Archive for the ‘foliage’ Category

Lily of the day Monday, July 27th, 2009

daylilyfuschia7-2009 Daylilies have stood the test of time with gardeners – dating back to more than 4,000 years. daylilyorange7-2009

No wonder, they are very easy, prolific, attention-grabbing and low maintenance.

Daylilies are pretty drought tolerant. They are heavy feeders and like many perennials, they benefit from the occasional thinning. Either spread out the thinnings  and replant or offer some to friends.

Daylilies come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. They can give a more tropical feel to a traditional garden bed.

One arrangement I have is a small island bed of orange daylily and hostas with lavender flowers – what’s really cool is that they start blooming at the same time of year. The long wide grassy foliage goes great with the fatter oval leaves of the hosta. Even without flowers they look lovely together.

If your soil is lean add a little extra fertilizer that is heavy on the nitrogen. During very dry times an 1″ of supplemental water a week will work.

Butterfly Weed: Asclepias tuberosa Monday, July 13th, 2009

I’d admired my mother’s butterfly weed for years (not to be confused with butterfly bush). She has her’s located at the base of her driveway where it’s long-blooming bright orange flowers welcome you warmly into late summer. asclepiastuberosa7-2009

Last year I picked up my own. Can’t remember where, and nearly pulled it early this season when I was on a weed rampage – Note to self: mark the spot of late-coming perennials. Too often I’ve either dug into a spot where one was late to break surface or I’ve pulled one after the weeds hid it from me.

Anyway. I’ve seen few pests and it’s perky sunshine orange flowers sit atop waxy multi-leaved sturdy stems 18″ high. It’s a great, low-maintenance perennial that will come back year after year, filling out into a nice non-invasive clump.

Black thumbs Monday, July 6th, 2009

heucherablack7-2009For those who think they CAN’T GROW ANYTHING, take a waltz around some city or business property. 9 times out of 10 the plantings and landscaping methods used are for minimal, if any, care. I saw this beautiful black-leaved heuchera and it’s dainty moon-yellow flowers – Granted parks & rec does have regular ground maintenance, they aren’t going to plant stuff that needs to be babied. Other good choices for the black thumbs:

  • Russian Sage – medium height plant, good for rugged and SW-style settings, it is drought tolerant, heat tolerant and has lovely flecks of purple flowers most of the season.
  • Stella d’Oro daylily – miniature and standard form they are prolific beacons of sunlight.
  • Potentilla – once scraggly backdrops there are now many varieties from dark green to modeled lime and with blooms ranging from pink to yellow to white.
  • Contoneaster – tough shrub, can be left to sprawl or takes well to trimming
  • Shrub roses – these should grow well, but any trimming gets a bit prickly
  • Mints – Great ground covers especially for large, or contained areas. Smell good. Spearmint, cat mint, or regular – great additions to sauces, teas, lemonade.
  • Snow on the Mountain – variegated foliage, easily and quickly spreads. Best for large areas or contained areas.
  • Hostas – Shadey spots scream for hostas. They take a variety of soils and are quite adaptable
  • Lily of the valley – also good shade. Early summer blooms bring a sweet scent.
  • Stonecrop or sedum – I’ve written about before. Come in wide variety of shape, size and color – just make sure they are for zone 4 and you should be good to go (and neglect).
Heuchera, coral bells / foam flowers Monday, June 29th, 2009

heuchera-georgiapeachcoralbellHeuchera, Heucherall and tiarella are sisters. They are all but indistinguishable and care is same.

The myriad of colors the foliage for these plants, commonly referred to as coral bells or foam flowers, means they give great interest all season long. The first blooms have started – long spikes arch up over the palm-shaped low cluster of leaves and finish in dainty white, pink or blood red flowers.

There’s been great interest in the new designs coming out. I’ve heard some being named: ‘Peach Melba’ ‘Georgia Peach’ ‘Lim Ricky’ and ‘Black Beauty.’ Most every name refers to the color of leaves, less thought is put on the flowers when the base foliage is such a standout. From black, to chartreuse with red, to modeled peach – there’s one that’s sure to be a highlight for your garden. They don’t like wet feet in cold climates. The lighter the color of leaves the more need for afternoon sun protection. Most do well in part shade – the darker varieties in part sun. They are a lovely, clump-forming non-invasive perennial for our Zone 4.