Thursday, August 31, 2006

Balfour's Touch Me Not
Impatiens balfourii
(im-PAY-shuns) (bal-FOR-ee-eye)

This nice flower was growing at Polly Hill. It was a virtual carpet of color in kind of a rough shady area of the Arboretum. It certainly caught my eye and when I asked about it the person working there wasn’t sure what it was. I left my question and my email address for someone to get back to me and sure enough they did. Isn’t that what a part of gardening is all about, an exercise in sharing? They said the flower looks a lot like Jewelweed and I guess it does but it is all that and so much more.

Common Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is kind of a pest in the garden but ever since I saw some Hummingbirds visiting it I always leave some small patches around the edge of the garden. I probably couldn’t get rid of it if I tried. It is the only wildflower I have seen Hummingbirds attracted to. This plant looks like it self-seeds very easily. It is a very attractive flower and the foliage is okay. In some circles this plant is probably considered a weed. I wish all weeds were this nice. Since it starts easily from seed I think I will try some next year.

There are about 880 species of Impatiens in the Balsaminaceae family. Many are cultivated in the garden.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I stayed at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown and this fantastic flower border was planted along a path. I probably wouldn’t have put together all the colors and species but it was very effective. When annuals start growing and blooming with such reckless abandon it shows why we always try and grow them in our garden. If you look more closely, and each time I walked by this I found something new, you will see that each flower has kind of carved out its own niche. The types of flowers loosely repeat which I find a good technique for annuals and perennials. This was probably the best border I saw on my island tour but there were several others that came close. I don’t know who the gardener was that put this together and takes care of this, but I would certainly give them a plug here if I did. This border lifted my spirits and intrigued me at the same time. I think anybody that does a lot of planting would settle for that.

Here is a photo of the sunrise from the Harbor View.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Golden Foster’s Holly
Ilex x attenuata 'Sunny Foster'
(EYE-lecks) (at-ten-yoo-AY-tuh)

I saw this one at Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha’s Vineyard. Personally I love gold foliaged plants but I guess they are not for everyone. I think they look great as an accent and if used judiciously and sparingly they can add some drama to the garden. I haven’t grown this one personally so I am relying on information that I researched.

‘Sunny Foster’ was a leaf mutation of ‘Foster No. 2’ discovered in 1964 at the U.S. National Arboretum. The original ‘Foster’ Holly was part of a group of hybrids between Ilex cassine x Ilex opaca. It was released in March, 1982. It has nonmarginal variegation of yellow in the upper third of the leaf that deepens during the season. Planting in full sun intensifies this. The plant at Polly Hill was almost all yellow but the hint of green added a nice touch to the appearance. This plant is hardy in Zone 7 (USDA).

I wanted to thank the staff of the Arboretum for emailing with the identification of the plants that I asked about. They were really nice to take the time. The staff was very friendly while we at the garden also.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Tube Clematis
Clematis heracleifolia
(KLEM-uh-tiss) (hair-uh-klee-ih-FOH-lee-uh)

This is a quick post before I head off to work to see what the heavy weekend rains did to the gardens that I take of. We returned from our trip to Martha’s Vineyard and I must say that there were a lot of things of botanical interest on the island. I visited the Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury and it was a wonderful collection of some of my favorites and some nice oddballs. Since it is a lot warmer there in the winter there were a few things that I didn’t recognize. It would be better to tour this garden during Azalea time, as there were some very interesting variations of Rhododendron and Azalea. We also visited a beautiful private garden. Everything, especially annuals seem to grow very well.

I took this picture at the Arboretum. Tube Clematis is a shrubby type, which is different than the traditional vines. You can see the flower is a shaped a little differently. It had a lovely appearance of a kind of sprawly sub-shrub. It is hardy to Zone 5 (USDA rating) and can reseed itself. There appears to be several cultivars available.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Crepe Myrtle
Lagerstroemia 'Cheyenne'

I am always so jealous when I go to an area and see gardeners growing Crepe Myrtles. When I went out to Long Island a couple of weeks ago the Crepe Myrtles were just coming into to flower, which was a special treat for me. I really like the darker flowered varieties but a group of whites that I saw was very attractive. This gem was growing in a pot at Wave Hill. I never considered trying to grow it in a container. I actually have a few plants under cultivation here in Connecticut. One is ‘Hopi’ which for 10 years did great and then 2 years ago got burned to the ground. It is coming back but it is going to be a long and slow process. I have another cultivar named ‘Zuni’ growing in Darien. It is blooming very well this year. This garden is slightly warmer (more south and closer to Long Island Sound) then where the ‘Hopi’ was growing. The ‘Zuni’ is very pretty but it still has a shrub form and is not attaining that beautiful tree-like structure that I admire so much. I also have a species of Crepe Myrtle in one garden. I am not sure which one it is. I will probably have to find out now and update this. It is a little smaller growing and the bark has a richer rust color in places. It has been in about 5 or 6 years now and has never bloomed.

