Archive for the ‘Cool Plants’ Category

Scent-sual Delights

'Lady Plymouth' rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) with lavenders, 'Berggarten' sage (Salvia officinalis), and lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

‘Lady Plymouth’ rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) with lavenders, ‘Berggarten’ sage (Salvia officinalis), and lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus)

How is it possible that I haven’t yet written about one of my most favorite plant groups: the scented geraniums? Not the hardy geraniums (Geranium) that have aromatic foliage, such as bigroot geranium (G. macrorrhizum), or the ordinary zonal geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum), which have funky-smelling leaves but are grown primarily for their flowers; I mean the scented Pelargonium species and hybrids grown specifically for their fragrant foliage. Continue reading

Planning Ahead for the Late Show

'Spring Gold' purple beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma) in fall color [October 11, 2011]; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield

It’s time for snowdrops and hellebores, and fresh new shoots of other early bloomers poking out of the soil–so who wants to contemplate the end of the gardening season when the new one has hardly begun? The thing is, having interesting things to look at in fall requires some forethought. It can take a while to track down some of the gems of the autumn garden, because they’re often not readily available in garden centers during the usual spring shopping frenzy. And if you wait until fall to plant them, then you’ve missed out their other interesting features earlier on. But if you start hunting for them now, and get them into the ground in the next few months, they’ll have plenty of time to get settled in and make a good show for you as the growing season draws to a close.

I have so many fall favorites that it’s tough to whittle down the list, but I’ve done my best to select some that you may not have considered before. To give you a head start, I’ve supplied a couple of online sources for each, based on the results of a Google search. I don’t have any connection to or personal experience with any of these nurseries. (I suggest checking out any potential source on Garden Watchdog before ordering.) Continue reading

5 plus 1: Please-Touch Plants

Solanum pyracanthum leaf at Hayefield.com

It’s fascinating to watch how people interact with gardens. Some are primarily spectators, staying carefully on established paths and walking with their hands at their sides, as if they are afraid to break the flowers and leaves by laying a finger on them. These seem to be mostly non-gardeners, but some gardeners too are mostly hands-off, seemingly content to admire from afar but not thinking to touch except for necessary maintenance. They’re also very careful to keep paths clear, sticking to the short-plants-at-the-front “rule” and staking or snipping off anything that’s inclined to lean over the edge.

Then there are the full-contact folks who think nothing of diving off paths and into borders to pet a petal, rub a leaf, or give a tree trunk a firm tap. Visitors who do this are a bit of a terror to garden owners who aren’t particularly tactile themselves but kindred spirits to those who view paths as a waste of valuable planting space. If you find yourself not minding, or even enjoying, paths that are more akin to obstacle courses than proper walkways–having to step over this, duck under that, and brush those aside to get through–you’re probably one of the please-touch folks.

Being able to physically interact with plants is pretty much the only thing I miss about gardening during the winter. But, it’s another reason to look forward to spring, and something I like to keep in mind when I plant my gardens and containers for another growing season. I have lots of favorites for gardening by feel, but I’ve tried to narrow it down to my top five. Continue reading

Three Neat Plants

Hibiscus acetosella Mahogany Splendor at Hayefield.com

It’s been a long while since I’ve picked out a few of my favorite plants to focus on, and the list of candidates is getting rather long. So, it’s high time to pick out three that happen to look particularly good right now, starting with… Continue reading

Foliage Follow-Up

Hosta 'Sun Power' with Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra', Persicaria affine, Carex plantaginea, Acer palmatum, and Rosa glauca at Hayefield.com

Those of you who follow Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of each month, probably also know about Foliage Follow-Up, hosted by Pam at Digging on the following day. I can barely get my Bloom Day posts done in time, so I don’t usually get to participate in Foliage Follow-Up on the scheduled day, but I figured I’d bend the rules a bit to have an excuse for showing off some leafy highlights from this season so far.

Let’s start with the most distinctive foliage color in the spring-to-early-summer garden: the yellows and yellow-greens…

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Old Friends, New Favorites

Corn 'Glass Gem' at Hayefield.com

Is it too early to start looking back on this growing season, when we haven’t even had frost yet? Well, maybe, but I think we’re far enough along to have fully enjoyed the performance of some dependable favorites, as well as to fairly judge some new additions. I have a second purpose for this post, too: providing a preview for some of the seeds I hope to share in my November giveaway. (I won’t have all of these available, but many of them.)

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Three Neat Plants

Plectranthus argentatus

Finding plants with interesting foliage is always a treat, but if they’re discouragingly expensive or too fussy to grow successfully, the thrill can go off pretty quickly. So these days, I turn first to seed catalogs to see what I can grow for myself before I start hunting through online nursery listings or visiting local garden centers. Here are a few of my favorite foliage finds that are easy to start from seed and easy to grow in the garden, too.

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