New Horizons

It’s an ill wind that does no good and the storms of January along with the demise of our beetle-doomed Ash have opened up the east meadow. Our new horizon will make for a sunnier microclimate and serves as a welcome symbol of a new beginning after this dreadful winter.

Back-to-back snowstorms ripped branches from the old walnuts and downed the Sassafrass grove at the end of the meadow walk. We lost power for a week and learned how fragile the grid really is. County roads are lined with debris that rivals the damage of the Derecho ten years ago and I know I’m not the only one who wants to put the winter of ’22 behind me.

The old Lenten Roses (Helleborus orientalis) from the University bravely endured being smothered in ice and have burst forth with luscious mauve blooms. Other seedlings have greenish-white blossoms. Unlike many of the newer hybrids, these old ones sport large handsome foliage that serves as an evergreen groundcover when not in bloom. They seed prolifically and make a charming cut flower.

It’s heartening to know that one can still learn new plants. I discovered the Japanese Cornel Dogwood (Cornus offcianalis) growing along steps at the International Student Center at the University. Its bright red drupes were striking during winter. It’s very similar to the Corneliancherry (C. mas) and indeed has the same dirty gold colored flowers in spring, but the bark is attractively mottled much like that of the Kousa Dogwood. It has made a nice specimen on the bureau below our beloved Peter Boyers still life.


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