Celebrating Containers

'Profusion Double Cherry' zinnia with Carita Purple angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia 'Car Purr09') and 'Golden Edge' golden dewdrop (Duranta erecta); Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield

All-summer interest: ‘Profusion Double Cherry’ zinnia with Carita Purple angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia ‘Car Purr09’) and ‘Golden Edge’ golden dewdrop (Duranta erecta)

I have to admit to being something of a late arrival to the container-gardening fan club. When I look back at pictures of my previous garden, I’m surprised at how few pots I had–well, except for the hundreds of potted seedlings I raised in my little backyard nursery. I mean the usual sort of container plantings: one or more decorative pots meant to add a touch of color where in-ground planting isn’t practical, such as next to a door or on a patio. I guess it’s because I was still fresh my studies of soil science and thought of pots and potting soil only as a propagation tool–a poor second to the experience of digging and planting in “real” soil. Continue reading

Five Favorites: Black Beauties

Pepper 'Black Pearl' (Capsicum annuum) with 'Bright Lights' Swiss chard

When we’re young, we “learn our colors”; when we start gardening, we have to learn them all over again. Well, some of them are the basically the same: white is white, pretty much, and most of us are pretty confident in describing a flower or leaf as red, orange, yellow, or green. When we start getting into blue and purple, though–particularly in catalog descriptions–it’s practically a free-for-all. “Blue” can mean anything from grayish green to a sort of lavender-pink to the blue we learned as a primary color to a distinctly purplish blue. Our purple, too, is often very different from what non-gardeners might describe as that color: “Purple” flowers and foliage may be anything from deep red or burgundy to chocolate brown to a purple so dark it is practically black.

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First Impressions

Anemone x hybrida Plaster Tile; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield

It’s so easy to find inspiration: interesting garden projects, gorgeous plant combinations to try, and beautiful things to make. The hard part is finding the time to actually try some of the wonderful ideas that other people have come up with. My own to-do list is ridiculously long, but over the past few months, I’ve been ticking a few things off of the list and having a great time doing it. One project I’m particularly excited about has been at the top of the list ever since I read about it in the March 2014 issue of Gardens Illustrated. The article, which you can read online here, features the work of Rachel Dein, owner of Tactile Studio in the U.K.. It focuses primarily on her work with making plaster castings of plants, though she works with other materials as well. The photos of the finished projects were so enticing that I knew I had to try the process for myself. Continue reading

Mid-December Miscellany

Ilex verticillata 'Winter Gold'; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield

Forget what the calendar says: Like many of you, I’m already thinking about spring. The fall spectacle is over, I have almost everything cut down, and there’s a whole box of seeds holding treasures for the upcoming growing season. In a “normal” year (whatever that is), we’d have likely been stuck inside for weeks by now, dealing with below-freezing temperatures and spells of snow and ice as well. This year, however, the seasons have been turned upside down: Our temperatures have been well above average for the last six weeks, feeling more like April and May than December. It was tempting to call this a Bloom Day post, but I don’t have any open blooms to share at the moment. There are still some nice-looking things, though. Continue reading

Seed Giveaway Wrap-up

Papaver Lauren's Grape; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield

The winner: ‘Lauren’s Grape’ poppy (Papaver)!

Thanks to all for the overwhelming response to this year’s seed-sharing spree. The offer is now closed and the seeds are divided up: 1233 packets on their way to 147 seed-crazy gardeners in 6 countries. It was terrific to see so many familiar names among the participants and a joy to meet others for the first time. As of late last night (Monday, November 30), I’ve sent emails to everyone whose seeds have already been mailed. A few SASEs have not yet arrived: Continue reading

From My Garden to Yours – 2015

Seeds set out for drying; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield

Here it is, for the fifth time: my yearly seed-sharing spree. This is my biggest list ever, with over 160 offerings that I’ve collected from plants growing at or close to Hayefield. I’m not asking for anything in payment or trade for these, except for postage; it’s just a little thank-you for those of you who take the time to visit and read throughout the year. I’ve included something for pretty much everyone, I think—annuals, perennials, shrubs, vines, trees, herbs, edibles, and lots of natives—and have given very basic descriptions for each offering. I encourage you to use your favorite search engine to find more information and photos for the plants you’re considering.

This offer is open to Hayefield readers, starting today (November 15, 2015). My intention is to keep it open  through November 30, 2015, but if I get overwhelmed with requests, I might need to close the offer early — especially for readers outside of the U.S. — so I encourage you to get your order in as soon as possible. Also: While I’m very happy to have new readers, please keep in mind that if you forward this post to folks who aren’t Hayefield readers, it cuts down on what I can share with those of you who are. Ordering details are at the end of this post. [Edit: I’m very sorry, but as of November 22, I can no longer accept orders from readers outside of the U.S..]

If you’re not interested in seeds, don’t feel left out, because I’ve created a special deal in my Etsy shop just for my readers: 50% off Hayefield notecard sets if you use the code NOV2015 at checkout (U.S. orders only) through November 30th.

Now, on to the seeds! Continue reading

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – October 2015

Front Garden in October; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield

Ah, glorious, glorious fall. It’s easy to forget about all of the growing season’s dramas and disappointments–the multiple extended dry spells, the weeds, the ticks, and the yellow jackets–and spend hours wandering around with a camera in one hand and seed-collecting bags in the other. The colors are simply amazing.

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