Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Plant Profile: Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)


zone 4
36 - 48" tall and wide
blooms: July - September

Pair with Scabiosa in front and ornamental grasses behind, and you will have a stunning fall display.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weeping Cherry Trees - 'Pendula' and 'Snowfountain'

Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula' is a graceful, pink blooming specimen. The ones we have in stock now stand about 9' tall (6/22/11).

Visit the UCONN Plant Database for more info and nifty pronunciation tool at the top of the page!

Prunus x 'Snowfountain' blooms white - great fall foliage!

Friday, June 17, 2011

How to: Tree Planting 101

Don’t be intimidated by tree planting! Here’s how the professionals at Victoria Gardens plant happy healthy trees:

Digging the hole: When planting trees, the planting hole should be bigger than the diameter of the root ball, but not deeper! You want the top of the container or root ball level with the ground surface. Once you finish your hole, you want to firm the soil at the bottom of the hole, so the root ball sits on a solid surface. If you set the tree on soft, freshly turned over soil at the bottom of your hole, the dirt could settle one way or the other and your tree could be crooked a day or two after planting!

Remove the cage and burlap: If you purchased a tree with a root ball, you will need to snip the metal cage apart with wire-cutters and REMOVE IT COMPLETELY! Then peal of the burlap COMPLETELY (And carefully, keeping the root ball in tack)! If you leave the cage and burlap on, you will inhibit the roots, and therefore stunt the growth of the entire tree. A tree planted in it's cage can become girdled and die.

Tickle the roots: If you brought your new tree home in a container (which we recommend!), then remove it from the pot and "tickle" the roots, loosening strands at the bottom edges and along the sides. This will encourage them to grow out in all directions immediately.

Feed the roots, not the leaves: Victoria recommends Espoma Biotone Starter, which is organic and stimulates root growth, lowering the chances of the tree experiencing stress.

Trees experience stress? Yes, and it can be caused by a variety of environmental factors. These stresses are “recorded” by the tree, and scientist can see the evidence of a drought or flood or defoliation hundreds of years ago in the rings of trees. Damaging insects will attack a stressed tree before a health one, and stress now can have effects years later.

Avoid stress! Planting smaller is better: Younger trees are more adaptable, and make the transition to a new environment with greater success. They make up for their small size with faster growth rates and better overall health for years after planting.

Amend your soil: Mix organic material in with your soil as you backfill (We like the Moo Doo, Dynamulch or compost to amend the soil. Some people use peat moss, although because it is mined, and not renewable, we recommend a peat replacement product made of coconut fibers. Cover the root ball with backfill and firm in the soil around it. ("Firm" not concrete hard - the tree's roots still need to push through the soil so don't take out any aggression, foot stomping, and the like, on the surrounding soil of your young tree.)

Water, water, water: The first year of any tree's life is the most important when it comes to watering. When you pick up your trees from Victoria Gardens, they are addicted to water. You must wean them off their watering schedule: water everyday for the first four or five days, every other day for then four or five, then every third day, ect. (A Gator can help!) The tree will adjust to it's surrounding with minimal stress, if you make the transition over a period of several weeks. After that, supplemental watering should be done weekly during dry periods.

Help from a ‘Gator': After the initial weaning, if you cannot reach your newly planted tree with the hose or if you plan on going away for more than a week, use a Treegator. Treegator is a drip irrigation system in a bag, which will release water over time, keeping your young tree from experiencing stress.

Keep the weedwacker and lawnmower at bay! The bark of most young trees damages easily, extra care is needed when mowing or using any garden tools around them. Injuries not only weaken dogwoods, but bring an onset of unwanted insects and fungus to the damaged bark.

Choose the right tree!
Sun or shade? Moist soil or dry soil? Visit our nursery in Rosendale and we’ll help you choose!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vic's Picks: Trees From Small to Tall

As many of you know we have been publishing a monthly newsletter as an insert into the Blue Stone Press, New Paltz Times, and Kingston Times at the beginning of each month.

If you missed it, here's a feature we did highlighting Victoria’s top tree choices from the smallest to the tallest:

Cutleaf Japanese Maple - 6' to 10' tall and wide - Zone 5 -A dwarf, mounded, small tree with a cascading and weeping habit. Also called a Threadleaf maple, the leaves are finely dissected (ribbon-like), and comes in many different varieties – too many to name! Visit the nursery in Rosendale, and fall in love with one! Full sun to part shade

Hydrangea Paniculata Standard - Grows 6' to 8' tall and 6' wide – Zone 5 – Victoria loves ‘limelight’ and ‘Quickfire’ - these varieties can take full sun to part shade, and they put on a spectacular showing of big soft, conical flowers that gradually gradate in color from June until the end of summer.

Magnolia x Jane - Height: 8–10' Spread: 10' - Zone 5–8. Lovely small Magnolia tree – Fragrant flower is reddish-purple outside and white inside.

