These photos were taken in early-to-mid August in my Middle Tennessee garden. Hope you enjoy!
|I don't shy away from admitting my mistakes here at Garden of Aaron. I had the "brilliant" (not really) idea to pay a landscaper to install three substantial Alleghany Viburnums along the back of my property for privacy purposes. They were supposed to grow 10-12 feet tall and wide with broad evergreen leaves. Unfortunately, two died almost immediately (including this one). Not sure what went wrong? It's a tough spot - full hot sun, heavy clay that has some of the worst drainage in the yard. In any case, V x rhytidophylloides (whew - what a mouthful!) is a hybrid of two exotics (the Eurasian V. lantana and the Chinese V. rhytidophyllum) that reportedly became invasive in Virginia when two different cultivars were grown close together. Guess I should stick with the native viburnums, which probably are better suited for this climate and soil anyway...|
|Close up on Aronia melanocarpa berries. I have two kinds of Black Aronia berries - these are larger ones and I think they're the Viking variety that was bred for commercial uses (juice production?) in Europe. I also have an Autumn Magic A. melanocarpa, which going by the name, I'd guess was selected mainly for its autumn leaf color. In some ways, these are great plants. They seem very tough through heat and drought, they don't have any problems with our winter (they're hardy to zones 3-4) and as you can see they berry profusely. You don't even have to fight the birds for the berries. So what's the problem. They're bitter. Really, really bitter / astringent. These Viking ones actually aren't so terrible compared to the smaller and far more astringent Autumn Magic variety (presuming I've got my plants ID'd properly). But "not so terrible" is not exactly a ringing endorsement. Truth be told, I wish I'd planted something else. And even though they can take the heat here in Middle Tennessee, I think it stresses them out, which perhaps makes them more susceptible to the insects (I'm guessing lace bugs) that disfigure their leaves something awful and make them drop prematurely. Some folks on Gardenweb seem to think that hot weather makes the berries more astringent. That seems to dovetail with my own experience, so I think folks in more northern climates (like Michigan or the Pacific Northwest) might have better luck with aronia. That said, I'm not planning to rip mine out just yet. For one thing, I have too many other more pressing landscape concerns -- like replacing those danged viburnums shown above. But I don't think I'd recommend Aronia for the Southeast, at least not from an edible perspective. It is true, however, that I have not yet tried adding Aronia berries to the fresh fruit smoothies I make. If I try it and it's not too awful, I may yet change my tune.|
|"October Skies" Aster. Looking healthy and loaded with buds. Love the way that it's spread to form a tall, beautiful weed-suppressing groundcover.|
|Another shot of Coral Honeysuckle. Blooms from early spring right through summer and into autumn. One of my favorite plants! Yes, it's a little rampant, but you can cut it back hard at pretty much anytime and it will bounce back.|
|One more view of the Coral Honeysuckle flowers. I tried to duck down and get a pic from the hummingbird's point of view on its approach. Sure looks enticing...|
I didn't want to overwhelm with a cavalcade of photos. So I split up the bounty into multiple posts. Stay tuned for installment #2!