By Joyce Arleen Corson
At the request of Syracuse Garden Club, located in zone 5b Northern Indiana, this accumulation of information was developed for quick checks and possible landscaping designs for flowers, trees and shrubs.
A brief history is here on these subjects, and I admit I failed to mention the species hosta anywhere in this article. They fit almost every season for me. As I hybridize hosta, they are found growing here with artificial environment all season in and around our home. However, they must be moved outside for the season of dormancy. Hosta, were imported from Korea, Japan ,China and some parts of Russia, by way of early explorers. All parts of the hosta are edible and grown as vegetables in some Asian cultures. It was this reason so many of them exist today. They were brought for food. Strong preferences exist for this plant. Ron, my husband, and I are enjoying the fact that they grow well where we live. They grow beautiful leaves, bloom lilies, die down, leaves turn to fine powder and they return the next season to our enjoyment. We have never had the desire to use them in our diet.
Flowers have several classifications: Annual, grown from seed, flower, produce seeds and die, all in one season. Biennial plants develop the vegetative growth to produce flowers, develop seed but the length of time is for two years. The seeds of the biannual plant must be left to grow as an un flowering plant while the flowering plant has showy blossoms. Perennial flowers develop strong growth, produce flowers, seeds and return on a regular basis the next year and on a continuing basis every year thereafter.
And now come ephemeral (ə’fem(ə)rəl) meaning they are lasting for only a short time. They are transitory and short-lived. They may begin as early as January, peeking through the snow. Two favorites are snowdrops, Galanthus and snow crocus. I am happy to have the ephemerals return here each year. I have all but a few mentioned in this writing.
Trees and shrubs on the other hand are deciduous in our zone, loosing their leaves in the cooler months of the year. Some trees produce flowers every year, develop seeds every year and return the next season for a repeat performance. Other trees produce flowers every year but the seed will take longer than one year to develop. Common tree on a biannual clock is the oak tree. Some trees never produce seeds, blossoms only.
The pollination of such trees is shared by the male counterpart.
Trees and shrubs that do not loose their leaves are many times considered invasive. Some examples are wintercreeper, or euonymus fortunei, winged burning bush or euonymus alatus, Chinese honeysuckle and Japanese knotweed or japonica. Tree of Heaven , Ailanthus altissima and Bradford Pear or Callery pear are two trees that produce miniscule fruit that our birds do not eat. They crowd out the native fruit producing shrubs mentioned in this article that our birds eat.. They grow rapidly and often designers use this as a guide to get landscapes to become effective in filling space. Often they are advertised as sterile, but that effect does not always apply.