Succulent houseplant. Blooms naturally in spring, but growers force blooms year round. Blooms in red, pink, yellow, white, and orange. Bright indoor sun, shade during winter dormancy. Once blooms are spent, remove them, and place in shady area. During growing season, remove from shade and water once every two weeks. During winter dormancy period, water once a month. Leaves are good indicators of water. If they shrivel, water and plant will revive itself. This plant is toxic to dogs and cats. Very popular in grocery stores and florists. Easy plant to care for, especially for those who like to travel, or not water their plants often.
Cotoneaster - 1/11/13
Zone 4-7, 1-12'T x 5-15'W, depending on variety. Likes full sun and well drained soil. Evergreen garden shrub suitable for any garden, including rock gardens, or border plants up against a retaining wall. This is a great performer with seasonal interest. White flowers in spring/summer, berries and evergreen darker foliage in fall/winter. Berry production varies a bit between varieties. Berries attract birds. This shrub is somewhat drought tolerant and is very popularly used in parking lot gardens of big box stores, but looks fabulous in the home garden as well. Certain varieties are used as low growing groundcovers, and there are others that are much taller and wider. I seem to be drawn to the low growing groundcover. This photo was taken this week. Given all the drab winteryness that surrounds us this time of year, these berries and red foliage are a welcome, bright addition to the landscape!
Monstera deliciosa or Philodendron pertusum - 1/18/13
Houseplant (62-80m Deg. F). Native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala. Prefers medium light. Climbing habit. Flower spike is edible, but only after thorough ripening. Plant rarely produces its white flowers indoors. Entire plant, including flower spike is toxic to humans, dogs, cats, and other creatures. Flower spike loses toxicity after ripening. In its native habitat, this plant sends out roots that actually grow toward the darkness until it finds a tree to climb up. The root attaches to the tree and sends the plant growing up the tree toward the light (only after it attaches itself does it grow toward the light). In a home setting, give the plant a support to grow on. It will most likely not readily attach itself, so you will have to attach the roots yourself. The leaves of this plant are also widely used as a cut "flower". One or two of these monsters in a vase add a touch of green and elegance in any setting. Whether it's a plant or a cut, in your house or in the jungle, this plant is gorgeous!
Ilex verticillata or Winterberry - 1/25/13
Deciduous garden shrub with great winter interest. 5-15'T & W. Sun to shade. Prefers moist soil. Green foliage with small white flowers from April-July, but the true prize are the berries which come in the fall and stay after the leaves have fallen. Berries are great for attracting birds and other wildlife in the stark winter months, but they are poisonous to humans. This is part of the holly species, and as such, there are both male and female plants. It is recommended that there be at least one male to each group of females to ensure fruiting each year. Native to Northeastern United States. Makes an excellent, vibrant cut flower in any arrangement, and is certain to add a bright kick of winter interest to any garden.
Bromeliads - 2/1/13
Houseplant. Compact size, usually 1' to 18" T & W, depending on variety, some are smaller, some larger. Subtropical. In the pinapple family. comes in many colors and forms from deep reds, purples, burgundy, orange, yellow, pink, and white. Very popular houseplant. Easy to care for. Long lasting centrally located "blooms" or rosettes, with flowers that come from within the layers of the rosette. Flowers can be same color as rosette or different, depending on variety. Likes bright, filtered light, making it an ideal houseplant around here. Likes room temperature, around 55-85 degrees. Keep soil moist, but no wet feet (don't let it sit in water). Low maintenance, high reward.
Codiaeum variegatum or Croton - 2/8/13
Houseplant. Zones 10-11. 3-4'T, 2-4'W (in Zones 10-11). Likes bright filtered light indoors or out (bring in during colder months). Evergreen shrub in warmer climates. Likes humid, warm, moist conditions. When kept as a houseplant, make sure to water evenly and do not let soil dry out during growing season. Mist with a water sprayer frequently. During winter, hold water back to once a week. Likes to be warm (60+ degrees). Does get flowers when grown outdoors. I haven't seen one flower yet in an indoor or greenhouse setting. All parts of plant are somewhat toxic. Sap is a skin irritant. If ingested in large amounts, all parts of plant can cause stomach upset. The greatest feature of this plant is the wonderfully colorful foliage. Makes a great houseplant in a pot by itself, in mixed annual planters outdoors, or as an annual mixed in to a garden bed.
Alstroemeria - 2/15/13
Perennial Bulb. Zones 6-10. 1-3'T, 1-2'W. Blooms Early to Mid Summer. Comes in many different colors including reds, pinks, mauves, corals, yellows, oranges, purples, the list goes on, and many different variations within each color. This flower is a very popular cut flower (as seen here), and can last two plus weeks in a vase. Due to the large variety of colors, reasonably inexpensive price, and sturdiness in a vase, they are available as cuts in just about every flower store I've ever been in. But it's also a hardy perennial. Make sure, at purchase time, that you've found a hardy variety. Some are not as hardy as others, but this plant is just as beautiful in the garden as it is in the bouquet. It attracts hummingbirds as well! Make sure to plant in bright light and well drained soil, and enjoy! Happy Valentine's Day everyone!
