It is the dawn of a new year. Another year of growth, of progress, love, and of course, gardening!
There is not one moment in the gardens at Willowwood that is uninteresting; even in the absence of the raucous colors of flowers abuzz with pollinators that grace us in the growing season one can find interest. Now is the time to enjoy the structure and textures of the garden: bark, fruit, buds (as they swell in anticipation of spring, or perhaps a warm spell). Some structural interest is unexpectedly whimsical, such as the remaining sporophylls of sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis) or the fruit of the appropriately named blackberry lily (Iris domestica). (Click the images to enlarge them).
Even in this time of dormancy flowers can still be found at Willowwood, like this ‘Christmas Gold’ witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), a selection of our native species with especially dense flowers and a light, spicy aroma.
A look to the meadows will reveal numerous winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata), their branches upright and studded in red fruit, as in the case of the straight species. An exception is the ‘Winter Gold’ cultivar whose fruit instead reads more like a pale vermillion: this difference can be especially striking when planted along its red-fruited sisters.
In Pan’s Garden you will find the perfumed blooms of Viburnum farreri, a more unusual selection that flowers in bursts from November to February. The aroma of these is best admired while seated on the back porch of the Tubb’s House during a sunny winter day, where we would love to see you visiting. Willowwood Arboretum is open 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset. Please check the Morris County Park Commission website (Willowwood Arboretum | Morris County Parks (morrisparks.net) for more information for planning your visit.