Crape Myrtles are a member of the Loosestrife family (Lythraceae) with about 25 cultivated species in the genus. The breeding program at the United States National Arboretum during the 1950’s is responsible for our easy to grow and beautiful Crape Myrtles. The cultivars are all named after Native American tribes.

I am headed out to Martha’s Vineyard for the weekend. I will probably not get to post Sunday or Monday.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Red Hot Poker
Kniphofia 'Bressingham Comet'

This was blooming in the wild garden at Wave Hill. It has a different look from most of the other Kniphofias. It seemed a little more refined and certainly the color was fantastic. I have never really figured out if this plant is hardy in Connecticut. I guess they need a little extra protection. I haven’t tried growing it here but after reading up on it for this piece I think I should give it a try. The Wild Garden (I don’t know if that is its official name) at Wave Hill is something that every gardener should see. It is such a mixture of continually changing colors and textures and some how they all go together very nicely. It is more like a home type of garden but with wonderful and more exciting plants.

The cultural information I looked up for Kniphofia states that it likes a moist and rich humus laden soil but can grow in dry average soil, also. It is best planted with some protection against wind. Several sources said that it is best to leave the established clumps undisturbed. This particular Kniphofia was introduced by Bressingham Blooms of the UK. It is a more compact growing and more has more oval-shaped flowers. There are more than 70 species in the genus, which is native to Africa.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dahlia 'Wildwood Marie'

I saw this beautiful cultivar of waterlily type Dahlia at Wave Hill. The light was hitting it just right and showed all the wonderful colors. I have become partial to the waterlily Dahlias. Cactus Dahlia are still my favorite, followed by the Dinnerplates. Waterlily types are running a strong third. I think they are a subgroup of the Decorative types.

This snip of information on Waterlily Dahlias is from:, a very cool site about Dahlias.
“Waterlily dahlias have fully double blooms characterized by broad and generally sparse ray florets, which are straight or slightly involute along their length giving the flower a shallow appearance. The depth should be less than half the diameter of the bloom.”

The Dahlias in my gardens are doing well this year. Not too much fungus and insect problems. They have produced a lot of flowers but haven’t grown very tall. This was the first year I ordered some mixed Dahlias and I was happy with the selection they sent. It was nice to be surprised when the flowers opened. I also bought a couple of named cultivars.

Wave Hill had a lot of purple foliage types (these might actually be called dark foliage) and they were quite nice. I will have to try some next year.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Desert Sky Chinese Plumbago
Ceratostigma willmottianum 'Palmgold'
(ser-uh-toh-STIG-muh) (wil-mot-ee-AH-num)

This is another gold foliage accent plant I saw on my weekend visit to Wave Hill. It was in a container and I forget what else was planted with. I think that is because this plant is so intriguing that it overshadowed the other plants. I did a little research into this plant and see it is a 2001 introduction by the British Palmstead Nursery. It is rated for USDA Zones 8-10. Most of the nursery catalogs say that ‘with protection’ it can go colder. That always makes me a little worried here in Connecticut. Our winters are way too unpredictable. I will have to ask at Wave Hill if they take it inside during the winter.

This plants appearance is stunning and sensational. I have grown Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) and found it to be a great groundcover. A little finicky to get going but once it does it is easy to grow. I do notice that it doesn’t emerge very early; it is one of those plants that you think is dead but later ends up looking pretty good. Like today’s featured flower it is also a wonderful shade of blue.

I almost finished the sod job today. It is a lot of work but looks nice when finished. The sod was 90% Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and looked great. I have never seen almost pure Bluegrass and I see that a lot of stems do have a bluish cast to them. Since it is so dry here I am going to have to water it everyday.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tiger Eyes Staghorn Sumac
Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’
(roos) (ty-FEE-nuh)

I have been growing Sumac for a while now. The Cutleaf Staghorn ( Rhus typhina 'Laciniata') and Dwarf Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Low’) are handsome plants. I think I have a little patch of another species at one of the gardens I take care of. They seem happy growing in rocky unimproved soil with little water.

