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Carol’s Favorite Woodies vs. Mine


Japanese Umbrella Pine
Japanese Umbrella Pine

I love the videos (and live talks) by horticulturist Carol Allen and she’s my favorite plant expert for our region.  I also consider myself a specialist, of sorts, in woodies, especially shrubs.  So, in her latest video for Behnkes, “Carol’s  Favorite Woody Plants” I assumed she’d be weighing in to confirm my choices in the shrubs department.

Turns out, not so much.  In fact, her list of favorite woody plants included exactly NONE of the plants in my own list, and only one plant I’ve ever even planted.  So of course I’m judging myself as a gardener – are my plants old-fashioned, too common, or some other form of wrongness?  Charitably I’m going to say the answer is “To each her own,” but I’m still going to check into her choices and maybe add one or two to my garden.  Here they are:

Japanese Umbrella Pine  is a very cool-looking, slow-growing evergreen.

Leucothoe, an evergreen native plant that I grew in my former woodland garden.  Evergreen for shade is a rarity.

Sweetbox is a fragrant evergreen that blooms in January and February – features that are even more rare.

Daphne 'Transatlantica' (L) and Carolina Jasmine (R)
Daphne ‘Transatlantica’ (L) and Carolina Jasmine (R)

Daphne ‘Transatlantica‘ is fragrant and flowers all summer but absolutely must have great drainage.

Caroline Jasmine is a native vine that’s evergreen and fragrant.

Calycanthus is another native and Carol likes the variety ‘Athens.’

Hardy Gardenias are also very fragrant.  I’m concluding that Carol’s garden smells really good.

Camelias bloom either in the spring or fall, depending on the variety, and are evergreen.  Carol noted that they’re large enough to be used as screening.Pink Flowered Loropetalum Hedge

Deciduous Azaleas lose their leaves in winter but they’re native and fabulous. 

Loropetalum have burgundy leaves, pink flowers, and are evergreen to semi-evergreen in this area.  I’ve been coveting them for a while now.

Upright Japanese Maple I love and inherited one here in my new Greenbelt garden.  In fact it’s the ONLY plant on the whole property I didn’t get rid of (most were badly misshapen old azaleas).   I noticed the maple leaves creating shadows on my bedroom wall over the bed and was inspired to do stencil a Japanese maple on the wall, a process that requires absolutely no skill.  Voila!  (Source:  www.cuttingedgestencils.com)

Stenciled Japanese Maple.
Stenciled Japanese Maple.

Posted by Susan Harris.  Photo credits:  DaphneCarolina jasmine. Loropetalum. Japanese Umbrella Pine.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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