Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Project: Planters

Getting everything done this month has been a project in between rain, but I have managed to plant most of the potager and put together some planters.

Every year I tell myself I'm going to cut back on containers, especially since I now have more garden. My goal is to incorporate perennials into my containers, or create containers that I can over winter. I haven't quite mastered container perennials yet. Last year I used lamium maculatum 'Orchid Frost' in my containers and planted it in the garden come fall. It survived the winter, in fact, it's blooming now. I should try herbs but I didn't think of that until after I snapped out of the annual flower spell. Herbs would do well out front in the full sun. Seas of flowers in all shapes and forms woo me and so, I have containers of annuals like these baskets on the columns leading to our front porch. Planted here are: geranium 'Indian Dunes,' coleus 'Dark Star,' Superbells 'Tequila Sunrise,' bacopa 'Gulliver Blue Sensation,' and verbena 'Obsession Apricot.'

I did manage to overwinter these begonias and a couple other plants that, and I apologize, I do not know the name of. I just moved this from inside to outside. How great! This is a fairly shaded area on our front porch so I am not worried about transitioning the plants to the outside light.

These rosemary pots also spend the winter indoors.

This cedar window box is filled with what I hope, are mostly nectar producing plants: verbena 'Obsession Apricot,' verbena 'Lanai Peach,' Superbena 'Large Lilac Blue' (a verbena hybrid), alyssum 'Alice,' lobelia 'Riviera Sky Blue,' and a geranium 'Americana Salmon.' I try to match or compliment the colors of my garden. I love how the Superbena floats above the Mt. Bluet, centaura.

This year, because we plan to construct a screened-in porch out back, I have moved some planters into my garden beds and I like this so much that I will be doing this every year from now on. I overwinter these fuschias in my cellar. It takes them a little time to come back so I have placed an annual beside them that really caught my eye but I cannot find the tag to share the name with you! I also placed a begonia 'Gryphon' in this pot which I will overwinter. I love how moss is beginning to grow on this pot.

This woodland basket contains white impatients, lobelia 'Riviera Sky Blue,' and violas 'Penny Orchid Frost' which should overwinter and perhaps even make more.

These metal baskets are waiting in the shed to be potted and will be placed in my woodland edge border. I have shpagnum moss soaking to make them plantable. I will be making these a permanent feature in this bed and will try to make these perennial in the future.

The shed window box is also newly planted with verbena 'Obsession Apricot,' verbena 'Lanai Peach,' Superbena 'Large Lilac Blue' (a verbena hybrid), alyssum 'Alice,' lobelia 'Riviera Sky Blue,' and gazania 'KissMix.'

Truthfully, "project planters" will be ongoing. I love sage and seem to lose it every year even though I grew it successfully in Maine – go figure. So, I foresee an herb planter once I become a little more organized with sage as its centerpiece that I will attempt to overwinter. And I have a big full sun pot that I overwinter every year in the cellar that will be getting a complete makeover including a new pot. And ... well, I'm going to stop myself. How about you? Do you plant containers each summer? What are your favorites?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What's Growing

Things are sure getting off to a slow start this year with the wet spring we've had. It continues to rain. I have yet to plant four of my beds. Hopefully by the end of this Memorial Day weekend I can say otherwise. As you can see I have quite a few seedlings and plants still waiting to be planted.

Not sure if these "milk jug green houses" are more weeds than seeds right now but looks like I have a few good candidates, anyway.

This sad 'Brandywine' tomato seedling is missing the sun almost as much as me

Hope this brussels sprout takes off and doesn't float away.

Sweet 'lipstick' peppers, oh how I hope you grow. My hot peppers are still in a little green house made from salad containers. Better for them I think considering I ran the heat this morning.

I read that once you plant calendula, you will never have to buy seeds again. These are all 'Flashback' volunteers from last year. I have also read that if you want your calendula to stay true to form, you should buy seeds every year. We'll see how these look in bloom. I'll be eating the flowers in salads – when I get my lettuce mixes growing.

A very brave 'Easter Egg' radish seedling.

I will be digging up all of this horseradish this fall and only replanting only a few roots to keep it from taking over (I hope anyway, if it grows.)


Snap peas that I planted late March. Looking good and starting to climb.

The garlic is also looking good.

The perennial herbs, garlic and common chives and tarragon, are coming in okay although I'm sure they would appreciate a better draining soil right now.

My new blueberry bush looks promising and is guarded by our old chiminea that sadly cracked during a backyard fire last fall. I think the chiminea will age gracefully in the garden.

The rhubarb is taking off this year. It looked pretty sad last summer in its first year so I am happy to see it doing better.

The ever bearing strawberries are spreading nicely. I hope to have a few berries soon.

I better get to planting the rest of the potager and hopefully will be able to share more with you next month.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Going Native: Wild Ginger

I recently planted native Canadian Wild Ginger, Asarum canadense, in my new woodland edge border. I purchased three of these plants through the mail from Amanda's Garden located near Rochester, NY and couldn't be more pleased. To my surprise, in just one to two weeks after being planted, I had blooms!

Do you see the dark red flower to the right? There is also a bud on the lower stem in the foreground. (Someday with a new, more powerful camera I'll be able to offer you a closer view.) It was truly enthralling to discover these blooms. Oh, and that is a glimpse of rare northeastern sunlight through the wonderfully large heart-shaped leaves. With time, I hope to have a dense mat of these beautifully textured leaves covering the "woodland floor" of this bed.

Wild ginger is attractive to butterflies and is an alternative host plant for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly. I sure do hope a swallowtail accepts this inviting welcome mat in my garden. Maybe yours, too?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What's Blooming

I managed to capture a couple of blooms before our new northern monsoon season began, but today the monsoons arrived. This means wet, soggy blooms. It has been raining for over 24 hours. I have a new rain garden. I have a new pond. Here is a dry species tulip, 'Lady Jane.'

And anemone 'Blue Shades' soaking up sun before rain.

Later blooming daffodils, part of a naturalizing mix from Bluestone Perennials, catch the rays of the sun before bowing to the rain.

My serviceberry tree, laevis, in its first spring did not disappoint!

Carpeting the new woodland edge border are forget-me-nots, more naturalizing daffodils, wild strawberries, and muscari 'Magic Carpet Blend.'

Coming around the northside of our garage/workshop, the bleeding hearts drip with rain.

Greeting us out front are creeping phlox, bright red tulips, ajuga and short iris – all somewhat droopy and drenched.

New this year are two 'Purple Prince' crabapples courtesy of our wonderful village. They dropped them off last week, planted, and staked them. I simply responded to an offer from the village in our local, weekly newspaper. (I have learned that if a newly planted tree is over an inch in diameter it is better to stake it for a year, with a slight give.) With the rain, they are already in bloom. Now I have a blooming buffer from the street.

Annual blooms and the last of my mail orders waiting to be planted. I think it is supposed to rain for the next five days at least ... (sigh).

Garden bloggers' bloom day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens the 15th of each month. Stop by, see what's blooming in gardens around the world, and add your blog blooms to the list.


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