How to Buy Mums (Hardy Chrysanthemum)

OK, you might be thinking to yourself that this headline "How to Buy Mums" is about a topic we don't even need to discuss. Really, how hard can it be? You go to the nursery, pick out a full bushy plant full of blooms. You walk to the check out counter buy it and go home to plant it. If that's what you think then let me add one more thing to the purchase of your mums, don't buy the plants when in bloom! The Secret of How to Buy Mums The secret to long lasting chrysanthemum blooms in the fall is to buy your plants from the nursery when they are still in tight buds. If you look around at all the other mums on sale you can identify the colors you like then purchase plants that have little to no blooming. That way when you get them home…

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Splurge On Spring With Monrovia Plants: Heuchera and Heucherella

Spring time is such an exciting time for gardeners. The weather is better, the garden is growing again, and it's time to add more plants to the garden! Thanks to Monrovia plants I splurged on plants for my garden the other day! Which one's did I add? Heucheras and heucherellas! Before I tell you more you might be wondering, what is a heucherella? A heucherella is simple a hybrid plant created by crossing a tiarella (foamflower) with a heuchera (coral bells). Both are in the same family Saxifragaceae which makes their hybridization a possibility. I've been a big fan of heucheras for a long time due to their unique appearance, resistance to common animals pests (those pesky deer and rabbits), and their drought resistance. Heucheras are now available in all kinds of colors. They tend to be shade plants but there are varieties now that can tolerate more sunlight and…

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Five-Plant Gardens by Nancy Ondra (Book Review)

Available on Amazon Recently I was given the opportunity to check out Nancy Ondra's latest book called Five-Plant Gardens. Nancy Ondra writes the blog Hayefield and has written several other books including The Perennial Care Manual.  She is definitely what I consider and expert on perennial plants! This latest book isn't about the care of the plants it's about how to go about creating a sustainable plan for your perennial garden.  If you are passionate about perennials then this book can help you plan a fantastic perennial garden that will return each year. Five-Plant Gardens does just what the title says, it takes five types of plants and makes them into an easy to plant garden plan. Included in each plan section is a synopsis of the plants, a diagram showing the placement of the plants, and an artist's rendering of what the garden will look like. The photography in…

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Three Perennial Plants Never Touched By Deer

Never say never right?  In my experience there are very few plants that are truly safe from deer.  This year I've had big time deer issues.  The extra tomato bed I planted was completely devoured by the two deer that are camping out in our backyard.  That isn't shocking really.  I wasn't able to put a good fence around any of and I'm paying the price for that lack of foresight.  However not all plants are subject to deer sampling.  There are three plants in my garden that have never (to my knowledge) been eaten by the deer. Artemisia Artemisia is a beautiful silver colored plant that has a lot of impact due to the foliage.  I recommend planting 'Powis Castle' or 'Silver Mound' over some of the other types as they can spread.  Both 'Powis Castle' and 'Silver Mound' are easy to keep under control.  They like full sun…

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5 Favorite Perennials for the Garden

Perennials are the work horse of just about every garden.  Trees and shrubs provide structure, but perennials provide a consistent impact.  Annuals are great for an instant punch but perennials give you a repeat performance year after year.  Some perennials bloom consistently through the season while others give a nice show for a short period of time.  Narrowing down the list of perennials to a few favorites is extremely difficult.  There are so many and each plant has traits that make it unique and useful in the garden. I've attempted in this post to list 5 favorite perennials but please realize that these favorites are just 5 of many! 5 Favorite Perennials For Shade: Heuchera Heucheras or coral bells are really great plants for dry shady areas.  I just recently experienced root rot on on of mine due to a semi-wet location but generally heuchera are extremely trouble free.  They…

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Easy to grow, Low Maintenance Plants for the Garden

Over Christmas we traveled a little.  Not much, we never go very far.  We just visited with family.  One evening a family member asked me if I knew of some attractive, easy to grow, low maintenance plants she could put in the front of her house.  She wanted something she could plant that wouldn't require a whole lot of time to maintain since she has a young baby and a busy work schedule.  Low-maintenance plantings shouldn't need much pruning, supplemental watering, and should continue to re-bloom without deadheading if at all possible.  Essentially low maintenance plants should thrive on neglect! The list of plants below includes the three I suggested as well as several others that several gardeners on Facebook suggested! Easy to grow, Low-Maintenance Plant Suggestions for Home Gardeners 'Homestead Purple' Verbena Verbena - annual or perennial verbena forms either a nice mound or a sprawling groundcover.  'Homestead Purple' verbena is…

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Autumn Scenes from Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

Yesterday I traveled up to the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens to listen to Tina from In the Garden. She was doing a talk on Winter Gardening and all that it entails so we thought it would be a great opportunity for us to visit with her and check out the gardens while we were there. We also visited with Gail from Clay and Limestone at the meeting too. It's always fun to visit with other garden bloggers! Cheekwood Botanical Garden has to be counted as one of Middle Tennessee's finest treasures. Their programs are always dynamic and interesting like the Chuhuly exhibit last year or the treehouses this year. Unfortunately the light was beginning to fade when we arrived at 5:30 PM and my pictures will be somewhat less than what they could have been with the right lighting but I think you'll be able to see some of awesome job…

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Feels Like a Fall Morning

This morning's cool temperatures made it feel like my favorite season is well on its way.  Of course autumn is coming but the extra cool August temperatures we're having have me hoping for an extended fall season.  Here's a look at a few things from around the garden this morning! 'Arizona Sun' Gaillardia - Blanket Flower is a good native plant to have around.  It works well as a border plant at the front of gardens that tend to be relatively dry.  I've grown 'Oranges and Lemons' before but lost the last one to aster yellows disease.  I've removed every plant I've seen that shows the aster yellows signs so hopefully we're in the clear. 'Primal Scream' daylily - I was surprised a couple weeks ago when I saw another scape growing from this daylily!  I don't think 'Primal Scream' is normally a rebloomer, but maybe I hit the jackpot. …

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Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda chinensis)

A couple years ago I was given a blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis) to add to my garden.  I planted it when it was covered with seeds and let it go to grow as it could as I do with so many plants. I forgot about it but apparently several seeds landed in different location near our front porch entry area and surprised us with its flowers this year. Blackberry Lily with 'Powis Castle' artemisia and potato vines Blackberry lily is a member of the iris family and resembles irises with its foliage.  The color and texture of the leaves is very similar but the formation of the leaves differs.   The flowers are about 1 and a half inches in diameter and are colored bright orange with specks of darker orange to red colors.  The flowers eventually produce a seed that resembles a blackberry hence the name.  It readily grows…

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5 Heucheras and How They Perform

Over the years I've accumulated quite a few heucheras for my garden.  Heucheras or coral bells are becoming more and more popular as a wide array of unique cultivars continue to come on the market.  You might even think that heucheras are relatively new to the horticultural world when in fact they've been tinkered with by horticulturalists since the late 1800's.  Heucheras are native to North America and can be found naturally from the west coast to the east coast.  Heucheras thrive in rock gardens and in dry shade where other plants might not be so happy.  Heuchera breeders are working on developing more sun tolerant heucheras as well as heucheras with larger flowers. As a general note I'm fascinated with them.  Foliage colors range from green to amber to brown to purple while the bell shaped flowers general stay between a mid range pink to white in color. Today…

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