Tulip - 2/22/13
A garden classic. The tulip bulb is a garden staple in many countries all over the world. The tulip bulb is celebrated in both public and private gardens, in mass plantings, mixed containers, or as cut flowers. It has been around for a very long time, and has been the subject of many celebrations. There are over 100 different species of tulips, and 1000's of hybrids within those species. They can be anywhere from 6"-18" T, and can bloom anywhere from very early spring to early summer. Plant bulbs in the fall for spring blooms. Some common tulip types include Parrot, double, fringed, bouquet, and special species tulips. The colors and forms vary drastically between the species. To add tulips to the garden is to add simple and timeless spring elegance. Spring is around the corner everyone!
Statice - 3/1/13
Annual. 2'-2 1/2'T 1'W. Full Sun. Heat & Drought Tolerant. Excellent addition to any mixed border in the garden. Very popular cut flower for arrangements. Makes great dried flower as it retains its color when totally dry. Comes in lots of colors including white, purple, pink, yellow, red, and orange. When in the garden bed it can attract birds. It is a very easy, low maintenance plant as long as it has ample sunlight and well drained soil. Beautiful colors on a sturdy plant. Wonderful addition to any garden or arrangement.
Hamamelis or Witch Hazel - 3/8/13
Zones 5-8. Deciduous Tree/Shrub depending on pruning habits. Naturally forms a V shaped small tree, but can be pruned as a shrub. 12'T & W. BLOOMING NOW! Sun to Part Shade. The prize of this wonderful specimen is it's bloom time. The earliest of the spring bloomers, this beauty is often mistaken for forsythia, which looks similar, but has a later bloom time. Witch hazel is in full bloom right now, and to the avid gardener, this is the true sign that spring is almost here. Beautiful yellow or orange flowers cover this tree which is a welcome sight in the drear and drab remnance of the winter months. Spring is almost here!
Crocus - 3/15/13
Zones 3-8. Full to Part Sun. 2"-4"T & 4"-6"W. Bulb that when planted in the fall of previous year, comes up in late winter, early spring. BLOOMING NOW! This dainty little blooms appear before most other spring flowers. Pictured here is a yellow crocus, but they come in pink, orange, yellow, purple, white, and many combinations. The most popular color would be purple and combinations of purple. This bulb naturalizes beautifully, meaning that each year, there are more than the year before. A favorite use for me, as a designer, is to plant them within the lawnscape. If you've ever seen a lawn painted with purple blooms around this time of year, chances are, there are crocus bulbs planted in there. They bloom before the mowing season, so by the time you fire up the lawn mower, the beautiful blooms have done their thing and are out of your way. Great flowering introduction to springtime!
Galanthus or Early Snowdrops - 3/22/13
Bulb planted in fall for spring blooms. Zones 2-9, depending on variety. Many different varieties, all of which have white flowers. 4-6"T x 8-10"W. Blooms late winter, early spring. One of the first spring bulbs to arrive. Blooming now. This small little plant makes a big "welcome spring" statement in any garden. The delicate white blooms give off a nice scent. Known to be deer resistant, although I always hesitate to claim deer resistance around here. These bulbs are self naturalizing, and are repeat performers. Once you plant them, you have them for life. They can be used in bulk plantings, or as specimens, as seen here. Very sweet beginning to the planting season. Popular bulb, available from most garden centers or online bulb companies. Happy Spring Everyone!
Heath or Erica x darleyensis 'Kramer's Rote' - 3/29/13
Zone 6-8. Evergreen groundcover. 1'T x 3'W. Full to Part Sun. Wet, well drained, sandy soil. Blooms in winter/spring. There are many different varieties of heaths and heathers that fit into this wonderful, early bloom time category. I listed the particular variety pictured here, but most heaths and heathers are beautiful additions to the perennial bed. They are one of the first perennials to come into flower, and can last for quite a while. I've seen the pinks, deep, light, sometimes almost red. The foliage is a spikey green, which blends in nicely as a groundcover after the flowers have faded. The small pink flowers fully cover the entire plant, making for a splash of pink amongst a dreary winter/early spring backdrop. Blooming now, and has been for a while. Flowers fade when temperature starts to rise. A sure sign that spring is in the air!
Narcissus 'Tete a Tete' or Miniature Daffodil - 4/5/13
Perennial bulb. Zones 3-8. Plant bulbs about 6" deep in fall for early spring blooms. 6-8" T & W. Self naturalizing. Multiple blooms per stem. Deer resistant. This is a miniature version of the common daffodil, very popular amongst florists as an easter gift, or sometimes, if the stem is long enough, can be used as a dainty cut flower. The ones from your garden, however, will most likely not get that tall. They tend to be much shorter than traditional daffodils, but therein lies the appeal of this little wonder. If you plant this in a border amongst traditional daffodils, make sure that these are planted in the front of the border or they will be completely lost in the mix. Enjoy these early blooms, because they mean the warm weather is here!
