Tough Plants – Salvia nemorosa

While the winter is still in gear I thought it might be helpful to begin reviewing some of the toughest plants I have grown over the years. I've grown a lot of them (and killed a few of them along the way). In my garden it has to be a tough plant to survive over the years. Today I'm going to mention one of my all time garden favorite perennials: salvia. I'm not talking about the annual salvia that a lot of folks use as a bedding plant. I'm talking about the Salvia nemorosas of the world. The 'May Night' salvias, the 'Caradonna Salvia', or the 'East Friesland' salvias are the toughest salvias I have grown. All three of these salvia varieties have been planted in my garden and all three have survived neglect, transplanting, drought, rabbits, and deer. Let me be clear here, I don't take care of my…

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Daylilies in Bloom: Daylily Hybridizing and Dividing

It's that time of year where the daylilies are becoming the showoffs of the garden. Daylilies (Hemerocallis) area very common collectable perennial here in the south. They propagate very easily through division and are a prime starter plant for people interested in learning how to hybridize plants. Here's a look at a little of what is blooming in our garden this summer: Daylily Hybridization The first two photos are results of my hybridization attempts. While they are pretty, they never developed into a "must have" daylily. Hybridizing is fairly simple, just take pollen from the stamen and dab it on the pistol. It's best done in the early morning before the pollen dries out too much.Make sure you mark the hybridized flower so that you can collect seeds from it later when the pods are ready.         Daylily Division To divide a daylily just dig up the…

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Husker’s Red Penstemon in the Garden

One of the neatest perennials in our garden is 'Husker's Red' penstemon (Penstemon digitalis).  'Husker's Red' has reddish foliage that adds color to the garden during the growing season but it also blooms prolifically for several weeks in the spring.  Ours are just now starting to fade so I thought I would take a picture to share with you.  The bees love the bell like flowers that cover the plant! 'Husker's Red' was named a Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year back in 1996 for good reason. It's easy to care for and very attractive in the garden.  Our penstemon is in several locations easily accessible to deer and rabbits and haven't had any issues with the hungry animals. This penstemon grows between 2-3 feet tall and has a nice mounding habit.  It doesn't spread very much but you can help that along very easily with the propagation technique…

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Looking Back at Few Garden Photos

This time of year I spend some time looking back at old photos from the garden. It's fun to see how stuff looked back when it was growing, when leaves were on the trees, and at the most a cold wind only brought you down into the 80's on the old thermometer. So if you're like me and can't wait to see flowers, bees, butterflies, and vegetables rolling out of the garden take a deep breath and remember it will be here before you know it. For now though hang our here and take a peek at some photos from the past. These photos are all from July of 2009 and were taken in my garden. Hosta Blooms Orange Butterfly Weed Passion Flower Coreopsis and 'Purple Homestead' Verbena Corner Shade Garden How much are you missing those warm summer days?

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5 More Plants I Want in Every Garden!

On Monday I posted about 5 Plants I Want in Every Garden.  In case you missed it the post was about plants that should I ever move I will plant again in the new garden.  As several of the commenters pointed out it's hard to just pick five!  So today I'll add four more to my list.  Neither this post, nor the last one list these plants in any order of preference.  Every plant has a purpose and each has its own unique attributes that make it worthwhile in my garden and while I have favorites, I don't have a favorite! So here are five more, maybe these posts will get you through until your mail order garden catalogs arrive! Salvia    Salvia is all over my garden.  The 'Caradonna's in front, 'May Night' by the mailbox, Salvia greggii in the back, Salvia coccinea in the self sowing areas, Salvia…

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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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‘Sheffield’ vs. ‘Clara Curtis’

No this isn't some heavy weight boxing fight over on pay-per-view.  This is a garden blog after all!  This is a comparison between two very similar fall flowering perennials that really are heavy weight garden stand outs!  This battle is between 'Sheffield Pink' and 'Clara Curtis' - the pink mums!  In this corner we have 'Clara Curtis' sporting pink petals and yellow centers. Her blooms rise on long stems high above her 4' wide mounding frame. And in this corner her opponent, 'Sheffield Pink' is armed with tightly formed pink petals with yellow centers. 'Sheffield Pink' stands at 2 feet tall by 3 feet wide with clusters of long stemmed flowers tightly packed together. What's the difference?  Not much really!  At first glance you would think they appear the same but look a little closer. 'Clara Curtis' has petals that have a little more space in between where the 'Sheffield…

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The Salvias of Fall

I have repeatedly written about how awesome salvias are.  I hope you're not tired of that kind of talk because your about to get another dose!  Salvias are one of the easiest to care for perennials around. During fall they bloom profusely. They aren't bothered terribly by heat and in many cases thrive in dry environments where other perennials may falter. This year, if any, can attest to that. We received a decent amount of rain before July then completely dried up.  Here in Tennessee we went for weeks without a significant rainfall then finally the rains returned in September.  That's when the salvias began to burst forth with blooms. Let's start by examining the salvia that is just beginning to bloom. The other day I mentioned that my pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) was not yet blooming, well it's almost there as you can see in the photo.  The recent…

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‘Primal Scream’ Daylily AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

The other day I mentioned I had another daylily that was about to bloom called 'Primal Scream', well that daylily is screaming now! 'Primal Scream' has large orange blooms that have faint hints of reddish coloring in the outer edges of the petals and a more true orange color the further toward the center. I planted my 'Primal Scream' daylily in the birdbath garden which unfortunately no longer has a birdbath. The soldering fell apart around the bracket that held the copper birdbath onto the post. One of these days I'll get around to repairing the old copper birdbath or maybe I'll find a new one. A Master Gardener who lives nearby recently invited our garden club to visit his garden that houses over 600 daylily varieties. I've been very curious about his garden for a while now and hope to make a stop up there while the daylilies are…

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A Few Nifty June Flower Photos

The month of June brings many new blooms to the garden. Summer blooming perennials are filling the garden with color. Everywhere you look plants are flowering. Here are a few perennial photos of what is blooming in the garden right now! Beautyberry BushThe beautyberry bush is well known for it's berries but those berries have to start somewhere. This beautyberry bush is covered with small white flowers waiting to be pollinated to produce loads of purple clustered berries in the fall. A must have in my garden! By the way now is a good time to start propagating beautyberry from cuttings. Butterfly BushWhat's easy to grow, deer resistant, a butterfly magnet, and puts our beautiful flowers all summer long? It must be a butterfly bush! DaylilyThe classic daylily! Daylilies look great, flower profusely, and divide easily for more plants later. There's a lot to like about daylilies! St. John's WortThis…

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