Ninebark Standard Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo' - Height: 10' to 12' Spread: 6' to 8' – Zone 5 –8 -White summer flowers contrast beautifully with the dark purple foliage. Full sun to part shade

Magnolia x Riki - Height: 10’ to 12’ Spread: 10’ to 12’ – Zone 5 – 8 - Fragrant purple cupped flowers with pink gradations. The large, dark green, pointy leaves turn coppery bronze in fall. Full sun partial shade

Dappled Willow Standard Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki' - Grows 10' to 15' tall and 15' to 20' wide – Zone 3 – A must see! These amazing trees look like they are in bloom all summer long, but it is really their intricately variegated leaves. Full sun.

Aesculus pavia (Red Buck-eye)- Height 6 to 15 feet - Zone 5-9 – This native tree is a showstopper with bright red, upright conical flowers. Attract bees and hummingbirds! Full sun to partial shade, but needs moist soil.

Chionanthus virginicus (White Fringe Tree) Height: 12 ft to 20 ft Spread: 12 ft to 20 ft - Zones: 3 to 9 - Turns heads with a profusion of long, feathery, white blooms in May. Prefers full sun to partial shade. Soil should be moist, well-drained and ideally acidic. Dark-blue, grape-like clusters of fruits are produced from female blossoms.

Acer palmatum 'Harriet Waldman' – 15'to 15' tall and wide - Zone 5 - Variegated Japanese maple with pink new growth. A rare and hard to find variety, we are lucky enough to have a grower who propagates this beautiful tree. Even the color of the bark is a stunning, saturated pink-red.

Side Note: The 3 different Bloom Times of Dogwood Varieties:

In our little corner of the world - Ulster County, NY - bloom time for Dogwoods
of all varieties carries us from April through May. But there are three
different Dogwood types, which bloom in succession during the spring season:

First to bloom: Native Dogwoods (Cornus florida): Cornus florida, native to the
Northeast stand out against the still brown forests in early to mid-April.
Native Dogwoods are multi-stemmed with low branching, which gives them their
elegant form. Cornus florida bears red fruit in the fall its foliage turns a
striking red. Even in the winter, the branching structure is graceful making it
a wonderful all season tree.

Second to bloom: Dogwood Hybrids: Hybrids are crosses between the Flowering
Dogwood and the Kousa Dogwood,native to Japan. These hybrids have been developed

by Dr. Orton at Rutgers University to create trees that look like the native
variety, but with resistance to diseases that affect Cornus florida. Our favorite variety is the white blooming 'Aurora'.

Last to bloom: Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa) and Cornus alternifolia: The Kousa Dogwood, or Japanese Kousa, blooms later than the other Dogwoods and it also gets quite a bit taller. The kousa produces large raspberry-like berries in the fall. It is usually a
multi-stemmed tree with excellent disease resistance. The Cornus alternifolia branches
grow in tiers on the main trunk, hence its name the "pagoda" dogwood.

Cornus florida 'Appalachain Spring'- 15' – 20' tall and wide - Zone 5 - A strong grower with light green foliage, forming a bushy small tree. Produces large white flowers in spring. This variety can tolerate shade, but can also thrive in full sun, provided it gets enough moisture.

Cornus florida 'Cherokee Brave'- 18' - 20' tall and wide - Zone 5 - One of the most spectacular spring flowering, small trees. The entire plant is covered with bracts that open dark pink, before fading to light pink.

Cornus x 'Aurora' - A small tree, growing to approx 18' by 15'. In spring the
plant is covered by masses of velvety white bracts developing pinkish overtones
as the flowers age.

Cornus kousa -20' tall and wide - Zone 5- Produces masses of creamy-white flowers in late spring to early summer, followed by strawberry-like fruit in autumn. The variety 'Wolf Eyes' with creamy-edged leaves and long-lasting white bracts is Victoria's favorite variety.

Cornus alternifolia - Zone 3 -A deciduous large shrub with distinctive green and white
leaves. Grows 15-25' tall with spreading, horizontal, low branching.

Forest Pansy Redbud - 25' tall and 25' wide – Zone 4 –8 – Covered in tiny flower buds in the spring, sometimes they look as though they are covered in a thick velvet. The buds open into small delicate fairy flowers and then the delicate heart shaped foliage emerges. It’s hard to say which phase is more beautiful. Great tree! One of Victoria’s favorites! Full sun to part shade.

Magnolia × loebneri 'Leonard Messel’ (Saucer Magnolia) -25 ft. to 30 ft. high and wide – Zone 4 –8 – Fragrant, star-shaped flowers with white on the inside and purplish-pink on the outside; the transition of color from bud to bloom is a joy to watch. Needs Full sun for best blooming.