I tried ‘Tiger Eyes’ when Bailey Nurseries introduced it in 2004. I forgot about it until I saw a couple of beautiful specimens at Wave Hill. I went and checked mine and found the deer had grazed them down to nothing. Well not everything as it was sprouting a couple of small leaves at the bottom. The color on this plant is amazing. I once said there are three things I like about gardening; color, color and color, and boy does this one have color. Using a plant like this at the end of a border adds three seasons of color. The fall color on Sumac is outstanding and I also find the furry ‘antlers’ of some winter interest. I will have to try a few more of these. It is too good of an accent plant to give up on. They will just have to be sited in a deer protected location.

The garden or cultivated types of Sumac should not be confused with Poison Sumac or the invasive types. Poison Sumac grows in moist areas and the only way I know to identify it is by its berries, which are a green and white and hang downwards.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Castor Bean
Ricinus communis
(RY-si-nus) (KOM-yoo-nis)

Having grown Castor Bean before I am no stranger to its red foliage and bright red spiky beans. The stems are also a nice red color. I don’t have any this year but in the past it must have been some named cultivar because it was a much more attractive plant than the species. At Wave Hill, and I will be featuring things I saw there most of the week, it was planted next to a black top pathway. There was an old granite wall in the back and that showed the plant’s color nicely. I hadn’t noticed the showy sepals of the male flower before taking this picture. They are really small and you have to look inside the plant to see them. Some people consider this plant a pernicious weed, but I have never had it come back in the garden.

There is only one species in the genus. It is a native of Europe and it’s history dates back to the Egyptian times of 4000 BC. The seeds are very poisonous and if you’re growing this with small children around the garden consider removing the flowers and seeds. You will still have the nice, boldly palmate foliage. Castor Oil is extracted from the seeds without the ricin and has been used for lighting and medicinal purposes for centuries.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Wild Senna
Cassia hebecarpa
(KASS-ee-uh) (hee-be-KAR-puh)

Well I chucked all the work I was supposed to do on Saturday and headed to Wave Hill in the Bronx. It is a relatively small garden by public garden standards but is packed with botanical delights. It was a little crowded, as it was a nice day but not so much you couldn’t ‘get away’. It is one of my favorite public gardens because it has a sense of intimacy that you sometimes lose in the bigger places. I got a couple of good photos and saw some plants that I wasn’t familiar with.

Today’s featured plant is one I have never grown. It was located near the dry garden (that is what I call it, anyway) and had a kind of sub-shrub look about it. It will get up to four to six feet and tolerates moist soil in sun or part shade. The pinnate leaves were attractive as they blew in the breeze. The flower didn’t look outstanding from afar, but upon closer inspection they are quite detailed and handsome. The hairy ‘bean’ pods were just starting to form and they looked nice, also.

This is probably not a plant for everyone’s garden. If you are like me, a gardener that likes to grow a little bit of a lot of different things then it might work for you. There are 60 species of Cassia and they are in the Pea family (Fabaceae). The range for this plant, which is sometimes called American Senna, is over the Eastern United States. There seem to be several synonyms for this plant. It is considered a species of ‘special concern’ here in Connecticut and has become rare.

Today is my 50th post and it also my birthday (not 50 yet). I must say I hope people have enjoyed this as much as I have. Hearing from all the gardeners and photographers out there has been wonderful. Thanks to all the people that took the time to comment and send pictures. I have received several offers to help bolster my photography and gardening career and that has been interesting and exciting. Here is to another 50 posts!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Hardy Hibiscus
Hibiscus moscheutos 'Lord Baltimore'
(hi-BIS-kus) (mos-KEW-tos)

If you like big flowers you will like this plant. For those that are not familiar with the Hardy Hibiscus (syn. Rose Mallow) it is hard to believe you could have something this tropical looking in a Northern Garden. It is quite tall and best regulated to the back of the border. This can help hide the sometimes unsightly foliage. The flowers are giant, up to 10 inches across, and when planted with one or two of the other shorter growing cultivars is an outstanding addition to the garden. I used to have one of these planted by my front door and everyone, not just gardeners had to comment on it.

Rose Mallow is a large genus of about 200-220 species of flowering plants that are mainly native to the tropics and the subtropics.

