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I have a small area ( 4 x 5 ) that I want to fill with astilbe. I have some purple and some white that I've had for nearly 20 years. What newer cultivars are outstanding in your experience? I'd prefer something in the pink, red, mauve, purple spectrum.
Well, my favorite is not a new one- it's Bridal Veil, because it really sparkles in the shade and I like the airier forms of astilbe. I have two smaller varieties which might work for you. 'Sprite' is a great one- it blooms for me in total shade, and again, I like the airy, droopy plumes. It's a very pale pink. I got a bunch an sale at Bluestone a few years ago and they have done great.
Another small one I got last year is 'Key West'. The leaves are supposed to be dark, or burgundy which should contrast well with the darker pink blooms. However, in my garden, the blooms were mid pink and the foliage was a blah green. It was a little ho hum for me, but I think I just didn't like the spot I had it in. It's supposed to be one of the most floriforous (sp?), long lasting ones. I moved mine to a new location this year, and they do have a ton of scapes...I'll post a pic of those when they bloom. I'm still not happy where they are, though, so will be moving them next year.
Oh, another one I like is 'Pink Lightning', because of the droopy panicles again, and also the foliage is shiny and dark on that one and stands out to me.
I have Bridal Veil and Pink Lightning near each other and unfortunately this year I will have barely any flowers from them...there is some kind of insect that destroys the flower buds as they come up. :(
First Noreaster - you have beautiful gardens. Just beautiful. Second, how nice of you to take the time to post a repsonse plus pictures. I really like Key West. I don't have any of the cultivars you've mentioned. I've written them down amd will be at my favorite garden center after work today. I'll get whatever they have that you've posted. Thanks so much.
Thank you, Snapple. I think Key West will be really nice when I can find the right spot for it. I've read that the dark foliage color comes with heat, so maybe it needs to be in more sun for that. We don't have hot, hot summers here so maybe that's the issue, too. Good luck!
Noreaster - I have 'Key West' also and have been a bit disappointed by it, especially when compared with some older red-flowered types (didn't have a name). It blooms a little later. I also have 'Bridal Veil' and 'Deutschland' (both whites) growing together in a different bed. One blooms 2 weeks earlier than the other and keeps that area in flower for a month. I'm trying 'White Wings' this year but so far, growing in a pot in the shade, it hasn't impressed me much. I think I need a spot in the ground for it.
Snapple - My "staple" Astilbe is 'Peach Blossom'. It's a pale peachy pink and is a real trooper. Has a great fragrance and holds up pretty well during the dryer spells. I've hacked bits of the root off of the mother plants for years and have it spread in small pockets in the garden. It looks great with blue Hosta and Japanese painted ferns.
Snug - 'Radius' is a good-looking red. Is it as bright as the photo appears?
Cindy, that's great that you have "choreographed" your astilbe to bloom at different times...I love astilbe, but hate that the bloom time is so short. Trying to plant them so that there bloom times are spaced out makes a lot of sense.
Do you ever dig and divide them, Cindy, or do you just hack pieces off while in ground? I've got significantly less blooms on Bridal Veil this year and can't figure out if they need to be divided...the foliage is very full, so I don't get what went wrong, other than the insect problem.
Noreaster - No intentional choreographing here. Just managed to pick up small plants of two white varieties and they ended up in my "white" bed together. Didn't notice the different bloom times on them but it was sure a stroke of luck. As for the dividing, it depends on how patient I am at the moment. I'm actually more brutal with my Epimediums - just take a shovel and hack off a piece. Gee, I wasn't aware that the Astilbe might actually "need" to be divided. The Astilbe blooms here are the same or better than last year. The reds did really well this year but they were all planted at the same time in the same bed. We had flooding rains last fall and then a brutal winter (for us) with decent snow cover. And then we had a somewhat cool spring but with sufficient rain. I always wonder if that makes a difference. I know Astilbe are heavy feeders and I usually (read "if I remember") throw out an slow release all-purpose fertilizer in the spring. We have tons of oaks and they drain both nutrients and moisture from the soil here.
Hm, well, that could be the problem, as I never seem to get around to fertilizing most of my perennials. Pink Lightning is planted under an oak and that one also has very few blooms. I did read that astilbes needed to be divided to maintain vigor, but don't know anything about how you know when it's time to do that. I guess too much shade could equal less blooms, too, but 'Sprite' gets absolutely no direct sun and those are covered with scapes right now.
I divide about every 5 years. They bloom just fine. But...they are heavy feeders and I fetilize accordingly. They get a good dose in early May when they start to poke their heads up and I feed again around the end of June. I'll be cutting off the spent flowers here pretty soon and just keep them well watered the rest of the growing season. I think the early May fertilizer in this zone is the most important one. I don't skimp.
I'll admit that I'm not diligent about fertilizing and when I do remember, it's more like casually throwing out handfuls as I walk through. Terrible, I know. Normally, I've worked full time but have been unemployed the past year and a half (started by choice but now a tough market to get back into). Never had time for much more than a major cleanup in the spring, planting annuals, pulling weeds and trying to find a vacant spot for "must have" perennials. My pie-shaped lot is 150 ft across in the back and is solidly planted about 15 to 30 ft deep (depending on the area) and then the garden comes up along one entire 90 ft side. Parts of the garden are left to survive on their own with little maintenance and no supplemental watering. Always feel guilty about that. And after 20 years of cramming in plants, I realize I need a major revamp but have no idea of where to start. Dividing plants to maintain vigor always falls to the bottom of the to-do list. (See me with my head hanging down in shame...) Hmm, need to buy more fertilizer...
Noreaster - I think the variety of Astilbe makes a big difference as well as soil conditions. I don't have any recommendations though since I've never really analyzed it much. My no-name reds get more sun, more supplemental water and more fertilizer because they're closer to the house but also get crispier during hot, dry spells and this is the first year that they've bloomed really well (after 6 years). Go figure.
Wowee! That's a huge garden. I'll bet it's just beautiful. I started a total revamp of a much smaller space in 2001. It included the entire front and back yard, hardscape included. This year I'm just putting on the finishing touches. The first two years were absolutely the toughest. Those were the years that I pulled and discarded every under performing plant, shrub or tree. I was ruthless. Iris - gone. We have a serious problem with iris borer here and the battle was never ending. Out they went. Daffodill bed - gone. The three months of green floppy foliage added nothing to the garden. Overplanting was a huge pain. I keep a few clumps dotted around the garden between hostas so the expanding hosta leaves cover the daffs as they go dormant. Much better. Poppys. I love them, but the dying foliage stood out like a sore thumb and I never found a suitable companion plant to cover their annual demise. Foxgolves - same thing, stately gorgeous and prolific. But the die back was very unattractive. On it went. The list was long. Coreposis - it ran rampant through the gardens. Tradescantia, nearly took over. Took three years to eradicate it.
The makeover resulted in well behaved perennials, shrubs and trees that look good through out the entire growing season. Huechera's are terrific and come in almost as many colors as sunny annuals. Lots of new hostas. I have a blue & gold garden for hostas that's a show stopper. Added lots of ferns of all kinds and some aqualegia and pulmonaria In the sunny areas I went to dwarf and medium sized conifers paired with ornamental grasses. For a little contrast I planted a small pink leaved weigelia My Monet. It's pink and cream all summer and never outgrows it's place. The new Barberries are gorgeous. Try planting an upright bright golden leafed " Gold Pillar" next to a mounding "deep purple red "Cabernet" with a yellow creeping conifer called "Motherlode" at the base. The yellow, gold and purple hold the entire growing season. None have any garden "down time". Inter mixed in the borders are zone 5 hardy hydrangeas - all species. I have serratas, quercifolias, paniculatas, peotiolaris and macrophylla. There are whites, pinks and those I persuade to bloom blue. The blooms never stop.
There are other plants too numerous to list, like the astilbes, azaleas and rhodies that I did keep. I kept the clematis' too. The goal was no invasiveness, no dying foliage and especially color all season. It took nine years to collect the plants. I've never been happier with a garden. Decide on your makeover goal, form a plan and get out the shovel. It's a terrific gardening journey.
I should add that there has been one stumble along the way. Japanese Maples. I love them. I planted 6 over the last four years. I lost one last year and two this spring. I've replanted hardier varieties. There aren't many that can handle -17°. Any future losses will send me looking for another kind of replacement. My wallet can't take too much more ot that.
Snapple - What a beautiful project! I'm jealous of you being able to grow H. macrophylla. I have 'All Summer Beauty' and 'Endless Summer' here and have been disappointed in their lack of blooms. Too much shade I think. I have quercifolia 'Snow Queen', arborescens 'Annabelle', serrata 'Blue Billow', all blooming now, and a tardiva that's never done well though it's supposed to be good for our area. I've been relying more and more on foliage but still want flowers. Don't get many flowers after July (except for annuals) until C. 'Hillside Sheffield Pink', Tricyrtis, Anemone and Kirengeshoma bloom in the fall. I'm more of a collector type and it becomes a challenge to find the right combinations with other plants. Yeah, I need to be ruthless in editing but then I get sentimental. Sigh. In my lower garden (sits in a back corner about 10 ft down from the backyard), I have a tendency to throw a lot of plants in there to see what survives since it doesn't get supplemental water down there. Love Northern sea oats but they liked that spot too much. And some of my plants - bloodroot and Canadian ginger - have long since moved from their original spot to self-seed elsewhere. I do start out with a plan but some of these plants have a mind of their own. I have a barberry 'Royal Cloak' that I just love in the spring but it turns green once the oaks leaf out. I also have a love/hate relationship with hardy geraniums and Tradescantia. How can one resist 'Sweet Kate' when it's blooming? I'm on light duty for the next week or so due to pulled abdominal muscle so it's probably a good time to do some editing (at least on paper. Thanks for the inspiration.
I would just love to see your gardens. Having anything show color in August is the hallmark of a very good gardener, especially if there are flowers in bloom. Northern Sea Oats are best in a pot. I had trouble getting Endless Summer to bloom until I began side dressing it in the very early spring with super phosphate in addition to a regular 10-10-10 slow release 4 month feed. Now the blooms can get 10" across and they are plentiful. I had to look up Kirengeshoma. That's a new one on me. That has me spinning around looking for a place to squeeze it in. Sweet Kate was one of the plants I tossed. It wasn't easy. Speaking of which - you take it easy. Pushing a pencil around sounds like just what you should be doing until you heal up.
As for planning - I'm a visual planner. I had to toss the unwanteds first to get an idea of what space I was working with. I'm impressed that you can put it down on paper.
I have one or two that are deep red almost burgundy and are really tall, almost flopping over when it gets too hot.
I need ideas for shade. I have a dense are a of shade, I want something to flower there.
hellnzn11 - Are you talking about hydrangeas? I'm definitely no expert (you may want to look at a different forum) but some do swoon a bit when it gets really hot, even with adequate moisture and mulch to keep the roots cool. Usually they perk back up in the evening. It's difficult for me to recommend any particular shade-lovers since I'm not familiar with your climate.
snapple - I'll have to try the additional phosphate. I've always thought my shade was too much for it. I know a local gardening columnist has also had poor bloom production with these varieties. Makes me wonder about the marketing. I have seen others in almost full sun blooming pretty well but they do tend to wilt fast.
Snapple - How is the super phosphate packaged? Is there a brand name that you use? I'm not familiar with it, and my endless summer hasn't had blooms since I moved it last year. I think I'll try the phosphate, but I'm not sure just what to buy. thanks!
There are a couple of companies that put this product out. The links are just an example of some of them, not a suggestion you buy from these sites. Just an example of what to look for. You should be able to find it at a better independant garden center or Lowe's or possibly Home Depot. I get mine from the local Lowes. It's a granular.
SuperPhosphate is the P in the NPK ( Nitrogen - N, Phosphorous - P, Potassium - K ) in fertilizer. It's the P that pushes blooms.
The higher the number the more potent the phosphate. I use 46. It does not burn. If over applied it may cause leaves to ripple or crinkle. For any flowering plant or shrub always choose a fertilizer that has a higher middle number.
snapple, is that all you use on hydrangeas? I usually use Espoma holly-tone once in the Spring. If I wanted to try the super-phosphate, would I do that by itself or in conjunction with another fertilizer? I'm fertilizer-stupid, which is why my plants usually get none!
Snapple - Do you think it's too late for the super phosphate? I know we're going into the warmer, drier time of summer and I would be concerned about stressing the plant too much. What do you think?
I've managed to start a list of plants to dig out, starting with some of the hardy geraniums. The lankiness of the stems has always frustrated me - hardly worth the flowers. Even 'Rozanne' will go. I will keep the G. cantabrigiense varieties ('Karmina', 'Biokovo') since they're more compact. Might make some more room for those Astilbe that I should divide. Gotta keep Tradescantia 'Osprey' and 'Sweet Kate' though but will have to remember to cut way back after blooming. Even some of my 20yo German iris are going - take up too much space for sporadic bloom. Thought the foliage at least would give me a bit of form but the leaves look dreadful by mid summer. It was actually nice to sit and make a list since I never really have time to contemplate what needs to change. The list continues...
I also use a balanced fertilizer in conjunction with the superphosphate. I use a slow release 4 month feed, usually a 10-10-10. I apply both just before or at budbreak. Holly-Tone's fine. Expensive, but good stuff. Holly -Tone also calls for a fall feeding. I use it for the Rhodies, Azaleas and Enkianthus, etc.
N = Nitrogen, leaf growth
P = phosphorus, promotes flower and root growth
K = necessary for the overall health of the plant, important for disease resistance
Always read the labels. Slow release is granular, but not all granulars are slow release.
Water soluable is quick acting, usually does not have an effect longer than 2 weeks.
Nitrogen comes in different chemical compositions. Ammoniacal nitrogen is preferred when you want to promote or maintain soil acidity. Nitrate of Soda, increases soil pH and shouldn't be used in low rainfall regions. I wouldn't get too concerned about the forms of nitrogen as most manufacturers produce fertilizers that are best formulated for the plants they are labeled for. Like roses or rhododendrons. Use them only for what they are labeled for and you'll do fine. I only point this out because a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, isn't always the best choice. It's a jack of all trades, but not really good for specialty plants. Perennials are a class all by themselves. It's a plant by plant consideration.
No it's not too late for the superphosphate. Work it into the top inch or so of the soil and then water it in. You should see reults in about two weeks. I'll post more later. I'm at work and have to keep doing work stuff.
snapple, I picked up some of that Hi -Yield Super phosphate...but it looks like I goofed and didn't get the "triple" one. Do you think the regular super phosphate will still have an effect, and how much would you use on a 3 foot hydrangea?
No goof! Both work fine. At that strength I'd use about 1 cup side dressed inside the drip line. Work into the top 1" of soil and water in. It takes about two weeks for the plant to begin to react by showing new buds. This is not a fertilizer component that will burn. If overdone leaves crinkle and pucker. Not pretty, but not fatal. Iris are sensitive to it. The leaves ripple.
So one cup for the whole shrub? I kind of have a problem where half the plant is blocked by astilbe...so I may have to do half of it! It's Blushing Bride, and though it has buds, they just seem so wimpy...even the stems are wimpy and thin. My older non endless summer macrophylla just seems so much beefier, both stems and leaves (but sadly, no blooms on that this year. When I get flowers on that, they are large.)
I don't have any experience with Blushing Bride, so I'm not sure how stocky/beefy they're supposed to be. Roots from the astilbe might be robbing the Endless Summer too. Astilbes are heavy feeders. They'll take all the soil has to give and then some. If you can't get the astilbe out of the way then get the superphosphate as close to all the roots as you can reach.
Right now, I can't see how the stems could possibly support a large mophead bloom...so I imagine the blooms will stay on the small side. I noticed the super phosphate bad said, "stronger stems", so that gave me hope! The astilbe was moved there this Spring, so I don't know how much they are stealing from the hydrangea...I'm going to have to move them out next year anyway because I think they are too big if that hydgrangea continues to grow. I'm not going to winter protect it this time, though, so I'm not sure how much bigger it can get if it has to grow from the base up every year.
You'd be surprised. I have never winter protected mine. It's about 3-1/2' x 4' right now from new growth and still going. The root mass just gets bigger and produces more new growth each year. The height stays at about 3-1/2' but the width keeps expanding.
Yes, it is remarkable how much a hydrangea can grow in just one season. My other one, Merritt's Supreme, did something funky last year where all the middle buds did not open so it looked like a Dr Seuss hydrangea. This year, despite only having 2-3 flowers, it sent up a ton of new growth and looks incredibly full and healthy again. I have to decide whether or not to winter protect it again.
How odd looking that must have been. This year I bought two garden center annuals for pots that were over treated with PGR - plant growth regulator. Talk about funky leaf growth. The leaves were cupped to the point of being small bowls that could hold water! I needed those particular varieties for my color schemes so I bought them anyway, thinking that they would out grow the PGR. One, a coleus mostly has. The other, an irisine, still looks like the stems end in bowls. I don't like it but I'm stuck with it now. Next time I'll leave any PGR over treated plant sitting at the garden center. Gardening is a never ending learning adventure.
Snapple - do you use the super phosphate for your Astilbes since they're heavy feeders? I've recovered from the strained whatever and intend to start some of my garden "remodeling" which will involve dividing and moving. It's not the ideal time but I've got a lot in mind to accomplish. Was wondering of super phos would help the divisions or moved plants settle in a little quicker. 'Key West' is the last Astilbe left blooming but I'm not moving that one from it's present site.
No - I dont. Astilbes don't seem to need the extra phosphorous to encourage bloom. They are one of the few plants that actually perform well with a generous 10-10-10 in the early spring. When I transplant anything I put a pinch or two of super phosphate in the bottom of the planting hole and incorporate it with the soil, then plop in the plant. Gives the roots a little boost.
Getting started on a garden remodel is the hardest part. As the new improved garden begins to take shape it gets easier and easier to take a critical look at the plants and toss the less than fabulous or rearrange into better combinations. Heck, if you water well when transplanting and keep regular watering, transplanting now is fine. If you don't mind losing the bloom on some plants for the season. Just think how settled in they will look next year. Now don't go and reinjure yourself. The fun has just begun!
This is a great color. I love it and the thing is giant. My husband rolls on it, thinks it does not look real. Below the smaller one succumbing to the heat and toppling over. Any of you know the variety?
Another plant that's going - Lamium. What started out as cute silver-leaved pink- and white-flowered plants are becoming invasive unattractive weedy fillers that self-seed into mat-forming monsters with none of the original cuteness (?). Sort of like sweet woodruff that I regret planting years ago. By early July, they are definitely less than desirable. I only get a peak at a couple of the original flowers - definitely not worth the space. The roots are so invasive that I'll probably have to brush some weed killer on the leaves in order to save other plants, same as that nasty invasive Campanula I naively planted (I forget the botanical name at the moment).
Been there with the Lamium - what a horrer! Houttenynia was another huge mistake. It took me three years to get rid of that. Another big mistake I made was Variegated Porcelain Berry - pretty vine. But Oh My Gosh, by the third spring I needed a machete just to get close to it. It grew close to 10' out and it was seeding all over the place. Now I research before I put anything in the ground. If I make an impulse buy of a plant I'm not familiar with I leave the plant in the pot and head for the computer. That's saved me after the local botanical garden spring plant sale. I was surprised to find two of the plants I purchased listed as "can be invasive". I threw them in the compost pile. One of them has taken over the pile! I'll have to Roundup the pile before I turn it, if I get around to turning it that is.
It sounds like you're off to a very good start. The upside to getting rid of the poor performers and just plain undesirables is that you get to choose new stuff.
I've heard that about Lamium. I'm getting rid of my sweet woodruff, too. I find it easy to control since it doesn't root deeply, but I only find it pretty in the Spring. It looks weedy to me once the pretty color turns to drab green and the nice flowers die. My garden is too small to have plants that don't look great all season, lol. Well, close to all season, maybe! At least astilbe foliage is still pretty when it's not blooming. The other aggressive ones I have are creeping Jenny, which I still sort of like, and Lily of the Valley, which I didn't plant but *hopefully* have contained by a buried plastic barrier. It would be a massive job to get rid of that one. I've gotten rid of about half of it, and I still have an ocean.
My DH's mother planted some lily of the valley in the 60s here, and we now have a meadow full of it. DH mows it, but it's taking over in a couple other gardens close to the house too. Hmmmmm - I didn't know that about the lamium. I got some from the RU last month and planted it in my new shade garden. Hmmmm, I may have to move it to a more "free flowing" location.
Yeah, sweet woodruff does look cute in the spring but as summer wears on and the flowers are gone, it gets ratty and develops brown spots. It's thready roots have invaded Vinca minor and my woodland phlox. No way to really erradicate it except by trying the weed killer with a paint brush. The Lamium keeps trying to invade a very desirable patch of bleeding hearts, whose root system is way to brittle to be trying to pull the Lamium out from around it. Some of the Carex varieties get a little aggressive ('Ice Dancer' and C. siderosticha 'Variegata') but I can usually pull out the underground runners pretty easily. I do need to move 'Ice Dancer' since it's not giving me the punch I wanted. I think that one needs to be a little closer to the viewer to notice the variegation. My faves are the yellow grasses ('Bowles Golden' and the "Hak" grasses) but I'm not quite ready to toss 'Ice Dancer' yet. I'm also pulling out a patch of lily of the valley (I have more growing elsewhere) that's mixed in over the years with wintercreeper, creating a solid patch of boring green in the summer. It's held the soil well on a little embankment but I'm going to put in some retaining blocks and create a space for some more desirables. Due to rainy weather and other obligations, haven't started pulling stuff out yet but I'm ready to start tomorrow. The cool weather (which I absolutely love) will be a great enabler. DH is making me a new compost sifting screen this weekend (I will actually use the compost pile for the first time in years) so that I can pot up the pulled plants for passing on. My daughter has acres of bare yard to fill in.
