Jan Johnsen's garden blog. I talk about praise-worthy plants, glorious gardens, and offer landscape design and gardening ideas and more.
Pink Muhly Grass - a Show Stopper
Pink Muhly Grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris, is a native 'fave rave' of mine.
You might say it is a 'fave rave nave'.
It is a show stopping plant in the fall with its giant puffs of cotton-candy-pink plumes. Whether in a hedge, border or patio container, this ornamental grass offers unbelievably profuse, feathery blooms amid 4 foot stems and a cascading habit. Give it plenty of sunshine and good soil drainage, and it will do the rest, beautifully withstanding heat, humidity, drought, and poor soil!
Pink Muhly Grass, is an extraordinary ornamental grass plant for many reasons:
It is not hardy in my area as its native range extends from the south Atlantic Coast down into Texas and Mexico (zones 7 -10). Some people in zone 6 can grow it but it is iffy, depending on the microclimate. I will grow it as an annual.
photo from Baltimore Sun
'Regal Mist' is a spectacular variety with a haze of dusky pink when it blooms. It looks amazing when placed against a dark backdrop of evergreen shrubs or a wall.
Plant it in a group to create a magnificent sweep on a hillside and enjoy the full effect of this grass swaying in the autumn wind.
Or plant it by a pond, pool or other body of water.
Or plant it en masse in a sunny border with Knock Out Roses and geranium 'Rozanne'. wow!
You can also cut the flowers, dry them and enjoy them all winter indoors.
Pink Muhly Grass is a thoroughly enticing, tough and beautiful native plant. Plant some for a grand show in autumn.
(Angelonia with Helichrysum, petunia, Johnsen Landscapes) Blue is everyone's "favorite color." It is, hands down, the most popular color worldwide and is the least "gender specific" color, having equal appeal to both men and women. Now Purple is giving blue a run for its money as the second favorite color.... Blue is the favored color for toothbrushes, so that says it all! ( this info is from a great website: Sensation Color ) but can purple be far behind? Scientists have found that the color blue causes the body to produce chemicals that are calming. This may be why we all like to be around blue....stare at this square and see if it calms you. In fact, over the past decade, scientists have reported the successful use of blue light in the treatment of psychological problems such as addictions, eating disorders, impotence, and depression. Moreover, a deep blue/purple such as Indigo or Deep Violet symbolizes mystical wisdom and spiritual insight. It incr
Try planting Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'. And pair it with Baptisia Cherries Jubilee. A deer resistant, native, drought tolerant, purple, long lived perennial! Wow! Photo - Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden - Puple Smoke Baptisia and Carolina Moonlight Baptisia It is a hybrid of B. australis and B. alba and is a vigorous grower. Discovered by Rob Gardener of the North Carolina Botanical Gardens, it has charcoal-gray stems and is purple. Baptisia is a native perennial that has a long taproot, loves sunny sites with lean or poor soil. Average to dry soil is best. Its deep tap root allows it to survive long dry periods, making it a challenge to move once it is established. Purple Smoke from Bluestone Perennials The flowers resemble lupines and are smoky violet. Numerous flowers open first at the base of the flower stalk in May and ascend upwards, topping out at 4.5' tall. It has fine textured, blue-green foliage. The flowe
" How do adults recapture that feeling of joy that children get from play?" This is what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wanted to know. He is a Croation-born professor of American psychology at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA and has spent years studying the state of being that he calls "flow." Flow is what we feel when we are totally absorbed in an activity for its own sake. This does not refer to a game where you win or lose or to watching a game. "You don't get much out of the passive consumption of pleasure," Csikszentmihalyi* says, "compared to enjoyment which is much more active and creative and self-directive." Gardening is a great example of an activity that is creative, self directed and gets you into the flow. You lose yourself when outdoors, planting, deadheading, weeding, edging watering or even raking the gravel (!?) Well, maybe you don't actually rake gravel but
photo by Jan Johnsen I had a book signing at NY Botanical Garden (NYBG) on April 25 - and as I walked in to the Conservatory, I snapped this photo of the weeping cherry trees in all their spring glory. Good timing - it poured rain the following evening.
