Acacia pycnantha, or golden wattle, is a small tree native to southeastern Australia, and is, in fact, its national floral emblem. It is widely naturalized throughout the Mediterranean basin. It is sensitive to cold, but in milder winters, can bloom with spectacular effect.
Lenten Rose, helleborus orientalis, is a late winter flowering, clump-forming perennial native to the Levant (orient). It is so named because it blooms during Lent, and its color is Passion purple.
Muscari armeniacum, or grape hyacinths, are bulbous perennials native to Eurasia (like Armenia!). They are among the first flowers to bloom in Spring. Given the right conditions, they love to multiply and naturalize. Each of these clumps of flowers here at Gratus originated from a single small bulb, smaller than the size of your fingernail.
Pyrus calleryana, or Bradford Pear, is a deciduous, hardwood, ornamental tree native to China and Vietnam. It is widely planted for its showy white spring blossoms and reliable orange-red fall foliage. It produces small hard inedible fruits, loved by birds, who happily disperse their seeds, making the tree invasive in many parts of the country. One of the first to bloom here at Gratus.
Hyacinthus orientalis, or common or Dutch hyacinth, is a widely planted bulbous plant native to southwestern Asia. The flower stem is called a raceme and produces up to 50 highly fragrant and beautifully colored flowers.
Vinca minor or periwinkle is a trailing subshrub native to Southern Europe, brought to America by its first colonists. It is known for its stunning, characteristic color. It is a popular hardy ground cover but can be invasive.
This lovely flowering perennial shrub, also commonly called Arrowwood, is a hybrid between v. farreri and v. grandiflora. One of the first buds to burst out in late winter. Very fragrant!
Jonquils are the first bulbs to bloom here at Gratus, as early as late January. They are bulbous, flowering perennials native to southwestern Europe. They naturalize nicely here in our climate, this clump arising from a single bulb!
The first ornamental to bloom each year at Gratus. The double flowering purple plum is a cross between Prunus mule, or Japanese apricot, and the cherry plum, Prunus cerasifera, from southwestern Europe.
Acer rubrum, or red maple , a common deciduous tree of Eastern and Central North America, is widely planted as an ornamental for its spectacular fall foliage.
Liquidamber styraciflua, or American Sweetgum, is a large, deciduous tree, native to the southern temperate zones of Eastern North America. It’s name in Latin, liquid means fluid, and amber, referring to its sap or resin. It is a commonly planted ornamental because of its stunning fall colors.
Acer x freemanii is a hybrid of two common native deciduous trees of Eastern and Central North America: the Red Maple, acer rubrum, and the Silver Maple, acer saccharinum. This common selection provides the adaptability and rapid growth of the silver maple with the superior fall color of the red maple. One of the first trees to turn here at Gratus, and a favorite.
Aesculus glabra, or Ohio Buckeye, in the horse chestnut family of flowering, deciduous trees, native to temperate North America. Aesculus in Latin means edible acorn, and glabra means smooth or hairless, referring to the outside fruit cover. Although it looks like a chestnut, it is moderately toxic and should not be eaten. Lovely in your fall arrangement or wreaths.
Cornus kousa, or Chinese Dogwood, is a small, deciduous flowering tree native to East Asia. It typically flowers later, up to one month, than our native dogwood, Cornus florida. Pictured here are the sweet edible fruits, looking so luscious in the early autumn.
The driveway into Gratus, lined with Cupressus sempervirens “glauca” or Italian Cypress native to the Mediterranean, and Populus nigra “Italica” or Lombardy popular native to the Po River region of northern Italy. Nice combination.
Rhus copallina, or winged sumac, sometimes referred to as flame leaf sumac, is a small deciduous shrub/tree native to Easter North America. This particular impressive clone is known as “Lanham’s Purple” and is quite rare in cultivation.
The term conifer derives from Latin and means “cone-bearing”. Cones are the reproductive structures of conifers and contain the seeds. Most people refer to them as “pine cones”, but in fact all conifers bear cones, including spruces, firs, redwoods, larches, etc. This photo is the developing cone of a Norway spruce (Picea abies, “Aurea.”)
Note that it hangs down from its branch-this is important as we examine other types of cones.
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, "Golden Showers". A stunning golden weeping form of Port Orford Cedar or Lawson's Cypress. It is actually not a cedar or cypress, and native to the Pacific Northwest. One of my favorites.
Helianthus, or common sunflower. Native to North America, this beloved flower represents loyalty and longevity, projecting the energy of the sun itself.
Symphotrichum oblongifolium. Fall or Aromatic Aster. Hardy American perennial that blooms late summer into fall in shades of blue, lavender, and pink.