Got my super phos for the Hydrangeas today at a local nursery and the owner had heard the same complaint about 'Endless Summer' not flowering reliably.
CindyMzone5 - Once you start tossing the under performers the enjoyment begins. This week I tossed the last of the hemerocallis. They had gotton some kind of a rust infection requiring spraying plus that's another plant that looks ugly for a lot longer than it looks good, although I must admit when in bloom they are really nice. I have some plants still coming mail order ( variegated sedum, ferns and huecheras ). When they arrive and get in the ground I actually think I'm done. My last major aquisiton, last week, was a Cedrus atlantica 'Pendula' . Major on the wallet too. Whew! Here's my 'Endless Summer'. Love that superphosphate.
Snapple - Now that's what I would expect from 'Endless Summer'. That area is definitely getting more sun than most of my shade-lovers and that probably helps a bit too. Your new Cedrus should be a real showstopper. Is it one of the bluer forms? I've given up on buying Heucheras at this time. Have had too many of the newer ones (especially those beautiful chartreuse varieties) up and die on me. Read a theory from Munchkin Nursery that perhaps some of our midwestern summers are a little too hot for some of them (although this summer seems to be one of the cooler ones). I need to do more research on them before I pay the hefty price for them. I started 'Palace Purple' from seed years ago and I get variable self-sown seedlings from them that can be interesting colors so that will have to do for now.
You're not alone in losing the lime/chartreuse heucheras. All the Master Gardeners I talk to say they have no staying power in the landscape. Three years maximum under ideal growing conditions is the best performance they seem to do. My favorite heuchera is 'Dolche Peach Melba' It just glows. This is the second season, planted June '08. It seems to be vigorous. Everybody comments on it. I may add more next year if it continues to do well. Yes, the Cedrus is steely blue. I might be able to grab the camera later today.
Speaking of huecheras I picked up 5 Purple Palace at a reputable nursery yesterday as filler for the last make over bed. I think they might have been mislabeled. They are an odd shade of red. Real red. No purple at all. Weird. I paired them up with Fescue "Boulder Blue". Looks like Christmas! They looked like they had been sitting for a long time in the nursery in full sun. New growth will tell the tale. Actually I hope they tone down a little.
You will get your 'Endless Summer' to bloom. They just need that superphosphate push.
My 'Palace Purple' seedlings do have a range of colors - some are even have a burnt orange cast to them that is an interesting change. I've lost 'Lime Ricky', another I can't recall the name of and even the "frosty" types like 'Snow Angel'. They'd come through the winter looking great with minimal frost heaving and even bloom but then quickly wilt and die. My favorite was 'Champagne Bubbles' - it was very floriferous and the flowers were actually very cute. It was a smaller variety. It lasted 3 or 4 years. Have even lost some of the dark ones as well.
Debating today about pulling Tiarelly cordifolia - the rambling type as opposed to the clumping variety. While I like the little flowering spires, I hate deadheading it. Hmmmm.
I only have the clumping form of Tiarella. No deadheading is necessary as you probably know. The old bloom stalks just seem to melt away. I have one green Heuchera - Pistachio. This is the second year for it. It isn't a vigorous plant. It's about 1/3 the clump size of its purple companion - Midnight Rose. Pistacho looks healthy, but small. I have one Heuchera that's the gift that keeps on giving - Amethyst Mist. If you want a frosty purple that's vigorous try that one. It has spread itself, in a very nice way, all over the gardens. A little root left in a handful of soil is all it seems to need to pop up someplace unexpectedly. It's no trouble to remove it if it lands where isn't welcome. The clumps get big in a hurry. I actually have too much of it, but it's so darn healthy I hate to pull it.
I'm glad to hear that about heuchera, Snapple. I've been wanting some for awhile, because I like the perennial coleus "look-alike" aspect of it. I love Peach Flambe, and I'm wanting some more feedback on the cultivars that die easily, because in retirement, I can't afford to buy plants that are fickle! LOL
Regarding the "invasives", I haven't found lamium "beacon silver" to be invasive (yes it does spread, but easy to remove), and I think it's one of the more attractive varieties. On the other hand, never buy the taller lamium with the yellow blooms. That stuff is completely invasive and almost impossible to eradicate. I also agree on the houttenynia (sp?). It's lovely, but will pop up all over the place. I haven't gotten rid of all of mine yet.
The Lamium that gave me hard hours of digging out was, Lamium maculatum 'Anne Greenway'. Very pretty to look at with the yellow and green leaves. But it was one of the worst things I've had to deal with. I volunteer at our local botanical garden. They have 'Silver Beacon' and it isn't as big a problem. Spring and fall they pull it back to it's original designated space without a lot of effort. In my garden 'Ann Greenway' pretty as it was, was a thug. I'm afraid of any Lamium in my soil.
DonnieBrook - Heuchera Midnight Rose is a good performer. The bright pink blotches and speckles against the dark maroon/ black back ground hold the enitre season. It's attractive without being gaudy. All of mine is in the shade, so I can't say what happens in the sun. It comes back stronger each year. One plant can be easily divided after about three years in the ground. It looks especiallynice paired with a yellow leaved hosta. Mine is interplanted with Hosta 'Sun Power'.
I saw 'Midnight Rose' at a local nursery a couple of weeks ago and was very tempted by it. This nursery is more of a high-end dream-fulfillment type of place and they wanted something like $15 for it so the price tag aided my avoidance of new Heucheras. I know 'Amethyst Mist' has been around for a couple of years now and it sounds like it's getting a positive track record in your garden. May have to scout that one out. I counted up at least 27 varieties that I've tried over the years and admittedly some were not always sited correctly. I think I have maybe 10 survivors. 'Amber Waves', 'Frosty' and 'Snow Angel' are among the departed. I have 6 different dark ones planted with red Astilbe and my one 'Key West' - very dramatic - but I've lost track of all of their names. I used to use plant tags but they kept getting pulled up during the spring cleanup.
Perenniallyme - I absolutely agree on the yellow Lamium - isn't that 'Herman's Pride'? I have it in one spot in the farthest reaches of my garden, only because it was in my daughter's wedding floral decorations. It is very striking in bloom but I do have to vigorously rein it in. It's happy in a terraced area full of dry clay and the foliage holds up extremely well but I am not tempted to grow it anywhere else. The branches/runners root like crazy where they lay on the ground.
Cindy, I don't know the cultivar on the yellow lamium. Just looked in PlantFiles and it looks like yellow archangel, but yellow archdevil would be more appropriate. I would absolutely never plant it again.
Take a look at the photos. I've posted Pistachio, Amethyst Myst, Midnight Rose and Peach Melba ( bottom of the thread) . You can more easily compare size and evaluate vigor. Ain't Dave'sGarden great?!! Learn from each other and avoid costly mistakes. I don't really recommend the Pistachio. It's a beautiful contrast plant, as you'll see, but I'm not at all sure I'll see it next year. If I have to replace it I'll probably use Coleus 'Dappled Apple".
Very cool pics, Snapple. I see you're liking the purple/lime green color scheme too. One of my favorites also. I'm not camera-oriented - leave that to DH and photographer daughter. One of these days I'll have to borrow DH's pics of the gardens and post them. Usually I'm too busy with the manual labor part. Have been busy the past few days pulling out and moving plants. Hardest part was pulling out wintercreeper and a badly placed Hosta after growing 20 years among tree roots. That gave me a workout. Pulled Geranium 'Rozanne' to make room for an Astilbe I finally divided. My real Astilbe challenge will be in the lower garden but I'm concentrating on the immediate yard area first. I've divided a Hosta, pulled Trycirtis to make room for an azalea transplant, pulled some German bearded iris. Takes a little extra time to pot up the rejects for a better home. I may run out of my compost pile this year - first time in years. That week off from manual labor was very constructive - all the things that have bugged me about my plant placement but never had time or focus to fix. Thankfully it's been a cool summer so the work isn't as miserable as it would be if it were hotter. 'Key West' is still looking fresh in bloom and 'Sprite' is looking very "dainty" back in full shade. Is anyone else growing 'Sprite'? Mine has stayed fairly small but it may be due to placement.
Yes, I have Sprite...it's in it's third year, I think. I bought most of them from Bluestone during one of their sales and then a few more locally. It's irritating to me that the whole group isn't blooming at the same time, but it's still a favorite. It gets no direct sun, yet blooms very well. It's about two feet high. Key West is looking teriffic this year, and peaks about a week after Sprite for me. Here is Sprite from today
You're welcome, Louise.
I'm waiting for people to post more favorite astilbes, especially with pics, as I only realized last year how much I like them, especially as I have sooo much shade. I already have several varieties (still haven't determined favorite), but do have room for a few more.
Noreaster - Your 'Sprite' is way bigger than mine and it's probably as old or older than your's. I think I bought mine locally. Guess I need to think about moving it although it is cute in it's smaller size. Mine's in total shade and my soil isn't the greatest. It tends to be really fine stuff on top of clay even though I amend the soil and mulch about every other year. I guess I've always hesitated planting them in more sun as I'm fearful they'll crisp up if I don't watch them closely.
I've got some Astilbe that get nearly full sun. It's seems to be all about the water. If they get enough they don't crisp. If you can keep them watered they will do fine. If you rely on Mother Nature alone then it can be a problem.
Watering is a necessity here and I try to minimize when I can, especially since we have city water. We have so many oak trees in the yard with far-reaching roots that really suck up any soil moisture. Plus the leaf canopy really deflects the rain unless it rains pretty hard. I'm always surprised after a rain how dry the soil is below the top couple of inches. Have soaker hoses but the rain barrel doesn't provide enough gravitational force to get the water really flowing through them. Have two more rain barrels to install at some point and hope to improve the flow from them. Rain isn't as reliable here as I would have thought and I always wondered if Lake Michigan has an effect on how the rain storms break up as they get close to this area. On the other hand, the more rain we get, the worse the mosquitoes get since our lot backs up to a wooded wetlands.
We have a ton in common. The meteorologists, ie the weather guy, says that we are often in a "dry slot". Rain storms coming from the west break apart and half goes north and half goes south leaving us dry. We are 10 miles west of Lake Erie and I blame the lake. I too, have a yard dominated by oaks plus excessively sandy soil. When we get rain it whooshes through the soil. It's so sandy that It's taken me over 15yrs of composting the beds to get a soil that will form a ball in my hand. About 10 years ago I started double digging all new beds. Skim off the sod and throw it on a tarp. Dig down one spade depth and throw that soil on a tarp. Then I bury the sod under the second spade depth. Back filling with 1/3 compost and 1/3 peat moss by volume produces a nice raised bed that plants go crazy in. Or sometimes I truck off some of the sand if I don't want the bed higher than ground level. (Luckily I have a neighbor that wants all the extra dirt to fill in some low spots.) It's absolutely back breaking work, but the results are so worth it.
From what you describe your gardens are much, much larger than what I have here. Managing all that you have with rain barrells has got to be difficult and also affect your plant choices and plant placement. Because my lot is only 70 x 140 I put in an underground irrigation system about 10 years ago. It sure makes gardening a lot easier. It's not perfect though. Not all plants like getting hit by a rotating spray, especially some conifers. Also water with chlorine in it is not the same as rain water. There are maintenance issues too. Not that the system breaks down. It doesnt. But if I add a new bed or plants get tall and block a spray head then changes have to be made. Sometimes my husband and I can DIY it. Sometimes we can't and the company has to come out and change out a head or shift a line. It's not budget breaker but something to consider. The company is really good and the guys who work on my system are almost friends!
The hose is still my best friend for new shrubs or trees. Giving them a weekly 1" soak at the roots until established is a drag the hose affair.
It must be very pretty having a lot that backs up to wooded wetlands. My scenery is not nearly that nice. I have neighbors with ugly storage sheds and who believe that a yard is meant for parking recreational vehicles, like big ugly boats, skidoos, old pool ladders and slides and other junk. I'd gladly swat mosquitos not to have to look at that stuff.
I think you're right about the dry slot! Chicago gets a ton of rain but once it hits the state line, it splits up going north or south. I didn't quite double dig my beds but really worked hard on amending the soil. Sand doesn't work here with the clay so I used a lot of wood mulch and peat moss to add organics to the fine silty soil that sits on top of tan clay (which can also get very dry and fine. My original bed put in almost 20 years ago is not bad but I think the amendments end up composting down over time so amending soil becomes a continuing process that I'm not always "up" for. I'm experimenting with "spot" composting of kitchen scraps (fruit, vegetable, egg shells) but first I have to free up some vacant spots to do it and hope I bury it deep enough that the raccoons don't raid the scraps. We do have a great view straight back from our lot but my next door neighbor has 5 cars and an RV (which is parked about 8 ft from my family room windows) so I feel your pain. Even though that's on the north side, it does block a lot of light. I try to look at it as a wind break in the winter. Consequently, I haven't done anything with the north side of my house except keeping the leaves cleaned up and the lawn mowed. As for an irrigation system, we've dreamed of one but I can't imagine how the pipes would get laid with all of the tree roots here.
If you ever decide that you want an irrigation system don't let tree roots be a concern. They won't cut any big ones. They easily go under/over them where necessary. The trenches aren't deep. That's why you have to have the lines blown out before winter freezing. I can honestly say not one single shrub, tree, or plant skipped a beat in any bed that they dug through. It's amazing how they route that stuff. Mine is a Rainbird. The heads seldom have problems. I think I've replaced maybe three due to a malfunction in all the time I've had it. I dont like the controller panel ( in the garage ). It's really hard to figure out how to program it. I would replace my controller for an easier to program model in a heart beat. I need to go out and make some changes right now and I dread it. My irrigation guys say that some of their clients won't even do their own but call for service instead. My wallet isn't that deep! I get out the manual and grit my teeth.
It is all about the compost isnt it. Every new plant gets a handful. Every other fall after the first hard freeze and the leaves are raked up I put down a couple inches over the perennial beds. I don't do it every year because my compost pile is slow and I don't have enough. I dont like to put down the real chunky unfinished stuff. Raccoons. Backing up to a wooded area you're a prime target. They are not my favorite animal as they have on two occaisions dined on my gold fish. Hate the masked bandits.
I did stare at an RV for 2 years out my dining room window. That was just awful. They were a partying, drinking kind of couple who eventually moved. Then I had a party and drank in celebration. No more RV!
I'll pass the irrigation system info on to DH. I have a hard enough time learning how to use the digital camera (as evidenced by my lack of photos). He's all about having grass while most of our lot is in garden beds.
My compost pile is a slow one too. It's mainly oak leaves which take forever to break down if not shredded and it's in shade so it really doesn't heat up. We usually don't collect grass clippings as a rule so the pile probably doesn't get enough nitrogen to get it going.
Our town has been talking about a new ordinance about RVs and such and how they are to be stored on private property. I guess that can be a good thing and a bad thing.
I was an elected councilwoman for the town I live in for 12 yrs. ( retired December 2007) Storing recreational vehicles on a residential lot is ALWAYS a hot button issue. People either own them and think they are the most gorgeous things on earth or they don't own them and consider them metal monstrosities. We ( Council) never found a compromise controlling ordinance that satisfied both camps. I fell into the monstrosity camp but wanted to be fair to those owned them. The last ordinance we passed required them to be stored behind the most rear edge of the residence and 10' off of any property line. That forced a lot of them to offsite rental parking and seemed to quiet most of the monstrosity camp. My old neighbors managed to still squeeze their's in. If you have an opinion let your elected official know. Most elected officials want to really serve the public and appreciate input, offered in a polite, factual way.
One valid point you might ask your elected official to consider about RV storage/parking on a residential lot is fire. If parked too close to buildings they can help spread a fire from dwelling to dwelling and they can hinder fighting a fire.
Funny you mention fire. Same neighbor also races stock cars. He's got a suspicious 55 gal drum in back yard marked racing fuel. Who knows where he stores the nitrous oxide. Based on your experience, I reckon that would put his RV right in the middle of his back yard. Then he can look at it every day like I do. Since he doesn't have windows on this side of the house next to his driveway, he never has to look at it. We did mention the newspaper article about the proposed ordinance as a gentle hint but whoosh, right over his head.
I'm not surprised the mention of the proposed ordinance didn't register. If they had any common sense they would recognize how rude it is to put an RV out of their sight and into the neighbors in the first place. Do you happen to know any of the specifics of the ordinance? They do vary from community to community.
Well too bad I traded in my miles card for one that gives me back cash. Don't think I'll be going to NZ any time soon. Maybe one of these days or years I can tempt you with something exotic in exchange for a small division.
DonnieBrook - How did you acquire this fuschia must-have? Maybe that would help us along the trail.
I'm up for Astilbe dividing today so I'm prepared for lots of physical labor. New compost screen is ready and I'm off.
That's no problem, Sharon. I don't usually divide our plants at the farm until spring at this point, only because they never seem to have enough time to get established in the fall here before we have to abandon them to the dry spells. If the rainy weather keeps on through the fall, however, we may be able to chance it. We'll know in September how it looks. Worst case scenario is that we will do it right when we return in the spring.
Cindy - I have no idea where I got this one, unfortunately. It arrived before I started keeping track of such good and useful info!! LOL
Have the best intentions on getting those Astilbe divided in my lower garden but am having to grub out unwanted plants (Lamium gone native and sweet woodruff) and move other "lost" plants to better spots. I did rescue a poor 'Pumilla' today from the throes of woodland phlox strangulation and gave it a new home with some relocated maidenhair ferns and a relocated Carex 'Bowles Golden' being smothered by Canadian ginger (which has gone crazy in my garden - I thought it was supposed to be well-behaved). I just have to move two Hostas and then I can start on dividing the 'Peach Blossom'. Then it's on to removing rampant woodland ferns to make room for 'Fanal' divisions. Obviously this poor garden is long overdue for some serious attention.
Cindy, sounds like you're on steroids or something!
Louise, really whenever is okay. Just discovered your September roundup. Would love to come, but not sure yet if I'll be around - and 3 hours is a bit of a hike for me. Haven't got a GPS thingy yet either.
As I mentioned, serious attention is long overdue. It does go a little slow since I have to be vigilant about poison ivy (sheesh, I even pick it out of my lawn) - those seedlings are always hiding waiting to get me. I always garden with heavy leather gloves unless I'm playing with pots. I'm using all of the digging as an opportunity to add some compost since the soil down there is pretty much clay. Any amending I did years ago has basically disappeared and returned mostly to it's natural clay state. That makes for much harder work. I'm taking a break today and tomorrow from the hard labor since I have other things on my schedule. This cooler summer is giving me a great opportunity since I usually hide indoors from the "real" summer heat.
Snapple - You'd be proud of me. Finally finished dividing the first bed of Astilbe. Took me 3 or 4 days of steady work because I rearranged a few things and amended the soil with compost and a 10-10-10 fertilizer and loosened up all the clay. I think that one bed is 30 ft by 15 ft and on a slope. The 'Peach Blossom' Astilbe better reward me next year. ;) I did add a bit of superphos in each planting hole.
Next bed has already been cleared of an overabundance of woodland ferns and need to relocate some Ligularia first and remove a huge Cimicifuga or two. Then it's on to dividing 'Fanal'. Throwing in some leftover 'Peach Blossom' for more staggered blooms and color. Still have a third bed to do after that. Ugh. I think I'm developing muscles.
I AM proud. And trying to imagine handling a bed that large and on a slope. The botanical garden where I volunteer has one just a little bit larger that I weed from time to time and once planted ( along with about 6 others) in a diamond pattern with lavender and Alternanthera "Red Threads". It was exhausting. Absolutely exhausting. You will definitely notice the difference superphos makes. Next spring should be spetacular. Just spectacular.
I have two large slopes going down from the yard that form my "lower garden". It is exhausting to work them because footing can be tricky and keeping your balance while digging requires some coordination (especially for an old desk jockey like me). The body does get a real workout. I bet those diamond patterns were absolutely stunning though. I tend to keep the lower garden on the simple side using perennials that work reliably down there. So it's mainly Hostas, Astilbes, Aconitum, Carex, Campanula, woodland phlox, Ligularia, Epimediums, perennial foxglove and some naturalized daffodils along with a few various shade shrubs and a few other woodland perennials. The other slope is much steeper which I dread working on but it's mostly groundcovers to help prevent erosion. It has a few narrow terraces for toughies like Epimediums. Tomorrow I get to work on a flat surface so that will be a welcome break (sort of).
That is a very impressive plant list. Tomorrow I am manicuring the diamond bed in preparation for an Arts Festival at the gardens. The plants have grown of course, so there is precious little room to plant your feet. It's considered the "signature bed" of the gardens. Each horticulturalist gets an annual chance at designing it. All the plants have to be clipped by hand to a precise height as well as pull any weeds. The height is about 9". So it's bend over on a slope for approximately 4 hours. But you know all about that don't ya!
I'm really nervous about manicuring this bed. It's the second time I've done it. The first was a huge challenge. Maybe tomorrow I'll see if anybody with tiny feet wants to take my place.
Can you post pictures? I'm just amazed at the plant collection you have. It's as stout a list as some places in the botanical garden here. No kidding.