(photographer - unknown) Everyone wants Blue Hydrangeas. The rarity of naturally blue flowers is an irresistible draw to gardeners. How to Turn Your Hydrangeas Blue? Here are a few tips from Proven Winners: Nikko Blue Hydrangea from Missouri Botanical garden 1. Be sure you’re working with the right kind of hydrangea. You must have a Hydrangea macrophylla or H. serrata to have pink or blue flowers. (photographer -unknown) 2. Aluminum availability determines flower color. The availability of aluminum makes the flowers turn blue. Without aluminum the blooms will be pink. Soil pH must be low or acid (5.2-5.5) for the plant to absorb the aluminum. from nely.bluehortensia blogspot.com 3. Color changes need time to take effect. Consistent treatment is necessary to turn your hydrangeas blue: Plant your hydrangeas in a phosphorous-free medium, and use a phosphorus-free fertilizer with lots of potassium (i.e. 25-5-30). PHOTO BY DEBOR
Nothing like piano keys to liven up a garden space....(above photo from Stone Art Blog) Recycling can be many things to many people... or, in other words, " One man's trash is another's man treasure" from Stone Art Blog This piano was placed here in the garden. Here is what Sunny Wieler of Stone Art Blog wrote about this: "Besides being a passionate gardener, my dad is also a passionate piano player, so a few years back we got him a new piano for his birthday. So the old piano spent a while in the shed before he had the great idea to put it out in the garden..." Little did Sunny's dad know that he was at the forefront of the conceptual art movement:...they would say something like this is a testament to the natural decomposing processes, a statement of the fragility of life, the impermanence of existence... his dad would say, 'Hey, why not put it in the garden?" photos of broken concrete from Bourget Bros web
Do you garden in a dry area? I love this teaching approach by Olivier Filippi. 1: Salvia chamaedryoides 2: Rhodanthemum hosmariense 3: Artemisia abrotanum 'Silver' 4: Phlomis 'The South' 5: Senecio vira-vira 6: Salvia fruticosa 7: Salvia leucophylla 8: Artemisia lanata This photo and information is from a French website that I cannot translate into English. It is by the authority on dry gardens, Olivier Filippi, and is very good. Check it out: http://www.jardin-sec.com/ Also he wrote a great book called 'Planting Design for Dry Gardens'. Nigel Dunnett says, "In Planting Design for Dry Gardens Olivier Filippi has charted a future for garden and planting Design. Combining authoritative practical advice with deep ecological insight, Olivier shows how learning from nature can give us the best of all worlds: beautiful and sustainable gardens with a unique sense of place. I challenge anyone
What was one of Mahatma Gandhi's favorite foods? and what did Henry Thoreau eat while residing at Walden Pond? PURSLANE . Purslane, long considered an obnoxious weed in the U.S., is, in fact, full of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids! And now this overlooked gem - considered 'one of the most nutritious greens in the world' - is receiving the attention it is due. Usha Palaniswamy of the Department of Plant Science, University of Connecticut, reports that, "Purslane is receiving much attention for cultivation by the United States Department of Agriculture as part of their effort to bring about a modification in the western diet with increased intake of fresh fruits and vegetables." Purslane contains a high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), one of the highly sought-after Omega-3 fatty acids. It has several times the concentration of ALA than is found in spinach. So throw away those fish oil capsules and grow your own Omega-3 fatty acids! It
I am teaching a one day class on Wednesday April 16 at the NY Botanical Garden It is a fun, eye opening and fun class! (class size is limited.) I share my insights into landscape design and how to use various cultural and ancient traditions in a garden. I discuss how to use the compelling duality of Yin and Yang in a setting, explain how each of the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) affects us differently, which proportions create a more harmonious setting. I also show how to place rocks in the landscape according to the Japanese understanding. Everyone loves this. and of course, I discuss Color and its effects on our wellbeing... I show 2 beautiful powerpoint to illustrate my talk.. Handouts reinforce the information I provide. Here is what students have written: No wonder you were instructor of the year! Your talk was delightful, Jan. You gave us all a thoughtful, colorful start to planting season. I have some great
Cherry blossoms in Kyoto Japan, along Kano River The Tradition of Hanami When I lived in Kyoto, Japan I was lucky to see Hanami in action. In Japan, the seasonal blooming of cherry trees is celebrated nationally in an event known as hanami (flower-viewing). The practice of hanami is centuries old; it began during the 8th century, when it referred to the viewing of the ume , or plum tree. But later hanami was synonymous with ' sakura' - cherry - and the blossoming of the cherry trees was used to predict the next year's harvest. H anami was a time to perform rituals marking the start of the planting season. These rituals ended with a feast under the cherry trees, and this persists to today. Starting in late March, television weather reporters give the public daily blossom forecasts, tracking the "cherry blossom front" as it progresses from the south to the north. Families, coworkers, and friends rely on these to quickly