January 3, 2018

Great Garden Expectations for 2018

The new year has begun with the garden buried in crusty snow.  This is not my favorite part of the year, but we're getting closer to the growing season and many new additions to the garden.

Late Winter

Last fall I planted a dozen new Lenton Roses to make a total of about forty hellebores in the garden.  Not all of the baby plants will bloom this year, but overall I expect more flowers than last year.  I'm especially excited to watch the vigorous 'Madame Lemmonier' and 'Molly's White' get going over the next few years, as well as several selections from the Wedding Series of hellebores.  'Golden Lotus' hellebore is shown above.

I bought a grow light setup to start annual seeds and dahlias, and I plan to put it in a bathtub where no one can trip over it.  Annual seeds have already been ordered and delivered and are waiting for the right time to be planted.  Cosmos 'Cranberry Double Click' is shown above.


Bulbs big ('Mount Everest' allium), medium ('Apricot Impression' and 'Black Hero' tulips) and small (Oxalis adenophylla) made it into the ground in the fall, so their blooms will add to the bulbs that have naturalized over the years in the garden.  I planted a 'Banana Daiquiri' geum in fall, and while I don't expect it to be as showy and long-blooming as 'Totally Tangerine,' I'm looking forward to seeing its soft yellow blooms.  Two new 'Popcorn' viburnums (compact versions of the Japanese snowball bush) will eventually provide stems for cutting.  Maybe the baby 'Yankee Doodle' and 'Charles Joly' lilacs I planted last year will give me a few dark blooms, but maybe not until the next spring.


Annual peony poppies are my excitement for early summer:  'Violetta Blush,' 'Purple Passion,' 'Pale Rose,' and 'Double Black.'  I'll add the 'black' poppies to white garden and call it the black and white garden this year.  I've also bought seeds for 'The Bride' guara, Eryngium 'Silver Ghost,' honeywort, and 'Purity' and 'Cosmic Orange' cosmos.  All of those should be good for cutting if my seed-starting plan works out.  Above is the Oriental poppy 'Medallion.'

I'm also looking forward to the first good display of blooms from several  peonies.  'Armani' is brand new, and last year I only saw a flower or two from 'Black Mulberry' and 'Cytherea.'   Most of my peonies haven't yet reached maturity, so each year they bloom better.  Above is 'General McMahon.'

Later in summer, I'm looking forward to seeing blooms from newly planted 'LaVerne Friemann' aka 'Miss Feya,' which B&D Lilies touts as the best lily variety ever.  I plan to order the 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year, 'Millenium' allium, and I already planted the similar 'August Confections' allium.  These rhizomatous alliums bloom in August when there are fewer flowers in my garden, and are not known to make a nuisance of themselves with reseeding.  Above is Lillium rubrum.


It has taken me a while to get excited about sedums, but I'm slowly finding places for them.  'LemonJade' (a yellow-flowering 'Autumn Joy'), dark-leaved 'Thunderhead,' and 'Blue Pearl' were planted in fall.  I also added magenta 'Alert' and 'Wood's Pink' asters to the lavender and violet asters I'm already growing.  Yesterday I ordered a selection of dahlias from Swan Island:  Karma Choc, Center Court, Bluetiful, Cutie Patootie, Lauren Michelle, Appleblossom, Innocence and Cafe au Lait.  It's been a few years since I grew dahlias, but they will add some needed interest to my fall garden.  Above is Dahlia 'Giggles' with a napping bee.

Thank goodness the garden is never finished.  There's always something new and exciting for the next season.  I just have to make it through the next couple of dark, cold months and can then enjoy being out in the garden once again.  Above are 'Caradonna' salvia, 'Ambassador' allium, 'Moulin Rouge' astrantia and 'Totally Tangerine' geum.  

November 8, 2017

Fall Floral Warm and Deep

Last week I used a combination of purchased flowers and homegrown fillers to create some fall floral arrangements.  The shot above features roses, alstroemeria and purple kale from the grocery store, plus foliage from garden baptisia, scented pelargonium, purple honeysuckle, and curly willow.  I also used seed pods from 'Coral Charm' peonies and cimicifuga. 

This larger arrangement consisted of the same flowers above, but arranged for viewing from all sides instead of just from the front.

Aren't the sunset colors of these roses pretty?  I only grow old-style David Austin roses at home, but sometimes it's fun to work with regular hybrid tea roses.

Another arrangement made use of a vase from my grandmother, who was also a gardener.  It used to seem very out of style to me, but now gold is coming back.

A short centerpiece consisted of purchased mums and kale mixed with garden asters, lemon sage, and more peony seed pods and honeysuckle. 

October 30, 2017

The Colors of October

This fall has been a good one for fiery color in the garden.  Some years we get hard frosts so early that the colors don't develop well, so I'm always glad for a good year.  In the photo above you see the orange-red fall color of the 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees across the back, with yellow leaves of 'Caesar's Brother' Siberian iris down below.  The 'Fine Line' buckthorns at center are slower to change color, though they'll turn gold before shedding their leaves next month.

This photo from a week or two earlier showcases the yellow color of the neighbor's aspen trees.

The violet and lavender asters stand out  against the yellowing foliage of the Siberian irises.

I almost pulled this aster out a few years ago because it was spreading too quickly, but the bees are glad I just moved it to denser soil instead.  This plant has been covered with bees ever since it started blooming.

I bought this 'Popcorn' viburnum for its hydrangea-like flowers in spring and compact size (compared to other Viburnums), and the fall color is a bonus.

The fall color superstar is my Korean spice viburnum, though.  Fragrant flowers in spring are followed by glossy green foliage in summer and a carnival of color in October.

'Stella d'Oro' daylily leaves add some nice straw-yellow before collapsing.  These plants even put out a few more flowers this fall.

This shot of the honey locusts is from early October.  I wish they didn't drop their leaves so early, but at least they put on a nice show of true yellow shifting to golden-orange before dropping their little leaves.  Their color contrasts nicely with the deep purple color of the 'Hall's Purple' honeysuckle on the swing set.