Tiny feet - funny. Your pruning job seems like it would be worse than my digging and dividing - good luck with that. Sounds like you'll be ready for some lounge chair time after that. My size 9's make it a challenge, especially in the heavily planted spaces like my only half-day sun bed where I cram everything in that doesn't like mostly shade. That's getting edited too - huge old sedum (no name) that takes up way too much space and a shrub rose that's thought to be 'Celsiana' which is pretty when it decides to bloom (not every year) and is prone to black spot. Both will be a whole lot of fun to remove as they've been in the ground for more than 10 years.
As for my plant list - I'm more of a collector/experimenter with plants - throw them in a difficult spot and see what survives. Always trying something new. I'll have to see if DH has any photos since that area is not in good shape at the moment for any new photos. Started it just to make use of an awkward space that has no other purpose so it's not as well-maintained as the rest of the spaces. It tends to go wild on the edge of the woods. My 4yo GD calls it the secret garden (yeah, at the beginning of the story when it's all overgrown). I'm currently making up for years of neglect as I never had enough time to maintain it while I was working. My plant list - I've killed almost as many things as have survived. I keep looking at my spreadsheet of plants and wonder how I could have killed so many.
Kevin - I'm not sure about the flower panicle shape. I have 'Bressingham' blooming now and the panicle is a little more pointed.
Snapple - I am so glad I went on a guilt trip about the Astilbes. I originally planted 3 'Fanal' several years ago and ended up with 13 or 14 today after dividing. Poor Ligularia przewalskii started life as 2 seedlings in '94 and now I have 7. Forget about individually watering all of my 20 or 25 transplants today - I hauled out the sprinkler.
Kevin - 'Peach Blossom' also has a great fragrance. They also make a great cut flower and last several days indoors. Normally I wouldn't cut Astilbe flowers but I have a lot of this variety. It works well with cut roses. What color is 'Milk and Honey'?
Cin - You're gonna just love the "new" gardens. It's such a good feeling to finally get in place all the stuff that you know is the right plant in the right place. Before and after pics can be fun. Take some "befores". Save them and show them next spring with the spectacular "afters".
Gosh, I never think about photos. I'm too much the "do-er" for my own good. Probably why I never have the patience to learn how to use the digital camera. I know the lower garden will be in much better shape by next year just by amending the soil. Now design skills (or lack thereof) may be my shortcoming. DH did say that everything was just all growing together down there and that there was no distinction between the different plants so I have been trying to correct that (until they all start growing together again). Relying heavily on various non-solid green Hostas (imported from all over the yard) as well as other broad-leaved plants to help lend a balance to the textures and foliage colors since there's not a lot that will bloom down there in late summer. And because that area is viewed from some distance, I can't rely on too many dainty plants - everything has to be done in a bold way. Too hot this weekend to do much outdoors (personal thermostat can't take too much heat) but I'll be down there again next week. Have another bed with other Astilbes to be divided yet and rearranged and amended...
Spent two more days dividing and rearranging this week. Five more various Astilbes ('Serenade', 'Red Light', A. taquetti, 'Bressingham Beauty' and 'Pumilla') became about 20 more plants. Sifted 5 more barrows full of compost and dug hard clay. Got stung by a little wasp for all of my endeavors. One more small area of hard labor to go and then it's on to removing some of the Northern Sea Oats before they take over the whole area. I'm going to end up with Astilbe everywhere down there but luckily, they bloom at different times.
Snapple - Shot a few photos (well, more than a few and DH had to drag out tripod because I don't hold still long enough). These are just general photos, no real specific plants highlighted because they're all rather pathetic looking after divisions, moving and replanting.
Beyond the back of the garden is a wooded wetlands (read: mosquitoes) but it's quiet. About 95% of the plants are brought in by me as this was a desolate, clay-filled dumping ground for the previous owners - discarded turkey roasting pans, old Christmas trees, other trash and lots of poison ivy (which I learned about the hard way the first year. Now I can spot it at 10 yards.)
A shot of the back section where I've been working this week. 3 Astilbes became about 15. Still working in this section but mainly Hostas for accents and the Astilbe in drifts. Also some woodland poppy, Jack-in-the-pulpit, some merrybells and Campanula speciosa. Oh, and woodland phlox creeping in places.
As you can tell, I didn't tidy up for this shot. A couple of Cimicifuga in pots for my daughter. Looking up the worst slope (therefore the least tidy) towards neighbor's house. Relying a lot on ground covers to prevent erosion. Also working on eliminating that nasty invasive Campanula (forget the name) that I innocently planted before doing more work in this area. Epimediums have no problem getting established which surprised me. Also Campanula poscharskyana settles in along the edges of the terraced areas (using tree branches stacked against rebar to hold the dirt back). Those are woodland ferns that I have to pull out when they get out of control.
This shot looks down into my lower garden from the top of some steps we built almost 20 years ago. They're definitely ready for replacement but they sure beat trying to climb up and down a slippery clay slope. That's my $8 Japanese maple from Frank's from 20 years ago. And that beautiful green plastic fencing way in the back helps keep out some of the less inquisitive deer (until the plastic tears to let them in).
The main plants used in this shady area are Hostas and Astilbes with other odds and ends thrown in. Unfortunately nothing is blooming at the moment but am looking forward to next year with definitely more Astilbe blooms in drifts to brighten things up.
That lower garden shown in the photos above only encompasses about 25% of my gardening area. DH is my biggest enabler and is always encouraging to me to enlarge the gardens but I think that's because he wants less lawn to mow. The showier plants are up around the yard where they can get supplemental watering and a more critical eye. Because I was left with no real desirable native trees (except mulberry and a stray serviceberry), shrubs or plants, I wasn't able to play much off of existing landscape the way so many of the beautiful woodland gardens photo depict. And letting it go a little to the wild side helps it blend in to the background a little better. At least it's better than poison ivy.
Oh my, oh my, oh my. Both the upper and lower gardens are just as beautiful as the Toledo Botanical Garden's Shade Garden. That is just an amazing piece of property you have there, made so valuable because of all that you have brought in and planted. Now I can see what a tremendous undertaking the rehab is. Please keep on going. I'll ask the head horticultruralist from the shade garden here for the native accession list (plant list). There are some natives that are easy to find and relatively inexpensive that you could be using for beauty and variety. The first ones that come to mind are the Meadow Rues, especially tall medaow rue. It should work in your soil and light and it would add so much. Rues and Jack in the Pulpits combine easily. Is there a damp area? If so how about the big giant luscious Petasites japonicus? There is Ligularia too. Gosh - you have a stunning collection.
Thanks for the compliment even though my design skills are severely lacking. Even though we back up on wetlands, the lower garden tends to be dry after June. I have one bed that stays damp a little longer but will be dry by July if rain is scarce. Yes, Petasites would be luscious but it's not wet enough down there. That's why I'm surprised that some things have hung on. I do have two types of Thalictrum (one as seedlings and another type along the sunnier edge not pictured) down there along with Rodgerisa, Uvularia, 2 types of Aruncus, various Carex, Corydalis (white and yellow) that seed themselves around, 2 types of Ligularia, variegated Solomon's seal, some hardy Geraniums, dwarf Iris and a few others. Big shrub in the middle of the garden is a Calycanthus that does bloom down there despite the shade. Used to have Echinacea that would bloom but that's deer bait. Have various other things as well but have tried to stay more along the woodland side of things and a little more natural than the upper gardens (except for the Astilbe and Hostas). The Jacks were just moved there a couple of years ago but haven't really taken a good hold yet because the soil was so hard (not any more). I even let a lot of the wild violets stay but have to rein them in every once in a while. And I have a few Canadian cypress for background even though they're not really robust along with a small pine and barberries - concentrated along the back of the garden for screening of the compost pile, etc.
And I'd really love to see a list of natives to see what else I can add. Thanks for offering to get that.
I should have known you had the Rues. I don't work at the Garden until Tuesday, but I usually talk to my boss on Sunday or Monday about what my projects will be for the week. I'll ask him then. Since it's supposed to rain here Tuesday and Wednesday it's possible I could be working in the records room and I can get it for myself. They are behind in getting the new aquisitions added to the accession lists and just last week I started to put some things in the computer files. Budget cuts have forced them to slash paid staff. Volunteers like myself are trying to pick up some of the slack. I usually work 12 hrs wk. Sometimes a little more. BTW, calycanthus is one of my boss' favorite shrubs. He had me nick seeds and sow them in flats last April. We got a modest germination and the seedlings are in the native greenhouse. They've been pottted on once so far.
Have 3 Viburnums. V. plicatum 'Pink Beauty' is on the slope going down to the lower garden on right side of stairs. Have had it over 10 years and in my shade, it's probably 12 feet or more across with very distinct horizontal brances that are utterly beautiful when in bloom. The berries don't last long though so no real color from them in the colder months. V. carlesii is the best thing to smell in spring. And a little V. 'Mohawk' only a few years old that's currently over-shadowed by Deutzia 'Magician' in another bed up in the yard. 'Magician' is moving to a better spot in a few weeks so 'Mohawk' will have more room. I have suckers of 'Pink Beauty' (whose flowers are more a pure white for me) that need to be dug up but it does take up a lot space in full shade. It would definitely be a single focal planting that I think I know where to plant in the back bed. My Calycanthus (from Forestfarm) doesn't have the intense fragrance that I expected. Maybe because it's growing in shade. It got relocated from up near the house - too close to house foundation per DH.
I'm hoping for some rain tomorrow as we've had a bit of a dry spell. I'm going to work some more down in the garden today and keep my fingers crossed that it does.
Finished the Astilbe division in the lower garden just in time for rain yesterday. Have a couple more days of work down there pulling out some very prolific Northern Sea Oats and doing a little more soil amending and then will call it quits for the season down there and keep my fingers crossed for next spring. Still have a quarter of my compost pile left and looks like I'll use every bit of it. Need to look after the bed of white Astilbes to see what needs dividing and to make room for 'White Wings' which has been growing in a pot on the patio since I got it this spring. Have a Northern Lights 'White Lights' azalea that's been struggling with root competition in another bed that will probably get moved into the midst of white Astilbes which should extend the white blooms in that bed for a longer period.
I've been lurking but coming out of hiding to comment on your stunning gardens! All your hard work is really paying off and I hope you'll show us photos next spring :) How do you keep your paths weed free? They're so neat and tidy, are they pea gravel? Looks like you've got a little "helper" in the last photo - cute! LOL
Thanks for the compliments. The garden wasn't in the best of shape when I snapped the photos last weekend. And since it's a shade garden, not a lot blooming this time of year. The plants are at their best in late spring, early summer. The summer heat (coming late) and dry spell have started to take their toll on the plants.
Yes, the paths are pea gravel and were put down almost 20 years ago. Does make it difficult to change the layout as I've come up with alternative ideas so I haven't attempted that. I think we put down 6 or 8 tons of the stuff. Actually, it wa dumped in our driveway and we had to cart it to the back yard. Then we built a chute down the stairs that DH had just made, shoveled it down the chute and hauled it around. We actually had neighborhood kids helping us all for the price of treats from DQ. Cheap! I do lightly rake the debris that falls on the paths and then at least once a year, do some heavy duty raking to redistribute and dislodge some of the dirt that collects.
And yes, the chipmunks have made a comeback this year. Haven't had a lot the previous couple of years but quite a few this year. I think they're attracted to the bird feeder. Didn't even notice him until after I posted the photo.
Yikes, 6-8 tons! I would love to use pea gravel on our paths. We have one shade garden with a slight slope and after a good rain the path is pretty "greasy"! I feel the same way about our shade gardens, they always look best in the late spring/early summer. I've been trying to incorporate bright golds and more variegation to give them a little more color through the summer :) After two summers of drought we've welcomed the cooler summer and rain this year, however the recent rise in temperatures have taken their toll on our gardens as well and I'm once again dragging the hoses! LOL
I've also been adding some lighter-leaved and variegated plants and many heucheras for color.
Cindy, my fall flowerers are blooming now. Great for later blooms in the shade are japanese anemone, aconitum and tricyrtis.
"Greasy" is a good description. I tend to be more clumsy than graceful and trying to "skate" uphill on wet clay was a challenge for me. Yeah, 6 to 8 tons. It was a good investment though as it's lasted a long time. There are several more paths down in the lower garden not shown in the photos so that amount covered a lot. I've added a bag or two on the steps and I'm always disappointed that 50# bags don't go very far.
Know exactly what you mean with incorporating color. I've relied on a lot of yellow and variegated Hostas and Sambucus (moving a variegated one today) while still trying to keep that area looking a little more "natural".
Sounds like we're in the same weather pattern although 2 zones apart. Cooler this coming weekend though - 70's. Yippee!
perenniallyme - you're ahead of me on fall blooms it seems. I had summer-blooming aconitums (white and blue) about 6 weeks ago. I've got Japanese anemones in a bed up in the yard. I tried digging up running plants once but have found they're a little tricky to move. Tricyrtis I have also up in the yard. Heucheras really add some color too but I've had issues with some of them dying out on me so haven't purchased any lately. That area doesn't get a lot of attention so I keep the fussier/costlier stuff up in the yard so I can keep any eye on it.
Cindy, my fall bloomers are way ahead of their usual bloom times this year, as were just about all of my blooms. As the Japanese anemones multiply so rapidly when they get established, and usually end up where you don't want them, I've learned how to transplant them. Easier when small, of course, and it often appears that they won't make it, but if you try to keep the soil around the root (not easy with a taproot) and pot them up for a bit, they usually recover. Just keep them well watered. They'll also recover if you transplant them directly and keep them watered, but it seems to take longer.
Cin - Still no list from the Toledo Botanical Gardens for you. But I WILL get it, I promise. I just came home from working out there and everbody was so busy - to busy to ask. They found nematodes in the hosta gardens. They're pretty upset. I had to disinfect my shoes and throw my garden gloves in the washer as soon as I got home. One of the plants that you probably have is Solomons Seal - Polygonatum commutatum. Also others I remembered today are the species Heuchera villosa, Wild Ginger - Asarum danadense and Bottle Gentian - Gentiana andrewsii. For spring ephemerals the Shooting Stars, Dodadecatheon are gorgeous. How about Podophyllum - Mayapple? Or Great Blue Lobelia - Lobelia siphilitica, which is in bloom now - one of my fall favorites for shade color in the late summer to fall.
perenniallyme - My Anemone decides to send out underground runners right into the midst of other plants which makes it frustrating to untangle without doing harm to either plant. If I ever get up to the back garden, I'll take a look to see if there's a likely candidate.
Snapple - Don't worry about the list with a crisis on your hands. How do nematodes affect the Hostas and what do you do to get rid of them? I've never heard of a nematode/Hosta relationship but then I'm not that knowledgeable in the area of pests and diseases. I do have the variegated Solomon's seal - had to corral that a couple of weeks ago as it's wandered in several directions over the years. Also have mayapples - already here when we moved in so must be native to this area. My wild ginger has gone crazy in the lower garden - have it everywhere. I used to grow L. syphilitica and L. x gerardii years ago up in the yard and really like it. It would get so tall that the wind would blow it over. I might have to try that in the lower garden where it's more protected. I have Gentiana semtemfida but must not have it sited right. I'm down to one remaining plant that just sprawls and doesn't bloom. Does it need sun?
Pulled out huge clumps of Northern sea oats today. Wish it wasn't so prolific because I really like it. I have kept some but I've got to cut back on the amount of seedlings. Moved a variegated Sambucus to a better spot and moved some full grown Thalictrum rochebrunianum from the yard down to the lower garden as well. Love the flowers but it tends to drop it's leaves where it was at. And now it's going to rain so I'm happy.
Hi Louise :) Yes, I've been lurking but have been busy this summer and I'm finally trying to catch up! I haven't even visited the NE Forum lately, I'll never catch up over there! LOL
WOW, Cindy, you don't slow down for a minute - those are some huge plants to move in this heat! We used to have a beautiful variegated Sambucus ('Madonna') but after DH gave it a severe pruning we lost it and I really miss it :( Re: the Heucheras, I've always planted them in the shade but since the newer H. villosa intros in the past few years I'm finding they really appreciate a dose of sun, either morning or afternoon only here! I think 'Citronelle' has got to be one of my favorites for the "glow" it adds to a dark spot in the gardens. It's not as fast a grower as 'Caramel' but after the second year it's definitely a keeper! Planted on a slope with Hostas and Hellebores...
The bottom portion of that bed had bare spots which needed to be planted and I just finished a couple of weeks ago. We have a terrific problem when we have thunderstorms that create gully washers down the driveway and carve out the soil along that bed. So...I borrowed some rocks from other areas of the gardens to create a barrier and hopefully prevent it from happening again. We haven't had enough rain yet to "test" it but keeping my fingers crossed it works!
Foliar nematodes wreck hosta foliage and eventually kill the plant. It looks like extreme sun damage with yellowing, browning and holes. The hosta dies if not treated. For hosta nematodes the remedies are few. The recommendaton to a homeowner is to remove the infested hosta, with the soil, and all other hostas, whether infested or not, to within a six foot radius. Leave the area bare for two years. Then it's safe to replant. There are a couple of chemical controls available to licensed applicators only. The best ( questionable attribute) have been recently removed from the market due to toxicity. So the Gardens are grappling with choosing an effective control measure. There is some evidence that a regular program of spraying with with insecticdal soap or Zero-Tol can manage the pest but not completely eradicate it. Zero-tol would be my choice. It's peroxyacetic acid, a form of hydrogen peroxide. Safe to use and of low toxicity. It's hard for a homeowner to get but it is registered for use for homeowners. Zero-Tol has shown a 70% kill rate of nematodes on foliage and about 70% of soil nematodes.
The best strategy for a homewoner would be to remove the infested hosta along with the soil. Then treat the surrounding healthy hostas with Zero-Tol. Spray the leaves and drench the soil. Do this regularly right up until the ground freezes. Nematode damage doesn't show up until late summer or early fall. Cross your fingers. Buy hostas from better garden centers or companies with good ratings here on the Garden Watchdog. Nematodes are usually spread by infected nursery stock.
DonnieBrook - Sambucus 'Alba Variegata' has been in the lower garden for years but it's never had enough moisture (or sunlight) to bloom but that's ok since it was the foliage that first attracted me. It brings the foliage interest up higher than ground-level Hostas. It was in a bad spot though, subject to wheelbarrow traffic, damaging branches. It does suffer some die-back every winter but I prune it in the spring once I see where the die-back occurs and it recovers rapidly from the pruning. I have done a few cuttings from it and one resides in the back of a bed up in the yard and is bigger with the better soil but still no flowers. I'm trying 'Sutherland Gold' this year and like the lacier foliage on it. I've craved 'Black Lace' but was thinking that it needed more sun (at a premium here) to bring out the color.
rcn - Love the driveway plantings! Everything looks so neat and tidy. What is that small tree next to the red Japanese maple? Great idea with the rocks. In the lower garden I use any large tree branches that fall to create little dams on the slopes to slow down the water and erosion. It works ok down there since it's a very casual space (and since I don't have the stamina to haul rocks down there).
Snapple - I never knew. What a devastating condition. And it can't be easy to treat with the spray either, given the nature of Hostas with all of their leaves. How can you tell the difference between nematode damage and foliar damage that is just common with some Hostas (ie sun scorching, etc)? Sounds like all of the volunteers will have their hands full with on-going spraying.
No volunteer will spray anything in the gardens themselves. Only a few of us can use any chemicals and it is limited to single plant or flat applications in the greenhouses. It's too risky. It isn't easy at first glance to spot nematode damage. The damage always occurs between the veins. Even with a horticulturalist at my side yesterday showing me it took a bit to be able to differentiate it from the usual yellowing or crisping of leaves that all hostas sometimes exhibit. A dead, brown wedged shaped streak between the veins is a sure indication. Yellowing happens first and is harder to spot.
Cindy, which aconitums are summer blooming?
The japanese anemone can be a pain with their underground spreading, but they're gorgeous enough that I forgive them.
My gentiana septemfida has lots of blooms right now in part sun, but it is very sprawly, and might appreciate more sun if it could have it. If you're behind me in blooming time, yours just might bloom soon.
Cindy - I appreciate your thoughts on the sambucas! If my Black Lace ever gets really established, I'll try to get you a cutting. The plant was expensive (used a birthday present gift card to get it), and I remember Victor saying his was a disappointment to him, but still loved the look and it has grown a bit this year (its second year). I usually give something 3 years before I judge it adversely. I'm not generally a fan of dark plants, but this one just has such an interesting look to it.
rcn - Wow! You have done so much in a short time with your gardens. They are stunning! I have been wanting to try my hand at growing some heucheras to take the place of having to lug my coleus back and forth between Florida and NH. I do love that Citronelle for its color...it really pops, doesn't it? I also like the bright oranges, like Georgia Peach, etc. Great job with your gardens!!
I have some older Hostas - 'August Moon' and 'Frances Williams' that seem to start off the season with scorch marks and eventually holes. Don't you think it's doubtful that it's the spring sun? They do get some sun in spring before all of the trees leaf out. Will definitely check out that link.
Aconitum napellus is a summer-bloomer. I have 'Royal Blue' and 'Ivorine'. I keep them in the lower garden away from kids. Sounds like I need to move my Gentiana to a sunnier spot. I'll have to go hunting tomorrow for a spot.
I know 'Black Lace' is expensive and to keep it in sun, I have limited space. Hmmm, what to throw out... I love the dark plants in combo with the chartreuse and peachy colored foliages. Heucheras a good combo with that. I'm starting to obsess.
