Archive for the ‘perennial’ Category

Mums the word Monday, October 18th, 2010

There are a few last spots of color to greet the cooling air and longer nights. Mums and asters continue their show with a rainbow of colors. Asters tend to come in cooler colors – purples, blues and pinks. Mums pick up the warmer spectrum – orange, burgundy, yellow, red and white. I have a purple aster and a burgundy mum.

My aster has gotten a disease I’m afraid, the leaves are turning yellow and rusty with some black spots and the flowers are mangled looking. I believe it is either a rust or fungus of sorts. A quick Googling of this has made me decide it is not “aster yellows” which tends to change the color of the flowers and can affect more than just asters, like coneflowers. I’ll have to watch it and make a point to check margins, veining and where on the plant it stops or starts.

My mum is has pretty blooms on top but is quite scraggly toward the bottom. To keep perennial mugs in better shape I should have cut them back mid-summer. This causes the plant to keep a more compact and less floppy shape. Of course I’m on the shoulda-coulda-woulda side of things so I’ll make a note for next year. For now, I’ll just cut a few for a cute arrangement on my desk.

Hello June Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Bearded iris, poppy, columbine in front garden

Way back in March, did you ever think June would get here? But at least us gardeners know a little something about patience, right?

Now that the veggies are tucked in their beds it’s time to move on to other things . . .  besides weeds – which have been fairly easy to pull so far with the intermittent storms we’ve had. Anyway, next I plan to take stock of my front garden bed which is quite full and askew as far as plant heights go, and divide some things and swap some things to also help out my side garden beds which are sparse and have a long way to go in the interest category.

What I have to work with is an abundance of bearded iris, allium and daylily in the small front bed and quite a few daffodils and hyacinths from the side bed. The first three are medium to tall plants flowering from June or later that maintain a green grassy foliage of either an upright stately nature or soft and ribbon like. The last two are short to very short and early bloomers – now having spent their glory days in the sun, they’ve taken on a yellow cast and have fallen and withered on each other like a plate of off-looking limp noodles. I’m hoping by swapping these plants around I’ll have more consistent flowering and the taller foliages will camouflage the shorter ones as they wither away.

Transplanting now might not be ideal but our days are sticking to the 70s with a possible shower and now is when I’ll have the time. I can also still tell where the daffodils and hyacinth are but if I wait much longer their foliage will have completely disintegrated and I’ll have a hard time dig the individual tubers. I will wait until the iris are through so I don’t interrupt their bloom time and the daylilies haven’t shown buds yet. So far there is a Japanese painted fern under some of these, I’m wondering what other treasures I might find among the overgrowth. But I dare not take too much from my front bed because it’s one of the few places that needs little weeding – there’s just no room for them.

Allium Friday, May 21st, 2010


Allium is the onion family. My decorative allium are blooming right now. They tend to show up after the daffodils, early tulips and hyacinth have all wilted and just before my bigger iris shoot up bloom spikes.

The orb-shaped head is actually a cluster of many individual little purple flowers.

Globemaster allium

They look just like a larger version of a chive flower. They should be planted like other bulb flower, in fall for spring-time blooms. They need little in the way of division, are adaptable to different soils and hardy to zones 3 or 4. The decorative ones don’t give off anything in the way of an oniony smell. They are great for cutting and my globemaster had to be since it bent right over on its 30″ stalk. (I think it had help) I’m just glad that it’s the first year I actually go a bloom from it. Previous years it sent up a bud shoot only to be killed off by frost. They take a while to open but once they do their unique bloom adds an ethereal note to any perennial bed. Definitely a good one to try.

Perennials put in place Saturday, May 15th, 2010

I’ve picked up a handful of perennials in the last couple weeks. The first one I won by drawing at a Parkview Nursery event where they were introducing some new species. I let my daughter pick my prize from a variety of perennials. She went with the biggest and pinkest:

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Twist-n-Shout'

  • Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Twist-n-Shout’ is a lace cap hydrangea vs. mophead. It’s blooms are clusters of small and tiny petaled flowers. In more acidic soil a periwinkle color comes through the blooms but in alkaline (which we have) the blooms will undoubtedly be pink. If you want to try for bluer blooms adding aluminum sulphate will change the soils pH to more acidic. this is easier to do if you leave your hydrangea in a container instead of straight it the garden. I planted mine on the east side of my house so it will be protected from the hot afternoon and evening sun. I added a good dose of my home compost to the planting hole. This plant will be a heavier feeder so I’ll probably need to add more until mid-summer.

Lychnis 'Orange Gnome' Maltese Cross

  • Next I picked up Lychnis ‘Orange Gnome’ also known as Maltese Cross. The dark green to burgundy leaves and electric orange flowers will add a lot to my almost completely green perennial bed. Most of my flowers now are purple so I wanted to add some pops of other colors here and there to up the interest. It’s stalks were tall and top heavy so I braced it with a cut-off tomato cage so it doesn’t just flop to the ground. I planted it on the south side of my house between catmint and a perennial grass so it’ll be a mid-height plant in that area. Hopefully it will tolerate a full day’s worth of sun, which is what the tag says. I can also pinch it back if I’d like a more compact growing habit.

Ajuga reptans 'Black Scallop'

  • Another color pop I purchased is an Ajuga with dark purple/black scalloped leaves. It’s brighter dainty purple/blue blooms are very cute. It’s a ground cover that should be highly adaptable to most conditions – as state on the accompanying tag. We’ll see. It also is planted on the southside in the front of my perennial border between some sedums and liatris.
  • I was able to find an Ash Leaf Spirea. I have high hopes for this one. Spirea are highly adaptable shrubs

    Sem Ash Leaf Spirea - Sorbaria sorbifolia.

    that are great for foundation planting and xeriscaping.They are low maintenance and black-thumb proof. This particular one is of interest because of its unique foliage. limey greens and pink tips with a fern-like quality.

Super excited to have these specimens in my garden! Even more excited for a spell of good weather.