Gardening is a belief in the future. You plant, do your best to provide a good environment, cross your fingers, and hope nature will support your view of how the space should look. With living plants as the medium, the process can be tricky. Many plants will flourish in the locations you’ve chosen for them, but others will become diseased and a few may die sooner than expected.
Walking around a neighborhood in the Maryland suburbs of D.C. earlier this year, evidence of winter burn appeared on street after street: hollies, azaleas, euonymus, rhododendron, even nandina, crisp-edged, the outermost leaves appearing blow-torched, dead. What happened?