Sun damage on hostas is different from nematode damage. You can learn to differentiate it with just a little practice. Left unchecked it kills the plant so if your hostas are returning every year and enlarging you don't have nematodes. I too have August Moon and Francis Williams. I have less light damage on the August Moon than Francis Williams. Francis Williams is notorius for leaf damage.
If you all are interested in plants with black foliage there is a new book coming out in September - "Black Plants" by Paul Bonine (paperback $14.95 - cheaper pre ordered on Amazon). http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Black-Plants/Paul-Bonine/e/9780881929812
It looks mighty interesting. I have a new partial shade bed in the planning state for next year. Part of the bed will have Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'nigrescens') coming up through Scotch Moss ( Sagina subulata 'aurea'). For behind the Black Mondo Grass I'm looking for a silver or bright chartreuse leaved plant. Turning out to be a toughy. I know this isn't native species gardening but what the heck. Ornanmental horticulture isn't all that bad. Here's my favorite garden spot this year.
Have been obsessed with that color combo myself. I bought some black mondo grass on sale from Sunshine Farms (Barry Glick's nursery) a year ago. I love the Scotch moss idea. Some chartreuse foliage I've used with it - Caryopteris 'Sunshine Blue', Chrysanthemum parthenium 'Aureum' (which probably has a different name now but that's how I always refer to it and it self-seeds true to parent and I have seeds), Aquilegia vulgaris 'Woodside Mix' (although the foliage color is changeable and fleeting in high summer only to return later in the summer with a new flush of leaves), Centaurea montana 'Gold Bullion', Deutzia 'Chardonnay Pearls' (low growing shrub and one of my new favorites). And you could always use the annual chartreuse Coleus. I'm sure there are tons more but those I'm familiar with.
After seeing the photos of the nematode damage, I'm relieved to know that my Hostas don't have the critters. I would have never guessed that the heavy leaves of 'Frances Williams' would be prone to that kind of sun damage. And I have about 8 of them. Sigh.
Gee Cindy, maybe that's why my aconitum napellus is blooming now. I could swear it doesn't usually bloom til September, but I have several different aconitums mixed up together, so I could just be confused. Is your blue one a true blue, or is it purple? I'd love to find some true (delphinium) blue ones, as I much prefer that color to the purple ones I have.
Just to warn you guys, black mondo grass is an extremely slow grower. I got one or two small tufts from my mother several years ago, and now I have 3 small tufts. Maybe black plants can't do photosynthesis as well as green ones.
I agree with you on the mondo grass. Mine is a slow grower too. I think even Liriope is a slow grower for me as well. Both seem awful slow coming out of winter dormancy. Maybe I'm pushing the zone but you're warmer than me so I would think it would do better for you.
Snapple - if you're looking for silver, what about some of the newer Japanese painted ferns? Although my old species type does get some gorgeous dark markings on it along with the silver. Of course, I'm thinking shade here so maybe I'm on the wrong track.
My Aconitum is more along the purple side. Delphinium blue - not. If you find a variety with the true blue color, let me know. I need to obsess over some new plants (like I have a place to put them).
Eureka! That's it! Ghost fern! http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/64825/ I'm digging that bed this fall. Mondo grass is slow to break dormancy. However, I have lots of runners and the clumps themselves are expanding too. I have slightly acid sandy soil. Maybe they just like those conditions.
Ahhhh - the trick with mondo must be the sandy soil. Sounds like you have a winning combination there. I have a little ghost fern that I moved earlier this season as it was totally shaded out by a Hosta.
I need to come up with some plants to put in the hard-packed clay on one of my little "terraces". I've been eradicating Campanula rapunculoides from that area (with the help of Roundup) and am trying to think of what to plant there. Can't be too tall since the wind coming out of the west will come right down that slope and blow it over. I was thinking yellow Hostas to stand out from all of the various groundcovers on the slope but I'll have to ruminate a while since that's too obvious a solution. I can loosen up the soil some but if it's too loose, it'll wash away. Already have two types of Epimedium in that area and they love it there. So do wild violets.
Cindy, my parents are in the mountains of NC, maybe zone 6b or 7, and their black mondo grass doesn't grow any faster than mine.
Snapple, if you need more part-shade silver, how about brunneras - Jack Frost or what's its name - (I'll think of it), or some of the heucheras with silver in them. Or when you say chartreuse, I think of a very lemony-lime hosta I have that practically glows in the dark, but unfortunately I don't have a name for it.
Be careful with Brunnera. The plain variety seeds all over the place here. I have an old variegated one that I've never seen self-seed but it wouldn't work in your combo. 'Jack Frost' or one of silver Pulmonarias might also work. Hosta 'Fire Island' is a pretty bright yellow.
Wow, I'm absent for a couple of days and you've been chatting it up - my mind's going a mile a minute! LOL Before I forget, I wanted to post this pic of 'Black Lace'. Louise, I'm not sure why Victor would be disappointed with it, it's stunning! This photo is from last year, its second year in the gardens and it's at least doubled in size this year! It tends to "sprawl" so I pruned it back early before it flowered, otherwise it would probably be 10' tall by now! It does need full sun to keep its color but this one really only gets full sun in the morning and by noon it's on the shady side of the house. It's planted along the edge of the field where the gardens end and there is no canopy of trees overhead or nearby so it's in a "bright" spot.
Cindy, the driveway plantings look "neat and tidy" because I just planted them - wait until next year! LOL I'm not sure which "small tree" you're asking about but there's a Chamaecyparis there that was recently pruned and may be coming out - still undecided. There's a white Redbud planted behind it and it's grown so much that it's finally providing the shade we need for that spot. We've made a lot of mistakes in the landscape and have been busy pruning this summer to lift the canopy because we've created too much shade :(
Louise, thank you :) It's taken us years to "fill in" the landscape and we've still got more bare spots to fill! Good luck with your 'Black Lace'! I planted one in my daughter's garden in Maine this summer so I'm hopeful it will make it through the winter. She's basically the same zone as you but the one I planted at my mother's last year in Bangor (Z4-5?) died back to the ground over the winter and I suspect it will never reach the size of ours.
Snapple, what a coincidence - I've been trying to get over to my friend's house to dig up some of her Black Mondo Grass all summer! I've got an area where Lysimachia 'Aurea' has formed a groundcover in front of Carex 'Ogon'. I thought it needed a punch of color with all that gold and the Black Mondo Grass would be perfect :) Her BMG has been there for years and all I need are a few clumps for contrast! Ghost Fern would be perfect for your combo :) One of the things I like most about Ghost Fern is its more upright habit versus the sprawling Jap Painted Fern. It does tend to lose some of that "ghostly" sheen by late summer but still very attractive. 'Jack Frost' Brunnera is another great choice but I've been less than impressed with its offspring, 'Looking Glass'. It's pretty in the spring but looks horrid by mid summer :(
Oops, almost forgot Snapple, your favorite garden spot is gorgeous! Which Juniper is that in the middle?
Thank you rcn48. The Juniper is J. scopulorum 'Skyrocket'. It can get easily confused with J. scopulorum 'Whicita Blue' when young. 'Whicita Blue' gets 20' high by 10' wide at maturity. 'Skyrocket' gets 20' high by 1.5' to 2' wide at maturity. There is a restaurant here that has a 'Wichita Blue' planted on one side of the entrance and a 'Skyrocket' planted on the opposite side. Cracks me up every time I drive by. Lysimachia and Black Mondo grass together is a stunning plant combination idea.
'Skyrocket' is perfect there! We planted Skyrocket and Moonglow in conifer bed a few years back and lost the tags so not sure which is which, I just know I like one better than the other! I guess I'll find out which one it is soon because Skyrocket (2' wide) will work in that spot but Moonglow (5' wide) won't :( I included 'Wichita Blue' in my daughter's landscape plan because we needed something blue AND wide to fill the corner. Now I'm keeping fingers crossed it won't be damaged from snow sliding off the roof, a "problem" I hadn't factored in after being away from Maine for 10 years :( The Black Mondo Grass and Lysimachia should work although it's probably a good thing I waited to plant it because the pruning of the Crab overhead opened up a lot more light than I anticipated! Hopefully by next spring the Crab will send out enough new growth to return the spot to partial shade. Next time DH is armed with his new polesaw I'm going to supervise! I had just finished filling the bare spots in this area a few weeks before and when he pruned the Crab I was afraid they were going to "fry" :( The Lysimachia and Carex are in the far left corner.
Oh! I love that rock garden combination. It's enchanting. Nice stone placement and choice of plants. You'd be sprprised how much sun Black Mondo Grass, Lysymachia and even Irish Moss can take. In some places all three of mine get full afternoon sun. They do great. What they don't like is to dry out. If you can provide supplemental water during dry spells and/or you have moisture retentive soil you'll have no problems.
Snapple - I do love that photo with the conifers. Do you have enough sun for it? If so, I'm jealous. Any of the conifers I've planted in the lower garden were installed before I knew what "part shade" really meant.
And the photo of 'Black Lace' is absolutely gorgeous, rcn. I think I'd only have one bed for that one - part sun - that so jammed with other sun-lovers that I'd have to do major editing to make space. But it would also be exposed to some nasty winds in the winter, suffering major die back I'm sure.
Interesting info on 'Ghost' regarding upright habit. I think that would be a plus. Mine's still not growing well, staying fairly small. It was a little bitty thing when I got it from Roots and Rhizomes two years ago. And I'm tempted to move it again, poor thing, to get a little more sun.
I did try a combo one of Lysimachia and a 'Palace Purple' seedling but it was in a space that got too dry. And I had some Sedum ternatum growing nearby and it intermingled with the Lysimachia creating an undesirable effect.
Beautiful combo pictures. Sigh.
Thanks, the "rock garden" was an effort to save that corner. Years ago I built a rock wall there and we had planted Variegated Dwarf Bamboo http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/81255/ to fill in the area under the Crab. What a nightmare! It quickly filled the area, was popping out through the rock wall and running under the path! I tore the whole wall down, removed the Bamboo and started all over :( I miss the wall but I actually like the new "look" better! When I reworked the area last month I extended the edges and built it up because the same gully washers that roar down the driveway make the turn here and washed out anything planted along the edge. We still haven't had any heavy rains to "test" it but I'm convinced that the built up edge is going to help :)
Took a quick picture of 'Black Lace' yesterday when it stopped raining to show you how much it's filled in. Keep in mind that this was after pruning it back at least 2' in April just before it started leafing out. I suspect that the early pruning will become a spring ritual to keep it a manageable size!
Holy smokes! 'Black Lace' must really love it's spot. I was just thinking it might make a great pot plant like the Japanese maples you sometimes see but I don't think that a voracious grower like that would like being cramped up in a pot. Just a thought.
Was hoping to get out in the garden again today but we're experience "lake effect" rain. Usually that term is only applied to snow in the winter so this is the first time I've heard it applied to rain in summer. Now I have to postpone my "season finale" in the lower garden. Can't be tramping around in wet clay. I shouldn't complain about rain in August I guess.
Congratulations!!!! What an incredible reward for all your hard work :) http://toledoblade.com/assets/pdf/TO68272822.PDF I felt honored years ago when a photographer I had always admired requested a visit to my Maine gardens after a group of fellow gardeners hosted a garden tour as a fund raiser. She was mostly interested in the beautiful Delphiniums in the gardens but unfortunately they "snapped" in a severe thunderstorm several days before her visit :( She told me to call her the next year when they were getting ready to bloom but that was the year I was making plans for my move to VA and I never called. I will probably never win any awards but I'd still love to see a photo "published" someday. Kudos to you Snapple :)
Cindy, same problem here with "wet clay" :( I forgot, this miserable red clay is probably one of my worst obstacles to overcome now that I'm gardening in VA. My Maine gardens were located in what they called "rich bottomlands" and some of the soils in the gardens were so rich I could dig a hole without a trowel. No matter how much I amend the soil here that's never going to happen!
Hi just lurking here.
Astilbes caught my eye while looking for an open forum.
I have a new "woodswalk" garden thats actually able to support sun plants.
I was given a ton of Daylilies and have them planted around the end of the last stone.
I want to find some taller Astilbes.
I am looking for Ostrich Plume but the peach color and a few others.
I love the airy Sprite.
Right now I have hostas and Bridalvail at the shadier beginning of the stone path.
Any ideas for other astils?
I will also interplant Asiatic lilies to have both blooming in June here
Sorry there isnt a wider view Some of my astilbes are at the left near the front.
Snapple - CONGRATS! I can see that you also have a way with conifers. (Thanks for posting the article, rcn.) You both have far more design skills than I do and have inspired me to think a bit harder before "throwing" plants into a bare spot.
rnc - Digging a hole with a trowel? Only in my dreams. When I first turned over the back garden among the trees, I worked in all sorts of stuff, used a rototiller (the one and only time) and thought that I was set. Never realized then that amending soil is an on-going thing. My daughter lives up on a ridge in TN and has rocky clay soil. Can't dig without running into rocks. Yet her plants grow amazingly big and beautiful.
ge1836 - What a beautiful walkway. The stone is amazing and it suits the grade of the little slope. There've been so many beautiful varieties mentioned in this thread - I don't think you could go wrong with any of them. Little A. chinensis 'Pumilla' is a small pink ground-hugging variety that might look nice closer to the walk. It blooms last in my garden here. Some of the red varieties might look nice near the bottom with the daylilies.
Grr - was wanting to plant the bare spot in the lower garden where I thought I had eradicated the nasty Campanula but saw a few new leaves sprouting. Looks like I need to get out the Roundup again and spray a little more. I guess I'll have to wait until next year to plant now.
Cindy thanks for the input.
I am waiting for Pumilla to get big enough to divide in another garden,
i also ordered Liliput from Bluestone it matches a lily I'll plant this fall.
Your right about astils mentioned here.
I'm leaning towards the airy ones rather than the ones that look like chinelle
Thanks for the response.
I will check out Rythm Blus,I have Amethyst first year it was great, also Visions in red which is just blue enough to qualify as a companion to deep pink Lilies
Now I will pay more attention to the family Ardensii is great.
Ahh - I'm guilty of leading this thread astray as I've thought to myself on a couple of occasions. I was surprised (only my second year here) that there weren't any thread police.
The Vision series - are the flower spikes as dense as the PR states? I don't think I have any of those. Of course, now that I've divided almost every one I have, there's not much room left although I still have some serious editing to do. What's new in unusual colors?
Ah - one more half-day in the lower garden and I'm done for the season down there. Today I worked on what I refer to as the "hell strip". Yes, a rip-off from Lauren Springer but it's challenging. It gets more sun and is absolutely the furthest from the garden hose. Used to have coneflowers but the deer like those way too much. And then I planted the absolute no-no - Lysimachia clethroides. I figured "how bad can it be?" So spent some time digging that up as well as more northern sea oats and Canadian ginger gone wild. All I have left to do is tidy up a few small areas and top-dress with some compost. Then I will have to tax the brain on dividing the white Astilbes and where I'll plant the divisions. And I also have to decide whether to pull out two big Hosta 'Spilled Milk'. They're plain green and in a small bed right around the patio. And to think I pulled 'Strip Tease' out there in favor of the 'Spilled Milk'.
LOL Snapple, no you don't have to come down, just make sure to visit us once in awhile :)
Cindy, yes, the flower spikes on the two Visions I have are really dense! I just planted 'Visions' (pink) this year but I've had 'Visions in Red' for about 3 years. I got it because I really like the bronze color of the foliage early on and the flowers are so unique. I actually like the color better before they actually flower, a deep red opening to an almost electric "lavender". My main problem with my Astilbes is that the largest grouping I have are planted under a huge Willow which definitely robs the moisture they need! Three years ago this is how the "mess" of Astilbes looked that are planted there :(
The Willow was actually more of a "mess" than the Astilbes! It's a Corkscrew Willow ('Scarlet Curls') and it was so overgrown you couldn't appreciate its lovely form plus it was creating too much shade for some of the other trees/shrubs in the area. We hired a friend to do a major pruning in December of 2006!
We still have a few 'stubs' to remove from Conifers which suffered from too many years of shade. We also need to terrace the slope behind the Willow to resolve the erosion problem but with our planting early this spring the project is almost done! The Astilbes are still competing with the roots of the Willow but the area is no longer neglected so we provide extra water when needed and they're much happier now :)
Thanks ge! It was such an eyesore for so long and you can see how close it is to the house. I'm not sure why we waited so long, every time I walked down the driveway I'd pass it and just look the other way! This is where our original planting of Ostrich Plume Astilbe is planted and I had been trying to decide where to plant more. I "found" the spot this spring but since I couldn't find any Ostrich Plume I filled it with Ferns, Hellebores and Hosta. I still have to fill the area behind the "cat" so next year I'll be looking for Ostrich Plume early and get it planted there!
Cindy, ironically 'Spilt Milk' is what I just planted in front of the "cat" - not a very exciting choice but I thought it was appropriate for the cat! LOL
The Ligularia wasn't happy last year with the drought, neither was the Cimicifuga :( But this year we've had enough rain and with all the new plantings I've been making sure the area gets watered whenever anything starts to droop so they're looking much better. Fortunately the hose I use to water the containers at the front door is just long enough that I can drag it across the driveway and shoot some water over the slope :)
i moved into this house 2 years ago and there were no gardens to speak of.
I have been planning gardens since joining DG 18 mos ago.
Its odd how instinct can guide us, looking away from an ugly spot is my first clue there is something needing to be done there.
My solution most times is "more mulch" just to cover unsightly stuff.
Round-Up helps too.
This should be a topic for a thread, think I'll start one when I come up with a good idea for the theme
Maybe "Ugly Spots" for a theme :) I have to say that DG has definitely provided "inspiration", or should that be "the instigator", for my gardens? LOL I rarely took pictures of my gardens because like Cindy, every time I dug out the camera I'd have to train myself all over again! Once I finally started sharing pictures on DG I began "documenting" every project with before and after photos. Now I have before photos of the 'ugly spots' and when the winter months approach I "play" with them to come up with ideas for spring planting! I've still got a few 'ugly spots' to go so I'll be able to keep myself busy this winter :)
I did that all winter also.I use Photoshop to find plants with color compliments or matches.
I have been fortunate in my DG friends who sent plants.
Thay helped transform the 15 foot wide x75 feet long side of the yard that is common with the neighbor who grows raspberries but doesnt weed.
My 5 foot plants cant grow fast enough to suit me.
They are great people ,but not gardeners
this is that side last year august
rcn- What a transformation! In the first photo, the Astilbes looked healthy and green compared to the surroundings, even with the drought. The end product is gorgeous! I'm anxious to finish up the lower garden where I really haven't spent much time on "design" but more on the grunt work. It's not so much a focal point as the upper yard and it could be a couple of weeks sometimes before I get down there to look around. You all put me to shame with your gorgeous combinations and plantings. Hmm, you know 'Spilt Milk' can get big, right? Of course, it would be fun to have the cat "hiding" among the Hostas. Maybe I just got a plant with minimal markings but I was attracted by the name since I have Pulmonaria 'Spilt Milk'. DH has recognized my ineptitude with most things electronic (that's why I keep him around - geek at heart) and is planning on getting a smaller, simpler digital camera that even I can operate with his credit card points so it won't really "cost" us anything. And I may have to put the Visions series on my "want" list. I have 'Ostrich Plume' - I think it was mail order. Don't recollect it blooming well but it was in dense clay soil but now it should be more than happy to bloom well with all of the soil amending and fertilizing and compost...
ge - Wow! In only 18 months? Beautiful! Are those butterfly bushes? I'm jealous of your sun. The closest I've come to butterfly bushes is pruning them at the "box" stores when I was a merchandiser for a nursery.
"Ugly Spots" would be a great theme for a thread. You two definitely need to repost your photos there to get it started. Hmm, maybe even a forum...
If I were to choose another BFLY bush again I would not have chosen the honeycomb for that spot.
The lower branches cantelever off the stalk and eventually break off, so I have to prune them all the time.
I do cut the bush down in the Spring
No time to chat this morning but just wanted to tell you ge that the "changes" in your garden in such a short time are incredible! It usually takes me at least three years to get it right, well almost :) Three years to see what stays and what goes! I found your new thread and will get some photos together to post. I had never given much thought to where things were planted, just found an empty spot and planted it! LOL I'm still making mistakes in the landscape but I'm trying to be more careful, the older I get the more I realize I don't want to be moving these things forever! Photoshop has become my new best friend during the winter months. The program is helping me create what my "vision" is supposed to look like :)
Thanks I spend most of my time on the garden and try to pre plan what and where things will go.
I have arthritis so if I spend more time planning I will spend less time moving and digging, its all to conserve movement and energy.
"Empty spot planter" - that's me too. In my experience, every time I've planned out a small designed area and planted accordingly, I usually lose a plant(s) that was a key element of the design. Like religiously planting in odd numbers and ending up with even numbers. I now plant in what I call the "tapestry" effect (read, excuse for no plan). I once read/heard that you can tell the age of the old hedges in England by the number of different species that have grown up among the original shrubs. Why does that appeal to me?
Haven't made it down to the lower garden yet for the final half-day due to rain. Rain is a good thing this time of year since we're usually dry by now. I'm hoping it's enough rain to help all of those Astilbe divisions settle in and hydrate the soon-to-be-divided white Astilbes.
ge - what is that silvery metallic ornament in this year's picture? It's unusual and beautiful.
ge - Have heard of bee hives, toad houses, bat houses but ant colony housing? :) It is a beautiful piece and looks almost metallic in that light. In your pic in the other thread, I could see the colors better.