I hope to get out today and take some pictures. For the people leaving comments, Thanks! I have had to 'moderate' the comments due to spam. So it may take awhile for your comment to show up.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Columbine Meadow Rue
Thalictrum aquilegiifolium
(tha-LIK-trum) (ak-wil-egg-ee-FOH-lee-um)

This self-sower’s foliage does look like a Columbine. It is on a bigger scale as this plant can get up to 5 feet tall. It is very graceful and has strong stems, so no staking. I started with a dozen plants and have many more than that now. It is planted alongside a small pond with a terrace and it made itself at home. It isn’t too much work to keep the patch going and under control. Some of the area is quite moist with not so great drainage and it doesn’t seem to stop this plant from putting on a good show.

Thalictrum is a genus of flowering plant with about 130 species. It is in the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) and not related to the rues.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Harvest Moon Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea
(ek-in-AY-shee-uh) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee)

While I was grabbing a couple plants at the local wholesale nursery I came across this great coneflower. I have already discussed Razzamatazz and Sunrise Coneflower here and I have also been growing Fatal Attraction, Sunset and Meadowbrite. These new ‘Cones’ are great but they seem slightly more apt to some fungus on the petals. I am interested to see what their long-term stamina is. It will be nice to see what they add to the gene pool of the Coneflowers I have been growing from seed. Most of those come back a dusky pink, which I find attractive, but that is just me. Once in a while a really nice color will grow from seed. Those are the ones I collect seed from at the end of the year. That is if I can remember which ones were which.

This Coneflower makes a strong and vivid impression. The color is great and the plants I saw were happily blooming their heads off, even in the pots. I will have to pick up a few and have my own little ‘test’ Coneflower test garden. If I saw this at the wholesale place that means they will be soon arriving at the local garden centers in good numbers, and at a lower price. I don’t mind paying a slight premium for something new but don’t fall into getting gouged just to have the latest thing. I have learned to wait and watch the trends and if it is a truly great new plant it will hang around.

While I was at the nursery I picked up a Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika ‘Bruns’). They didn’t know too much about it. I am lucky it only grows to 14 feet, as that will fill the area. It is weeping but much less so than a traditional weeping evergreen. It is subtly pendulous at the ends of the branches. It is got a nice blue color and plenty of texture.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cutleaf Coneflower
Rudbeckia laciniata 'Herbstsonne'
(rud-BEK-ee-uh) (la-sin-ee-AY-tuh)

This is a great plant for the back of the border. I must admit I am having a torrid love affair with the genus Rudbeckia. They are so giving without being demanding. This particular type is very tall but doesn’t need staking, a big plus to me. It really doesn’t need much care at all. It always seems to come back and bloom heavily. My initial experience with it was in a wet area and that worked well. I have since used in a couple of the other borders. You have to like yellow though. One of this plants other common names is Wild Golden-Glow. It is a bright intense yellow and I think it stands out even more because of its height (which is about 6’). With pruning off the spent flowers it can easily bloom well into September and even to frost.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Chihuly at The New York Botanical Garden
Gardens and Glass
June 25 to October 29, 2006

I visited the Chihuly exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden on Sunday. It was fairly crowded compared to my usual Sunday mornings at the garden. I must admit to being fairly ignorant of Mr. Chihuly’s work until, in February, I stumbled upon the show at the Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami. So now I have now seen two major installations in six months! I must admit that I have mixed emotions about the art. My favorite pieces are generally the smaller pieces. The glass also looks good in the water gardens. The larger pieces are amazing but for some reason I don’t like them as much. The bowls are very interesting though I thought they could have used a better setting than the Nolen Greenhouses. In general I thought the colors and shapes fit the Miami garden better. The sheer undertaking of the exhibits is amazing in their own right. Much to their credit there was only a few pieces that were similar in the two shows. Each had been designed with the surroundings in mind.

I could go on about an hour about my thoughts on the exhibit. Even though I didn’t like some of it the art it did make me think about it. Which is what good art does to me. Mr. Chihuly brings some important elements to the garden, fantastic color, and structure. I would recommend that everybody attend at least one show. It’s stimulating.

I am going to try and upload two pictures today. Hey, it worked ;-)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Floribunda Rose

Photographed at the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden in Bronx, New York. I went to the New York Botanical Garden yesterday. There is a Chihuly exhibit there this summer. I hope to post something on that later this week. The rose garden was in fine shape. I have been trying to photograph all the All-American Rose Selections for a couple of years now. I have a lot of AARS images on my other website. I keep falling behind a little each year as several new varieties are picked. The older ones are the really hard ones to find. There is a garden in Los Angeles that has all the cultivars that I am thinking of trying to visit next spring. I didn’t get to go to California at all this year. I love taking pictures out there.

