Having read my fellow blogger’s entry “And winter slumbering in the open air,….,” the gardening references reminded me that Michael Dirr would be in town this week for the Piedmont Landscape Association Seminar at the Paramount Theater. I missed him! I got caught up with the sun and in pruning my clematis and cleaning my garden on Thursday morning before work and just forgot he was speaking that morning. Well, that is unfortunate. Michael Dirr is the premier authority on woody plants. His Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propogation and Uses is in its 6th edition and is THE book on woody plants. And I missed him. Anyone out there get a chance to see him?
The University of Virginia’s Landscape Architecture Department has Dirr’s “Manual of Woody Landscape Plants” as required reading in a number of classes. Professor Julie Bargman’s course Planted Systems & Urban Ecology is one of these. Bargman herself designs landscapes to reclaim polluted and urbanized sites around the world using, among other things, woody plants. So Dirr’s “Manual” is important to garden clubs and urban gardeners and planners everywhere.
I now have all my seed and plant catalogs strewn around my home office so that I can turn my attention to gardening even though the temperatures are still frigid. I will bring out my Dirr Manual to read and think about the problem areas in my garden. During earlier gardening seasons, Dirr has helped me with my dry sunny slope where I planted a grow-low sumac (Rhus aromatic) and suggested viburnum for a variety of sites. What will I put in the very shady spot next to the house where I am losing a rhodie? Dirr has not failed me yet.
So as you plan your spring planting, check out the Dirr books that JMRL has:
~ Reluctant Blogger