Ok……. maybe I’m a plant snob but a proud one!
As many of you know, I spent 3 years after college working in nurseries and gardens in Europe. Specifically England and Germany. Landscape gardening is a way of life in Europe and it was very enjoyable working with people that love and collect ornamental garden plants. I learned many cool plants that we, unfortunately, can’t grow in Central Ohio due to our extreme climate and heavy soil. But there are still very many interesting and unusual plants that we can and should be using (bottlebrush buckeye, hop hornbeam, tuliptree, blackberry lily, italian arum, etc.).
So in my continuing effort to diversify our landscape, we grow many uncommon things for use in home landscaping. Sadly, the average “builderscape” is so boring with it’s rows of boxwood, rectangle taxus and, asian pears. By the way, the ornamental pears will soon be outlawed from planting because they have become a terrible weed. People find this hard to believe as pears are probably the most popular ornamental tree. And what’s not to like? They’ve got glossy leaves, showy flowers and nice fall color. Not to mention they are dense headed even as a small tree. But that’s one of the problems. They are so dense when they are young, that they are top heavy when they get old. Then as a result of a typically poor branching habit, they split and fall in the street. But the ultimate problem is the fact that they fruit and the birds spread them into nearby fields. Take a look along the freeway around any city in March. Those verticle young trees loaded with white flowers are weed pears. They grow so dense that you can’t even walk through those fields.
We’ve got many other interesting trees that we should be planting. What about cucumber tree? It’s a southern Ohio native Magnolia that grows very large and produces big, tropical looking flowers. Black Gum is another large native tree with “fire engine red” fall color and glossy summer foliage. Witch hazels are small native trees with orange fall color, nice open habit and interesting little yellow flowers in December or March!
Come visit our nursery sometime and we’ll make a plant snob out of you!