Monthly Archives: September 2011

Roses , Berries and Seedheads

Fall here is all about roses, berries and seedheads. In my lectures on Easy Care Roses, I often reccomend a number of the newer shrubs and climbers that have long bloom times, and at this time of year I am always grateful I take my own advice ;) .

Blooming right now are Climbing Iceberg, both the red and double pink knockouts, the white Magic Carpet, Seafoam, Easy elegance Yellow Brick Road, the Fairy, Carefree Spirit, both the pink and red Drift roses,( from the breeders of the Konockout series),Elsie Poulsen,  and two David Austin Roses; Chritopher Marlowe and Sharifa Asma( both of which have  lovely fragrances). They all certainly earn their place in my garden.

Rounding out the picture are of course the mums and the asters ( check out the photo of one called Matchstick-you will know it when you see it!) and the hydrangeas in their ever changing glory of course.

But even better yet are all the berries on the viburnums , the hollies, the winterberries , the rose hips and the seedheads and pods.

Clematis Texensis whirly seedheads are surrounding my garden sign, the baptisia has long stems of rattling black seed pods waiting to open, and I wish I could snap a photo of the coneflower seedheads when the goldfinches visit..it is like a new garden of bright yellow flowers when they are all perched on the stems devouring the seeds, but they are very nervous and take off when I approach  no matter how stealthy I think I am .

Hover to see what’s what and click on to embiggen!

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Not so sure

Out in the pool area my frustration grows. When we first put the pool in , I swore there would be no gardens inside the fence that surrounds it. The pool was a place to swim, sit, relax and enjoy, not weed, water, and dig. There is no irrigation system out there either, so any watering  requires several hoses to be  linked together dragged through the gate .

For a long time there were only 12 large juniper bushes (6×8 ft) that lined the fence so it wouldn’t look so overwhelming fence -y . Then we needed to re-claim some space for the hammock, and 5 of the  junipers came out. In went a clematis vine(‘snow queen’) and hosta (‘sum and substance’ and ‘blue angel’). Slowly after that initial garden bed was put in  the urge to “pretty it up” out there has taken over and stomped on  my reslove and more garden spaces have been added.(like the one below)

The only place left with just the evergreens was the left side, until last week. The junipers have grown by leaps and bounds, which is astonishing given that they are growing in pure sand topped with gravel and never watered or fertilized. Navigating the walkway on that side of the pool was getting tricky and the children were annoyed that any ball or pool toy that got errantly tossed there was essentially gone forever because the bushes were touching from top to bottom making an impenetrable hedge that as a bonus  caused an  allergic rash when touched, (especially painful to  someone in a skimpy bathing suit) .

Because they were thriving despite lack of care, I decide to leave them, only radically  prune them up.  I even called it bonsai hoping a fancy name would help in my acceptance of the new design. Yesterday I added lots of ground cover  plants ( you can hardly see they are still so small)and LOTS of soil ammendments too.  Overall, I have to say….I am not so sure I like it.

 I am going to be patient and see what happens in the spring when the newly planted and divided plants fill out and the juniper pruning gets tweaked. Then maybe rip it all out  and add more cement.

… a little aside….when we bought the juniper bushes , all 12 of them were marked ‘Sea Green’, an upright form that grows 6 ft tall and arches out 8 ft. As time went by it became apparant that one was an imposter. All these years I have left it there as a reminder that plants are mis labeled ALL the time and you have to be ever diligent. It was funny and a sort of  poke at the seriousness I sometimes have in the garden, but lately it is annoying me and may be the next thing to go.

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Who says a September Garden is a Yawn??

Funny, in the past week or two I have extended an invitation to several people to come see the garden and they have all replied the same way..”ooooh , I’d love to , but September probably isn’t   a great month to view your garden”.  Well, that is just flat out wrong when it comes to this dessert location. First off, I have just as much in bloom, berry and color as I do at any other time, AND you can enjoy it in the beautiful gentle September sunlight (that would be unlike the July sunlight that here in The  Burrow could incinerate you in a matter of seconds).

