Friday, January 22, 2010
No wait, that's a lie, I did look at the photo pages in the front to check out the pet photos :-)
I love this catalog, and like Katherine S. White, I'm a big fan of nursery catalogs, in general. Forestfarm is wonderful - so many plants and they grow them there. These people have such an amazing bank of knowledge. And they share it in their catalog. How cool is that?!
So as for me and the catalog, usually I curl up with the catalog, a mug of tea and a pen and start reading. I can't wait to find out things I didn't know about a plant, plants new to me, things I've forgotten - I just love new ideas and am an information addict.
I keep all the old catalogs, too. Since they grow their own plants their catalogs change and I do refer back for information on a plant. This year's catalog is bigger and I can't wait to find out if that means they have even more plants in there!
Check it out - they have great prices, too!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
wildly different textures...
different shades of green
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
So, inspired by Vita Sackville-West, I plucked a bloom and wandered about the grounds... yeah. Because my house and garden look so much like Sissinghurst. I hear it all the time.
Let me start over.
I picked a flower and walked around looking for possible companions in spots I know the daylily will be happy. Daylilies are easy, full sun to part shade (the more sun the more flowers) and nearly any soil conditions, though diminished flowering in hot, dry spots. Here are some of the photos I took!
with Daylily 'Paprika Velvet'. 'Liberty' looks a little muddy, however, the deep rich orange does a little blendy thing I like. And I like daylilies with other daylilies. Perhaps a yellow...
with tiger lilies. Doesn't grab me. I was thinking orange, burgundy spots...oh well. Not bad but not fab, either.
with a yellow variegated vinca. I kind of like this. And it's the start of a theme...
This is one way to play. As I wrote above, I learned this while reading articles of Vita Sackville-West's. She would wander around with a bloom, looking for other plants to combine and make the most of all present. And I know from reading of many other wonderful gardeners, they do this as well.
And while you're out walking around, take some photos - they give you the perspective to observe things like a plant's form and texture and how it combines and contrasts with surrounding plants, and allows you to learn to trust your eye, to know what you find pleasing.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Perilla, on the other hand, has never had any problems establishing itself. It will reseed readily and grow nearly anywhere, sun to shade. I like burgundy foliage and use perilla in bouquets, as well. It is technically an herb, though I personally couldn't imagine eating it. I have gotten used to its smell although I'm not sure I really enjoy it. I can remember one visitor seeing it growing in my garden and telling me - insisting - it was purple basil. Then she plucked a leaf and chewed it. She didn't say much after that!
This was one of the joys of my summer! I had no idea these hollyhocks would be rosy pink. I've had 'The Watchman' which is black, and 'Creme de Cassis' which is a mix of cream and burgundy. Neither variety is nearly as tall as these - well over my head. I might be exaggerating when I say ten feet tall, but they seemed like it! I now have quite a few babies around this mother plant from deadheadings. Much to look forward to!
I really have a thing for this plant. Which is good as it reseeds readily. It blooms from sometime later in July thru frosts. I use it a lot in bouquets and throughout the garden. It has provenance, too. Now, it's been growing in my garden for years and before that my mom's, but prior to us, the very seed that sprouts in our gardens each year happens to be the offspring of seed that grew in nature activist Lorrie Otto's Wisconsin garden who in turn got her seed from Christopher Lloyd. Oh yes, as in Great Dixter . The very place, and man, who made Verbena bon so popular. I'm also a big fan of his and hers so I get some pleasure out of all this. And that is what gardening is all about, anyway - pleasure. Connections.
All of these reseed for me, for years I left the seedheads of Echinacea intact, for the birds. This has resulted in nice clumps and drifts in a few places in my garden. No complaints, Echinacea is a trouble-free plant for me and I like it in the garden as well as in bouquets. I deadhead now, occasionally dropping a seedhead or two if I'd like more plants. I have E. 'White Swan', also. It is not as vigorous and I'd like more. I'm thinking of trying some of the newer varieties - some of which have been developed by Piet Oudolf - 'Green Jewel', 'Virgin', 'Vintage Wine' and 'Fatal Attraction'. Has anyone tried them? What do you think?
Cleome is fun one, its large ball shaped flowers float above other plants from midsummer on. I think my plants are 'Rose Queen', originally purchased ages ago. I'd be willing to bet from Pinetree Garden Seeds. This is a reliable reseeder, not too rampant, although I usually weed out more than I keep. It looks good in drifts or with a few sprinkled through a border.
