Monday, June 29, 2009

Crazy for cosmos

One of the best things I did was to try the Ladybird dwarf cosmos. I planted the seeds indoors in April and they are beginning to bloom and I love how dainty and pretty they are already.

The ladybird comes in creamy yellows and bright oranges - they stand only a foot tall with the ferny foliage of the regular cosmos.

I can't say enough about cosmos. The seeds are easy to start indoors, they transplant extremely well and they can take a lot of beatings from Mother Nature. We have had cold snaps, hard rain and unrelenting wind and those cosmos seedlings never flinched. I've moved them around to fill holes and they always bounce back. They are also a nice alternative to marigolds. And they look great next to purple.

I first tried the dwarf variety last year with the Sonata seed mix through Renee's Garden. I know a lot of people like cosmos but they're not crazy about their size. That's why these were so appealing to me.

The Niobe clematis has lived up to the "sleep, creep and leap" promise. After moving it three years ago to a more accommodating home on the eastside of the house, it has really taken off. Ironically, the Earnest Markham that I planted next to it never came back - neither did the Ken Donson. Hmmmmm..... clematis can be so fickle!

This was a new plant I had tried this year. The St. Johannis Anthemis is planted in full sun and is about 2 feet wide with nice airy yellow blooms. The plant tag showed orange flowers with yellow centers. These ended up to be quite different but I still like them. Not sure if they were mismarked or maybe with different soil they bloom differently? The best part of this plant - the bunnies haven't touched it ONCE!

I also wanted to try helichrysum (strawflower). At first I was disappointed that this turned out to be white but I have grown to like it. I have it next to my campunula Blue Clips and it's a striking combination. It's almost daisy-like.

Not sure if I'll post anything before the 4th - but here's hoping all of you have a safe and happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mystery plant

I have no idea what this is. Help!
A friend was cleaning out her perennial garden last fall and gave this to me. It is already about 2 feet tall and thriving in its full sun location. The leaves are very jagged and large.
Does anybody have a guess?
Happy Birthday Annabel!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pinks, purples and bye-bye juniper

Recent rains have brought some new color into the garden. I was so excited to see what this centaurea montana was going to look like. So far there's just one bloom but there's more to come. This plant has really taken off and is probably one of the healthiest in the front yard right now.

This perennial geranium "Alpenglow" is front and center in a bed near the berm. It looks fantastic next to my purple salvia.

Not much different from the Alpenglow is my "Max Frei". Doesn't get as large as the Alpenglow but the color is nearly identical.

I posted this Firewitch dianthus in one of my first blog posts two years ago - and it continues to be one of the most popular pages on my blog. People obviously like their dianthus! Honestly - it's hard to beat the beauty of the plant and impossible to not notice when walking or driving by the house.

I attempted cleome from seed but it just didn't seem to take off as I had hoped, so I cheated. (I clearly admit I'm an impatient gardener.) I bought two from the flower shop and it's a striking companion plant with the salvia.

I bought this Northern Lights tufted hair grass recently. It really lights up the landscape with the golden hues. What I liked most is that it only needed part sun and that's where I had some holes to fill.

I committed a cardinal sin of gardening. I didn't read the package label to my California poppies very carefully and now I have an issue.
I did not thin the poppy sprouts when they started to grow. Now I have this huge patch and to try and thin them now might be tough. I tried pulling a few and the roots were quite deep already and I ended up yanking out about 6 healthy seedlings. Do you think I'll still get blooms? Any ideas?
Sayonara juniper!

My patient hubby took out that blasted tree last weekend. We tried cutting the top off first and it looked brutal. Finally, he said - "I never liked that damn tree anyway" and out it went.
I brought in some dirt and compost and that area is prime for growing. It gets a good 5 hours of sun each day. I put in some rudbekia, more columbine, monarda, profusion zinnias, a "Butter and Sugar" iris that was underperforming in another area and a new cushion spurge.

One of the first things I put in the old juniper space was another clematis (more good advice from Connie at Notes from a Cottage Garden). This Jackmanii Superba will crawl on the pole near the water spout.

More rain on the way today ....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

One of my new favorite flowers

I've fallen in love with columbine. Not just any columbine - the Clementine variety.

I selected the columbine "Clementine Rose" on a whim last year from my favorite perennial stop - the Plant Ranch. There had to be 10-12 different columbines to choose from on the clearance sale and for some reason I choose this one. What a beauty she has turned out to be. It is so nice that I went back to the Plant Ranch this week and bought every Clementine variety I could find - blue, white, red and the salmon rose. I loved their compact shape and the petite blooms.

Right now, my garden lacks color. It hasn't helped that we've had a cold spring. We had rain over the weekend and that was a definite boost - now we just need warmth!

This is about the only other thing blooming - the chives. But they sure look good! I planted a lot of purple and pink this year. I wanted that soft look in my beds this year.

This past weekend my son graduated from high school. What a whirlwind week. Hubby and I worked hard to make the yard and garden as glorious as it could be for all of our open house guests. We thought it looked great and hopefully our friends and family did too. And because it was our open house - we didn't do anything drastic with that silly juniper yet!

Hopefully I'll have more things blooming in my next post ...