One of my favourite trees is the Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera). Although some people give it a pass, saying it’s ‘messy’ or ‘short lived’ or ‘disease prone’ I say “Who Cares?” Just look at the gorgeous white bark, and marvel at how layers will peels off, only to reveal a new surface even more brilliant than the last.
I especially like to watch as young trees, with grey brown bark that makes them very similar in appearance to other Betula, start to turn white. You can see in this photo the trunk on the left is still quite dark, while the larger trunk in front, older perhaps by just a year, is revealing its bright mature colour.
Yes, in our (relatively) warm County it may live only 30 to 40 years, that’s quite possibly longer than I’ll be around! And it may get attacked by one bug or another – but very few trees these days are resistant to all insects. And it may indeed shed twigs and, gasp, leaves in fall. But really, who cares?
Solomon Seal is probably my favourite shade tolerant perennial. It has graceful arching stems with beautiful, dainty hanging flowers in spring that bees love; the leaves stay dark green all summer; it’s extremely drought tolerant and, in the autumn, everything turns first deep yellow then a beautiful orange/tan before leaves and sometimes whole stems collapse to the ground.
I never ‘clean up’ this garden – I let everything decompose as it falls. And then I wait for the new shoots to poke through this natural mulch and start the cycle again.
It’s official – winter is nigh
Snowfall has come, dark clouds are high
Leaves are all gone leaving branches so bare
Hoping these buds bring flowers to the air
*** These photos were taken about a week ago before the first frost and fist dusting of snow; today, almost all the leaves are either gone or very very brown…