Magnolia stellata or Star Magnolia - 4/12/13
Deciduous small tree. Zones 4-8. 15'-20'T x 10'-15'W. Full Sun is best but tolerates some shade. Great specimen tree for smaller spaces. Can be kept on the smaller side, almost shrub like with proper pruning schedule, but normal habit is an oval shaped small tree. Blooms are fragrant and white, sometimes with tinges of pink on interior petals. Some varieties are pinker than others. Flower opens up to a large star shape. Blooming now. Flowers are first things to appear after winter dormancy. Foliage emerges after flowers drop off in later spring. Foliage is dense, making for an attractive tree when not in flower as well. Unlike other large leaf and evergreen magnolias, this type has smaller foliage and is not evergreen. One of the smaller magnolias available, as many grow to very large trees. An excellent white addition to any spring garden. Even on a rainy day....
Prunus cerasifera or Purple Leaf Plum Tree - 4/19/13
Zones 4-9. Fast growing small deciduous tree with purple foliage. 15'-25' T & W. Full sun is best for optimal leaf color (leaves are greener if planted in the shade). Average life expectancy is 20 years. Rounded habit at maturity. One of the earlier spring bloomers. Flowers come before foliage. Seen here in light pink but also available in white, though not as common. Blooms are fragrant. Bears fruit in mid to late summer which is edible. Fruits can be yellow, purple, or red depending on variety. This tree can be a bit messy, but the beauty is well worth the clean up. The foliage after the flowers makes this tree an excellent smaller specimen tree for any landscape.
Oneothera berlandieri 'Siskiyou' or Pink Evening Primrose - 4/26/13
Zones 3-8. Perennial. Sun to Part Shade. 12"T x 15"W. Trailing habit. Dark green foliage topped with lots of 2"+ light pink blooms with yellow centers. Blooms from summer to fall. Attracts hummingbirds. Suitable for use as a groundcover, front of perennial border plant, or in a rock garden. When flowers are on their way out they turn a darker shade of pink. This plant is a beautiful, light and airy addition to the garden. Great when mixed with heuchera plants or others that have a deeper purple shade of foliage. Great addition to any perennial bed due to the long bloom time. Considered deer resistant, but once again, if they're hungry enough, they'll eat anything. Definitely a worth while plant by itself or in larger plantings.
Mazus reptans - 5/3/13
Perennial Groundcover. Zones 5-8. Sun to Part shade. 4"T x 12"+W. Self Naturalizing. Suitable for light foot traffic which makes this plant an ideal candidate for plantings in between walking stones or dry bluestone patios and walkways. Also beautiful groundcover for rock gardens or on the edge of a perennial bed. Beautiful purple or white blooms now to early summer. This plant starts small, then spreads itself out to make an nice carpet of green with specks of purple. Very vibrant colored blooms make this a winner in the garden. Will creep itself around rocks or bluestones, putting down roots as it creeps out. Moderate spreading rate. This sturdy little plant has many uses and is widely available. Wonderful little garden gem.
Fuschia - 5/10/13
Zones 8-10. Annual in our area. Can be brought indoors in winter, but should be kept in a cool, bright spot. 30"T x 36"W, varies between varieties. Can tolerate sun, but can not tolerate heat on roots. For this reason, it's best kept in indirect bright light indoors, or a shady spot outdoors. Famously used as a container plant, specifically in hanging baskets, but can be planted in the ground as well. Heavy feeder, requiring regular fertilizing to maintain prolific blooms. Cascading habit when grown in shade. Brighter conditions will cause a much tighter bush habit. Attracts hummingbirds. Many varieties available with different color combinations including pinks, purples, whites, reds, corals, and light pinks. Keep in damp, well drained soil. Great annual addition to a covered porch or under a pergola. Vibrant colors of blooms make this a stunning addition to any shady spot.
Papaver orientale or Oriental Poppy - 5/17/13
Zones 4-8. Perennial. Full Sun. 2-3'T x 2'W. Incredible paper thin blooms in late spring, early summer. Comes in many, many colors, including corals, oranges, reds, pinks, whites, yellows, with black centers, yellow centers. Drought tolerant. Great for perennial borders and cut flowers. Bright colors don't last long, only blooms for maximum a month, so plant among other perennials that will bloom later in the season. The color show for this flower is so worth it. Vibrant mixes shine in the garden even from far away. Definitely a take your breath away addition to the garden. These are obviously not the infamous opium poppy, but a beautiful, very interesting cousin of the opium poppy that is sure to brighten up any already sunny spot!
