Grass To Osmanthus

Yesterday there was actual gardening done, as opposed to reading, writing or just thinking about it. It seems blogging has cut into the time usually spent outside. That will have to be remedied. Pictured above are three newly purchased osmanthus fragrans, to be added to help hide the chain link fence on the hill out back.

In 2002 the end of the knot garden held a row of zebra grass, miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus”, behind a cedar split rail fence to hold up the blades when they start to flop over. The flower tassels were enchanting when blowing in the breezes. But by the end of winter, into spring, these grasses were pretty ratty looking. When the white tulips in the four corner beds were in bloom, the area behind the cedar was a real eyesore. That was not the vision.

After tiring of cutting the sharp grasses down each March and having to look at the silver colored chain link fence behind it until the grass regrew, Russian tea olive, osmanthus fragrans was planted in its place. The grass was left at each end, for some movement. Double checking the level of the stepping stone frame leading to the tree peony planted at the end, now presenting , my better half, who will be referred to henceforth as my better half. The new row of osmanthus is small but looking good.

The osmanthus survived its first winter with only the leaf tips slightly burned. We are on the northern edge of its hardiness, supposedly, who knows anymore, so it was a bit of a gamble to depend on these broad leaf evergreens to screen the fence.

The osmanthus has grown surprisingly quickly. No supplemental watering is done up here. The hose is far away and too cumbersome to drag up the hill. The plantings up here have to be tough.

The decision to remove most of the grass was the correct one. They are just too messy for this formal garden. The osmanthus lacks in zippy color but makes up for that minus with glossy green steadfast foliage. But the added bonus is the fragrance that wafts through the entire garden when this beauty starts flowering. Beginning late summer and still blooming in January, the tiny white flowers exude a sweetness that delights.

Taken from inside the shed as it began raining as the work of planting the additional shrubs along the right side of the split rail was to commence. My little shovel is seen here resting on the fence. The rails that were on the right side leaning on the hill never looked quite right and were removed, maybe not to be replaced.

Nicely planted with little moats around each one to catch that precious rainwater. These should do the job of obscuring that silver color.

Why didn’t the osmanthus continue down the hill to cover the rest of the fence, you ask. Because that is all they had at the store. There is more shopping to be done at other locations in hopes of finding more. What doesn’t show up well is the fothergillas along that bare looking stretch ending with one of the few surviving rhododendrons. The original planting was all rhodies along the fence up to the grasses. That has not panned out well with loss after loss. There is a walnut tree just on the other side that may be affecting what grows close by with its juglone. This slope is very dry which might hinder growth also. The white blooms of the fothergillas in spring and the red foliage in fall should make this area a joy rather than the blight it is now. Right now all hope rests on the osmanthus. Considerable wealth has been spent on these lovelies, with more outlay in the near future, if more shrubs can be found to purchase. It will be a pleasure to not see that chain link ever again.
Ready for green, not silver,

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10 Responses to Grass To Osmanthus

  1. chickenpoet says:

    I love the low lying color contrasts of the knot garden. It keeps the interest of the eye away from the menacing chain link.

  2. Frances says:

    chickenpoet…thanks. The menace of the chain link will be diminished by the tea olives soon. More were found today.

  3. Annie in Austin says:

    Hello Frances,

    The fragrance of tea olives is something I love in an Austin winter, too – only 2 of them in my small garden, rather than a hedge.

    You do live in an interesting zone- able to grow tree peonies, crepe myrtles and osmanthus… would lilacs grow for you, too? A place where one could grow both lilacs and crepe myrtles could be a dream location.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  4. Frances says:

    Annie…We can indeed grow lilacs and tulips without prechilling. There is wild fluctuation in the temperature during the winter months but the bulbs, which are left in the ground year after year, received the required chilling to bloom. We love it.

  5. ga says:

    I love it GG.

  6. Frances says:

    ga…thanks so much for commenting

  7. Phillip says:

    Your knot garden is lovely – I will be looking forward to seeing it in the spring. A question about tree peonies – I have one that needs to be moved. Do they transplant well and is this a good time to move it?

  8. Frances says:

    phillip…thanks, I hope the knot garden meets the vision this year. Tree peonies, if it must be done I would guess now is the time, getting as much rootball and soil intact as possible. They are difficult enough to keep alive without disturbing them, but you gotta do what you gotta do! Good luck!

  9. Pingback: The Sweetest Smell-Osmanthus Fragrans « Fairegarden

  10. Lola says:

    I like how they are doing. I must check these out. Wish I could smell them.

    Thanks Lola. The Osmanthus should be available for your area, and do much better than they do here, I would assume.

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