Anyway I got a few of the 2006 winners that I am missing and of course it was my first real look at the class of 2007. ‘Moondance’, featured here, is a double award winner. It won Floribunda of the Year and the AARS awards. It has a nice fragrance and a petal count of about 30. One of the parents is ‘Iceberg’ a white rose that I have had pretty good luck with.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Korean Archangel
Angelica gigas
(an-JEL-ee-kuh) (JY-gas)

Eastern Yellow Jacket
Vespula maculifrons

Boy was I glad when I saw one of these sprouting up this year. Normally I have had several in the back of one of the perennial borders but this year only one came back. It is an interesting plant that you don’t see too often. The foliage and buds are great and the flower is an odd color and shape. It is truly a “what is that?” type of plant. I will carefully collect the seed and spread it in the area that I want it to grow. If you don’t like bees then don’t plant this one. It is probably one of the most attractive flowers to them. You can literally have clouds of bees with a big group of flowers.

There are about 50 species of tall biennial and perennial herbs in the genus. They are part of the Parsley family. Many of the species have been cultivated since ancient times and have medicinal properties and have been used as a flavoring agent.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Dwarf Giant Banana
Musa acuminata 'Enano Gigante'
(MEW-suh) (ah-kew-min-AY-tuh)

A wonderful foliage accent for the summer garden this dwarf banana is fun to grow. They have a stately tropical appearance and are easy to care for. I have heard the juvenile leaves are splotched with red but I haven’t noticed that. The adult leaves are all green. Banana is the fourth largest fruit crop in the world and is grown in every tropical region. I like the dwarf types, as they are less likely to sustain wind damage and in general are more manageable. I always bring them into the conservatory in the winter and a couple of times actually had fruit.

It’s Saturday and I have to work. Oh well, I guess it could be worse. The weather has cooled down nicely and it is again a pleasure to be outside. We could use some sustained rain here now. The wet spring and early summer is just a memory now. I am planning my week and it looks like some more perennial planting and a big sod job. Sod is a lot of work but you do get instant gratification something us gardeners don’t always get to enjoy.

Friday, August 11, 2006

New Guinea Impatiens
Impatiens x hybrida

For a while I got away from growing New Guinea Impatiens. I am not sure why as they are good performers and not too much trouble. The variations of flower and foliage colors seem infinite. I think with their performance this and last year I will start getting a few more. They are way tougher than the regular Impatiens. I looked to see if I could find out what variety this is. This one didn’t have a tag but the rest of them were from Paul Ecke’s Paradise series. From looking at their website the closest I could come up was ‘Pure Beauty Orange on Orange’. I remember when these started to get really popular and they were being sold as full sun Impatiens and that was wrong. They actually like to have some shade but can take much more sun than their counterparts.

There are about 1,000 species of Impatiens. The seed is disbursed through explosive dehiscence, which literally shoots the seed several yards away. That is why the common name is Touch-me-nots.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Blanket Flower
Gaillardia aristata 'Oranges & Lemons'
(gay-LAR-dee-uh) (a-ris-TAH-tuh)

Honey Bee
Apis mellifera

This is a new form of Blanket Flower for us. It has performed well and is very floriferous. The plant and flower are a little different than the ones I am used to. The plant is more compact and the flowers are a little smaller. The color is nice, good tones of yellow and orange but not really any red. It seems to thrive in the hot and dry areas, which always captures my admiration.

I saw a Honeybee visiting my Rose of Sharon bushes today. He was so helplessly covered with pollen I don’t know how he could even fly. It didn’t seem to stop him as he kept going from flower to flower.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shrub Verbena
Lantana camara
(lan-TAN-uh) (kuh-MAR-uh)

I have this growing in a big container. I am not sure what cultivar it is and when I went to look it up I found out there are lots of different ones. There seems to be several species available to gardeners also. This one is really a pretty flower that changes color with age. It also stays compact which is a nice feature. Lantana isn’t hardy around here and it seems to winter over in the glass house okay. Recently I have been chucking it in the spring and getting new plants for bedding.

Lantana is easy to grow and tolerates dry and hot conditions. It is not fussy about the soil either. The flowers are orange, yellow and red. The umbels (flowers) on this particular Lantana are made up of individual yellow, orange and red flowers giving a nice bi-color feel. While photographing a Passion Flower vine, I saw the buds on the Lantana and noticed the interesting shape they had.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Coronation Gold Yarrow
Achillea x 'Coronation Gold'

This form of Yarrow is one of my favorites. My problem with Achillea is I usually give it good soil. It grows better in lean and kind of dry soil. It’s bright yellow blooms are an attention getter. So is the lovely grey/silver foliage. This plant can get big for Yarrow though doesn’t often require staking.