Styrax japonicus fargesii (Japanese Snowbell) - 20 ft to 30 ft - Zones: 5 to 8 - "A delicate beauty...dark leaves perched like butterflies above the white, bell-shaped flowers." - Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs. This tree grows in sun or light shade, and will not tolerate hot dry soil. Prefers moist, well-drained, acidic soil. Smooth gray bark is very attractive, and Dirr says plant this tree on a hillside so its downward facing flowers can be viewed from below.

Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese Umbrella Pine) -Height: 20 ft to 30 ft Spread: 15 ft to 20 ft - Zones: 4 to 8 - Long glossy needles and slow to grow, this elegant tree is like no other evergreen.

Oxydendrum arboreum (Sourwood)- Height: 25 ft to 30 ft Spread: 20 ft to 25 ft - Zones: 5 to 9 - This native tree blooms when no other tree is blooming in summer, and with the panicles still on the tree, the fall foliage will knock your socks off. Fragrant white blossoms and a spectacular fall show. The persistent fruit remains on the tree through winter.

Stewatia pseudocamllia (Japanese Stewartia) - Height: 20 ft to 40 ft Spread: 20 ft to 40 ft - Zones: 4 to 7 - The gray, gold, and brown pealing bark is a real stand-out as a winter interest and it has great fall foliage, plus lovely white flowers in July!

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood) - Height: 40-50 ft. Spread: 20-30 ft. - Zones: 4-8 - Bright green, fern-like deciduous foliage – stunning! Can tolerate flooding and pond side.

Betula Nigra: Heritage River Birch - Height: 40’ to 50’ Spread: 20’ to 35’ - Zones 5 to 9 - One of our best-selling trees! This native tree is elegant and performs better in our area than its European cousin. Its bark is not quite as showy, but its form is lovely.

Weeping Willow. Salix babylonica- Height: 40’ to 50’ Spread: 35’ to 40’ – Zone 4 – 8 – Dreamy, romantic form, plant where you can view it from afar.

Fagus sylvatica riversii Dwarf Beech - Height: 40’ to 60’ Spread: 25’ to 35’ – Zone 4 to 8 – Big and beautiful! Stately form and shimmering, dark purple foliage with metallic copper tones in autumn.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese Umbrella Pine)

Here's another profile of one of our favorite trees:

Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese Umbrella Pine)

Why we love it: Long glossy needles and slow to grow, this tree is like no other evergreen.

Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Height: 20 ft to 30 ft Spread: 15 ft to 20 ft
Type: evergreen tree
Annual Growth Rate: 6 inches
Flowers: None

Prefers full sun to partial shade. Likes moist, acidic, well-drained soil. Slow growing tree, but worth the wait.
Long glossy needles give this tree a distinct look, different than any other evergreen.

The Japanese Umbrella Pines are slow-growing enough that they don't need pruning. But this exchange on Gardenweb should reassure anyone whose tree got clipped.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Styrax japonicus fargesii (Japanese Snowbell)

Styrax japonicus fargesii (Japanese Snowbell)

Why we love it: "A delicate beauty...dark leaves perched like butterflies above the white, bell-shaped flowers." - Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs

Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8
Height: 20 ft to 30 ft Spread: 20 ft to 30 ft
Form: arching
Type: deciduous tree
Annual Growth Rate: 12 to 18 inches
Flowers: White Blooms June, seeds ripen in October

This tree grows in sun or light shade, and will not tolerate hot dry soil. Prefers moist, well-drained, acidic soil. Smooth gray bark is very attractive, and Dirr says plant this tree on a hillside so its downward facing flowers can be viewed from below.
The fruits are used as beads in rosaries etc.

Plant Profile: Dictamus (Gas Plant)


zone 3
24 - 30" tall and wide
blooms: June - July


zone 3
24 - 36" tall and wide
blooms: June - July

Our grower says: "Once established, Dictamnus makes a nice addition to the garden, whether planted alone or in a group. The common name of gas plant refers to the light, volatile gas the plant produces that can be ignited."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chionanthus virginicus (White Fringe Tree)

Chionanthus virginicus (White Fringe Tree)

Why we love it: Feathery white panicles in May and June make this small tree a rare beauty.

Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
Height: 12 ft to 20 ft Spread: 12 ft to 20 ft
Form: upright oval to round
Type: deciduous tree
Annual Growth Rate: 6 to 12 inches
Flowers: White star-shaped flowers, then feather panicles Blooms in May and June

Prefers full sun to partial shade. Soil should be moist, well-drained and ideally acidic.
The primary attraction of this small deciduous tree is the drooping clusters of fragrant, white blossoms and dramatic feathery panicles. Dark-blue, grape-like clusters of fruits are produced from female blossoms. It is one of the last trees in the spring to bear leaves.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Purple Threadleaf Japanese Maple - Acer Palm. Filifera Purpurea

This stunning purple threadleaf gets slightly larger than your average threadleaf maple. Grows to about 12'. Amazing color variation in the leaves is highlighted by pairing it with these peachy roses.

And for $79, you can find a home for this beautiful little tree.