Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2022

Hooray for the return of Bloom Day to Hayefield! I almost missed this one, as the weather finally turned perfect for planting this week, and getting hundreds of annuals in the ground for this year’s seed crop was top priority. But now, everything’s done but the containers, and sitting still to put a post together for today has been a very welcome break. I didn’t have time to grab photos of everything that looks good right now, so I tried to focus on things that I don’t usually show for this month. (Above is an abundance of wild columbine [Aquilegia canadensis], flowering here for the first time.)

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Fabulous Foliage from Seed: Purples and Reds

‘Purple Majesty’ millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and ‘Osmin’ basil (Ocimum basilicum) with golden elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Aurea’) and ‘Limelight’ four-o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa)

Whether you’re a fanatic for foliage-focused plantings or simply appreciate the many ways that colorful leaves can enhance your flowers, it can be hard to resist the latest anything-but-green perennials and woodies in nursery catalogs and garden-center displays. Take one look at the price tags on these beauties, though, and you may be contemplating a loan to bulk up your plant-buying budget. And then, you’ll still have to wait a couple of years for them to settle in and fill out to their full glory.

There’s a way to make your gardening dollars go further and get faster results at the same time: by taking advantage of the many annuals and tender perennials that are easy to grow from seed. They come in a wide range of heights and colors, so you’re sure to find some that can complement just about any bed, border, or container planting you can dream up, and you’ll be waiting only weeks to start enjoying them.

Lovely in their own right, seed-grown foliage annuals are also useful for testing combinations or large-scale planting plans before fully committing to them. If the heights and colors work out, you can then replace them with similar perennials or shrubs; if not, you can easily replace them with another option the following year.

There are so many excellent seed-grown foliage annuals that I’m dividing them up by color. Let’s start the series with the deliciously dark-leaved options.

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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – October 2021

The long, slow slide to the end of this growing season continues. I always figure October 10 for our average first frost, but there’s been none yet, and there’s no sign of any for the next 10 days, at least. It’s been great for ripening seeds, and the cooler temperatures have made it a pleasure to tackle some outdoor projects, as well as to simply enjoy what the garden has to offer.

So many features go into making this such a rich time of year. There are late-bloomers flowering for the first time; repeat-bloomers putting on a second show after taking a break in mid- to late summer; and long-bloomers that have looked good for months and are still going strong. There are gorgeous warm-season grasses; lovely leaves—many starting to turn showy colors; and an abundance of fruits, seeds, and seedheads. With so much going on, is it any wonder this is a wonderful time to be out in the garden? If you have time for a virtual stroll, I invite you to join me for a view of some gems this season has to offer here at Hayefield.

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