Passiflora or Passion Flower - 5/24/13
Zones 7-10 (needs winter protection like heavy mulching for zone 6). Tropical looking vine. Can grow 15-30' T x 6-8' W in warmer climates. Around here it's a bit limited by the delicate climate situation, but in the right spot will take off. This plant also likes containers and can take a beating, meaning, you can cut it back to near the ground and it will keep coming. If you do keep it in a pot in zones 6 or 7, bring it indoors for the winter. Likes full sun to part shade. Blooms pretty much all summer, and sometimes in winter if you bring it inside. Some varieties produce edible fruits, "passion fruit." Different colors available, seen here is white/blue, also available are pink, red, purple, all with same basic shape. This plant needs something to climb up, such as a trellis, arbor, or pergola. Beautiful conversation starter for any garden. One of my personal favorites.
Clematis 'Crystal Fountain' - 5/31/13
Perennial. Zones 4-9. 6'T x 3'W. Climbing vine that requires a trellis or something to climb up. Blooms late spring to early fall almost continuously. Beautiful blue and lavender hues with a light green center. Different from typical single clematis because of beautiful center. Flowers are 4-5" wide and attract butterflies. This plant prefers a warm top and a cool bottom, meaning mulch the roots well, and keep the flowers in a sunny spot. Decent growth rate, just make sure to train the new growth to go up the trellis. This plant will grow along the ground as well if not given the proper support system. Just make sure if you tie the vines not to tie them too tightly. Also, during planting, make sure not to disturb the roots. Some suggest that you cut the bottom of the pot and leave the sides of the pot planted with the plant for the first season, then pull it out later. I say just be very careful during planting, and do not score the roots as with other plants. Gorgeous plant. Great colors and good size.
Calla Lily 'Captain Ventura' - 6/7/13
Bulb. Zones 7-10. Should be lifted before frost in our area, then replanted in spring. 18-22" H. Likes sun to part shade, and compost rich, well drained soil. Blooms summer to frost. Beautiful white blooms rise above green leaves with white and silver specks dotted along foliage. Shown here in a container. Happy in both containers and the garden bed. These are what the cut flower world refers to as "mini-callas." They make excellent additions to wedding bouquets, bright garden cut arrangements, or even in a vase by themselves. Not to be confused with larger white calla lily varieties that are more expensive as cut flowers, with much larger and taller stems. This photo was taken in the pouring rain. As you can see, these white beauties will brighten up anyone's garden, even on the rainiest of days!
Mandevilla - 6/14/13
Tropical/Annual. Zones 10-11. Native to Central/South America. Sun/Part Shade. Vine form. Can reach up to 20' T and W if given enough time to grow. Mandevilla is best treated as an annual in our area, though many people try to winter them over indoors. It's possible to winter them over, but it can be difficult to get them to rebloom without proper research. It's much easier to purchase them every year like the rest of your annuals, then you know they will be beautiful all season. Comes in white, pink, and red with yellow centers. Should be noted that all parts of this plant are poisonous. Should be given a trellis or some structure to climb. Also is nice in window boxes or hanging baskets where it can hang down the sides. This plant adds a wonderful tropical vibe to any garden or patio. The vibrant, large flowers add a beautiful pop of color and the large dark green shiney leaves add excellent contrast to the blooms. A definite must have for the avid gardener.
Oxalis triangularis - 6/21/13
Bulb. Zones 8-11. Full sun to part shade. 7-10"T x 10-14"W. Beautiful dark purple foliage in the shape of a shamrock. This plant is sometimes called a false shamrock or purple shamrock. Blooms are a light lavender color, growing above foliage. Great thing about this plant is the movement of the foliage based on light conditions. In the bright sun, the leaves will open to catch the rays. In darker conditions, or in the shade, the leaves will come down and almost fold onto the stem below it. Very cool, and gives the plant a different look throughout the day. Also wonderful as a houseplant. The bulbs should be lifted in the winter to ensure that they come back next year, but I have a couple bulbs next to the foundation of my house that have come back for the past 3 years, though that should not be considered the norm. I'm just lucky. The flowers are beautiful, but the true prize for these guys is the color of the foliage. Excellent contrast in the flower bed.
Digitalis purpurea - 6/28/13
Zones 4-8. Biennial, meaning that it takes 2 years for this plant to complete it's life cycle and produce flowers. If you grow these from seed, they will NOT flower the first year. If you get them from a garden center, chances are they will already be in bloom. 2-5'T x 1-2 1/2'W. Flowers in May-June. Pinks, whites, yellows, peaches, even greys. Some have markings inside blooms as shown here. This plant can reseed in the garden, so don't be surprised if you have more foxglove than you planted after 2 years. Parts of this plant are used medicinally to treat heart conditions, but it should be noted that this plant is toxic when ingested. Overdose includes major stomach upset, but rarely results in death. Prefers acidic soil, rich in organic matter. Sun to shade. Woodland plant. Great for use in the back of a border garden, as it can get pretty tall. Great addition of color to any garden.
