Posts Tagged ‘perennials’

Structural Integrity

Faux dog house with rudbeckia, miscanthus, and pennisetum in snow

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

My ability to appreciate forms and stems and seedheads fizzled out way too soon this winter. Usually, I’m good until late January, at least, and then there’s seed-sowing to distract me from the boring outdoors for a few weeks until spring starts making an appearance. But then, we usually slide into winter a bit more gradually, unlike the seemingly endless cycle of ice events every few days from December through much of January. It’s almost a relief to get snow now as a change.

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The Screening Test

Foundation planting at Hayefield with Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' and Vernonia

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

One of the biggest challenges of creating a new garden on a relatively flat, featureless field has been figuring out how to break up the view a bit. Partly, I wanted to create some privacy from the roads that border two sides of my lot. I also wanted to add some screening within the garden, so the whole thing wasn’t visible from one spot, and to create some sheltered sitting areas as well. I needed to find a way to screen the area under the raised porch, too, so the junk-storage space underneath wasn’t visible.

My previous garden was very small, so it wasn’t a big deal to invest in some special trellises and screens, or to have Mom build them. This place is so much larger, though, that even buying enough lumber for Mom-made structures really isn’t an option. Sizeable shrubs and trees are pretty much out of the budget too. So I’ve turned to another option: perennials that are eye-high or taller.

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Three Neat Plants – Late July


Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

First, I’d like to welcome all of the new readers to Hayefield. As some of you who have been here before guessed, the special garden visitor I mentioned in my last post was Anne Raver of the New York Times. It was such a surprise that she wanted to write an article (Where Foliage Eclipses Flowers); I figured she and my two editors from Storey were just looking for an afternoon of garden touring. You can imagine what a lot of plant talk four garden nerds can fit into just a few hours.

While the attention has been fun, it’s also great to finally have some time to get back to blogging – especially blogging about neat plants. As usual, it was hard to choose just three, but I’ve ended up with something old, something sort of new, and something I think will be very new to most of you. Continue reading

Three Neat Plants – Late June

Bupleurum rotundifolium June 27 08

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

Despite our depressingly hot and dry weather this month, great-looking plants are coming along faster than I can write about them. One of my favorites of the moment is the sadly underused annual known as thoroughwax or hare’s ear (Bupleurum rotundifolium). Looking very much like an airy euphorbia, though it’s more closely related to dill, fennel, and other umbellifers, it grows anywhere from 12 to about 30 inches here, with a single main stem that branches heavily toward the tips and beautiful blue-green foliage. Below is a closeup of the blooms and a leaf. Continue reading

Asclepias Season

Asclepias purpurascens

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

I hardly need a calendar to know that summer’s here at Hayefield. When the third week of June arrives, the milkweeds begin to bloom.

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Three Neat Plants – Late May

Iris pallida Aureovariegata and Symphytum Axminster Gold May 28 08

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

Ah, so many neat plants, so little time. I’ve been saving up a few of my current favorites to share with you, starting with the two above: variegated sweet iris (Iris pallida ‘Variegata’; also sold as ‘Aureovariegata’) on the left and ‘Axminster Gold’ comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) on the right. (Yes, yes, I know the rules say that you shouldn’t plant variegated plants right next to each other, but I do think these two work.) Continue reading

Three Neat Plants – Early May

Syneilesis from top April 30 08

I’ve been trying to think of a topic that would give me a good reason to talk about some of my favorite plants from time to time. A few plants that have recently caught my eye don’t have much in common, however, besides being perennials and having interesting foliage. “Three Neat Plants” is the best theme I can come up with, for the moment anyway. Fortunately, the plants are far more exciting than the title. Continue reading