Its made of terrecotta clay and decorated with slips and glassy glazes that are dark colors. When the sun shines on the piece it looks like metal.
Here is another piece by the same woman
oops wrong pic
I like the contemporary (to me) look of them.
Still raining here. OK I guess since it does force me to catch up on other things. It does tend to make me a little stir-crazy though. Ach! It's supposed to get down into the upper 40's for the next few nights. It can't be fall already! Don't think my tomatoes will be real happy nor will the tropicals. None of them really started fruiting or flowering until earlier this month since we had such a cool, rainy start to the summer.
I went to the web site. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. But I have the feeling it's way out of my price range. It would be especially risky in a garden where my dogs streak through flower beds in pursuit of squirrels and the occaisional night time raccoon. I think I'd better stick to granite and cast stone garden statuary.
Snapple, that's gorgeous! I think your garden art is out of my price range :(
ge, thank you for the link, she certainly has some very unique pieces. I think I was as impressed with her website design as I was with her art, very nice!
Cindy, I think "tapestry effect" is how my DH plants! LOL We visited Plant Delights' Open House in July and brought home some choice plants. The center island in our driveway has been begging for a makeover for years and we decided to plant almost everything we purchased there after building "up" the soil. We noticed that almost all the beds in the gardens at Plant Delights appeared to be "raised" soil so rather than spend years amending the rotten soil in the island DH merely dumped about ten buckets of soil from an area along our field where we "steal" good soil! He finally got everything planted last week and although it looks nice, I question his "design"? Not exactly how I would have done it but we often have different opinions on placement of plants in the garden. I guess that's why we've sort of divided the landscape - he plants out front and I plant out back! LOL I have to admit he plants "faster" than I do but I like my designs better :) I did get a few "before" photos and as soon as I take some "after" shots I'll be posting them in the new 'Changes' thread.
Snapple - love the way those whites and yellows pop against the blue conifer. You put my ideas of a yellow and white bed to shame.
rcn - After looking at all of your photos, do you have any lawn left? :) I've ordered a few things from Plant Delights in the past but, as beautiful as their selection is, zone and light limitations reined me in. My list of things I've killed is almost as long as the list of survivors. I do have one source of "good" soil but it's limited - straight back from the house where it drops off into the wetlands, I haul leaves every fall for the past 15 or so years. It's my way of holding back some of the erosion since we're not allowed to build up anything along the edge of the wetlands. I may need to haul some of that up to the Astilbe bed (which sits a little lower than the rest of the yard) next week. I've been having a hard time with my conscience on acquiring any new plants right now. My beds are all packed and all of this dividing makes more plants. Some I pot up for my daughter and some being edited out go into the compost pile. It's finally stopped raining here but the humidity is 95% and still too wet to go tromping in beds today. Have a potential site for some the white Astilbe divisions in the same bed with some white Epimedium, Hepatica, white violets and various columbine. Might even move my poor little 'Ghost' there too.
The coleus is Gay's Delight. The pagoda was a Christmas present. It's in pieces, of course. You have to assemble it. My DH tried to hide them in the garage under a tarp but I accidentally found them about a week before. We had a lot of snow on the ground that year so we couldn't put it up in the yard. Instead we put it together temporarily on the back deck right outside the kitchen window. The deck sagged! To top it all off I glanced out the kitchen window one day in the early spring and noticed it had yellow stuff on it. I went out to investigate and it had been "egged". Neighbor kids next door have good throwing arms. They're a huge pain in my bottom. Where it's at now they cant get to it. I wont bore you all with stunts these "home schooled" chruch attending little darlings have done over the years ( some serious). But I will tell you I'm fixin to fully retire in about two weeks. And I'm gonna get 'em.
All my beds are raised beds. Done the hard way. Double dug with the sod ( if any) buried upside down in the bottom of the hole. The soil is put back in the bed with the addition of 1/3 compost and 1/2 peat by volume. At least some of you have DH's that plant. For my lovable DH his total contribution is not flinching when he pays the plant aquisition bills. Good enough for me!
You're fixing to retire? For real? Congrats! Oh geez - double-digging. I give you kudos for that! DH doesn't plant or dig. He's helped out occasionally in the past but I really have to "ask". He does help with constructing my ideas though (he just completed a 2-year project in the family room - built in desk 9 ft long with bookshelves above, strong enough to hang from). He is my biggest plant acquisition enabler though.
Cindy - Count yourself lucky, lucky lucky. A DH who pays the plant tab and builds? Priceless as they say in the commercial. Also If I was diggin on a slope like your working with the double digging would never have happened. It would have been me upside down in the hole.
Was moving a Phalaris 'Variegata' (ribbon grass) which I've kept in a pot in the ground for years. Trying to dig a new hole to accommodate the 12" pot was a challenge. I ran into hard tan clay. Maybe I need to add a pick ax to my gardening tool collection.
Thanks for posting that Hosta warning. How sad that growers (and distributors) would let something like that go to market. I know that the department managers get training initially and that some of them really do love plants but they should be on top of new plant health threats. I've seen them reject a whole loads of plants for mildew on leaves (usually caused by shipping in refrigerator trucks in hot weather). Of course, who knows what store policy is these days other than profit margin focus.
Do you have hard pan? Oh My! I worked on a crew this spring that dug over 300 holes for 4" pots of bedding dahlias and some other stuff. Every single hole had hard pan that had to be broken through. There were some mighty achey arms the next day. The dahlias bedded out beautifully. This was a brand new bed cleared this year for planting the first time. Next year when it comes time to plant out that bed I'm volunteering elsewhere! Good idea on keeping that plant in a pot.
Hmmm - I don't think I've ever been stubborn enough to break all the way through the clay layer. For all I know, that's what we've got under "real" soil. In some areas there's more soil on top of the clay. I have a feeling that when they built this subdivision, they did a lot of filling in just to build, as evidenced by the grade of my "lower garden". Back in the 70's when this house was built, the developers didn't hesitate to fill in with whatever they could get their hands on. Of course, clay would be preferred to minimize erosion.
I think you're right. If you had hard pan you would know it. The layer is usually 2" to 4" inches at most. You would have at some point broken through it. I don't have to do the half the work you do to put stuff in the ground. You're amazing.
Not only was clay preferred because it was stable but it's also cheaper than other fills. One small end of the town where I live was a dump in the late 30's and very early 40's. Those folks have some real issues. Glad I don't garden there, because in 1950 when it was built the dump wasn't properly capped. Ouch! It probably shouldn't have been built over at all. Back then it was "anything goes" for stuff that went into the landfill.
OK - now I can't complain about my lot. Owning a house on top of an old dump would be way more disastrous. The upper yard is a different set of problems. The clay is deeper down but I have more tree roots. My guess is that they put some sort of top soil on top of the clay in the yard. Didn't say it was good soil since it does tend to be rather fine and silty, forms a crust by mid-summer and is down right hard by fall. Sometimes if it's been dry for a while, you can actually hear your footsteps when walking through the yard. Bizarre.
LOL, We have plenty to mow but most of it is "pasture" :) We basically only have a couple of strips left of "lawn" before you get into the open pasture. It's been years since we ordered anything from Plant Delights but always wanted to visit their gardens. We finally made a quick trip to their Open House this year and it was much easier actually being able to "see" the selections before purchasing them :)
Snapple, sometimes I wish DH's only contribution was not flinching with plant purchases! LOL Our concepts of "design" definitely differ and we're always "discussing" each other's placement of plants in the gardens - the main reason why there are now "his and her" gardens :) We've even been known to "steal" each other's stashed plants when one of us isn't looking!
Interesting...one area of my gardens in Maine was actually created in a spot which was a dumping spot for earlier generations! I don't remember how many loads we had to cart off to the real "dump" but I did find some old bottles that I kept and remember an old rusty tea kettle that I used for a container :) I'm not sure if you would consider our soil hard pan or not, all I know is when DH tried to bust through the soil years ago to plant a large B&B, the attachment on the tractor actually bounced off the soil! Ever since that miserable fiasco we've resolved ourselves to choosing smaller sized specimens :) When I recently landscaped my daughter's garden in Maine I was discouraged to find most of the "fill" around the house was sandy soil, some almost pure sand :( Not so bad for digging but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the plants will tolerate it!
How funny - stealing each other's stashed plants.
I don't believe it - more "lake effect" rain this morning. I was all set to go out and get dirty today after waiting all day yesterday for things to dry out a little. Now it'll be tomorrow. Can't sift compost when it's wet. I've taken all of my summer cuttings so there's not much else I can do outside except maybe pot up a few herbs to bring in later. Sigh. I'm getting a little antsy being indoors.
Yippee - the lower garden is finished. I'm not saying it's perfect by a long shot but it will definitely be in better shape next spring. I even had enough energy left to cut down all of the wild raspberries and transplant a small tree (it's either a Chionanthus or a Halesia - have to check which one) that's never bloomed in 10 years and has stayed around 4 ft tall.
Tomorrow I get to tackle the white Astilbes and try to reconfigure some beds. Additional relocation of some other plants as well. Just hope I've made all of the various Astilbes happy so far.
Snapple45: What is that blue conifer in your posted picture on August 28th? At first I thought it was a blue spruce, but looking closer it is much prettier and elegant. Can it be that it's a blue Atlas cedar? (I've been "eaves-dropping" on this thread... very entertaining!)
Cindy, congrats on finishing the lower garden! I'm sure your Astilbes will thank you next spring :) Re: stealing each other's stashed plants - it really is comical. On more than one occasion I've had a plant in mind for a specific spot but when I finally get around to planting it the plant is MIA and somehow? has ended up in DH's "stash". Since we're working in different areas I merely wait for him to slip inside and I take the opportunity to RUN not walk, grab the plant and get in the ground before he realizes it's missing! LOL
All of the white Astilbe have been lifted and are slowly being divided. Having a tough time telling the difference between 'Bridal Veil' and 'Deutschland'. One appears to have slightly darker leaves than the other but I'm still not sure. All I can do is coordinate the divisions from one clump (usually 4) with the divisions from another clump when replanting. Rescued azalea 'White Lights' from it's tree root-congested spot in the front yard and replanted it among the Astilbe. As long as I was working in that bed, Hosta 'Parhelion' and 'Guacamole' were dug up for repositioning and dividing as they were too big for the space. Now I have to decide which Hosta divisions to put where (me - the poor planner). And in the same bed is Deutzia 'Magician' which needs to be moved to a sunnier spot (which will give more light to Viburnum 'Mohawk'). Already have the spot but have to get rid of rose 'Celsiana' (which is going south to my daughter). That's what will start out my day today (looking forward to all of those scratches). Then it's back to another bed to reconfigure a bit to make room for the rest of the Astilbe. Hauled up 7 tubs of compost (the last of the "official" pile which now means I have to go to the secret stash) to work in before replanting stuff. Meanwhile, dug up plants are basking on the sidewalk in wet bath towels until they get replanted. The weather has been absolutely beautiful for all of this intense digging - sunny, low 70's, slight breeze so I can't complain.
Weerobin, where have you been hiding? I don't spend as much time on DG during the summer months but haven't seen you much since spring :)
Hoosier, since Snapple is MIA, is this the conifer you're asking about? My apologies to Snapple for "borrowing" her photo :)
Cindy, I have no complaints about the weather either, cool crisp mornings are perfect for playing in the gardens. I've just been too busy and haven't been able to take advantage of them :( Sounds like you're making up for the rainy days you were idle! With everything you've accomplished this summer you should be able to sit back, enjoy and take a well deserved break next year :)
Oops, my bad :( I failed to see you that had requested an ID of the conifer in her posting of August 28th! LOL Hopefully Snapple is still watching the thread and will come back with the ID we're looking for.
HoosierGreen - that was a beautiful specimen. I wish I had more sun to grow conifers well. I do have some but I have to be content with a "wispier" look.
rcn - I pulled out two big 'Spilled Milk' Hostas yesterday. Both totally green (they were divisions of one original plant) but one did have a tiny little 3-leaved off-shoot that showed the markings of this variety. Could the plants have reverted? Are the markings only evident in younger plants? I know it didn't come cheap and I was disappointed. They now reside in the lower garden where I had just cleared wild raspberries on Monday since I had nowhere else to put them. I'm struggling with more of the rampant Campanula there as well and hadn't really planned on planting much there until next year.
The white Astilbe bed is done. Dug out a rose to make room for the Deutzia, replanted the Viburnum, replanted Euphorbia, corralled the white columbine ('Nana Alba' and 'Sunlight White') and amended the soil quite a bit. Hosta 'Silver Threads and Golden Needles' is enjoying the amended soil. That area was originally a slope until DH built some retaining walls years ago and the original soil was fine, silty stuff on top of clay. It tends to dry out quickly even though I've amended and leveled over the years. I had pulled out 'Guacamole', divided it and put back two plants. Two more divisions replaced 'Spilled Milk'. Now I have 'Parhelion' to contend with. What was I thinking putting a "giant" Hosta in that small space? Working on another bed today to make a home for the rest of the white Astilbe, a 'Parhelion' division and JP fern 'Ghost'. If I can get that done today, I'll just have some more editing to do that doesn't require reshuffling half the garden. Snapple - you were a great influence on me.
Hey folks - I'm back. Had a "time out" for some family business issues, but all is back under control. The tall backdrop conifers behind the pagoda are a pair of 25+ yr old Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula'. They've never been pruned or shaped.
The plant list for the Juniper 'Skyrocket' photo is as follows:
Going clockwise. Back center is Juniperus scopulorum 'Skyrocket' ( 20' H X 2' W in 10 years ). Partially pictured to the right is Taxodium distichum 'Cascade Falls - a deciduous Bald Cypress, grafted. The dark purple mound shrub is Berberis thunbergii 'Concord'. In front of it is a small weeping Hemlock, 'Coles Prostrate' . The two pink shrubs are Wiegela 'My Monet". Between them is a ground hugging creeping gold Juniper - Juniperus horizontalis 'Mother Lode' . The low conifer to the left of 'Skyrocket' is Juniperus x media 'Daub's Frosted' . Behind them as a backdrop is a pair of mature Fraser Firs. The green ground hugger in the foreground is Arabis caucasica - Wall Rockcress. The blue flowered plants are Campanula carpatica 'Blue Clips'. The goal was consistent color without fussy annuals or any short bloom period plant followed by a long period of "down time" and especially any plant that died back. I have done away completely with annuals, except for pots, and any perennial that did not provide color or good texture contrast from spring until frost, with the exception of a tree peony. The first on my list to go were poppies, iris, daylilys, fox gloves and daffodills. Those are beautiful plants but I think they are best admired in someone elses garden or a very large garden that can absorb a few seasonal holes in the plantings.
Pictured below is a 4 yr (here) Cedrus deodara 'Eisregan' about 18'. It came through last winter's -17° temps with flying colors. It's located on the south side of the big hemlocks and firs which obviously keep it sheltered from sweeping winds. This is a C. deodara I would encougare others to plant with the admonition of wind protection. I'm not saying it's necessary, just that I don't know how much protection it truly needs. The needles are a beautiful true frosty blue.
Hey Cindy - Thanks! But really I don't think my small gardens would hold a candle to what you have. Can't wait to see the spring pictures.
Snapple - My turn to say "Oh my"! Your pond area is gorgeous and the conifers look perfect.
The last of the divided Astilbe have been planted. I used the last of the white divisions to "bolster" a bed of almost all columbine. I do like the columbine but they start looking ratty after they're done blooming until the new growth comes back towards the end of summer. Found a spot for 'Parhelion' and 'Ghost' and even my little dinky Gentiana (although I'm not sure the spot is sunny enough for it). Pulled out a big clump of Caex siderosticta. It looks great in the spring and early summer and then flattens out towards the end of summer. Maybe too much shade. That's one tough root system. The biggie - pulled out Hydrangea 'All Summer Beauty'. Never bloomed for me in 6 years - probably too much shade again but who knows. Even gave it a mini dose of super phos but then it started wilting even though it had sufficient water and it's been pretty cool at night. I've lost all patience with it. Maybe I can relax now - no, I take that back. I'll expand my to-do list even more. :)
Thanks Snapple for the ID. That's one gorgeous weeping hemlock! Mine is much smaller, but nice all the same. You have beautiful conifers.
Cindy: You'll have better luck with 'Endless Summer' or the new lacecap 'Twist & Shout'. 'All Summer Beauty' just isn't hardy enough outside of Zone 6 in my experience. Super-phosphate seems to help with repeat blooming.
I think 'All Summer Beauty' is destined for TN. I've decided that I'm not going to put a replacement in that spot. I probably thought (at the time) that I was getting an 'Endless Summer' knock-off at a lower price. 'ASB' was a real thorn in my side since I could see it from my patio, just sitting there for several years. I think I'll just have to be content with the 5 varieties I currently have, which includes an 'Endless Summer' that had 5 or 6 blooms this year. I'm just too limited in providing the right site for them. Now if I could only get 'Tardiva' to put on some growth. It's been in several spots and I just can't find the right one for it. Even though it's supposed to be great for different light conditions, maybe I just can't find enough light without giving up another plant. My one half-sun bed is crammed full.
Cindy: A great cultivar of Hydrangea paniculata that you might have room for since it stays smaller than 'Tardiva' is 'Pinky Winky'. Of course, you can always just cut regular 'Tardiva' to stubs every spring to keep it in check, usually 4'-5'. The hydrangeas are fun.
For more shade areas, have you tried any of the oakleaf hydrangeas? 'Alice' and 'Snowflake' are particularly nice, especially 'Snowflake'. 'PeeWee' stays at about 3'.
I have oakleaf 'Snow Queen' which seems to do okay where it's at although I know it's growing in some clay. Hmmm - looks like I purchased some of my Hydrangeas before they came out with the smaller varieties. I'm holding off on purchasing any more shrubs until DH can decide if/when/where he's going to build a small shed. I'm thinking it's going to take over a little less than half of my back garden where I have a couple of azaleas, 'Snow Queen', a Weigela, a Kerria japonica 'Picta' as well as Hostas, perennials and bulbs. Dreading the relocation of everything already. Oops - and a couple of Astilbe (trying to stay on thread topic). :)
I've got Pinky Winky. It's not been that great a performer. The sepals tend to brown rather than go pink if there is a hot spell. It's a vigorous and floriferous H. paniculuta, just not always in the pink. There is a new H. arborescens called 'Invincible Spirit" that is supposed to have bright pink blooms and strong stems. I've got one sitting in a pot, just came two days ago. We'll see. I've been thinking about adding a Kerria japonica but can't decide on a cultivar - translate havn't done my homework on that one yet. Care to make any suggestions?
Snapple: You might try 'Quick Fire' Hydrangea p. It's reliably nicely colored when it fades. This is the first year I've used 'Pinky Winky' and since the rains turned off in August, I'll have to give it another year to prove itself (but 'Quick Fire" has done nicely. Good red stems too.)
My two favorite kerrias are the larger-flowered 'Golden Guinea' and 'Kin Kan'. The latter has wonderful yellow-orange winter stems, actually better than some yellow-stemmed dogwoods! The pic is of 'Kin Kan'.
'Pleniflora' does have double flowers, with some summer reblooming, but can get really lanky and tall.
ge1836: Are you saying that your 'Pinky Winky' hasn't bloomed in the two years you've had it? That'd be really unusual unless it was a very small plant to begin with. They are usually very vigorous and reliable bloomers. I cut mine back to about 12" or so in the spring, enjoying the dried blooms during the winter. If you don't cut it back, it gets a little larger each year, but should stay smaller than other Hydrangea paniculata cultivars.
It was a small plant. I ordered 3 from Forest Farm
Ive moved 2 of them. Thanks for the trimming tip.
How about Buddleahs I need to trim this fall in order to plant tulips there.
I cut them back this first spring but wonder if Fall cut back is OK?
I've had the variegated Kerria 'Picta' for a long time (before there were a lot of varieties available). It's a more delicate looking plant compared to other Kerrias I've seen. The leaves are smaller but the variegation is so clean and fresh in the spring along with the yellow flowers that I don't think I'd trade it for another variety. It does get some light from the north but is sited in shade. Because it's not protected from the north winter wind here, it's possible to lose some branches but they're easy enough to prune out - keeps it more open too.
This has turned out to be a spectacular thread. Just spectacular. 'Picta'? Well, that makes my choice lots harder. LOL
While we are on the subject of H. paniculatas I did a bad, bad thing. I just did an impulse buy - 'Pink Diamond' trained as a standard. Never mind the fact that to site it right I have to build an entire new bed in the front yard. ( DH is scratching his head.) The real problem is I don't know how to properly maintain the darned thing. There are several planted outside a local business that are beautiful. They've been there for years. They don't look like they are fussed over or pruned. The one I've got has been nicely branched at the top. Very balanced with no akward branches or a bad side. I suppose you just allow those branches to continue to grow, but remove any others that sprout? Dead head the blooms? Help!
Any H. paniculata trained as a standard will benefit from annual spring (or late fall) pruning. They are vigorous plants that will become top-heavy in just a few years. (I just this week saw one that was huge. I'll try to find it again and take a photo.) The nurseries where I purchase mine for clients cut the growth back to 12"-18" each spring. Since they bloom on new growth, it doesn't hurt them at all. Keep them nice and full. Also, cutting back will result in more, but smaller blooms, for a really full look- like a bouquet. It won't hurt to experiment for the first few years to see what you like. They sure are pricey though, right Snapple?
ge1836: Don't worry about an exact month to cut back butterfly bushes. Do it whenever you need to get in to plant bulbs. Butterfly bushes almost always die back to the ground anyway. After the big flush of bloom in midsummer, I always cut mine back by half to stimulate a better rebloom. They will continue to bloom without this procedure, but I don't like all the dead blooms ruining the display.