Rudbeckia or Black Eyed Susans - 7/5/13
Perennial. Zones 3-11. Native to US. 2-10'T depending on variety. Creates seeds a couple of weeks after flowering which allow for self seeding habit, meaning if you have these, you will have a lot of them after a while. To control the spreading, clip off seed pods right before they dry. You can save them and plant them the following year with some research on how to keep them, or discard them to prevent spreading of this plant. If you let them reseed, over the years the rudbeckia colony will grow. Blooms are daisy like, ranging from bright yellow to deeper browns, though the classic black eyed susan is bright yellow with an almost black center. Sun to part shade. Blooms July to October. Attracts butterflies and birds. This beautiful native wildflower is a perfect addition to any bed to make for that "natural wildflower bed" look. The chaos of the self seeding habit creates this visual balance for any garden bed in need of a cheery yellow pick me up.
Hydrangea macrophylla normalis or Lacecap Hydrangea - 7/12/13
Shrub. Zones 6-9. Part Sun. Prefers moist soil, especially on hot days. Flowers in summer. Flowering now. Requires regular watering, especially in warmer weather. 4-6'T & W. Round growth habit and fast growth rate. Makes excellent cut flower. This kind of hydrangea is an excellent alternative to the mop head hydrangea, or hydrangea macrophylla because the blooms are more delicate looking, with their flat shape. When used correctly, they can make a real statement in the garden. They are available in many different color combinations such as blues, pinks, whites, light blues, light pinks, etc. The can also be mixed in with mop heads to provide an interesting contrast for a border. Gorgeous plant with many uses in the garden. Just watch for overhead watering with any hydrangea. Water spots on the leaves can burn them if they're wet in direct sun, so time your watering schedule for early morning or dusk.
Lavandula augustifolia 'Hidcote' or Hidcote Lavender - 7/19/13
Perennial herb, but not just for the herb garden. Zones 5-8. 20"T x 20"W. Widely used in the full sun perennial bed, not just as an herb. Attracts butterflies and bees. Very fragrant. Blooms June-August. Well drained soil is important to prevent roots from rotting. Prune in spring time as new growth appears. Can be cut back up to 8" tall. This plant is incredible in mass plantings or mixed into the perennial bed. Butterflies can't get enough of it! Makes excellent cut flower, fresh or dried. If you have the sun, this plant is for you. It's a beautiful performer year after year.
Caladium - 7/26/13
Annual Tuber. Zones 10-11. Shade to Part Sun, though newer varieties can be more sun tolerant. Likes well drained soil rich in organic matter. 8-20"T x 24"W. This plant is prized for it's foliage, and it's ability to brighten up a shady spot. Comes in many different colors and varieties. Pinks, reds, greens, whites, and many combinations and patterns. Great for containers, window boxes, borders, beds, smaller plantings, mass plantings. An all around great plant for the shadier garden. Plant in the spring, after Mother's Day, when the soil is warmer. Planting too early can cause the tubers to rot before they even have a chance to grow. Lift tubers in early fall and store indoors to following season. Excellent contrast plant for container work.
Hydrangea paniculata 'Little Lamb' - 8/2/13
Deciduous shrub. Zones 3-8. 6-8'T x 4-6'W. Full Sun to part shade. Mounded habit. Blooms July to September. White clusters of small flowers which fade to pink as they age. Clusters resemble little lambs floating amidst the plant, thus the name. Great fall interest for the garden as the flowers last into the fall. Should be noted that this plant blooms on new wood, so pruning is encouraged to bring about blooms the following season. Prune during dormancy season. Makes a excellent cut flower in bouquets or arrangements. Once it turns pink in the fall it is especially beautiful to add an interesting touch to an arrangement. Attracts lots of pollinators like bees and butterflies. Fragrant. There are many types of hydrangea paniculata which all have similar characteristics, but this is one of the smaller ones. Some of the others get very tall and wide. Highly recommended for extended season blooms. Great plant!
Pennisetum setaceum or Purple Fountain Grass - 8/9/13
Annual. Zones 9-11. 3-4'T x 1-2'W. Some varieties are taller than others. Popular varieties include 'Rubrum' and 'Burgundy Giant', which tends to be a bit taller. Full Sun. Decent drainage. Fast growing annual grass that has red feathery plumes from mid summer to fall. Excellent container plant as it adds both architectural and textural elements, not to mention the fabulous color. This grass is fantastic. The only way it could be better is if they made a cold hardy version. Either way, you definitely get your money's worth with this plant. They can be cut back, dug up, and brought indoors to winter over, though I personally have never tried. But they're readily available for purchase every year. Great plant for fall interest, too. Will keep performing until the frost, so it makes a great combination with the mums that will be out soon. Seen here with red ipomea and purple wave petunias (a Bohemian Rose Design).
