Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Golden Shrubberies

Today had a cold start but warmed up to 20 degrees F or so.  Looks like some possible snow later tonight and this weekend.  I'm happy to see that travel conditions up to the WPT Garden Expo (Madison, WI) for both set-up (Thursday) and take down on Sunday look pretty good.  I've had some harrowing driving in the past for this event and don't want to ever repeat a truck & trailer "jack knife" scenario!  It was a productive day around the Horticulture Center with plenty of volunteer activity.  Pat continued to process lights from the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) while Dr. Gredler continued painting obelisks and an old window...We have a funky, fun use of old windows out in the gardens this year.  That's all I'll reveal...  Bill O. came in to help Larry inside and Dick H. finished repairs on one of our utility vehicles (thanks Dick!).  Larry and Bill continued to load up supplies for the Garden Expo trip on Thursday.  I'm fortunate to be surrounded by handy people without a doubt!  Urban came in for afternoon pruning and Rose stopped by as well.  Maury ran some errands and we also saw Mark S. and some others today.  I'm doing my normal winter "thing" and am ready for the Garden Expo this weekend.

I've been giving some recent talks on shrubs and never shy away from shrubs with golden foliage.  Keep in mind that while flowering can be a very ephemeral 2-3 weeks of interest, the foliage can carry the bulk of the ornamental interest from May until October.  While some people feel that golden shrubs look sickly and Nitrogen deficient, I see them as beacons in a landscape that has enough green.  Don't get me wrong.  I love all shades of green and while visual texture (leaf shape, size, form) is important, the foliage coloration (yellow, blue, maroon, variegated, etc.) can be a vital component in a composition, border or foundation planting for a longer period of time.  I wont have the time or space to elaborate on all the pros and cons of these selections (every plant has pros and cons) but enjoy these few selections for what they offer.  Keep in mind that most golden-leaved shrubs will get their best coloration in full sun and in the spring.  Some selections fade to a chartreuse (particularly in part shade) or perhaps get "crispy" in full sun without ample moisture.  Know your plant!  Both above and below is the Tiger Eyes sumac (Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger') which is a golden form of the native staghorn sumac.  While getting a nice orange fall color, this selection also spreads by "root runners" and will colonize an area.  I find it easy to keep controlled (annually) and is one of my favorite larger shrubs.

'Golden Nugget' barberry (Berberis thunbergii) - not many fruits which are certainly a problem with other selections in terms of being consumed by birds, pooped out and spread throughout woodlands near and far.  Be wary of heavy fruiting barberries although they are a darn tough shrub
'Avalon Gold' dogwood (Cornus sericea)
'Hedgerow's Gold' dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Golden Spirit smokebush (Cotinus coggygria 'Ancot') in spring
Golden Spirit smokebush (Cotinus coggygria 'Ancot') in summer
Dream Catcher beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Maradco')
Dream Catcher beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Maradco') - spring growth
'Golden Sunshine' willow (Salix hybrida) - cut back severely to keep fresh and moderately sized
one of the many golden bluebeards (Caryopteris sp.) - blue flowers in late summer
Chardonnay Pearls slender deutzia (Deutzia gracilis 'Duncan')
Chardonnay Pearls slender deutzia (Deutzia gracilis 'Duncan')
golden forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia 'Gold Leaf')
'Briant Rubidor' weigela (Weigela florida)
Mellow Yellow spirea (Spiraea thunbergii 'Ogon')
golden cutleaf elderberry (Sambucus racemosa 'Sutherland's Gold')
'Nugget' ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
golden bird's nest spruce (Picea abies 'Repens Gold')
'Saybrook Gold' juniper (Juniperus chinensis)
golden falsecypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Golden Mops')

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