Everyday Gardeners

Plant. Grow. Live.

June 2010

Geum 'Koi'

Just a quick shot of Geum ‘Koi’, a wonderful heat- and drought-tolerant plant in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden.

Hydrangea 'Little Honey'Hydrangeas are some of the most popular garden plants around — and for good reason. Most have gorgeous blooms and there’s a wealth of varieties, so you can find one for sun or shade, even in the North!

One of the most intriguing varieties is a golden-leafed oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Little Honey’).

This little beauty has a lot going for it:

  • The bright chartreuse foliage looks awesome all spring and summer.
  • The leaves have incredible rosy-red fall color.
  • It blooms with white flower clusters for weeks in summer.
  • It’s a named selection of a North American native plant.
  • It has a dwarf habit (for oakleaf hydrangeas), growing only 4 feet tall and wide.
  • It loves a shaded or partially shaded spot.

This is a young specimen in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden. It’s just the second year it’s in the ground so it still looks a bit runty, but the golden foliage really lights up the corner it’s tucked into!

My dear friend Sandy Soria lives in the best of two worlds. She and her husband and two sons spend most weeks in a contemporary townhouse in the western suburbs of Des Moines. But on weekends and as soon as school breaks for summer vacation, the Sorias return to their picture-perfect century farm about 30 miles outside of town surrounded by Iowa’s famous cornfields. Think Grant Wood. After meeting my old friend and amateur-corn-grower (and unofficial champion corn-on-the-cob eater) Steve Perkins during a visit to the Midwest from his Chesapeake Bay home in Virginia, Sandy was convinced she should try her hand at growing a patch of sweet corn. And I’m sure glad she did.


Here we are in an outtake by photographer Marty Baldwin taken last summer while harvesting just some of the delicious corn she grew in a 10-foot by 10-foot space at her farm. Look for the story on Sandy and her corn patch in the Fall 2010 issue of Country Gardens, which goes on sale in early August. Speaking of sweet corn, I’m excited to try growing a new variety from Harris Seeds (www.harrisseeds.com) called ‘Mr. Mini Mirai’. The name Mirai means “taste of the future” in Japanese and the ears of this supposedly exceptionally sweet and tender gourmet corn are a refined 5” to 5 ½”, just the right size for a dinner plate. ‘Mr. Mini Mirai’ matures approximately 74 days from planting. Tell us about the sweet corn you’ve got growing out in your backyard and how you enjoy sharing it with others.

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