Nicotianas are a favorite of mine. I love their colors, especially N. mutabilis. N. langsdorfii reseeds reliably for me, more so in the patio cracks. N. mutabilis I have to make sure I save...and I usually start it indoors, the earlier the better as I have had years when it doesn't bloom until so late in the season that it's barely started blooming and the frosts hit it. One of my favorite combinations is N. langs with the above mentioned Verbena bon - the butterflies and hummingbirds like this combo, too!
Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue' with Marigold 'Cottage Red'
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Dill is another plant I allow to reseed. I love the color of the flower and its effect, I love the smell of the foliage. Actually, the foliage is pretty great to look at, as well. Lacy and see through. Mostly it grows in the veg garden but also here and there through other borders. It reseeds freely as well and to me weeding it is no chore as it smells so wonderful to pull.
Breadseed poppy and pale pink malva
Two pinks. One more of a melon, the other with a touch of lavender. I am not even sure of the Malva's name, I suppose it could be a Lavatera. Either way, related to the Hollyhock. I believe it came from my mom's garden as a stowaway on another plant (as seed). She says this looks like a Malva she originally purchased from White Flower Farm. It grows to about two feet and about as wide and will rebloom if you deadhead. Which is a good idea as it reseeds some and has a long taproot that requires a good rain to make it easy to pull. Perennial.
Isn't this a beautiful color combination? And I just love the jagged edges. I started out with one variety of Breadseeds, 'Single Danish Flag'. Beautiful red flowers with white where the above poppy is purple and then that startling bright green center. I want to say I ordered the seed from http://www.cooksgarden.com/. Then I found Hungarian Breadseed Poppies from http://www.seedsofchange.com/ and as my husband is Hungarian, well, I couldn't pass them up. They are shades of mauve. I've grown both varieties for years and they have crossbred, creating some that look like one parent or the other and some that are uniquely wonderful like this one. I also have 'Lauren's Grape' which, from what I have read, comes true from seed.
Totally unplanned, yet this was one of my favorite combinations this past season. Good thing as I saw a lot of it. This happened to be right out my back door and I am in and out with the dog and garden all day!
I have had California Poppies growing in this space for awhile and enjoy them - recently I learned the secret to their success. Being poppies they really aren't suitable for transplanting. What they want is to be sown on cold ground. Now I knew this with breadseeds, I direct sow them in February. I could have sworn I'd tried this with California poppies in other areas of my garden and perhaps I did. Sometimes I do not have successes which is why I keep trying - variables during a year are variable year to year! I'll try it again, I am eager to have California poppies in other colors in other hot dry areas of the garden. http://www.selectseeds.com/ has several that are mouthwatering. That's where I found the tip about direct sowing on cold ground.
That's enough for today, I actually need to go out and shovel snow! Stay tuned for another upcoming post on its way with more of my favorite garden volunteers!
Monday, January 4, 2010
Before I can even seriously consider my seed order - which at this point is still a wish list - better yet, a dream-on list...where would I grow all these seedlings? where would I plant all these seedlings? how much space do I really think I have?
let me start over.
Before I can even seriously consider my seed order, first I need to go through all the seed I have saved. I thought I was pretty genius this past growing season and instead of simply letting things reseed willy nilly and surprising me I decided to take control and save seed so I could decide where things would grow. Novel concept. Let's just say I like my garden all full of surprises. Last July, a local Garden Club member, much to my delight, called my garden a serendipity garden...so true. I'm hoping I have learned a great many lessons from watching what reseeds where and with whom and can plan near as well as Mother Nature. She thrills me every year.
My seed saving method is straight forward; let the plant go to seed, let the seed ripen on the plant, collect the seed, store it and keep it dry until ready to sow. Labeling obviously optional! I am somewhat casual in my approach...
I grow a large mix of plants and have a pretty good basic knowledge of which I can start from seed - some won't come true - and if I ever have questions I turn to the internet or my collection of various reference materials.
I'll be posting a list of what I have saved as soon as I have a little time to go through it all...
I would love to know what you do - and what seed you take the time to save.
Garden photos, plans, dreams, dream plants...so I thought I'd share a few photos from early in this past season and hopefully spread the garden love. Warm it up a bit.
Myosotis 'Blue Ball' with Viola 'King Henry' and Sedum acre
Centranthus rubra aka Jupiter's Beard