Archive for the ‘Cool Plants’ Category

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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Three Neat Plants

Tinantia erecta Sept 2011

Sometimes it takes a new pair of eyes (or nearly 200 new pairs of eyes) to make you appreciate a plant that you walk past every day with hardly a second glance. Of all the bright flowers and in-your-face foliage plants I have here, one of the stars of this past weekend’s garden tour was a rather subtle, plain green annual with the common name of widow’s tears.

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Garden Designers Roundtable: Top Landscape Plants

Salix alba var. sericea with Stachys byzantina 'Big Ears', Phlox 'David', Stipa tenuissima, Persicaria polymorpha, and Hydrangea early July 2008

I’m honored and delighted to be taking part in April’s Garden Designers Roundtable as a guest blogger. I’d feel out of place contributing on a design-specific subject in the company of all these professional designers, but I never run out of things to say about my favorite plants, so I jumped at the chance to join in on this topic. The hard part was deciding which plants would make the cut. Going with the “landscape” aspect, and attempting to keep this post a semi-reasonable length, I settled on three of my favorite woody plants.

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Cut-Back Shrubs

Sambucus nigra 'Aurea' [October 12, 2009]

Inspired by some recent posts by Thomas over at Grounded Design, I’ve been thinking a good bit about the gardening trends I’ve seen come and go over the past 25-plus years. I’ve enjoyed exploring many of them myself, and even those that now seem rather boring or impractical have left traces on the garden I have today.

Back in the early to mid-90s, for instance, when I was developing my previous garden, mixed borders were a hot topic at lectures and conferences, and I totally bought into the idea. Trying to incorporate shrubs into my plantings was a real challenge, though, because that garden was very small. Then, I started hearing about the great “new” idea of cut-back shrubs, and wow – that made all the difference. Who knew that there were shrubs that would tolerate being cut back almost to the ground each year? They’d give height and mass and winter structure, and it took only one simple pruning step to keep them from taking up too much valuable border space.

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Three Neat Plants

Amaranthus 'Autumn Touch' July 4 10

It was tempting to go another direction with this post: along the lines of “be careful what you wish for.” After desperately wishing for rain all summer, we ended up getting all of that missing rain yesterday: 9 inches in just one day. So much for the one day this year that I had agreed to open the garden for a tour.

This morning’s reality included a toppled arbor, washed-out paths, and bedraggled asters. But really, fussing about too much rain isn’t any more helpful than all of the previous whining about too little, so I’d rather think about some new plants that have performed well this year, despite the adversity.

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