Hoosier - What a coincidence! I had asked over in the Hydrangea forum what to do pruning-wise with 3 year old 'Limelight' but never got a response. It was a little thing when I got it (Bluestone) and even through last year, it had a lot of low growth. This year, it sent up one straight stem with smaller branches forming at the top where they turned into beautiful flowers. Space-wise, it would be great to keep it as a standard, especially after reading that they can get up to 15 ft tall if left alone. It's probably 3 1/2 ft tall right now. Should I just cut off the flowers after they dry up and leave the rest alone? Do I do anything with the smaller branches at the bottom? They didn't bloom which is perfectly ok but I just don't know what to do with them - cut them or leave them alone. It seems happy where it's at in my part-sun bed.
Snapple - I don't even know if 'Picta' is still available. I've probably had it for close to 10 years and can't remember where I got it but I think it was locally. Once the flowers fade, the variegation on the tiny leaves gives the whole shrub a nice soft glow in the shade. I've seen other varieties of Kerria growing in full sun but I don't know if this variegated one can take it. It does get some rebloom later in the season (would probably get a little more if it wasn't growing in clay - I'm now feeling terribly guilty about that!).
Gone for a few days and time to catch up! WOW, Snapple your pond area is gorgeous :) It looks "familiar" - if my memory hasn't totally failed me, isn't this the same area where you posted a few years back with the HUGE Salix 'Hakuro Nishiki'? Curious what your impression of 'My Monet' is - none of the growers in this area have been impressed with it but it might just be the heat and humidity that knocks it down here.
Re: Kerria, a love/hate relationship with it here! We have the double blooming Kerria japonica 'Pleniflora' and I love the double blooms and the fact that it grows AND blooms beautifully in almost full shade. However, it is quickly becoming a nightmare after 10+ years :( It is now taking up a 10' long and 6' wide space and I'm frantically removing suckers every year where it's creeping into the Hostas! If I let it do its thing it would be twice as big :( I planted a variegated Kerria j. 'Picta' last year because I love the foliage and everything I've found indicates it won't become the monster that 'Pleniflora' has - I can only hope I haven't made the same mistake all over again!
Cindy, I've basically all but given up on growing any of the Hydrangea macrophyllas here, i.e. All Summer Beauty, Endless Summer, Lady in Red, etc. They grow beautifully, lush foliage, etc. but with our "cold" Z6 winters we rarely see flowers. I'm just not willing to give up all that space in the gardens for a "green blob" and no flowers :( Sticking with the paniculatas and serratas for any future purchases. I've had 'Pinky Winky and 'Quickfire' in the gardens for a couple of years and still waiting for them to look as gorgeous as some I've seen at nurseries. I'm fairly patient and I think they'll eventually "earn" their spot in the gardens :) I've also had 'Pink Diamond' in the gardens for years, pretty but the poor thing is located at the top of the driveway and doesn't get much attention, i.e. additional watering during drought. After seeing this beautiful specimen along the path at Plant Delights this summer I think this "gem" deserves more attention :)
ge, if I actually get around to pruning any of our Butterfly bushes, I usually do what Hoosier does after they bloom the first time and then again in early spring before they leaf out. Just be careful pruning them back in the fall, you want to make sure they're basically dormant. DH got really tired of looking at huge, overgrown bushes a couple of years ago and whacked them back HARD to a couple of feet in September. They sent up a ton of new growth because we had an unusually warm fall, no frosts until late October. All that fresh foliage was hit hard when the frosts finally came and the plants never leafed out the following spring. Didn't hurt my feelings any, they were overgrown, unruly and I wanted them out of there! LOL
Thanks for the info Rcn
So you think waiting until after first frost then?
By mid October we are pretty frosted here.
When I saw the size of the variety I have I was shocked. If it died I wouldnt care, but I'll wait ,bulbs might not come until October.
Cindy: What a perfect opportunity you have to create your own hydrangea standard! I would cut back all of the lower growth as close as possible to the ground and support the single shoot if needed with a bamboo stake or whatever. Then, in the spring, "shape" the top by evenly pruning back any shoots which will also encourage a full look. If, for some reason, the standard shoot doesn't make it through the winter, you will get plenty of new growth from the roots. Good luck.
rcn: I've read that a little super phosphate works wonders for encouraging blooms on macro hydrangeas. (Did I read that on this thread?!)
My 'Picta' does throw off a few suckers but not many. Maybe because of the clay? I normally dig up the suckers and move them elsewhere or give them to my daugher.
rcn - Is the photo 'Pink Diamond'? It is pretty. The flowers on 'Limelight' are starting to get a pink tinge. I am really liking the freshness of this plant - the leaves look great and the flowers are lovely. Very nice at this time of year when everything else looks tired and dusty.
I've been wanting to prune some shrubs that I didn't get to earlier in the season and I have to keep reminding myself to wait until it gets cold. I have several different ones planted along the chain link fence to "disguise" the rv next door that need trimming but always other things to do.
Hoosier - I thought it unusual that only one stem grew totally upright out of nowhere. I almost trimmed it back in the spring thinking that it shouldn't be growing like that. Now I'm really glad that I didn't since that's where all of the flowers are. Sure glad I didn't since it seems like that's the way it should grow. I don't think any of the lower growth is going to "straighten" up to replace the main stem if it doesn't make it through the winter (or am I wrong?). That upright stem is pretty strong too. Thanks for the advice.
DH purchased a new camera yesterday. Had to rein him in on the "techy" features since I want to use it too (the simpler, the better). Now I'll have to practice with it.
You might have HG. I'm the prophetess of super phosphate for stingy blooming H. macrophyllas. It's especially effective on 'Endless Summer'. I use roughly 1C per three feet of width side dressed at bud break. It's part of my routine spring feeding program for all H. macrophyllas and H. serratas. I don't use it on the quercifolias, paniculatas or arborescens.
Some of the plantings of 'Endless Summer' that I've installed over the past few years have reliably bloomed very nicely, while others (including my own!) have not. With our alkaline soil, I've given up trying to keep the blooms blue, but now I'd settle for lots of pink blooms. Next spring, I'll try the super phosphate, for sure.
snapple45: Is there a certain type, strength, or brand of super phosphate you use?
ge, you should be safe after the first hard frost :)
Cindy, I don't think your clay has anything to do with it because the Kerria 'Plenifolia' is in the worst, never amended clay = hard as a rock. Guess maybe I encouraged it by working the soil next to it for the new Hosta planting and now it's "jumping ship" to take root in the good soil! This is what it looked like in the Fall of 2005.
Hoosier and Snapple, thanks for the info on the super phosphate, I might have try it and see if it helps. I know most of the macrophyllas planted before the introduction of Endless Summer, etc. will probably be history here. We had a friend who's a Hydrangea grower/expert visiting from Massachusetts one year and he just frowned when he saw several of the varieties we had planted. Said there was no way we'd be successful with them because the buds would all get blasted with our winters. We don't have any snow cover here and he suggested erecting cages around them and filling them with leaves. Sorry, I love Hydrangeas but if I have to go through that every year I'd just as soon toss them on the compost heap and plant something that's maintenance free!
Cindy, oops almost forgot - yes the Hydrangea in the photo from Plant Delights IS Pink Diamond. I saw it from a distance and was so impressed I had to get close enough to find the tag - it was spectacular!
Endless Summer blooms prolifically here from new wood if treated with super phosphate in the spring. Dirr's Lady In Red blooms well too. I also got blooms this spring on H. serrata 'Perziosa' and 'Blue Deckle'. Macrophylla Forever & Ever 'Double P'ink' isn't as strong a performer on new wood as I'd like but it did bloom. I give absolutely NO winter protection of any kind to the hydrangeas mentioned here. None whatsoever. I prune out any dead in the spring and fertilize. That's it. Endless Summer is usually killed right back to the ground. For super phosphate I use the triple strength - 45 - either form Epsoma or High Yield. I use it in addition to a 10-10-10 4 month feed.
Dirr has another H. macrophylla introduced this year that he says is hardy to Zone 4! It's called 'Twist & Shout'. It has a lace cap bloom that looks like it's on steroids. I'm getting new flower bud formation right now on one I planted early August. It can be pink or blue.
rcn48 - You are correct. That is the pond that had the mutant Salix 'Hakuro Nishiki'. I sure don't miss that thing.
'Twist & Shout' is a real keeper! I've had one planted since April and it's bloomed continuously all summer. Nice pink lace cap.
It's interesting how when 'Endless Summer' came out, it was promoted and advertised as blue, but "probably" pink in alkaline soils. In reality, unless you have very acid soil, you're going to end up with pink flowers the second year and beyond. I've tried amending the soil, planting new plants in pure peat, using sulfur, Hollytone, etc. with absolutely NO success in getting blue flowers after the first year. Now, 'Twist & Shout' is advertised as "blue or pink" flowers. Nice way to put it!
If anyone in a region with alkaline soil has had luck getting blue flowers on their hydrangeas, please tell us your secret!
Snapple: Did you mean that all of your macro hydrangeas get killed back to the ground most winters? You don't get any second year buds? So you don't get any blooms on 'Endless Summer' until later in the summer? Or, did you mean that in addition to the first flush of early blooms, you get a good bloom from the new wood because of the super phosphate?
Hmm - my 'ES' did have about 6 blooms on it this year. Most were blue but I do have one pink. Go figure. Anyone have any advice on 'Tardiva'? Hasn't been vigorous grower and never bloomed. Supposed to be a pretty tolerant plant but maybe I'm testing it's limits somehow.
rcn - Well I'd have to admit your Kerria is vigorous. And I bet it's covered in flowers in spring.
Cindy, it IS covered with flowers in spring and is actually sending out a few blooms now :) If it wasn't so darned pretty in the spring and the fact that it blooms in the shade I probably would have yanked it long ago - it's just too darned happy! Regarding your 'Tardiva', not sure what to tell you. Most I've seen that are thriving are planted in full sun. We planted one, or two? here but DH isn't as OCD as me and I can't find the tags he "supposedly" planted with them. He planted 'Chantilly Lace', 'Kyushu' and 'The Swan' in the same area and I'll probably never know which is which :(
HG, as for Endless Summer, it buds early on new wood. I have flowers from mid June onward. On June 26, 2009 I won best in show for an 'Endless Summer' at a local flower show. ( Just checked the back of my ribbon to confirm). It's always killed completely back to the ground every year. The others all bloom on old wood from buds lower down and they bloom roughly about the same time as the Endless Summer. My natural soil pH is 6.8. It doesn't take much to get it down to 6.5 for blue flowers. Although Dirr says sulphur won't work to make aluminum available for blue flowers, it's what I use and I do get blue flowers. If I don't apply ground sulphur annually the blooms are pure pink. If I use sulphur on half the shrub I get half and half. That always gets some comments. Really, all Endless Summer needs is a good push with fertilizer and a lot of triple superphosphate. I have no use for hydrangeas that need chicken wire cages stuffed with leaves. I do have a 'Lemon Wave' that I grow for foliage. It will never bloom here, but the foliage is really nice.
Could be the soil is too dry for 'Tardiva' since it's planted on a slope of sorts. I am envisioning a new home for it but that will involve hauling some landscaping blocks and pulling out some wintercreeper and lily of the valley. Maybe later this fall. It sure won't get any full sun here.
Hoosier, your 'Tardiva' are beautiful! That's just how I remember the first one I saw in a botanical garden in Alexandria and what inspired me to plant it. The poor thing was planted just before we experienced the two summers of drought but it appreciated the cool summer with more rain. I'll try giving it a 'haircut' next spring and maybe it will finally take off!
More minor relocating today. Took a few days off from the garden but still trying to tie up loose ends. Wandering around the yard, looking for a spot for 8 Helleborus seedlings I rescued back in the spring from under the mother plant. I started with about 20 but gave some away. Can't find enough empty space so that means more editing. They may just get sprinkled around the various beds. Might just bite the bullet today and pull out the giant sedum. It's gotta go. Of course I'll find 10 other things to take it's place in the half-sun bed. I want to save most of the space to pop a tomato plant in the ground in the spring (yeah, I can get tomatoes in half-sun). I've been growing tomatoes in big pots for the past couple of years. Hmm, think a yellow daylily (I think 'Happy Returns') would compliment a tomato plant?
Most of the Astilbe divisions are looking pretty good although some have lost their foliage (generally the smallest divisions). Have to get used to how "thin" the beds look at the moment though. Tempts me to plant other stuff in there but restraining myself fairly well.
Quoting:Tempts me to plant other stuff in there but restraining myself fairly well.
LOL, reminds me of last October when I was planting Astilbe in an area I was reworking! I've been trying to take photos as I plant and label the photos of what is planted there. Got a little ahead of myself, no photos yet, and I saw a couple of bare spots. Decided Astilbes would look nice there but when I began digging holes I found the tags of Astilbes I had planted the week before - duh!! Perfect weather in October for planting but when the plants have no foliage I tend to lose track of what's there :)
Same here and it applies to all year round ,foliage or not.
The family and friends think I'm nuts because I try to mark everything from lilies to astilbes ,with white plastic spoons. This way even if I forget to label them I know there is something planted in a spot.
ge - Love the spoons. For the most part, anything I plant usually has foliage (either alive or dead) so I can tell where I've planted. Then I don't trim the foliage until after I'm done planting. And I really don't plant anything after the end of Sept., hoping there's enough time for roots to get established before winter.
I tried using those metal plant tags for years. I was faithful sticking them all in the ground. Can't tell you how many I used (the amount was ridiculous). Worked wonderfully until time to clean up fall leaves. The rake would catch on the markers or they'd be completely pulled out and end up in the mulch pile with the leaves. I even used to hand-pick all of the leaves to avoid pulling out markers (that didn't last long). And the writing would fade over time. I gave up on them several years ago out of frustration. Prime reason I can't tell my Heucheras apart. :)
Still motivated on editing. Pulled out Vinca minor groundcover yesterday (planted years ago as "filler") and the last of the ratty-looking Carex s. Now I really do have empty spots but it felt good to get rid of plants that I grew to dislike. I do have to move some Tricyrtis (carefully since it's ready to bloom) but some of the spots might remain open until DH decides about building the shed. Might need new homes for existing plants. Also pulled out a sedum - took 5 pots just to pot up for my daughter.
Cindy - I just finished putting in a number of the copper flexible plant tags so I'd remember what I planted where...and then it hit me that when we have someone do the leaves after we leave for Fla. in the late fall, they'll all be destroyed. I guess I'll just have to remove them all and put them back in when we return. I usually have to do a map anyway, so it was probably dumb to do all that work!
Your copper plant tags might fare better than the ones that I had. They were the kind with 2 "legs" that stuck in the ground and the tines of my spring rake would always catch on them. Since I'm not in the best of moods when cleaning up all of the (expletive) leaves, I would run out of patience with the tags. I give you credit for keeping a map up to date since I have enough problems with keeping my plant list up to date. :)
The maps and (of all things) grids are a thing of the past .
I spent the winter doing that in order not to over buy plants.6 months later I have lost controle of that part of my gardening life.
Its a good idea to have a map and plan when your dealing with a vast space where you want to anchor large shrubbs and bushes. I dont want to move anything like that, so I made maps.
It was when a DG'er sent 100 DL's that everything went "down the tubes" so to speak.
I used to start an area with rough sketches and try to site plants back in the early days. Lost a lot of plants due to lack of plant knowledge. After working with the survivors I know a little more about plants (and still maybe too hopeful on the siting part). Now it's just easier on the imagination to actually see what needs to be changed. Luckily I can still dig and move most things. Not to say that the body doesn't pay me back for "can-do" attitude sometimes.
I agree. I made plans all winter and didnt take into account Bloom time. Now I do.
I kept a photo file od coleus because I want to have better color combos next year. Now I know what color a plant will be here in my climate and light.
Many from RD were disapointments because their photos either eliminated reds or made reds look bluer than they actually were.
I really trust my "minds eye" pretty much but there is nothing loke experiencing the real plant to get a grasp of its habit and character
ge - I'm sorry - "RD"?
I'm one of those people that has to physically see/touch things - colors, fabrics, plants, etc. Have been taken by catalog pics and descriptions too many times vs. how they'll really perform in my garden (not an ideal environment). Like variegated elderberry - really too shady for it to bloom but the foliage is a plus. So if I planned it as a focal point for bloom, I'd better rethink that. So I probably move more things around.
Ah, bloom times - they do catch me off-guard. Love morning glories but they're not going to start blooming for me until late summer. That's ok since there's not much else blooming. And annuals started from seed - I usually start way too early along with all of my other seeds and once planted, don't sustain the blooms through the summer. Did Salpiglossis 'Kew Blue' - loved it! But once planted, it didn't last more than 6 or 8 weeks.
I do have it and confused it with pumilla. Bluestone said it was short.
I had to move the three to the end of the deck(and make another garden)
I want an Ostrich plume in the peach color.It has a German name,too early to think that hard.
Here they are in May. just planted.
I dont have pix of them blooming ,they were transplanted between regular pic taking.
OK - writing in my gardening notebook as I'm typing. :) ge - a peach colored ostrich plume? Tell me more. I have 'Peach Blossom' but I could use more peach as an alternative to the other pink ones. 'Pumilla' is a ground-hugging variety for me. It's very cute. Also makes a nice underplanting for taller perennials.
Your 'Pumilla' looks very happy there - look at the number of flower spikes.
OMG - was looking for pics of 'Straussenfeder' - have you seen the list of Astilbes on RHS Plant Finder? Oh my. I digress. I wonder how much color variation there might be since a couple of photos of this showed a really mid pink flower. It's on my list though since most descriptions are calling it salmon-pink.
I do like what I see in the salmon colored variety. I like the form. Since this would probably be a mail-order thing for me, I'll double-check the supplier's description to make sure I don't get a pink one.
Have a question - is 'Deutschland' an arendsii or a japonica or a cross?
I am doing good staying on thread.
Been busy lately and haven't had a chance to post much but thought I'd pop in quick since you're discussing one of my favorite Astilbes - Ostrich Plume. We have an older planting of it under our Willow and darn if every year I miss my opportunity to take photos! I tried to find some earlier this year because I wanted to add more and I guess it was too late in the season - very hard to find. I'm ashamed to admit that I finally found 'Strassenfeder' at American Meadows, ordered it and never got it planted. I should have contacted them for a credit because most all of them appeared to be rotted when I received them. This year I'll start looking earlier!
Cindy, 'Deutschland' is listed sometimes as A. japonica but most show it as A. x arendsii, so my "guess" is it's a cross :)
American Meadows failure rate here was 100%, plants were small and some rooted ones like a Siberian Iris has never bloomed in 3 summers.
They are definatly off my list.
Altho I am getting tulip bulbs from them, how can I go wrong with a bulb?.
I'll let you know.
I just checked Google and White Flower Farm has Strassenhauer. I dont know if that was offered this year or not.
WFF is another nursery I rarely do business with.
My faves are Garden Crossings and Bluestone
ge - Back in the early days, I did order a couple of things from WFF and Wayside (maybe because their catalogs are so pretty) but haven't for some time due to pricing and selection. I do use Bluestone a lot but after so many years, I've run through most of their shade selections. Tell me more about Garden Crossings.
American Meadows is another one I'm not familiar with. I must be hiding under a rock. I did try Roots and Rhizomes two years back and their plants were also small for the price even though their selection was okay. I did order from Munchkin Nursery in DePauw, IN this year. Nice plants for shade and prices reasonable. Got some new Epimediums from them. Owner is very knowledgeable and helpful. They're have a 10% off sale right now but holding off on new plants until spring.
I found Made in the Shade gardens to have nice plants at fair prices with less charged for the shipping. I ordered 2 Dancing in the Rain hosta from them earlier this summer, and they are both doing very well.
I'm sad that WFF has gone down so much since it changed hands. It used to be a Mother's Day outing with my DH and DS encouraging selection of nice plants as their gifts to me.
Didn't know that WFF had changed ownership. If their catalog pics are anything to go by, it must have been a real treat to go shopping there on Mother's Day. Over the years, my favorite pic was a grouping of Hosta, ferns and Astilbe. I still aspire to that perfect photo. Coming close after dividing Astilbe this year and the JP ferns multiplying. Maybe a photo op in spring. :)
Adding Made in the Shade to my list to check out. New nurseries - how fun.
Oh my - just looked at the Hosta listing for Made in the Shade - how would I ever choose? What does one do with old Hostas moved out to make room for new ones?
Also checked out Garden Crossings - tempting selections there as well. I think one could travel Michigan for a week and still not catch all of the nurseries up there.
Speaking of nurseries and mail order - I love Forestfarm but the shipping costs are so prohibitive. Does anyone know of a good substitute east of the Miss?
RFN duly bookmarked. BTW, they're having a 50% off sale through 9/22. So many nurseries, so little budget.
Went to help my son pull weeds in his full sun garden at rental house. I'm definitely not used to full sun.
I wish I was anywhere but where I am. I am in the middle of a tense closing process for the sale of our businees that we have had for 35 years. That's why I haven't been around much on DG. And probably will be not around much for another week or so. I wish I drank.
Snapple - deep breaths...
