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.
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.