An Interesting Zinnia

The other day I was taking the camera out for a walk.  We do that often around here.  Just my camera and me wandering through the garden.  Gazing at flowers, bugs, butterflies, and anything else of interest.  I think you know this already - but I take a lot of pictures!  I stopped by to examine a zinnia intending to take a picture of it to highlight the flower parts for a possible post on hybridization.  I never did any actual hybridization on the zinnia but I did notice something I though was very interesting on this zinnia.  If you take a look in the picture below, pay close attention to the petals. As you get closer to the center of the flower the petals turn a purple color making the zinnia have bi-colored petals! The coloring is very faint but it gives the zinnia an effervescent look in the sunlight.  Looking for…

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5 Plants I Want in Every Garden

Our current garden is still a work in progress, as every garden will ever be, but sometimes I like to think about what my next garden will be like.  We have no immediate plans to move but one day our growing family will need more room in the house (and with two girls probably more bathrooms!). When that day comes there are several plants from my garden that I enjoy so much I will be sure to replant in that new garden. My list for this post isn't all inclusive (or ranked in any way) but here are five plants that I will be sure to get established in any new garden in the future! Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii 'Walker's Low') I like catmint for several reasons. It's a constant bloomer.  It always seems to be one of the first perennials to get going in mid-spring and one of the…

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September GROW Update!

It's almost time for this gardener to get some lettuce growing in the vegetable garden and I don't have a lettuce update yet for the GROW project but I can show you how the basil and marigold seeds have done. We've been suffering from drought over the last few weeks and watering on a daily basis is becoming a necessary evil.  You'll see why when you peak at my 'Italian Cameo' Basil. It's really not doing much right now.  The dry weather is taking a toll on my potted plants (which aren't many).  The 'Italian Cameo' basil grows smaller than other basils which is ideal for planting in pots.  It has the same flavor as the larger Italian basils. The 'Yellow Splash' marigold is putting on a pretty show near some tomatoes. 'Yellow Splash' has a bright yellow flower which must be the reason for its name. It gets shaded…

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GROW Project: My Nasturtiums are Invisible

If you look in the garden you won't see my nasturtiums. That is because they have developed a rare sort of variation called invisibility. No matter how hard you look you will not find them. They have developed a superpower beyond the ability of all creatures to completely evade detection! At least that's what I'm telling myself... Well... I tried, but I just couldn't keep them going. The heat and the lack of sufficient water did them in for good. They were hanging on by a thread last month and I was hoping they would still be at least present and accounted for - but alas poor Spitfire, you are not there! If they could have hung around long enough they might have just enjoyed this beautiful weekend which was filled with fantastic weather! I came indoors only to eat, sleep, and write a post! As a substitute for the…

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Plantings Around the Garden Shed

In my last post on the garden shed page I mentioned that I would show you in two parts the plantings. Well...I'm afraid I may have to expand that to three, we'll see! After taking some pictures today and on previous days I'm happily astounded by the neat stuff I'm seeing. Please don't take that as bragging since most of the cool stuff is a result of pure random luck that just fell into place and happened to improve my ideas. Let me show you what I'm talking about. My original plan for this area had two ornamental grasses on both sides of the main pathway. I followed that plan by planting two Shenandoah switch grasses which are at their peak right now. The leaves turn a beautiful red color that extends down from the leaf tips. The happy accident here was when one of our extremely heavy winds knocked…

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A Perfect Pot of Pansies

The other day I took this photo of a pot my mom put together of pansies and violas. I'm not much of a potted plant person so most of my plants go in the ground but I thought this easy to put together arrangement of annuals was perfect. The larger pansies went in the center and were planted around with the smaller violas. What I like is how the large and small size flowers contrast. They have similar coloring which helps them blend and makes the cool colored flowers work together very well! Do you have any interesting potting arrangements to share?

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Cosmos – One of My Favorite Annuals

When you are planning your gardens for 2010 and begin to think of what annuals to put in it give cosmos a look. It comes up easily from seed, blooms prolifically, seems to have few pest problems, attracts pollinators, and looks pretty darn good! The flowers in the above and below pictures are from the same plant just taken at different times of the year. The above photo was in September and the one below was in November. What's not to like about plant that blooms into November? Since cosmos grows so easily from seed it makes sense to collect the seed each year and save if for the following year. Saving seed is a great way to reduce your gardening budget! I'm not a big fan of pink so I've ordered a few more varieties that I hope to add to the gardens in 2010. Tina sent me some…

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A Flowering Persian Shield from Cuttings

I really didn’t expect to get flowers from the cuttings of Persian Shield I made in the fall. It’s been an added bonus but I was only trying to keep the cuttings alive long enough to plant them in the ground this spring. I’ve kept them in jars of water so far even though I should have long ago planted them into pots. Still they seem to be doing fine without soil as long as water is kept in the container. I didn’t use any rooting hormone when taking these Persian Shield cuttings. I treated them a lot like I do coleus, a couple nodes under water and a couple leaves on top is all that was needed. You can see the root system pretty good in this photo. That’s one advantage when taking cuttings in water – you can see the roots as they form.    A few overwintered…

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Persian Shield Propagation (Strobinlanthus dyerianus)

Before the first frost of the fall I took a few cuttings of my Persian Shield (Strobinlanthus dyerianus) to hopefully overwinter it as a houseplant. This was the first year for Persian Shield in my garden and I've only seen it at one nursery around so I wanted to be sure I had some for next year in the garden. Saving a little cash while getting more plants is a pretty nice side effect! It's a very cool plant with it's almost metallic sheen that reflects a mixture of purple and silvery hues in the light. It likes the shade but did very well in a part sun area in my garden. I took as many stem tip cuttings as I could to increase my odds of getting a rooted cutting but really this was so easy I probably didn't need to take any more than 5-6. I ended up…

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October in the Garden

Yesterday during a reprieve from the rain we went out to examine the state of the garden. The past two weeks I've been mostly concentrating on the greenhouse project and I felt it was time to see what I've been missing. The celosia I planted from seed this year did really well. It's a virtually no maintenance annual unless you consider the weeding of extra seedlings I may not want next year.  The Dusty Miller I planted in the spring has finally emerged from behind the purple sweet potato vine. The Potato vine took over the location beside the arbor covering the Dusty Miller, Columbine, 'Purple Homestead' Verbena, and variegated liriope. The Dusty Miller is a semi-hardy annual to tender perennial here. It can handle some of the cold temperatures we get and may come back the following year. It's cheap to replace and usually gets treated as an annual.…

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