Sunday, March 30, 2014

What's New?

I attended a workshop with the Garden Writers at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show and enjoyed hearing about new perennial introductions.  Many years we become very excited about new plants only to become quickly disappointed when we can't find them in the nurseries.  This time it was different in that all of these new introductions are available online or at your local nursery.

Kickin Asters
Forms a full, bushy dense mound of mildew resistant foliage, very floriferous from late summer into fall, replacement for Woods Asters

Summer Sparkles Baby's Breath
Forms a dense bushy mound that does not go summer dormant, blooms from late spring to early fall
Winter Thrillers Hellebore
50-100 blooms per mature plant, outward facing, keeps color long after they are spent, 3 - 4 inch flowers
Nepeta Cat's Meow
Keeps its neatly mounding shape all season, does not split open like Walker's Low, can be sheared to promote rebloom
Glamour Girl Phlox
A tall phlox that does not have to be staked, disease resistant foliage
Modern Daylilies
El Desperado
High bud count, foliage remains attractive all season, does not have to be cut back until late fall, more sunfast, some bloom 16 hours or more, some recommendations:  Pewter Pink, Cherokee Star, Erin Lea, Blackthorne, Marque Moon, Midnight Raider, Mighty Chestnut, Monterey Jack, Stolen Treasure
Pure Joy Sedum
Perfectly mounded, edging for front of border, bubblegum pink flowers


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Are You Ready?

I know I am ready for spring!  I see it everywhere but in the garden, all of my favorite stores know it is coming.

ORANGE is everywhere!  Here at West Elm it looks like the 60's all over again.

Succulents are all the rage, real in pots
Succulents that are real without pots
You just soak them in water every couple of weeks and they can lay out in the air without soil.
Planted in just rocks with moss
Love the orange tulips at Pottery Barn (a sister store of West Elm)
I had almost forgotten what hydrangeas look like.
Faux is getting better and better!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The Real McCoy

I have collected McCoy pottery for many years and use the vases and containers throughout my home.  It is whimsical, in many colors, and has been priced well so that most people can afford to acquire some pieces.

In my home, you would never know I was a collector since I have it spread throughout.  Country Gardens magazine (January 2014) gave me a new inspiration for my McCoy pottery.

I have relocated many of my McCoy pieces to the kitchen on stainless steel shelving and above my kitchen sink.

They made vases, planters and even wall pockets (owls).
Planters that sit above the kitchen sink and a vase that was my aunt's.

McCoy began in 1848 and the trademark was abandoned in 2000.  There were many sales in between with different affiliations and names, but that McCoy name held on for 150 years.

The header is a large McCoy container (I have two) which now reside in an upstairs bathroom.  The author for Country Gardens suggests that pieces such as this be put out in the garden for the summer to add color.

I guess we should all look at what we collect, group them together if possible and think of them also as garden ornaments!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Winter Of Discontent

This is about all we can do based on the winter we are having!  I am a very active person and need to be busy all of the time.  However, this has been a winter that has thrown me to the ground with a constant feeling that I have to pull myself back up.

The ice has built up so we couldn't even venture safely out our back door without slipping, icicles hang over doorways so we are concerned about using these with the dogs or ourselves.  However, we keep plodding along, clearing the snow, knocking down the icicles, repairing the ceiling in the family room that all of a sudden developed a few six foot cracks in the paint!

I am listening to the news right now and as the cold dissipates then comes the snow!  I can't believe it, five days of snow!  My dogs seems to have adjusted better than me.  They are small and have a small property to navigate but have a great deal of fun!

I will be planting some seeds this weekend with the hope that spring will be coming!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Perennial Plant Of The Year 2014 Panicum Virgatum 'Northwind'

Garden inspirations from the members of National Garden Bureau.

2014 Perennial Plant of the Year™

Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’
A Native American Grass for All Seasons – Also known as switch grass

Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’
2014 Perennial Plant of the Year™

USDA Zones 4 to 10
Switchgrass performs best in full sun and will tolerate light shade.
Panicum is famously adaptable to almost any soil.
Switchgrass is a stalwart selection in the full-sun, especially in native, meadow or prairie gardens. Flower arrangers find the foliage and plumes useful for arrangements. Finally, this warm-season perennial grass offers golden fall color.


Unique Qualities
‘Northwind’ is very easy to grow. It will enhance any sunny border, not just a native, meadow- or prairie-style garden. ‘Northwind’ has a refined, garden-worthy appearance and habit.

There are no serious insect or disease problems with switchgrass. Plants are best divided in spring. ‘Northwind’ is not patented. It can be reproduced from divisions. Liners are available from numerous propagators, including members of the Perennial Plant Association.
Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ is the Perennial Plant Association’s 2014 Perennial Plant of the Year™. Panicum virgatum, pronounced PAN-ic-um ver-GATE-um, carries the common name of switch grass or switchgrass.

This warm-season perennial grass has blue-green foliage and stands more erect than is typical of the species. ‘Northwind’ is only the third ornamental grass to be named Plant of the Year™ following Calamagrostis xacutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, 2001, and Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, 2009.

The genus Panicum, native to North America, is a member of the Poaceae family (formerly family Gramineae). Regardless of nomenclature, members of Panicum are excellent perennial grasses for the landscape. The genus botanical name (Panicum) is thought to derive from the Latin pan, bread. One species (P. miliaceum, common millet) has been used for centuries to make flour.

The origin of the common name switchgrass or switch grass is obscure.  “Switch” is believed to be a variation of Middle English “quitch,” among whose meanings is “quick,” or alive, suggesting the grass is difficult to kill. Others say the name derives from the swishing sound the grass makes when tossed by the wind.

Roy Diblik selected ‘Northwind’ from a population of Panicum virgatum he raised using wild-collected seed from plants growing along railroad tracks in South Elgin, Illinois. In July 1983, he noticed that one plant had wider leaves and a very upright growth habit, unlike the typical arching form of the others. He gradually built up stock of the upright one. In 1992, when Northwind Perennial Farm opened, he introduced it and named it ‘Northwind’.

Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ spreads slowly to form erect clumps of slender, steel-blue leaves about five feet tall. In late summer, the foliage is topped by a haze of showy, finely-textured flower panicles that rise to six or even seven feet, and that open golden yellow and mature to beige.

Deep roots make ‘Northwind’ remarkably drought-tolerant, once established. Lke most ornamental grasses, Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ is seldom eaten by deer.
The use of this information is unrestricted but please credit Perennial Plant Association and National Garden Bureau as the source. 
Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions for backyard gardeners and those who want to garden, that will inspire them to spend more time outdoors, enjoying all nature has to offer.