By Karen Fraizer
This winter I was assigned the task of taking care of the Woodland Garden here at Kingwood Center. We had a long-time gardener retire, that had been taking care of the Woodland Garden for many years. This gardener left me with a plant inventory, garden maps, and very detailed notes for this garden (Thanks Glenna). This winter and early spring, with everything covered in snow, it was difficult to get a vision of the garden. With spring slowly emerging I am surprised everyday by something new. First, it was just the outline of the walkways and the beds. Second, it was the benches and the stepping stones throughout the beds. Now, with spring officially here (fingers crossed), it has been so exciting to watch the spring bulbs popping up. The daffodils that are scattered throughout the garden mix well with the blooms of the hellebores.
The first three plants that I have come across that I am excited to share with others are Primula x polyantha, Corylopsis spicata, and Rhododendron mucronulatum. These plants are fairly unique and are worth a closer look.
Primula x polyantha (Polyantha Primrose) This is a very early blooming, low growing perennial. This Primrose has a mounding habit with blooms that stick up above the foliage. This plant cannot take the summer sun, it must be in the shade in moist soils for it to come back year after year.
Corylopsis spicata (Spike Winter Hazel) This deciduous shrub is closely related to the Witch Hazel. It is an early spring bloomer with yellow fragrant flowers. Spike Winter Hazel likes to be protected from wind, so the understory of a Woodland Garden is a perfect place for it.
Rhododendron mucronulatum (Korean Rhododendron) This shrub is noted for its unusual ‘for a Rhododendron’ deciduous habit, and its early spring blooms. This Rhododendron likes organically rich, well drained soils. It also needs winter protection, making it another great understory plant.
I am sure as spring fades and summer comes into full bloom, a multitude of plants will catch my eye, that I will be excited to share with you. Please check back for an update or visit the garden in person to take in the never ending seasonal changes here at Kingwood Center Gardens.