Dichondra 'Silver Falls' - 8/16/13
Annual. Perennial in zones 9-11. Sun to part shade. Likes well drained soil. Heat and drought tolerant. Does not like wet feet. Deer resistant like most other silver plants. 6"T with a 5' spread or drop, depending on how you use it. Great groundcover or trailing spiller plant. Use in beds or containers. Trailing habit. This plant makes a great addition to any container or retaining wall because it's a fast growing, easy plant that performs well all season long. The beautiful silver foliage is an incredible contrast to darker foliage plants in the garden bed like purple oxalis, or plants with white flowers like white trailing geraniums. Adds a touch of class to any container combo as well. The silver grey foliage weaves its way through its surroundings, spilling over the edge whenever it gets a chance. Insignificant flowering. Tand his plant is all about the foliage. Definitely worth adding to the garden every year.
Eichornia crassipes or Water Hyacinth - 8/23/13
Aquatic plant. Annual for zone 6. Zones 9-11. EXTREMELY INVASIVE in warmer climates. Apparently it's illegal to own in Texas! Native to South America. Although we don't have much to worry about up here, it's still better to be safe than sorry, so if you do purchase this plant for your pond, please make sure you do not introduce it into any local bodies of water. It's invasive because of it's incredible ability to reproduce, making both seeds and daughter plants very quickly. For this reason, you have to be careful that it does not completely cover the surface of your pond, or it could take out all the oxygen and nutrients and leave nothing for your fish. Full Sun. 6-12" T and as wide as you'll let it get. Beautiful blue/violet flowers with yellow dots that last about a day, but continue all season in warm, bright light conditions. A floater plant in the pondscape, with dangling dark roots below the surface and foliage. Great plant for the responsible pond owner.
Capiscum annuum or Ornamental Peppers - 8/30/13
Annual pepper plant. Sometimes called the Christmas Pepper Plant due to it's late fruiting time. 1'T x 1'W. White or purple flowers followed by green, orange, black, purple, or yellow chili peppers which can start one color and mature to another color. The chilies are edible, but are not as delicious as other varieties grown for culinary purposes, and can be VERY hot, so use caution both when trying, and when you have this plant in your house, as children and animals will not appreciate the culinary use for this plant. Pinch back to encourage a bushy plant. Can bear fruit for up to 6 weeks, but only fruits once, so once the fruits fade, the plant can be discarded. Prefers a sunny spot, and should not be left out in a frost. Great combo plant with mums, or as an indoor plant in a sunny location. Beautiful colors add to any garden as everything else starts to fade and prepare for fall. Very cute addition for those of us who appreciate a good chili pepper. We grow both ornamental and culinary, so this tops the charts for us! A hot plant to end a hot fun summer! Happy Labor Day Weekend!
Ipomoea nil or Dwarf Picotee Morning Glory - 9/6/13
Annual vine. Similar to the more standard morning glory, with some notable differences. The bright green and white foliage makes for a stunning visual effect. The flowers, as seen here, have a white border around the central color, which can be purple, rose, white, even a washed out brown. Blooms all summer and can climb 2-3' T & W. Part sun. Strong direct sun will burn foliage. Seeds are widely available online, or if you have a good local nursery you can find them in the annuals section. Should be noted that seeds are poisonous and should not be ingested. Suitable for growth in a container or hanging basket, or up a trellis or fence. Fast grower once it gets used to where it is. This stunner performs better than the more common Morning Glories in a shadier area. Collect seeds at the end of the season to re-sow next season. Definitely a Bohemian favorite.
Ipomoea batatas or Sweet Potato Vine - 9/13/13
Annual. Full sun to shade. 2-4'W x 1'H. Vigorous trailing habit. Grown primarily for the foliage, but can bloom in warmer growing conditions. Pretty, simple flowers. The light green varieties get white flowers. The purple or darker varieties get more of a purple flower. This plant is an excellent container plant, whether you put a few in a pot and let it fill a space, or mix it in with flowering plants, it's usually a hit either way. It's a fast grower that makes a big impression. Excellent annual addition to containers, window boxes, or even garden beds that need a fast, temporary groundcover. Comes in a bunch of different colors now, including the light green seen here, black, bronze, and tri-color. Some have smaller leaves, others larger leaves depending on variety. Try it in your next container. You won't be sorry.
Chelone lyonii "Hot Lips" or Turtlehead - 9/20/13
Native Perennial. Zones 3-8. 2-3'T x 1-2'W. Likes the shade, whether part of full shade. Prefers moist soil. Good as border plant for a pond or waterfall. Pinch back earlier in season to encourage bushier growth as it tends to be on the taller side. Attracts butterflies. Gets its name because the pink/purple flowers it gets around August, September resemble little turtle heads. The name chelone comes from the greek word for turtle. Looks nice in a woodland garden planted in a group, or in a shady corner of the yard with bad drainage. Great architectural element for the garden due to its height. Interesting, noticeable plant that blooms at a time when most other perennials are on the way out or gone already.
Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' or Japanese Forest Grass - 9/27/13
Perennial. Zones 5-9. 12"T x 2-3'W. Thrives in part shade. Will do ok in full sun and shadier spots. One of the only ornamental grasses to readily grow in the shade. Great for use over a retaining wall, as seen here, due to its weeping habit. Also makes an excellent border for a bed, near a fishpond, or in a container. There are a few different varieties of this plant, but this one seems to be the best performer around here. The leaves are long, with a yellow/green stripe running throughout. When planted in more shade, the leaves take on more of a green look, and lose some of the yellow. If planted in sun that's too strong, the leaves are subject to burn. We like to leave the plant as is through the winter months because it adds an interesting textural element to an otherwise dreary scene. Then, we cut it back in early spring before the new shoots start to come up. Grows wider every year. Plant one, or many. Graceful plant.
Nipponanthemum nipponicum or Montauk Daisy - 10/4/13
Late blooming perennial. Zones 5-9. 3'T x 3'W. Attracts butterflies and other pollinators. Deer resistant. Drought tolerant and easy to grow. This plant is a very popular fall blooming addition to the garden bed (particularly around mail boxes for some reason). The only issue one might have with this plant is it's tendency to be very leggy if not pruned properly. We suggest pruning this plant about 6-8" from the ground in the spring to keep the growth rate under wraps. This encourages a bushier plant by the time fall rolls around and it has flowers. Pretty plant. Not native to this area, but can naturalize, so use caution if you see them popping up everywhere. As the common name suggests, there are plenty of these in Montauk. Happy fall!
Chrysanthemums or Mums - 10/11/13
Some treat it as an annual, but the majority of fall blooming mums that you find at your local garden center are actually perennials in zones 5-9. These numbers change depending on the variety you choose, but we've had great success overwintering these showy autumn blooms. Plant in full to part sun, in pots or in beds. Make sure to use well drained soil in pots as they don't like wet feet. We like to buy new mums every season for the pots in front of our house. I let them winter over in those pots, and every spring, they start growing again. I then transplant them into the garden bed. Pinch the new growth back in late spring to early summer to promote bushy growth. Otherwise, they tend to be leggy. After the first frost, cut them back to the ground, mulch, and repeat next year. Excellent fall color. Don't throw them away after the flowers are spent! Plant them and enjoy them next year too! So many colors and shapes, you can't lose with these inexpensive fall beauties.
Rosa 'Radtoko' or Red Double Knock Out Rose - 10/18/13
Perennial shrub zones 4+. 3'Tx3'W as a bush. Also available in standard form. Likes full sun. Blooms heavily from spring to fall frost. Great for patio containers, in garden beds, or planted in groups. There is no need to deadhead these roses as with other traditional roses. They will bloom whether you cut them back or not. Pruning should be done to shape plant when necessary. This line of roses, the "knock out" series, has excellent disease resistance, unlike more traditional roses. Truly a low maintenance rose that keeps performing all season. Currently, they are outshining the mum displays all over town. If you're lucky enough to find the standard form (like a topiary) it is definitely worth the little bit of extra money if you're looking for a traffic stopping container plant. Any of the colors in the series are fantastic. Check them out!
Camellia sasangua 'Chisato-No-Aki'
Zones 6b-7. Fast growing. Large shrub with irregular, arching habit. Whitish cream double flowers with yellow centers in the fall (blooming now). Prefers part sun. Direct sun will burn leaves and stress plant. Evergreen foliage. Beautiful large dark green leaves. This shrub is a gorgeous addition to any fall garden with decent winter protection. This is a zone 6b-7 plant, which means around here, you need to mulch heavily in the fall and think about a protected site when deciding when to plant. If you really want to ensure it comes back, wrap it with some burlap. We all like a good blanket in the winter! A fall beauty!
Cucurbita or Pumpkin Plant - 11/1/13
Vegetable. Full Sun. Available in vine, bush, or miniature form, depending on variety. Hundreds of different varieties from huge to very small. Needs a lot of growing room. Start seeds 1" deep in compost and manure rich hills for direct sowing after all risk of frost has past, or start seeds earlier indoors to allow the growing time this plant needs to fruit by Halloween. Needs lots of water and lots of food. Should be noted that not all of their beautiful orange blossoms will produce fruit. There are both male and female flowers on each vine, and for a fruit to be produced, both a male and female flower must be open at the same time. Once a few pumpkins have formed, start pinching back new vine growth to allow plants energy to focus on fruit production. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Torenia or Wishbone Flower 11/8/13
Annual. Blooms heavily from early spring to later fall. Still blooming now, though we're nearing the end of it's season. Likes shade to part shade. Tends to slow down the blooming during very hot part of summer. Keep well watered as it does not like to dry out or stay in dry soil. Excellent container plant as it has a mounding and trailing habit. Great colors available like purple (pictured), different shades of pinks, yellow, and blue. Said to be deer resistant. Attracts butterflies. Can be planted in the garden bed, or hanging over a retaining wall, just make sure to keep it well watered and well fed to extend blooming time. An excellent plant, especially in mixed container work.