DonnieBrook - Ah, window shopping. As a rule, I don't unless it involves plants. But then, I have to start adding to my "want" list and then that necessitates a spreadsheet to compare prices and then... I have a stack of summer/fall catalogs to "browse" through but haven't allowed myself a good veg time.
ge - Have been in the same situation. Even 20+ years after that period, DH is dumbfounded that I'm still that way. He's the window-shopper in the family and he makes up for the rest of us (except when it comes to plants).
We've had a couple of weeks without rain but might get some early next week. I've been dragging the sprinkler around (even down into the lower garden) to keep all of those divisions/transplants from drying up. I think I'm pretty much done with dividing plants for the season. Still editing since those can go in the compost pile or get potted up. I am experimenting with spot composting. If a plant comes out, I'm dumping veggie scraps in the hole. Needing to focus on soil improvement while I can still dig. Compost pile totally depleted so I'm relying on the scraps for amending. Luckily the raccoons haven't discovered what I'm doing.
Ratcoons - LOL. We have a family living just beyond the back fence. They haven't had to dig at anything because I currently put most of the scraps down in the compost bin that they have easy access to. Just threw a bunch of bad apples down there so that should keep them busy for a while. I think once the ground freezes, I'll be okay from the marauders.
Yup! I'm having a hard time getting my head around it, but trust me I wil! :) Celebrating? Oh my yes! Can you hear the cork popping? We worked on this deal begining in late March. A couple of times it nearly fell through. The actual closing was postponed twice. That's what gardening can do for you. If I hadn't just walked away and gone out to the gardens to work or taken the time to do my little volunteer thing at the local botanical garden I don't think mentally I would have survived. I'll wager every single one of you here has a time that you remember that being able to escape, even if just for an hour, to pull weeds or browse a garden center or plant something, was just enough to supply a little peace when things were otherwise rotten.
BTW we had this business for 35 yrs. It will take all winter to sort out organize and store all the records. Notice I said winter. It's time for the fall plant sales. No time to be inside.
Balderdash dear snapple still in the 70s in my neck of the mountains. I have my spring bulb orders in my seed fridge cuz it's too hot to plant. Leaves are just beginning to turn. Snapple you are waaay too much fun ObBother I will be mitten clad before you
Well, while I was busy transitioning to the next phase of my life, I forgot to look at my container plants and the area trees. I didn't water the containers for heaven knows how long. I just noticed them yesterday. Dear Heaven! Parched and curled leaves every where. Spent the afternoon getting them hydrated. They perked up nicely so I'll get a couple more weeks out of them. But the trees!! The trees are turning!! The neighbor's maple is a beautiful golden glow. When did that happpen?
We are having perfect weather for fall color. Bright sunshiney warm days and cool nights. It will be a spectacular fall. Which brings me to a question. There is time to fall plant. I have room for a few more astilbe. What about 'Color Flash" astilbe?
Wow - Astilbes with foliage color. I'm thinking I'd be a sucker for the lime foliage. I'm wondering though at what point in the season the foliage color would show up. Where were these developed? They are reasonably priced. I think you should go for it.
I'm in such a quandry here. I've "touched" just about every bed in my yard this summer but still can't quite come up with a plan for my one half-day sun (in the afternoon) bed. It starts out full and lush in the spring and looks pretty decent until late summer/early fall. By now, there are so many bare stalks and empty spaces that I start putting my potted plants in the bare spots. The Campanulas (speciosa and 'Kent Bells') have been dead-headed to death with no basal foliage left, the daylily foliage has been cut back by half to keep it from flopping everywhere, the spring-bloomers (Aquilegia and Polemonium) are gasping, the roses are pretty leafless by now and won't throw any more flowers, the Monarda 'Mahogany' have been deadheaded into pretty bare stalks, the background shrubs (flowering almond, Weigela) are done blooming - you get the picture. I do have a couple of "mums" ('Hillside Sheffield Pink' and a plain ole white one) for fall color. Part of the problem is that the soil doesn't hold enough moisture which I'm working on with spot composting. It gets western sun exposure in the afternoon. Maybe it's just a matter of dry soil and hot sun by late summer doing in everything? Any suggestions? I'm posting a picture from late May.
Very pretty garden, Cindy. Can you add some fall colors by adding in some Neon Sedum or Autumn Joy Sedum, or add some mums or blue asters in the bare spots? I have a similar problem in our daylily bed, so I stick in some mums (some come back, some don't) and we used to have some gorgeous blue asters fill in the holes until I mistook them for weeds and pulled most of them out! arrrrrrgh.
DonnieBrook - would you believe I just pulled out a big sedum? It started out as a pass-along plant 20 years ago (no named variety) but it flopped so badly as it got older and bigger (probably due to only half-day sun), smothering everything around it. I did try aster 'Hella Lacy' years ago but it died out and didn't really perform well. They tend to get pretty lanky with only half-day sun. They do better in the lower garden where there's a spot of more sun. Maybe pots are the answer. Usually they're lined up on the cement stones around the beds and by the end of summer, I've moved them into the beds to fill the holes.
JoAnn - your beautiful blue asters are now planted in a place of honor right by our front porch in the front fence garden where we can easily see them while we are having breakfast and lunch. They would have gotten lost in that stone wall garden if I had tried to use them to fill the gaps. Don't worry - they'll be well cared for!
Cindy - I have 2 clumps of sedum from dear Sofonisba that I want to put in full sun, so they will go into the new section of my Friendship Garden...quite appropriate, huh?
Cindy, I also have a 1/2 shady area with blazing afternoon sun.
I planted fall-blooming salvias there which have done great. They're just blooming now.
I treat some of them as annuals (s. leucantha),
but they grow huge in a single season and bloom their hearts out.
Here's a pix of leucantha - it's hard to get the long blooming spike in focus.
Weerobin - I haven't grown many Salvias since I thought they'd need more sun than I can give them. I did start S. 'Purple Volcano' last year from seed and it did winter over here. I've been using it more as a border foliage plant since the flowers can get rather ugly after a couple of weeks. I also tried 'May Night' and it just sat in the garden for several years and never bloomed. Don't know what I did wrong with that one. What species do well for you in your half-sun bed besides leucantha? That is a dramatic bloom spike and would love the purple in the late summer. Do you buy plants or start seed?
DonnieBrook - What a great idea with the Friendship Garden. I have 'Hillside Sheffield Pink' that I received probably 15 years ago and I'm sentimental about that one. Those flowers in late fall really bring a smile to my face and I've shared it over the years with others.
Getting some rain finally here after a 2+ week dry spell. Have been worrying about all of the Astilbe divisions, some crisping up and losing foliage. All I can do is wait to see next spring what survived but keeping my fingers crossed.
Salvia Black and Blue is hardy here and blooms reliably in quite shady locations.
It suckers somewhat (not aggressively) to fill a sizable area,
so it tends to overrun any dainty nearby plants, so site accordingly.
I buy the more tender salvias as plants and use them as annuals.
Plant Delights has the nice pictures to see what you're ordering,
but you can find them cheaper at Avant Nursery, Digging Dog I think.
My salvia leucantha just gets afternoon sun.
My amateur theory is that the afternoon sun is so intense it makes up for missing early day sun?
Here's a post of Black and Blue - gets 1/2 sun at most.
It also blooms late - now thru frost.
This shot is from November last year (note the fall color in background).
Oh, I like 'Black and Blue'. I bought some for my daughter in TN and for her, it's a perennial too. I didn't think it would do well in my garden but will have to try that one. In your photo, it goes well with the fall colors. I like your amateur theory - I think that's the only reason I can grow a couple of tomatoes and actually get some fruit.
Oh, we'll be fine, thank you. Just a lot of hacking, coughing, dripping nose, body aches, head ache, sore throat and nasty fever etc. But it's survivable. It's the fever that lays you out. I expect we'll be back at it by mid week. I'm feeling better today, obviously. Too sick to accomplish anything much but watch TV and nap. One of life's speed bumps.
I vowed I wasn't going to buy any more perennials this season but the end of the year 75% discount was too good to pass up. Got a big pot of 'Key Biscayne' for $4.00 (since I already had 'Key West') and a good sized plant of willow-leaved Amsonia for less than $3.00 (maybe for my part shade bed). There was also 'Rock and Roll' and 'Jump and Jive' but I wasn't familiar with the colors of those two. Anyone growing 'Key Biscayne'? I know it's lower growing and pale pink but that's about all I know.
Ooooooh - definitely on the "wish" list now. Snapple, make sure you get totally over the H1N1. We're thinking granddaughter in TN had it - fever, tired, extreme headache - and she seemed to recover from it but had a really bad ear infection the next week. And she's not one of those kids prone to ear problems.
Ah - in your weakened state, you succumbed to 'Purple Candles' huh? Do hope it makes you feel better though.
Granddaughter had an ear infection in both the inner ear and the ear canal. My daughter said that there was a lot of gunk coming out of the one ear. Dr. prescribed both an oral antibiotic as well as antibiotic ear drops with a pain reliever. Do keep an eye on that.
Weerobin, love your Salvia leucantha! We had them growing in our deck planters years ago and still had blooms on Thanksgiving. Always thought their flowers looked like velvet and they were wonderful for dried flower arrangements. Your photo reminds me how much I miss them and I may just have to find some next year!
Snapple, so sorry to hear you're not feeling up to par :( Congratulations on your official retirement but what a lousy way to start - take care of yourself!
Regarding sun tolerant Astilbes, it's always been my understanding that Chinese Astilbes (Astilbe chinensis) have better sun AND drought tolerance than other species of Astilbe. I know the 'Visions' series have been promoted as sun tolerant Astilbes but my experience has been the foliage will still get crisp if they don't have enough water :(
Cindy, haven't grown 'Jump and Jive' or 'Key Biscayne' but LOVE 'Rock and Roll'! It's probably my favorite white Astilbe because it has red stems and the contrast is lovely :)
rcn - The tags for the Astilbes weren't very helpful with the flower colors at the nursery I went to. Pretty non-descriptive. Since I already have 3 different white Astilbe (2 of them were divided into a gazillion pieces), I thought I'd try going for some other color. I'm hoping the "reddish stems" will add a little more color. Now if I can only figure out where to put it.
Snapple - Are you waiting til spring for 'Lilliput'?
ge - Keep us up to speed on how 'Lilliput' grows. I really can't buy any more this year.
Probably on the Liliput. I've got 100 tulip bulbs coming soon. Too much to get into the ground and too little time. Besides, I'm still sitting here sweating. I may have to hire a local plant/landscaper guy to get me back on track for fall. There is one I can trust. He's a genius with plant material. Two years ago I unexpectedly, temporarily, wound up in a wheelchair for 3 months ( foot surgery from hell and a knee went out at the same time). This guy came in and did a fantastic job getting stuff done. Pricey, but well worth the peace of mind. Him and a buddy can get me caught up in maybe two days time. If I can get him. He's usually booked pretty tight.
Have always had great admiration for gardeners who have the perseverance to plant tulip bulbs. They don't come back reliably here (probably due to the clay) and I haven't delved into the world of species tulips which I've read to tend to come back. I still have old bulbs in the ground that throw out a leaf or two and that's about it. I keep meaning to dig those up in the spring as it's one of my pet peeves but I never seem to get around to it with all of the other spring gardening going on. Narcissus, Scilla and other little bulbs tend to do better for me. Heck, even my Hyacinths decline over time. My hat's off to you.
I can usually get 4 years out of good quality Darwin hybrids. Loose well drained soil I'm sure is the reason. I used to have some species Daffs. They do come back tirelessly. I lost them when digging out a dead Japanese maple. Kaufmanias are pretty little tulips that are tough. They bloom early and get out of the way in plenty of time for summer bedding annuals. Hyacinths are touchy here too. I have had some white ones in the back garden for over 10 yrs though. Scilla's are easy. Hybrid Daffs gow well here too, but I dug them all up and tossed them and I don't miss them. Two months of masses of dying foliage was too high a price to pay for two weeks of blooms. I might pop just a few in between some hostas someday. The expanding hosta foliage could disguise the daffodill foliage. If I was the organized energetic sort.
The bed where the tulips are going is already dug and ready. If I had to chop through heavy clay soil to plant there likley wouldn't be any tulips here at all!
Most of my daffs are in the lower garden (where they rarely get divided unless I'm digging in that particular spot) or in groundcover (ivy or wintercreeper) where I'm not going to be bothered so much by the dying foliage. I do have a few in my part-sun bed and I really have to curb my clean-up enthusiasm not to cut the foliage back too quickly. I can deal with it in exchange for the early spring flowers.
I just heard on the radio that there's a prediction for a REALLY cold winter. Oh, c--p! DH is installing door this week connecting heated garage and GH. Also going to purchase a small natural gas heater to use instead of propane heater I've used for the last 2 years. Seems like I just took down the bubble wrap and styrofoam insulation and now I'll be putting it back up.
Snapple - what summer? DH is already complaining about the shorter days. He loves the heat but we sure didn't get much. I can't complain since I spent way more time outdoors this summer than I usually do.
It flew by. Plus, it was not a good growing year here - 134 growing days compared to the average 160. Heat lovers like Cannas and Caladiums were just really slow to get going and many never achieved their full potential. We are forecasted a frost Thursday night. I shudder to think what this means for winter. I plan on taking extra precautions for the plants that are marginally hardy. I'm going to rose cone a few things that I don't normally cover. Extra mulch over others. None of my dwarf Cryptomerias are zone 5 hardy. They'll get the cones, probably in late December when the ground has frozen. I'm late planting Ajuga 'Golden Glow' ( not arrived yet ) . I'll bury that under oak leaves. Bubble wrap the containered Japanese maples and bring into the garage for January and February. A Cedrus deodara 'Ttwisted' ( first year ) will need a burlap wind screen. You all know the drill. Last winter all the rhodies and azaleas did well in spite of the -17° lows. One semi- evergreen 'Girard's Crimson' is 22 years old and 15' across. That I cover completely with snow. DH happens to like that one so he's right on it. As soon as we start to shovel off the driveway he starts covering it. ( We don't use any salt. ) It's only hardy to -10°. It's right outside the front door so every winter we have this enormous snow mound just off the front deck. Once our yorkie walked out on the mound, sank and almost disappeared!
Low 40's again tonight but I'm not seeing frost warnings yet for me. I always wondered how containerized JM's were handled. I should have put burlap around my Hinoki cypress last year - it's exposed to north and west winds (the worst) - but didn't. It's been in the ground for years but got hit really hard last winter. Let's just say that once I gently pulled off the brown needles that I had quite a minimalist looking thing. Can I translate that into a rather contemporary/zen look? :) I'm trying to nurse it back to health. Another cold winter won't help it much. Maybe I need to invest in some burlap...
My cannas never got to the bloom stage either. Once door to GH gets installed this weekend, I'm going to start moving things inside. And drag out the tall cold frame.
I'm wondering how much of a fall we'll really have. Even though the trees here are just starting to turn - some yellowing but still mostly green - the temps are way cooler just like our summer. Dreaded doing it but had to turn on the heat the other night. Don't get me wrong - I like cooler temps - but it was 66 degrees in the house at 6 pm.
Will have to wander the yard to find a home for my impulse Astilbe buy today. What was I thinking.
Found home for 'Key Biscayne' but had to remove one of several 'Moonbeam' Coreopsis to fit it in. I may divide it next spring since it was a nice size. Also found a spot for the Amsonia but had to move a bearded Iris out of the way. Hoping to hide the naked lower stems of the Clematis with that. And still doing the spot composting thing but doing some fall cleanup as I progress from one end of the bed to the other. Next project is untangling some Japanese morning glories from a trellis without damaging the ripening seed pods. Even more challenging because they're growing in pots in the middle of the bed. My first year doing that and will have to rethink that for next year.
We had a freeze last night. Unbelievable. Two weeks before the average first frost date. There wasn't any frost damage on the plants, but there was a crust on the bird bath. I think the warm ground must have radiated just enough heat to keep the plants from freezing. I'm still planting too. And mulching heavy.
Yikes! No frost here yet. I think Lake Michigan gives me a little more protection from the cold northwest air and all of the trees shading the yard tend to help too. I think the coldest it will get here during the next week is 45. Gives me time to finish moving plants indoors. I've been doing a lot of shrub cuttings this summer and have to get about 20 small pots into the cold frame as well. It'll be a busy week.
Nice! Mine aren't as showy. Right now the best garden color is coming from a Berberis thunbergii 'Sunjoy Pillar'. ( Not exactly a shade native!) The collors are intense yellows, corals and oranges. I'd recommend this to anyone for fall color.
ge - The fall leaf color is more striking than the seasonal bloom color.
Also experiencing significant yellow color on all of the fading Hostas. Usually they're kinda blah but this year, they've all decided to turn yellow at the same time. Now that really brightens up my shade garden. :) Very striking in the lower garden - about 40% bright golden yellow, 60% green with my (now) bright orange Japanese maple. The yellowing leaves on the trees are also lending a brighter quality of light to the landscape.
Snapple - You came through the flue okay? Did you get caught up on all of your planting?
Survived the flu. Got all the planting done. Working day by day to winterize the gardens. The hostas here too are glorius shades of yellow. Figure they will last another week or 10 days, then it's time to cut them back. I used to let them go until spring but I discovered that removing the foliage in the late fall cut down on slugs significantly. Now I clean up everything for winter. Makes spring much more enjoyable too. More time to watch the spring show and less time raking etc.
Too much indoor stuff coming up for me to do to spend so much time clearing the beds and raking all of the leaves. Plus I'm not going to be raking leaves in December. :) Besides, it'll give me something to do in early April when I can't do anything else.
I do get a lot of blown-in leaves over the winter due to winds out of the NW. Just a matter of how my house is situated in this wooded area. I do get rather cranky though when I'm picking up blown in garbage.
After raking and hauling leaves for the 4th time in the fall, I've fantasized about hiring someone to haul leaves for me. Most neighbors on my little street rake the leaves to the curb for pickup by the city. Of course, the leaves will sit out there for a month until most of them are blown into my yard. I haul all of mine out to the back of my property where they'll break down and help control erosion or to the compost bin if it's not already full.
Leaves blown in from neighbors who dont do any fall clean up are a major irritant to me too. I just get out there and get rid of them but I don't think happy thoughts about the neighbors in the process! By the first of December I have things bare and buttoned down. I keep the koi & goldfish pond free of leaves and other debris right up until they ice over. What I really hate are plastic grocery store bags. I swear some folks just wait for high winds and then stand outside and let a few go on purpose.
Our town picks up the leaves curb side and they are very, very good at getting to them quickly. The town covers less than a square mile and is heavily forested with mostly towering oaks and some maple. Those folks that do rake, tarp them until they are picked up. The leaf collection guys are very curteous about folding the tarps and leaving them where they won't blow away. There is no way I could compost all my leaves. They are sometimes a foot thick over the lawns. We have about a 70' long row at the curb up to my waist when we rake. And ths usually happpens twice before we get them all.
Ach! Plastic bags! Had one stuck up in a tree in my back yard for over a year. Bet when the leaves fall, there'll still be tattered remnants. And packing peanuts! Stupid me, picking them out of the leaves before composting. They blow like crazy too.
Ahhhh, I remember the day in early spring when I couldn't wait to open a big box that I knew held a large custom ordered fiberglass planter ( destined for a Japanese Maple) on our front deck. You know where this story is going. As I opened the flaps, a huge gust of wind swirled over the deck and packing p-nuts rose in a great white column, enveloping me then disbursing over the deck furniture, out into the lawn, settling over the flower beds and deep into a large rhododendron. I'm still finding them. Sigh...
Heh, heh, heh! Spiked indeed. Don't you wonder how they ever get them in there? I mean, I can't corral them without swatting, sweeping, picking and last resort - sticky tape. Then if they get full of static you can't let go of the @&%#*@ things.
Yes I did. They (2) were bare root - very substantial in size and solidly healthy. I labeled the spots to remind me to mulch them heavily to protect them from heaving because they can't possibly root in sufficiently in time for winter. I checked them just this morning and they look really good. There are many bud tips for next year just barely showing. I'm pleased so far, but the mulch will be crucial.
I've been doing some spot composting in between plants and have been adding some SB coffee grounds and bagged composted manure as top dressing. And did some mulching with some shredded leaves and grass clippings, topped off with a tea concocted of molasses, composted manure, liquid kelp extract and fish emulsion. Hoping to improve the soil over winter although I'm not honestly sure how much it will improve when the ground is frozen. But we'll see come spring. It really made since to do some mulching since I had moved so many plants around but I didn't put it down too thickly so maybe 2" deep. Other than my two new additions a few weeks ago, most everything else was planted or moved by the end of Sept so that should be enough time to settle in.
Hey DB - if your planting was in September you could be fine. Root growth takes place as long as the soil temps are at 40 or above. I've moved hostas as late as September 30 ( with a decent root ball ) and have had no problems. The ground temp here is right around 52 to 55. ( Same temp as my koi pond at 3-1/2 feet deep).
But bareroot on October 15th when I put in my astilbe? Not a chance. By the second week of November (on average) the soil is below 40 and won't warm until late March early April. You know the drill. 40 plants? You've been busy!
ge - Maybe just playing at Sleeping Beauty. I did lose some foliage on some of the smaller divisions of my Astilbes when we had our dry spell. Hoping that they'll rebound in the spring.
DB - 40 plants in the ground? That's some dedication.
