Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Flat sale

My neighborhood "white hoop" shop "The Plant Ranch" is closing up for the summer. Along side of their tent was the greeting "Flat Sale - $8.00". I had to stop in.

The Plant Ranch is famous for the "99 cent perennial". Of course, with the price of gas and the general state of economy, the 99 cent perennial soon became the $1.29 this year - still a good bargain. They have hundreds of perennials - grown locally in little Pekin, North Dakota. The selection is superb - if you're a patient gardener and can live with a small cutting of something. Me? I'm impatient by nature but I decided that this is a great time to try some new things - since I'll have a new part-sun area come fall.

I was surprised at the wide selection this late in the year and how good their stock looked. I had 10 minutes to get home so I did a quick shop and here's what I took home:

Grasses: Korean Feather Reed Grass, Blue Hair Grass, New Zealand Wind Grass and, I couldn't help myself, "Heavy Metal" Switchgrass. Rock on dude! I've been Googling photos all night of these. I'm especially excited for the Korean Feather Reed Grass.

Perennials: I am finally trying a "Camelot Lavender" foxglove, an "Alba" Armeria, St. Johannis Anthemis (which came up as chamomile online), Campanula "Blue Clips", Gayfeather and Eupatorium "Chocolate" - which looked really cool online. It has purpley chocolate leaves with small white flowers. Has anybody grown this?

I also picked up a few New Guinea impatiens to bright up a shady spot. All this, ladies and gentlemen, cost me a whopping $8.00. Now that's what I call a good day.

Here's a few favorites right now in the garden ...

Gazania Tiger Mix - I wish these stayed open all day long instead of just when the sun was out!

Profusion white zinnias.

"White Swan" coneflowers - always a favorite.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another open canvas ...

My co-worker Jane and I went on our annual garden tour of homes this week. I wish I took pictures of this one home - it was definitely worth sharing in the blogworld and a source of inspiration. Ponds were a very common theme at many homes. To me, it's a lot of work and most of them had live fish in them. Yuck ... I'm terrified of fish (love to eat 'em, just don't ask me to touch or look at them). That story is worth a blog entry on its own ... but let's just stick to flowers!

When I got home that day, I realized just how lame my landscape really is! :o( Ok, maybe that's too harsh - I'm learning to do the right things but I find my growing space and circumstances are a little trickier than the gardens that I was attracted to. Most were smaller and completely fenced in with little chance of garden predators. Plus, I think most of the people were close to or already retired and can devote countless hours to development, hard labor and TLC. I'm green with envy ...

This is the view from my deck each morning. Our property extends past the evergreens onto a major county highway. We are also next to a river so I get all kinds of wildlife walking through the backyard. Our development covenent also prohibits fencing so to try and block that off is a mute point. I've simplified this area and have kept most of the garden space near the deck where the animals are less likely to venture. So far, so good this year!

Jane suggested that I develop another area off the deck - still far away from the back but yet close enough to me to enjoy. The area is sloped - which means I'll have to add a lot of black dirt to level it off. This partial-fence area (I don't know how it got past the developer) sits in partial-shade. Jane offered the services of her wonderful husband and his tiller and would be willing to dig this up for me for fall transplanting. Linda, from Garden Girl, do you make house calls to North Dakota?!

Here's what else is going on this week ...

My ligularia "Little Rocket" is flourishing in the front garden. Wow - I love these. I also have the "Othello" but that doesn't show any blooms - lots of leaf activity though. I hope that's not a bad sign. This one is planted in partial sun - but mostly shade and it seems to suit it perfectly. I have another in the back that gets more sun and I see it looks a little more stressed. Put that one down on the list of things to move this fall.

I purchased this hummelo betony on the clearance sale at one nursery last fall. I knew nothing about the plant and it offered no blooms last season. I'm enjoying what it's doing now. It's planted next to my "Helen von Stein" lambs ear and rudebekia.

The coral reef monarda are begging to show their color. I planted this one next to the "Cherry" profusion zinnias which form a nice burst of pink.

New things I've put in the ground this week from the "clearance rack":

  • "Arizona Sun" Gaillardia - I gotta try this one more time!

  • False indigo

  • "Baby Gold" Goldenrod

Need to go ... I gotta yank out some unsightly spireas.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Behind the wheel

Salvia, Galliardia and sedum - oh my!

I spent most of last week out of town. My sister was home from the East Coast and we ventured westward to attend a family reunion. We made a stop in Valley City, ND and visited the Medicine Wheel Park - a scenic display of perennial gardens, a solar system replica site and Indian burial grounds. I wasn't too interested in the astrological stuff but I loved the gardens ... go figure.

They were well manicured with lots of different kinds of perennials - and I mean LOTS of perennials that I couldn't list them all if I tried. I think I was about 3 weeks too early because soon they will be fantastic in color. Here's what caught my eye.

LOVED this creeping sedum - so much that I bought some when I returned home. It reminded me of cushion spurge and but that is so short-lived!

Asiatic lilies, irises and pink yarrow. Like the color combination.

I've never tried asiatic lilies and was inspired to do so after this trip. Trouble is - I didn't look at the tag too closely at the nursery and realized after I got home that I bought an Oriental Lilly vs. an asiatic (moron). But I planted the "Star Gazer" anyway. Wish me luck.

After our day at Medicine Wheel, my sister and I - along with my young girls in tow - visited my mother's grave to tidy up the plants our dad had planted. He didthe usual cemetery fare - geraniums and petunias. I've been meaning to plant a perennial on mom's grave so before we left town, I stopped by one of my favorite nurseries and picked up another red coreopsis.

This is the one I bought one for myself this spring and this is what it's doing now where it is front and center in my corner garden with full sun. It's an absolute showstopper. Next to it is the Lemon Gem marigold. I am so pleased with these too! I'll never buy another Moonbeam coreopsis again. These look like a coreopsis but are less invasive, form a nicer mound and you can't beat the price of a cell pack! I hope this red coreopsis will look nice on mom's grave. Maybe next year I'll plant a salvia next to it.

Meanwhile, things are looking good on the homefront ...

This is my shady corner in the backyard - I added a statue of St. Francis in a small area by a fence and planted an astilbe "Rheinland", hosta and assorted impatiens. The blue stone was painted by Annaboo in loving memory of our mini Schnauzer Henry who took off for doggy heaven prematurely. Although not the patron saint of gardeners (that would be St. Fiacre), St. Francis is a close second and he is the patron of saint of animals. I saw this quote and thought it was quite fitting ...

A garden without its statue is like a sentence without its verb.
- Joseph W. Beach

Amen brother.

This is my "Gardenview Scarlet" about ready to burst. I can't wait!