Right before the Chinese New Year, our Chinese and Japanese witch-hazels come into extraordinary bloom, with thin petals that seem to burst outwards and often carry a heady spicy fragrance. We also enjoy seeing the fuzzy buds of Star Magnolias, promising to open in the first days of spring. The heathers in the Arbor Bowl begin to bloom in March. Stewartia is ever graceful with smooth pastel peeling bark, while Japanese maple ‘Sango Kaku’ and Cardinal dogwoods are bright red.
Rhododendrons take center stage The daffodils are in all their glory as well as Star Magnolias and Cherries. By the middle of May the crabapple trees, viburnums, epimedium, lungwort, flowering quince, and cheerful yellow waldsteinia will all be in flower.
Gardens are filling in At the beginning of the month our fringe tree blooms in a shower of white lace, the rhododendrons are still spectacular, and the azaleas are ablaze. Viburnum and Kousa dogwood add bright spots of white, while the gardens begin to flower with gorgeous peonies, alliums, and more and more colors every week as the season unfolds. Later in the month annuals and herbaceous perennials will begin their show in the Garden of the Senses and the McInnes Garden.
Hydrangeas at their height The gardens are ablaze with abundant color in July with both perennials and annuals. The daylily garden is a feast for the senses with over 800 daylilies in nearly every possible color, and towards the end of the month our hydrangeas also begin to bloom.
Last blooms of summer This is a beautiful month at Heritage. Most of the gardens are still in full bloom, the hydrangeas are gorgeous, the weather is mild and the richly colored dahlias and asters save their rich colors for the end of summer.
Fall brilliance In the mild days of October there are still a profusion of flowers, especially dahlias, asters, sedum, Japanese anemone and goldenrods. Hydrangeas often get better with age, transforming into pinks and reds with the antiquing of their petals. Also at this time we get treated to some colorful berries and hollies, and the leaves begin to turn, often with pastel colors.
Our gardens are aglow This is when the leaves really begin to turn and the gardens become like a living sunset, at the setting of the sun of the year – shining with golds and reds, or studded with red berries. Also our native witch-hazels unfurl their banner like petals to catch the last warm rays of the sun.
DECEMBER & JANUARY
A new year begins Berries, seedheads, cones, bark, and evergreens take the fore, and when we get to see appreciate the majesty and elegance of the structures hiding beneath the leaves of trees. Heritage has an excellent collection of American hollies that epitomize the winter season with abundant red berries and shining leaves that catch and hold soft white snow. Other persisten berries include skimmia and winterberry holly, or the vivid purple of the aptly named Beautyberry.