Showing posts from May, 2019

Utopia is here

Heaven is home. Utopia is here. Nirvana is now. 
- Edward Abbey

Butterfly Gardens - Plants They Love

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. - Nathaniel Hawthorne Happiness is a butterfly! And this is why a butterfly garden should be in everyone's life.  In the photo above, I planted 'Lucky White' Lantana and purple Callibrachoa to attract the summer butterflies....they love lantana!

Also perennial coneflowers, Baptisia,  agastache, bee balm, and many more are butterfly attractors.  These all have nectar, a butterfly's delight. So if you have a sunny open spot, some shelter from wind and fresh water (butterfly puddles) then plant some butterfly flowers and enjoy a bit of happiness. Here is a wonderful butterfly garden plant list from the Farmer's Almanac
Common NameLatin NameAlliumAlliumAsterAsterBee balmMonardaButterfly bushBuddleiaCatmintNepetaClove PinkDianthusCornflowerCentaureaDaylilyHemerocallisFalse indigo

Ms Mars Sunflower - A Purple-Tinged Beauty

I love sunflowers. And the variety known as Ms. Mars (Helianthus annuus 'Ms Mars') has crazy merlot-colored petals that radiate out to form an eye-popping flower. The ray petals slowly turn from a purple to a pretty pink. It is a dwarf variety, growing only 20"-30" high, with a strongly branching habit. 
Full sun. Easy to Grow.  Dark Purple buds.  Great for kids' gardens and anywhere. Plus, Ms Mars makes a stunning cut flower.  You can use petals and seeds in salads and cakes.And not only are the flowers permeated with a dark reddish purple hue but the leaves and stems are also tinged with this inky color. 
Add this sun loving, happy flower to any garden - guaranteed to make you smile. 

Color Echoing in the Garden

I am planting up a lot of flower gardens for clients right now. I use a technique called "color echoing”. You echo the color using different plants that have the same color, as shown above.

And it can also mean spreading out the color - This is very much like making a painting - you repeat a color byusing it throughout the garden. This carries the eye around the whole scene. 

For example, plant seven hot pink New Guinea impatiens in a group in one part of the garden bed and then place five more on the other side of the bed - stagger the colors randomly around the garden bed in a mosaic type layout. When they grow in, it makes a beautiful tapestry of color! "Color echoing" therefore has 2 meaning in my opinion. It is about using the same color found in different plants and it also is about spreading it around the garden.

  For example, when I plant white tuberous begonias in a bed I may echo the white by planting Swedish ivy that has green and white variegated foliage. And I…

A Dewy Morning in the Garden

It’s a sunny spring morning, the air is crisp and the sky is blue. I amreveling in the lovely green setting of my backyard garden and am entranced by the water drops glistening atop the blades of grass. The season of dew watching is upon us! Dew appears when the days are warm, nights are cool and the air is moist. The earth cools overnight, chilling the air and then - like magic - drops of water appear out of nowhere and settle on whatever is near the ground. These drops of 'dew' do not last long. By late morning the dew evaporates and our momentary watery celebration of spring is over. John Milton, the English Renaissance poet, shared the delight of a dewy spring morning in these verses: “Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun, When first on this delightful land he spreads His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit and flower, Glistening with dew..."
Spring flowers are lovely when 'glistening with dew' as he describes. T…

'Purple Smoke' - The best Baptisia

Try  planting Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'.  And pair it with Baptisia Cherries Jubilee.A deer resistant, native, drought tolerant, purple, long lived perennial! Wow!
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. 

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 flower spikes rise above the foliage for easy viewing. I love its unique flower color and strong vertical form.  A Niche Gardens introduction.
Steve Foltz, director of horticulture at the Cincinnat…