I am going to be planting a lot of perennials in the next couple of days. As much as I try to plant large masses of plants, I have ended up with quite an assortment. I want to collect the Primula seed tomorrow, as it is ready. It seems to work best when it is fresh.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sunrise Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea
(ek-in-AY-shee-uh) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee)

This picture was taken on Saturday out on Long Island. The North Fork is truly a gardeners paradise with everything from farm stands to huge wholesale and retail nurseries. Just about every house and business is landscaped, and everything seems to grow really well. Farming is still a little bit of a way of life out there. I took the ferry from Bridgeport to Port Jefferson and drove out to the nursery on Route 25. Of course I had to stop at a couple of other places along they way. One place had this huge block of Sunrise Coneflower blooming and it was just beautiful.

‘Sunrise’ is just another in the great new Coneflowers that seem to keep coming out. I guess most are a hybrid between Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea paradoxa. Richard Saul, at a nursery in Atlanta, has done a wonderful job hybridizing them. ‘Sunrise’ did well for me this year. It is about as tall as the regular Coneflowers and the stems are stout.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Orange Crush Marigold
Tagetes erecta
(tah-geh' tease) (ee-rec' tah)

This plant is sometimes referred to as African Marigold. This grew from some seed scattered in the annual border and it really has taken off and has been blooming for a couple of weeks now. The large 3-4 inch flower heads are borne on semi-compact plants. I know a lot of people don’t like the scent of Marigolds but I don’t mind it. If you don’t like the smell, but like the flower, try growing the white marigolds. Their scent is much less pungent and some don’t smell at all.

While the claim that planting Marigolds to deter pests from other plants is questionable, due to some scientific evidence, people continue to do it. They add a lot of color to the border. There are 50 species of Marigold and they are native to Central and Northern South America. One species is native to Africa.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Panicle Hydrangea
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’
(hy-DRAIN-juh) (pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tuh)

This is one of my most favorite plants. The only problem is it gets too big. It always blooms heavily and is pest and disease free. It gives a most welcome blast of color in the doldrums of summer. It's starting to bloom now and that is a little early. The blooming period is very long, and if you prune it right it can last deep into August. You have to be a little brutal and cut it back in the spring. It can be trained to a tree form if that is what you want, but I think it looks better as a shrub. Just remember to give it plenty of room.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pink Summersweet
Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice'
(KLEE-thra) (al-nee-FOH-lee-uh)

Clethra is a good, easy to grow plant. ‘Ruby Spice’ is a superior cultivar in just about every way. It grows shorter and more compact than most of the others. Add in the glossy dark green foliage, beautiful flower color and a strong fragrance, and it really outdistances the competition.

Clethra can be a bit of a problem solver in the landscape. It tolerates a wide range of conditions, including wet areas. It is happiest in a moist part-shade. I added a couple of ‘Ruby Spice’ to a new perennial border that I am installing. It is blooming now and we were all captivated by it’s charm.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Golden Marguerite
Anthemis tinctoria ‘Wargrave’
(AN-them-is) (tink-TOR-ee-uh)

I guess I have seen this plant before but not in the setting that I took this picture. While we were in Maine, we slipped over the Canadian border to the New Brunswick Botanical Garden and the town of Grand Falls. The Garden is right off the Trans-Canada Highway (Exit 8). It is a very impressive garden with nice collections of Daylilies, Conifers, and Annuals. It was really kept up well; I didn’t see one thing out of place.

In the Alpine Garden I spied this lovely version of Golden Marguerite. It has a wonderful light yellow color, which was enhanced by the dwarf evergreens around it.

Anthemis are native to the Mediterranean region and southwest Asia, and have become native to England/United Kingdom. There are about 100 species in the genus.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Echinacea purpurea
(ek-in-AY-shee-uh pur-PUR-ee-uh)

We are just back from Maine and I saw some wonderful flowers up there. I didn’t have time to process them, so I am posting this picture of Purple and White Coneflowers that I took last week. It is a classic combination that you don’t see all that often. The White Coneflowers can be very dramatic on their own. These are planted next to a ‘Tardiva’ Hydrangea, and all three plants are happily blooming together.