Monday, February 28, 2011

Bringing Spring Home

I just decided the other day that I wasn't going to wait this year until the third week in March to begin thinking spring!  I am doing the meteorological spring which begins March 1st. As I have said before faux and real together make a wonderful combination.

Pottery Barn has always been a favorite for specific accessories but their store this season resembles a conservatory.  I do not have a Pottery Barn home but I have to admit they have made their faux greenery and seasonal decor irresistible!

Hydrangea Annabelle

Lace Cap Hydrangea

As I strolled through their store I had a difficult time dealing with reality, smelling plants, touching plants circling displays like a stalker in search of a genuine spring. 

Chartreuse Tulips

Forget Me Nots





A Terrarium With Rocks And Faux Moss

Faux Clematis

Basil and Rosemary

Faux Basil
I could almost imagine myself cooking with this!

Life-Like Fruits

I have the pears, but I actually had to pick up the lemons and feel them to convince myself they weren't real.

Faux Birds And Faux Pears
My birds go through every season and bring good luck to a home.

I couldn't believe the displays this year, branches laden with blossoms, mossed pots even speckled birds eggs.

Mossed Pots



Apple Blossom

There are many other branches, yellow, bright pink and just plain green.

I brought a little bit of spring home, too expensive to have a full blown spring

Fireplace Decor

Basil, Tulips and Daffodils

It is amazing what a little "out of season" experience will do for one gardener's psyche!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Five To Tempt You!

Visit Tootsie for Fertilizer Friday!

I subscribe to a magazine out of Canada, which I may have mentioned in a past postGARDENMAKING.

I have barely gotten past the first several pages when I see a title "5 To Tempt You." These are the plants that were trialed at Ontario's University of Guelph and on the grounds of Landscape Ontario.  Roger Tschanz was at the head of this project and trialed 569 new varities and was asked to pick only five for this publication

I thought you would like to know what he selected:

Mecardonia Goldust
(From Proven Winners)
Can be used in containters or bedding, sun, a good spiller in a container

Spring Celebrities Hollyhock
(From Sahin)
Blooms the first year from seed

Dianthus Venti Parfait Crimson Eye
(From Goldsmith)
Flower size was twice the size of other dianthus
The University of Illinois also trialed this plant in 2010 and the results were marginal, however, my dianthus Firewitch performed very poorly because of the heat we had last summer.

Verbena Temari Cherry Red
(From Suntory)
This is a trailing verbena that did very well in the summer heat.

New Guinea Impatiens Magnum
(From Dummen)
Several colors with 4" blooms in partial shade

I will have a list a mile long when I go to the nursery!  I may not purchase these plants that have received accolades but I am interested in seeing what they look like.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Do They Deserve The Honor

Each year we wait with anticipation to see which plant or plants will be awarded the prestigeous honor of "Plant Of The Year."  The 2012 winners have already been chosen with 2011 barely in our garden plans.

Brunnera Jack Frost 2012 Plant of the Year

Panicum Northwind  2012 Winner
I can highly recommend this grass for it's growth habit and ability to stay standing during the winter.

Heuchera Carmel 2012 Winner
My daughter-in-law has several of these and the color is lovely both in sun and shade.

Amsonia Hubrichiti 2011 Plant of the Year (Summer)

Amsonia Hubrichiti 2011 (Fall)
I have seen this plant at the Morton Arboretum and it is stunning!

Baptisia Australis 2010 Plant of the Year

If we go back through the years, many of these winners have become mainstays in our gardens and some have been a mere flash in the pan.

Hakonechloa macra Aureola 2009 Plant of the Year
I have this at the entrance to my shade garden and it has been very slow growing.  I think it is ready for a move this year, maybe too much sun!

Geranium Rozanne 2008 Plant of the Year
This had a slow start in my garden and I had to replace two out of four the first year.  They seem to have taken hold and bloom from spring into fall.

Nepeta Walker's Low 2007 Plant of the Year
I have removed this from a few areas in my garden, not a winner for me.  I have restricted it to the alley garden and my garden in Wisconsin (where it looks like the picture).

Dianthus Firewitch 2006 Plant of the Year
I have these in both my home garden and my garden in Wisconsin.  They do much better in Wisconsin and I have moved them to another location in my home garden.  They did not do well last year with the heat on the south side of my home.

Helleborus xhybridus 2005 Plant of the Year

Japanese Painted Fern 2004 Plant of the Year
I have several plantings of this fern.  It's a winner!

Shasta Daisy Becky 2003 Plant of the Year
This is a beautiful daisy, does not flop but it certainly does spread.  Be prepared to divide this every few years.

Phlox David 2002 Plant of the Year
This is a wonderful phlox and grows quite tall and wide under the proper conditions.

Karl Foerster Grass 2001 Plant of the Year
I have this grass up in Wisconsin, tends to flop and does not stand up well during the winter.

It is fun watching what is picked each year as the "Plant of the Year," not always what we would choose for our specific garden.  I would have chosen Blue Parsdise Phlox for it's ability to rebloom all summer and fall, and Heuchera Southern Comfort for its large showy leaves and great color into the fall and winter (it's still beautiful laying on the frozen ground).

Phlox Blue Paradise with Shasta Daisy Becky

Heuchera Southern Comfort

There are many more years of winners and going back through them, there are only a few that I would continue to grow in my garden.  So, be choosy, evaluate and only keep what works in your garden.

Friday, February 18, 2011

February In The Garden

I have actually held off on this post because there has not been a February in the garden.  However, I thought I would post it anyway, kind of a look back at what might have been if we didn't have two feet of snow.

The Rhodies look pretty good, full of buds.

PJM (April 16, 2010)

February in Zone 5 is a looking to do something month!  If there is not a ton of snow on the ground, it is a great month to prune trees.  Remember, do not cut completely flush with the trunk or you will end up with a much bigger wound than necessary.  There is something called the branch bark ridge that looks like a collar at the end of the branch, stay right outside this area.  If you have large trees to be trimmed, this is also the best time to schedule a professional. 

Type III clematis can be cut down to around six inches.  I usually like to leave a couple of buds showing.  Do not cut the Type I's or II's now, or you will not have many flowers this year.  They will flower eventually but usually with smaller blooms.

This is Hagley Hybrid and I can't get to this one yet.

Hagley Hybrid (Type III)

The snow has melted around Comtesse de Bouchaud but I will just wait until I can prune all of them, type III's I mean.

Comtesse de Bouchaud (Type III)

These areType II Clematis, Fireworks and Bee's Jubilee, so I will not be pruning these at this time.  If they need it I will prune after flowering.

Fireworks (Type II)

Bee's Jubilee (Type II)

Spend some time organizing fertilizers, garden gloves, tools, etc. 

I have started my impatiens under lights, need twelve weeks to bloom.  It is too early for the petunias and the amaranthus.

Keep planning those renovations and if they require a landscaper schedule early when they do not have much work, prices will be cheaper.  We scheduled the relaying of some of our patio last year in March when the company did not have much work.  We will do the same this year for another section and some evergreens that need to be replaced.  They love having early work to keep their men working before the busy season begins.

I have been babying this yew since last year and I think I have lost the battle.  It will have to come out, not sure this one will require a landscaper to remove - we'll see.

Visit Tootsie today for Fertilizer Friday!