Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – April 2020

Leucojum 'Gravetye Giant' [©Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]
Leucojum ‘Gravetye Giant’
After many years of focusing on big, sun-loving, late-season plants, I have gradually been working on adding spring interest to the gardens here at Hayefield, and my efforts are starting to pay off. There are still many more opportunities to explore, but it’s a good start! It sure helps that we had a lovely spell of gradually milder temperatures and gentle rains this year. That blissful period ended in the last week, with wicked winds, small hail, pounding rain, and a return to flirting with freezing temperatures. But hey, it wouldn’t be real-life gardening if it were too easy, right? Despite the difficulties, I still have some highlights to share for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day today. Since I started with one of my favorite bulbs, ‘Gravetye Giant’ summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum), let’s continue with some other bulbs. Read More

Make the Most of Self-Sowers (Part 2)

Silene dioica 'Ray's Golden Campion' [©Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]
Silene dioica ‘Ray’s Golden Campion’
Last month, I started discussing one of my favorite kinds of seeds: the self-sowers.  Though they have a reputation for being easy, self-sowers tend to make their own rules, sometimes needing specific germination conditions and benefiting from a little custom care to work to best advantage. Over the years, I’ve come up with some ways that work well for me and identified a bunch of self-sowers that have been happy to make Hayefield their home.

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Make the Most of Self-Sowers (Part 1)

 

Verbena bonariensis [©Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]
To my mind, self-sowers like Brazilian vervain (Verbena bonariensis) are the secret to—or at least a shortcut to—creating a lush, layered look in the garden.
First, a big thank-you to everyone who requested seeds through last month’s giveaway. Several hundred packets have, I hope, made it to new homes around the globe. (If you sent in a request and didn’t hear back from me, or if I confirmed your request but your seeds haven’t arrived yet, please don’t hesitate to leave me a note here or contact me directly.) And a special thanks to those of you who shared seeds and other surprises in return—the generosity of gardeners is unsurpassed!

Since last fall, I’ve been writing about some of the many good reasons to make seeds part of your gardening experience. I obviously spend way too much time thinking about seeds: collecting, cleaning, packing those I already have, buying or trading for new ones, and—best of all—getting them all growing.

I think the only thing I like more than having lots of seeds to sow is having seeds I don’t have to sow—more than once, anyway. “Self-sowing” annuals, biennials, and short-lived perennials are such a gift to gardens and gardeners, from an aesthetic standpoint as well a practical one. Granted, they can get a little too enthusiastic sometimes, but their good points generally far outweigh the bit of management they may require. Unfortunately, self-sowers tend to be hard to find for sale as plants, for various reasons. So, even if you normally don’t choose to grow from seed, I encourage you to consider making an exception to get some of these gems growing in your garden. Read More