Sunday, September 21, 2008

Droopy sedums and the best zinnia seeds

It's been two weeks since I've written anything! The kids are back in school and my weeks have been busy with their activities. And as you might have guessed, gardening has taken a back seat and it shows. I spent a few hours yesterday cleaning things out -removing spent annuals and cutting back perennials. It was good to be out there again as I had missed it a great deal.

I read on one blog recently - I think it was the Patient Gardener who hails from England - and she described cutting back her sedum in June for a more compact attractive plant in the fall. Hmm ....

I have two kinds of sedum in my garden this year - one that looks very stately and upright in the front yard (above).

And one that looks messy with little to no shape in the back yard. Sedums have become somewhat of an annoyance to me. I mean, I like them but when they don't look good, it gives what I feel is a sloppy presence in the landscape. They haven't reached the disdain that I have for the Stellas(which I put in the compost pile this weekend). Sedums have just become so ordinary - in particular the Autumn Joy.

When I yanked out the daylily, I replaced it with this lovely coppery orange mum. I wonder if it'll make through a winter? I heard they are very tender that way.

The goldenrod has really burst out. These are new plants and they have been battered from the wind. Their stalks are almost at a 45 degree angle! Staking them has helped - until the next windstorm .... I sure do like them though.

I planted three types of zinnia seeds this year and I was very impressed with the seeds I purchased from Renee's Garden. My favorite was her Hot Crayon Mix which was a beautiful selection of scarlet reds, citrus orange and vibrant yellows. The best part of these flowers were the petals - they were huge. The envelope said they were Benary's Giant zinnias but I haven't had zinnias that have looked as good as these. What I also liked was that the packet of seeds offered a beautiful watercolor portrait of the plant with personally written descriptions - a nice touch.

Renee's also had the knee-high cosmos mix which was probably one of my best performers this summer. I started them indoors in March and only two survived but those two are still blooming in the garden - and it's the end of September! You can bet that I will be a repeat customer of hers.

For those of you reading this blog last year, my cousin Dolly from Kansas sent me some of my Grandma K's marigold seeds for next year - and yes, I am going to try them - despite the rabbits!

Monday, September 8, 2008

A fickle coreopsis

This "Sterntaler" tickseed coreopsis is really baffling to me.

I have watched it grow to nearly triple in size from when I bought it in late June and it has yet to bloom. The tag from the nursery says it blooms in early to midsummer in full sun. It gets five hours of sunlight a day so I don't think that's the problem. It appears healthy but its blooms are nowhere to be found. I was told that sometimes coreopsis doesn't bloom its first season at all and the next year it'll go nuts. My sister-in-law said she grows this variety as an annual because it won't make it through a winter.

As you can see, it's quite large. I've been wondering if I should just let it be, chuck it or maybe divide it to promote blooms for next year? Any ideas??!!?!?

When we moved in to our current house five years ago, I had picked out this "Angel's Blush" hydrangea. The landscapers planted it on the northside of our house - and we're talking very dense shade. The hydrangea never got taller than 2 feet and never bloomed. I was about ready to toss it in the garbage pile when it occured that maybe moving it would help (and this epiphany came four years later). Duh!

I nursed this hydrangea back to life this summer and by gosh, a pink bloom has appeared - in fact, several of them have. Isn't it pretty? In retrospect, I should have asked more questions when the landscapers came. Then again, I wasn't into gardening back then and probably wouldn't have asked the right questions anyway. So when they said it grows ok in shade - it didn't mean for "my kind" of shade. Only the homeowner knows what kind of sunlight exists in certain locations and it ultimately was my responsibility to speak up and say so. Lesson learned ...

This late-blooming ligularia looks great!

Canna update - they did bloom! At what point do you dig up the bulbs for next season? After the first frost?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thanks Susie ...

Susie from Digging in the Dirt has bestowed a special blogging award to me, and what can I say, I'm honored!

This whole blogging thing started last year on a whim but I have really enjoyed this endeavor. I have met some of the nicest and most knowledgeable gardeners. I appreciate all of you who have taken the time to comment or even stop by to browse. There are soooooooo many other garden blogs on the web and I am humbled that you happened to stop by mine in little 'ol North Dakota.

As the rules go, I need to nominate other blogs that are worthy of this esteemed award. Some people like to participate and others don't and that's ok. So here they are ....

Linda (Illinois) at Garden Girl. She has my dream job! :O)

Melanie (Long Island, New York) at Old Country Gardens. I learn something everytime I read her blog.

Connie (Idaho) at Notes from a Cottage Garden. A North Dakota girl at heart.

Kerri (upstate New York) at Colors of the Garden. She has some of the most beautiful flowers and photos.

Laurie (Amish Country, Pennsylvania) at From My Garden to Yours. We have similar garden styles and I like to see what's she doing.

Kris (Minneapolis) at Gardens by the Lake. Although Kris is on blog sabbatical, she's the one that got me interested in blogging in the first place. Comeback Kris!

Thanks again Susie!