Here is a photo ( or 40 lol)

Joe -pye weed Eupatorium  ”Gateway  and black eyed susans co-mingle

Asters growing in pots to save them from the rabbits are starting

this large sunflowery plant whose name I do not know is lovely

red velvety snapdragons beg to be touched

The dahlias are in full bloom everywhere. I just read today that the double forms lost their nectar forming parts(?) in an effort to super size the flower and are therefore useless to bees. Next year it is back to the single forms for me.

This sunflower came from a mixed seed packet and I really don’t care for it’s droopy petals, but here it is alongside a hyacinth bean vine .

Rudbeckias add so much to the garden in September. Here is “Denver Daisy”

These tiny inconspicuous flowers on the calicarpa bush mean a great show of vivd purple berries is in store for the winter garden

I grow lots and lots of sedum. This is an’ Autumn Joy’ paired with a ‘Brilliant”. The bees go nutso like wacky nectar addicts looking for a fix when the sedum is in bloom

Rosa’The Fairy” goes all summer long, right up until frost

I let the amaranths self seed wherever they wanted to this year, and only ended up pulling a few. They really add a lot of color and drama in a very effortless lazy way.Here the green and burgundy seeded next to a rose bush

This new mum,  ’Centerpiece’,  is growing next to salvia ‘Royal Crimson Distinction’ . The salvia has been one of my star performers this year. It has flowered for great lengths of time, been cut back, and reflowered 3 times already with hardly any break. The mum came from Faribault  growers in MN. In spring (which is when you should plan the  hardy mums they are trying to sell you now) I ordered quite a few of them from this grower I heard of from a  fellow blogger  . many of them are in bloom now, and I am hoping many overwinter (crossed fingers)

Here is one called ‘Red Daisy’,  in it’s handy dandy rabbit fence enclosure

Rose of Sharon adds lots of punch to the late summer border without taking up lots of real estate. I grow quite a few new cultivars, but here is an old standard  pink that is just as nice

and this verbena called “Annie’ came from High Country Gardens.It blooms non-stop from probably late May until frost and is hardy here in zone 5 and gently spreading. Awesome groundcover plant!

The paniculata forms of Hydrangea all have the first pink-ish tinge on their white flowers, and soon will be cut to dry for arrangements and wreaths.

Rosa ‘Carefree Spirit” is still going strong

and the perennial geraniums are in their second flush of blooms after being cut back in late July

Caryopteri ( Blue Mist Shrub)s is alive and humming with polinators, who can’t seem to get enough of it

The Butterfly bushes, this is ‘Pink Delight’, are also humming with bees and butterflies all day (and Pumpkin who is fascinated by them and wandered into the shot)

This Sedum, a new one called ‘Hab Gray” is lovely both in foliage color, and it’s interesting pale yellow flowers. After it bloomed I left it uncut and the wind knocked it over. In a first for me with any sedum it flowered again all along the top of the stem that was facing the sun (like climbing roses do). Interesting, and a new thing to remember for future years.

The Heptacodium Miconoides tree is blooming for the first time this year.

The catmint has been going like gangbusters all summer, with little sign of slowing down.

The clematis vines that are done flowering are sporting their funky little seed heads all over…they are so  fun to look at and great to press.

The new Drift series of  low growing roses from the breeder of Knockout have performed wonderfully here all summer and look great now in the front gardens. The darker pink has a lovely light fragrance to boot.

Every year I grow a bunch of different annual vines. This year my fav has been the love in a puff cardiospermum halicacabum . The delicate foliage and flowers are crazy adorable, and the little puffs are beyond cute. When the puffs are dry you pop them open and the seed inside has a cool  heart shape on it, hence the name. It is a viscious weed elsewhere in the country, but is not hardy or a nuicance here. Lucky us!

My standard fav annual vine is , hands down, the hyacinth bean vine lablab purpurea. I hand out seeds to anyone who will take them, and like Johnny Appleseed (Cheryl beanseed ??) , hope many get planted and enjoyed. This year I planted them along the new fence, and WOW do I like the effect. The really come into their own in late August and throughout Sept-Oct, at a time the garden yearns for color. They are so easy to grow, too, needing nothing but sun and a little water to get them going.

