventually takes off like a rocket in April. After that, we just hold on tight and ride it!
What's your ride going to be like this Spring? Why don't you ride with us? I think we know where we‘re going