I'm hoping for another couple of weeks before the ground freezes so that I can do a little more spot composting in one bed. Now the leaves are starting to really fall so I won't be doing any more shredded leaf mulching. Now everything will go to the big compost pile.
DG er said some varieties take a early nap .
I wont count them out until mid May when they are up high enough to see the leaves.
Just gave the garden a heavy dose of horse manure, that should do the trick
I think your astilbe will be fine, Jo Ann. I've had some pop right back up in the Spring once I've written them off for good!
Snapple and Cindy - Many kind DG friends brought plants to our RU in September that I had on my wish list, and then we had lots of plants left over from the plant swap part of the RU. Planting the 40 was a labor of love that Hank and I split up. Can't wait to see if they all do well in the Spring! When I plant something from a friend, I feel like he or she is right there with me in the flowers when the buds pop. It is such a nice feeling. I have a friendship garden that is filled with plants from friends. I treasure each one! Now, my friendship garden also has a beautiful pink stone contributed by a new DG friend as well. Lucky, lucky me!!
Dare I resurrect this thread or should I start a new one?
ge - Did you get your Astilbe 'Straussenfeder' from White Flower Farm? As best I can tell, it's aka 'Ostrich Plume' although 'OP' is sometimes described as "hot pink"! Maybe this would sub for that beautiful Fuschia Spangles from NZ?
Happy new decade everyone.
Cindy! I have the Strassendelder on order with a garden store near me. I believe the Strassenfelder is peach I dont know if Strass. is the difference from other varieties of OP's that are pink or what.
Its hard to find so If my guys dont have it this spring I will order from WFF eventho I have sworn not to do business with them. They send plants that are really small and rarely survive.
I get a kick out of how fast the garden talk heats up as soon as Christmas is over. Hope everyone has a brilliant new year.
ge - I haven't ordered from WFF for years and would hate to order just one plant. I am getting confused on the Strass though. I want peach, not pink (unless it's like that Fuschia Spangles!).
I'm on hunt for the Hellebore 'Westerflisk'. Anyone ever order from Pine Knot? I saw the name "Burrell" on the home page and am very intrigued. They're also listing some Astilbe as companion plants.
Today is Christmas dec dismantling and then I have the whole weekend for browsing and adding to my Excel lists.
Just checking B&B out in general after you mentioned them a while back.
I'm in agreement with you on Strass being peach (according to descriptions) but OP is described as pink. So when some of the listings cross reference Strass with OP, I get confused. Maybe the Strass is a "sport" or variation of OP?
Uh oh - when Snapple goes off like that, I think our credit cards are going to get some use. :)
Just finished cleaning up after de-holidaying. Off to forage for dinner so PD will have to wait until tomorrow.
It's a catalog you can savor all winter long. Tony Avent is as good a writer as he is a plant breeder. You will also notice he's not shy about voicing his opinions. I get the printed catalog but it doesn't have all the plants that are offered. Still, it's a good one to curl up in the easy chair with on those cold winter days.
Forgot to add:
Speaking of Epimediums, my list of stong maybes is Epimedium grandiflorum var. higoense 'Bandit' (Bandit Fairy Wings). It's a tiny thing with a big price but I have the perfect spot for it.
Snapple - 'Bandit' is a beauty! If you could have one (due to cost limitations), I think that would be in the running. Did you see E. diphyllum 'Variegatum'? I don't know how I could chose just one. Sigh.
I have no plant aquisition consciense. Unfortunately. My husband would sure like me to develop one. My kids got me gift certificate to PD's for Christmas. So I have a couple of shekels to spend. But is it ever hard to choose.
Lucky you! DH didn't get me a specific GC for seeds this year (usually it's T&M - but I've pretty much run through most of their stuff over the years of ordering) but did tell me that he's got some $$ set aside. Of course, I'm also going through JL Hudson seed catalog for the first time too.
Oooo - It is a beaut! I just finished up my first order with Edelweiss and ordered 1 Epimedium acuminatum x davidii. Since I was already ordering some 'Walter Flisk' hellebores, I "had" to add a new Epimedium.
Never made up a Bluestone order so going there next to pick out a couple of Astilbe. I've got to chose between 'Amethyst', 'Graafland' and 'Lilliput'. Decisions, decisions...
Hey Pirl - Happy to see you here - my fav thread if you can't tell from all of my obnoxious postings on Astilbe division last fall. :)
Curious to see what the other participants are ordering this year. ???
Ordered my Astilbes from Bluestone - 'Graafland', 'Lilliput' and 'Ostrich Plume' (described as coral pink). I think I'm done ordering for spring and saving the rest of my meager budget for impulse buys. I'm sure I can spot these to fill some holes left by some expired roughly treated Astilbe.
Hey ge - Obviously you had quite an influence on my Astilbe purchases this spring. :) Thanks for that! I did order the 'Ostrich Plume' hoping that it will have more of the coral/salmon color rather than pink. I found a couple of places with 'Straussenfeder' but couldn't put an order together to justify the shipping costs. And your 'Lilliput' photo convinced me that I had to have it. Are you in the market this spring for more Astilbe?
Yep more astilbe.
I shop at a garden center near me and the perennial lady said she would try to locate some Strassfelder( sp) so here's hoping.
I cant wait to see the Lilliput. I ordered from Bluestone so no blooms until this spring.
They measure 16 inches or so the website said.
I ordered Astil.Amethyst from Blue stone,they said it was 16 inches so I bought it for the space where I wanted to see the fountain. I believe the 16 inches was the plant base benieth the stems and blooms. I had to dig 3 and put them somewhere else.I am weary of measurments from anyone.
They can only report on how it grows for them or where it's been tested and one person's idea of shade may not be the same as another - same for sun. The intensity of the sun in Florida has to be different from the sun in Maine.
I ordered 2 asiatic lilies.Thought they were all about 36 inches unless stated dwarf,pot,border.
I checked them out on Google and PF and they are 17 inches tall.
Its not the end of the world ,all I have to do is move them on the garden grids I use for planning the gardens. They nwill be next to and not behind the 17 inch Astilbes.
Sometimes I think my few lilies stretch for more sun. In the past, I bought only shorter varieties due to only part sun where they're planted thinking that they wouldn't get blown over or lean too much and fall down.
Wow, what a great thread this has turned out ot be. I'm still around reading and enjoying it , just busy with school and taking on a big new project which is putting me way out of my comfort zone of shade gardening. I'm landscaping a vacant lot - 200 X 140, full sun, pH 7.3, sandy loam with no water available (sans the first year). This will be done this spring in one big planting swoop. It's currently in mowed grass/weeds. The list is heavy on natives but includes a fairly good share of cultivars too. I have a list of about 85 plants, some of which will probably be struck off the list after some more thorough research. The lot is on a busy commercial corner. It HAS to be well done.
I'm getting water from a residential neighbor for the first season in exchange for paying his water bill. Any input you guys have I'm eager to have. This isn't about astilbe, which I planted last fall and have tiny buds showing at just the soil level. It's a whole new growing environment for me. I'm a little apprehensive.
Hi Snapple - Aside from having no supplemental water after the first year, is this a space that will be maintained once planted or left to go natural? I'd love to offer suggestions but sandy loam and full sun are way out of my league.
What classes are you taking in school?
ge - What a funny observation about leaning lilies.
One tree - Cotinus obovatus - A native, common name American Smoketree. Minimal maintainence is the goal. Cutting back the grasses in the spring and keeping an edge. The lot will be planted in a sweeping "C" or kind of "U" shaped border with a grassy area in the center of the "C". The grassy center area will continue to be mowed. I want to invite visitors in on foot for a view.
It looks at this point that the mainstays will be grasses and shrubs with native perennials and annuals interspersed. I have some screening to do as there is an extremely poorly maintained rental home bordering the east lot line. It's an eyesore of major proportions. We've tried unsuccessfully to buy it on several occaisions. It looks as though our lack of success might be a blessing. It might just eventually become uninhabitable. The owner is upside down on the mortgage and has no funds for maintenance plus the renters are the worst. Just a matter of time I think before the bank gets it back. Anyway - This a huge stretch for me. Nothing like taking on a big project about which you have limited experience.
Classes - Associates Degree of Applied Science - Horticulture. Going for a second degree at age 64 is a real hoot.
You're absolutely right pirl. As soon as the snow is gone I plan on getting out the wheel and getting a precise measurement of the areas to be planted. Very, very soon. I need numbers for plant orders. Cant do that without a plot plan. I'm heading out to the thread and the forum you supplied. Didnt know about either of them. Thank You. I'm grateful.
High Country Gardens may have a good list as well. IMHO (and not "knowing" the way of ornamental grasses), I'd go for some really native grasses rather than the ornamentals. Have seen a lot of ornamental grasses planted around here and then promptly left of their own. They do seem to be gradually overtaken by the natives and end up looking sad and choked. Lupines? Baptisias? (Obviously I'm not familiar with a lot of sun-lovers.)
Congrats on going back to school!
CMz5 - High Country Gardens will probably get the bulk of the order. Baptisia is an absolute. The grasses under consideration are the large ones. Hopefully too big to get overrun. The scale here is a large sweep. What started out as a fun project has turned into something a bit more nerve wracking. Firs,t its hugely visible and having lived in this community for nearly 40 yrs EVERYBODY knows who owns that scrap of land. Second, two of my school instructors know about the project and drive by it frequently. I have no room to fail or even screw up slightly. Third, members of the local garden club have offered to volunteer to give a 2 hours on one day for planting. There will be many experienced hands for a limited amount of time. I'll have to have all my ducks in a row on this one. Coming east anytime soon?
LOL! Any tips or plantlets to be had from your stint with the botanic garden? There was a garden/seed place up in Minnesota that specialized in native plants for ecological reclamation. Can't think of the name of it off-hand (Rice Gardens?) but can look further if you need the info. Anything to be had through Arbor Day org? Does your town have a city mulch pile, free to residents? What about blue-eyed grass or flax? Self-seeding Rudbeckias and Gaillardias? Big Sedums like 'Matrona' or those other beautiful dark-leaved varieties that I can't grow? Hmm, do I sound like I'm sun-gardening vicariously? Will you be using lots of landscape fabric to keep soil-resident seed from sprouting?
AND - don't be so hard on yourself about mistakes - it happens. Look at all of those highly-touted new plants that turn out to be duds! You - who's won awards. Silly!
Gardens of Rice Creek maybe? I'll give it a look. Thanks for the encouragement. Yup, I'm asking every every experienced plantsman I know for advice including the local Extension office. There is a municipal compost operation that is quite cheap. But unfortunaely their stuff is terrible. Full of broken bits of car parts, carpet shreds, styrofoam pieces , rocks and many bits that defy identification. It's just not worth the cost savings. I tried it once and regretted it for about three years while I picked out the non-organic garbage.
Again - Thanks for the encouragement. Are you busy the last week of May?
Sorry about the municipal compost. When we first moved here, we had a couple of trees taken down because they were right at the edge of our concrete driveway. They had poison ivy growing up them. I pointed it out to the fellas but they just threw it all into their big chipper/shredder anyway. Would have hated to get that batch of mulch. Ick!
The last week of May when I'm scurrying around trying to get my annuals (12 to 15 flats) in the ground?
Ok - I just spent the last several hours reading this thread, my eyes are glazed over, and I'm on information overload :-) Too many tips and ideas to count. I started writing snippets down in a notebook so I could remember them all. Wonderful, wonderful thread.
I have a stand of 'Peach Blossom' that gets better and fuller each year. I think this year is time for dividing to make more plants. Funny, there is one oddball in the whole bunch. Have no idea what it is. It came mislabeled in the original 'Peach Blossom' purchase, and I didn't notice it until it bloomed later and different than the rest. Sometimes mistakes make the best surprises. Terri
Speaking of mulch. We get mulch from the town. They shred the cast off crismas trees. They also add anything else that drifts into the chipper, I have found crate slats big enough to use for kindling.
DD says its free so we use it and as I am not the one shoveling ,thats what we get.
I had composted topsoil added to a new perennial bed by landscapers who took out overgrown junipers. I was digging and weeding in one atea and found a lilac piece of rubber,(guess what)
Someone was naughty by the compost pile.tee hee
Years ago, I believe it was Organic Gardening that tested mulch provided by municipalities, and it was highly critical of the non-organic nature of too much of it. Battery acid was one thing that stands out in my mind. We've seen so many things that never belonged in any mulch pile and isn't what should be incorporated with plants, especially vegetables. We've also found a brand new pitchfork,
We've used only our own compost since 1993.
Putting a good layer of compost under astilbe as they're planted, and all around them,will keep the roots cool, which is what they want.
It is depressing. If they weren't such a dull color after blooming, I wouldn't be so intent on dead-heading - would save some of my OCD for other projects. Hmmm - do you really think we could get away with spray-painting? Shade gardens get so dull and boring in late summer.
This last week of February should be Gardening Intervention Week to keep us from buying strangely colored spray paints or hitting that awful "Quick Buy" feature on sites. If we just had sunshine and 50 degrees we'd do just fine.
I just got a 15% off notice from Hosats direct. There are some Giant varieties I want but they go on the Deer Path thru the WoodsWalk garden.How crazy is that. I will be spraying repellent on all the lilies there as it is.
I should be able to find something else for the absolute end of the garden.
One foot further I am on my neighbors property.
Ah - deer's version of all you can eat salad bar. I'm thinking you might be better off with a Hosta with a heavier leaf texture? H. plantaginea is one of the locals' favorites. But if deer are hungry, they'll eat anything and everything - rhodies, conifers, azaleas. Haven't seen them eat hollies though.
pirl - How funny! Do you think we'd do better going out now and painting bare stems? That might be pretty cool. Choose Easter colors to go with soon-to-emerge daffodils and hyacinths?
Pirl - I was confused (i.e. suckered in) on the first mention of aqua astilbe, and then ... voila, the next few posts and all is clear now - joke's on me, I am always a laugh behind everyone else :-) Deer - UGH. Love seeing them, but hate what they do to my plants. Last year, my dad came over and sprayed everything in sight with deer repellant every 4-5 weeks for me. I bought three different brands, and he rotated them (heard that helps too). Expensive, but seems to do the trick.
We use Deer Scram and spray with Liquid Fence. What other spray products do you use. I'm seriously considering cast aluminum fencing in black but can't decide on 8 or 12 feet in height. I also haven't gotten any prices yet and that may be the determining factor.
I hope the aqua astilbe put a smile on your face. I enjoyed doing it and seeing the reaction of garden guests.
The three sprays I used were Liquid Fence, Bobex, and Deer Off (or Away, can' remember, but got it at Home Depot). And yes, the aqua astilbe did make me laugh, both for the crazy color and because I am so slow witted sometimes.
I've had green plastic snow fencing in place for several years - just tied to the trees - and for the most part, it's worked for keeping the deer out. But the plastic is slowly deteriorating and can get damaged in the winter when the plastic gets cold and brittle and breaks, leaving entrances into the garden for the deer. I really should make a commitment to replacing it with something more permanent. I never got in the habit of spraying, probably because I usually didn't have time when I worked full time. I was lucky to keep weeds pulled or Astilbe deadheaded :). Has anyone tried Plant Skyd? I've heard it advertised on Ken Druse's podcast.
Predicting "lake effect" snow tonight. Doesn't look like it will amount to much but hard to tell, especially when the weather people like to play up possible storms into potential catastrophes.
Oh ge - I'm sorry. It does mean extra work for you I know.
I'm so straddling the fence on deer. They've always been here in my neighborhood, following the creek. They predate any development and have certain "browsing" rights I guess. But there are also controlled deer culls here as well and my brother fills his freezer with deer meat every year. DH likes to scare them off with leftover July 4 firecrackers.
We have culls in the city park that has a highway running thru it.More vehicles involved than I want to count and 1 fatality not to mention the deer that jumped thru the windshield and re arranged the drivers face.
The local farmers in just our town lose $5,000,000. a year in crops to the deer. They hate the deer as well. While they are allowed to shoot anything (but humans) because they're farmers they can't very well stay awake all night trying to shoot them when the farmers have to work all day.
pirl - Yes - you made your feelings known. :) I just wish there was an easier solution for both sides.
Crumbs - it's snowing again. Real light stuff that I'm sure will continue for the rest of the day. Hoping I don't have to shovel slushy snow again. It's heavy and awkward and gave me a real 1 1/2 hour work out AFTER I was diligent with working out with weights and Wii. I need to work outside to get rid of winter weight.
Must report in that most of the Astilbe divisions are putting out flower stalks. I did add a bit of super phosphate to each planting hole last year. I'm so excited to see what all of the dividing and moving and amending is going to result in. Have 3 new Astilbes coming next week from Bluestone - 'Graafland', 'Lilliput' and 'Ostrich Plume'. ge - you're such a "bad" influence on me.
I did notice that some critter nipped the top off of one of the flower stems. Don't think it was deer but rather a epicurious raccoon. Anyone ever have problems with raccoons foraging?
Noreaster - I admit that when the plants arrive (next week?), I'll be wandering around trying to figure out where to put it. I'm of of the "buy now, plan later" theory.
LOL! I've really tried over the years to develop a more strategic mind set but it just never works for me. I've had a heck of a time trying to move away from the formal symmetrical route my brain usually takes. Or worrying about even numbers vs odd. I have tried to stick with odd numbers but then at least one plant always ups and dies. Now I'm more into planting one of something (unless I have an incredibly healthy crop of greenhouse columbines).
I don't have many critters in our fenced yard, except chipmunks. The one issue I do have every year is some sort of insect sucking the buds dry on my Bridal Veil astilbe. It makes me so mad, and I don't know how to prevent it. Oh the even/odd thing makes me crazy too. I had five Key West astilbes and my dog peed on the fifth one in the row all winter and early Spring before I noticed and it seems to be a goner. I can't have four!!!
I moved Pink Lightning to a slightly sunnier spot this weekend...I'm hoping to get better bloom out of it this year. Do you guys fertilize your astilbe? I'm so lazy about that.
Compost for the planting hole and compost around the astilbe, as mulch, is all the food they get from me. I'd drive myself more insane than I am trying to give each one precisely what their hearts desires. Water is more critical (in my mind) to astilbe than food.
I've never had any insect on mine - or at least none that did any damage, so I can't help, sorry!
The even/odd thing gets me nuts. I can't abide a twosome or foursome of anything. Now I tend to go in larger numbers so if something dies I won't notice that there's 12 instead of 13. I'm not a fan one 1's either unless it's something like a tree or specimen plant. Soldier straight rows of anything annoy me unless it's in a vegetable garden - then it's okay.
pirl - Astilbe are heavy feeders. When I did all of that dividing last year, I added compost (really leaf mold since my compost doesn't get hot), all purpose garden fertilizer (I think it was 10-10-10 - something cheap) and some super phosphate - all in the planting hole. I think (can't really remember) I used a liquid transplant or starter fertilizer to water them in initially. Most years, the Astilbe in the lower garden didn't get any fertilizer at all but still bloomed although not prolifically. Do you think your 'Bridal Veil' gets some type of thrip? Any roses nearby?
I'm kinda learning to "scatter" plant of the same variety instead of grouping. I can then combine them with other different plants as long as I keep flower/foliage colors in the group similar. Then it's not so noticeable if I lose one. Of course, I mainly buy onsies anyway (just like the new Astilbes). I figure I can always divide them down the road if I really like them. Otherwise I would have run out of garden room years ago. All of my Hostas are singular. I have one group of similarly colored Heucheras, each one is different with slightly different colored foliage but I think there's 6 in that group but then I also have a border of all 'Palace Purple' seedlings, each varying in the purple color intensity but similar enough to form a border. I get more into repeating colors and forms rather than specific plants and rely on them more for the continuity throughout the beds.
I think it might be some kind of aphid on Bridal Veil...they don't bother with any other astilbe. I read that there is a special aphid on birch trees, and I have a birch right near these. Or, since I don't know my bugs, it's possible it's another sucking type bug. Sometimes I do see things on them, and if I can catch them in the act I'll use soapy spray..but it seems I'm always too late and the damage is done.
Thrips are another headache that I have on my daylilies, year after year. I never see those AT ALL so I don't know how to combat them. I just live with those, because at least the flowers open, even if they aren't all pretty. The suckers on the astilbe ruin it. :( I have some superphoshate that I'm trying on the hydrangea this year- maybe I should give it a shot on Bridal Veil.
So I spoke too soon about critters. I was chatting with my neighbor over the fence and looked over to see my emerging Rodgersia foliage and buds snapped clean off! I'm so mad about that!! I don't know what would do it...had to be squirrels or chipmunks because it happened today while I was out there the whole time.
From a design perspective, I do like look of things in groupings of multiples (I think hosta can stand alone because there are so many unique varieties, and they basically ARE all shades of green. That said, I have a small garden, so the grouping thing kind of goes out the window if I want to enjoy lots of different plants.
I have no problems with Bridal Veil or any of my astilbes and lush is the only word to describe their flowering for me without any food, just compost.
Glad to see others use one of a kind arrangements with hostas. Today I had to dig up a Blue Moon that was in the wrong spot and figured I'd put it in with Jack Frost Brunnera. When I got to the area I laughed to see I had already moved chunks of it to the same area twice before.
You had critters at your Rodgersia, Noreaster, and when I checked my roses in back today I saw the deer had their breakfast here and ate every single bud along with all the top growth on every new lily in one entire section. I've never even seen them bloom! I did spray with Liquid Fence and sprayed all the other lilies as well.
For thrips I learned from a local hybridizer, even if you didn't think you had them, spray every April and every June.