Another beauty in the climbing department is this Thunbergia called ‘Blushing Susan’

Add in clematis vines: ‘Gravetye Beauty’, ‘terniflora’, ‘Pope John PAul II’, Comtesse de Bouchard’, ‘Rosea’, and Betty Corning’. Salvia ‘White Sensation’, Geum ,turtlehead , the pink and red Knockout roses, the end of the coneflowers, Roses Seafoam, New dawn, Golden Celebration, Magic Carpet,  and my unknown red climber; the awesome berries on all the viburums, hollies,and  snow berry bushes (symphoricarpos the species and ‘Amethyst’), massive colorful hips on the rugosa roses and rosa glauca, thesweet pink flowers covering the  bushcloverlaspedeza t. yakushimaNora Leigh and Franz Schubert phlox, ‘Annabelle’ hydrangaes, both yellow and pink potentillas, mallows, the fragrant hosta ‘Fragrant Boquet ’, gallardia, lonicera ‘Major Wheeler ‘ the two trumpet vines, the heavily loaded pearand apple trees and heritage raspberry canes,

then add in the annuals; nasturtiums, nicotianas,cosmos, verbenas, sweet peas, osteospermums (in purple, yellow and orange), torinia, and probably a dozen things I overlooked, and that DOES NOT add up to a yawn. I LOVE the September Garden

Happy Bloom Day!!!

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Gardening with Gram

My grandmother was one of the most kind hearted and simple souls to ever work the earth. She lived her married life in a very small house with a very big yard that was once part of my grandfather’s family farm. She raised six kids , all of whom adored her, in the most modest fashion. They had what they needed and nothing more, and were all the happier for it.

Her gardens , just like her, were lovely,simple and just perfect. She grew Siberian iris, daylilies, and a handful of other common perennials. She had a hedge of snowball viburnum, and an old apple tree with a bench under it. In the front of the house was an old fashioned rambling rose that bloomed it’s head off for a few weeks a year and could stop traffic. It was a gift from her mother, and became her signature plant. Cuttings from it live here, at my sister’s house, and my aunt’s in CT.

As she grew older and less able to take care of her yard, I became her gardener. It was a blessing I  will treasure always. No matter what I planted, she not only loved it, but would call with daily updates to tell me what was blooming. Each tulip that opened, every daylily that began it’s bloom, every blossom gobbled by the nefarious gophers, would elicit an excited phone call always peppered with plenty of praise for my efforts.

For several years I planted some annuals in containers outside her front door. It would take her several trips with paper cups from the sink to water them sufficiently through the summer, but she did so religiously.They bloomed and bloomed, and as her house was on a busy street , she would field complements on them on her daily outings from passers-by.She would constantly remind me throughout the winter, that she wanted those same exact plants next year, and make sure I still remembered what they were and insisted she had the money already set aside for them.

Last week as she lay in her bed at the nursing home( where she has been for the last  5 years) , on morphine for a fractured vertabrae and suffering from congestive heartfailure, she whispered the reminder to me again.

“Remember the yellow daisies, the ones that bloomed right up until frost, those are the ones I want again this year. Don’t forget, you need to plant them by the front door for me again, Everyone loved those, ” she said.

I promised, through tears, that I did remember, and I would make sure, leaving left unsaid that the house has long been sold and I have not planted daisies there in quite a while.

So much of what I love in the garden comes from her . The old fashioned plants, the cottage feel, gardening around the many play spaces purposely left for the children, all have roots in her yard.

Her siberian iris live here, her lily of the valley, daylilys , and of course, her rose. Even though she left me ,left all of us , this weekend, so much of her is here. Here where she is able to walk around, surveying and taking lots of pictures of my first gardening efforts. Here where she was always quick to help me diagnose plant problems and solve them easily. Here where she could over see the placement of the many plants she bought me. Here with me grumbling along about the rabbits and the gophers and the beetles and a sympathetic soul in my battles.

She was so proud of me  when I became a Master Gardener and speaker, and she made sure everyone knew of my accomplishments. I and was never more proud than to be able to count her as my greatest fan.

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