Cotoneaster horizontalis 'Variegatus' 11/15/13
Deciduous Shrub. Zones 6-7. Beautiful arching, low growing habit, adding interesting architectural element to the garden bed. Variegated white/green compact foliage in growing season. Leaves turn pink, red, and orange in fall before they drop. Likes full to part sun. Bears small red fruits with shiny skin. Plant a few in a ground cover an area with this lower growing groundcover, or plant in a line in the front of a perennial bed. Variegated leaves and arching habit combine to make an incredible textural element when planted in mixed beds. Great plant!
The Turkey Fern - 11/22/13
A note on how to make your own novelty planter. Find a container big enough to suit the needs of the plant you want. If you find that your container doesn't have the convenient drainage holes the plant needs to survive, go to your local hardware/big box store and buy a ceramic/masonry drill bit. It looks like a normal drill bit with a little shovel on the end. Attach the bit to a drill, flip your container upside down and SLOWLY start to drill a hole in the middle of the container. It will take a few minutes for the drill bit to do it's job, but at the end, you have created your own planter from just about anything made of ceramic. Fill the container with soil and plant your plant. A perfect recipe for a perfectly cute Thanksgiving Centerpiece. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki' 12/6/13
Evergreen. Zones 6-9. Very slow growing. Typically reaches 3-5'T x 4'W, but when fully mature can reach up to 10'T. Compact shrub with beautiful multi colored foliage, as it's name 'Goshiki' suggests. Translated from Japanese, Goshiki means 5 colors. The new foliage starts as a reddish pink, then fades to a light white/yellow variegated leaf, to a darker green and cream variegated leaf. Incredible show of color all year. White flowers are insignificant but fragrant. This shrub likes full sun to part shade, though I've seen them burn a bit in true full sun. Requires a regular watering schedule. Use foliage as a cut green for Christmas Arrangements and wreaths. Provides incredible color contrast to other Christmas Greens in a mix, or just cut a couple sprigs off and tie with a red bow for an instant holiday masterpiece. Happy decorating!
Anemone coronaria or Poppy Anemone - 12/13/13
Tender perennial tuber. Zones 7-10, which is extremely borderline hardy around here. Best bet to overwinter this beauty is to either pot them up in the fall and store in a cooler protected area, such as a garage or hoop house, or pot them up in early spring and store them in a cool area until danger of frost has passed. 6-18"T x 6-8"W. Blooms between April and June. Comes in blues, purples, whites, reds, and many combinations. Likes full sun to part shade. Gorgeous plant with fernlike foliage for the garden bed or containers. Makes an incredible cut flower, as seen here. Petals often have an iridescent quality which makes for some pretty dynamic and interesting arrangements. Awesome plant.
Amaryllis - 12/20/13
Tropical bulb. Suitable for forcing. Very popular gift for the holidays. Easy to grow, and easy to rebloom year after year with a little research and the right conditions. When you receive your amaryllis bulb, it will be ready for forcing, or planting. You can either plant in soil up to the neck, or place in a vase with a large medium like riverstone pebbles, being careful not to smother bulb which can lead to mold and rot issues. Air circulation is key when using pebble method. If in soil, water enough to keep soil barely moist, but not bone dry. If in pebbles, keep water in bottom of vase, and mist every few days. Medium to high indoor light works best, then watch her bloom! They usually show up on shelves after thanksgiving to bloom around the holidays. A gorgeously bright indoor addition to any holiday décor. Comes in reds, pinks, whites, peaches, and other colors. Makes an excellent cut flower too, just make sure to wrap the end of the stem with some floral tape to prevent splitting. Beautiful, large blooms for a lovely holiday season. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
The Christmas Tree - 12/27/13
A beautiful tradition with a very long and extensive history, and a very long and detailed existence before it's in your living room. A Christmas Tree is typically an evergreen conifer such as a pine, fir, or others. It is carefully grown, pruned and maintained specifically to be a Christmas Tree. Fresh cut Christmas Trees are cut for Christmas then discarded or recycled. You can also purchase a B&B tree, or potted tree if you'd prefer to keep it in your yard after the holidays. The tradition has a long, debated history, going as far back as the pagans, who believed that evergreens kept away evil spirits, and kept the people healthy during the cold winters. They would display sprigs of evergreens in their houses and on doorways around the winter solstice. There are many links to Germany as the start of the Christian tradition, where German Christians would bring in an evergreen and decorate it with fruits, and other edibles. Soon after they added candles to the décor, which inspired the electric Christmas lights once they came around. The star at the top is meant to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, or the angel Gabriel. The tradition really took off in the early 1900's, and we've been practicing it ever since! Merry Christmas week to all!