Written on July 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm , by Katie Ketelsen
Several times each week I take a stroll through our Test Garden. Not only do I stay in touch with the hottest, new plants and how they’re flourishing (or not) but it’s also a great, relaxing retreat for me. I’m one of the brave few that enjoy Iowa’s hot and humid summers. Many days I’ve thought of skipping the computer, putting my gardening shoes on only to help Test Garden manager Sandra for at least an hour or two….probably three.
But alas….I’d never get Garden Notes out the virtual door! (ahem…..are you receiving our weekly dose of garden goodness?)
This week I’m completely…totally…infatuated with the ‘Marmalade’ coneflower. While most online resources show a vibrant orange hue to this flower, the environment in the Test Garden lends to a beautiful mix of fuchsia, coral and orange. It’s simply gorgeous.
And then today…
The finishing hues of this coneflower is what really appeals to me. That, and its double-bloom feature. What do you think? Ready to get the shovel out and plant some? Lucky for you, White Flower Farm has them in stock!
Written on June 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm , by Eric Liskey
Smokebush (Cotinus) is one of the great all-time garden plants, IMO. Easy to grow, hardy (to Zone 4), and gorgeous. The plume-like blooms look great from spring, when they emerge, through much of summer. And the foliage is dynamite. This is purple smokebush (Monrovia’s Royal Purple), which as you can see, has great dark foliage. There’s a chartreuse version as well — Golden Spirit — in addition to more conventional green types.
Other plants come in these light/dark pairs too, which I love to combine for foliage contrast. Garden Debut’s Burgundy Hearts and Rising Sun redbuds, or Spring Meadow’s Black Lace and Sutherland Gold elderberries (Sambucus), are two examples.
Written on June 14, 2013 at 11:00 am , by BHG Guest Blogger
The following is a guest blog post from Susan Morrison, a Northern California landscape designer and blogger.
Small gardens offer many advantages over their larger cousins—less weeding comes to mind—but having less space to work with brings a unique set of challenges. If you’re a plant and accessories lover, you might be torn between the desire to cram in every bright bloom or vivid pot that catches your eye, and the knowledge that too many competing colors can lead to chaos. With a little planning, however, a small garden can be colorful without being overwhelming.
When Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist, asked for my help designing a new cocktail garden for her narrow side yard, I knew we’d be relying heavily on containers. To satisfy Amy’s desire for bold color, we chose a palette of rich blues anchored by deep purple on one end and lime green on the other – before purchasing anything. Instead of endless days spent shopping in an effort to find containers that conformed to her swatches, Amy asked a local handyman to build them to her specifications out of unfinished wood—then painted them herself. (You can also find unfinished wood containers online.) If choosing a color palette seems daunting, sites like Adobe Kuler provide a range of color palettes, and a menu of easy-to-use tools that allow you to experiment with an infinite number of combinations, while still ensuring your ultimate choices will coordinate.
When it comes to flower color, an exclusive palette of pastel blooms will blend together much more harmoniously than one that mixes soft colors with bold ones. Pastel shades always combine well with one another, no matter how many different flowers you include. As the speaker at a recent talk on color that I attended explained it: if you washed all your clothes 200 times, they would eventually fade to the point where you could wear anything with anything. Sticking to the paler shades found in the innermost circle of the color wheel is a great strategy for impulse shoppers, as it gives you a substantial number of plants to choose from, with no need to worry that the ultimate effect will overpower the garden.
On the other hand, if you’re the type who wouldn’t be caught dead planting pale pink anything, it’s possible to make a bold design statement without sacrificing harmony. Once you’ve chosen the colors that speak to you, the secret is to repeat them everywhere, including accessories like furniture, containers and artwork.
Artist and garden designer Keeyla Meadows is not the type to shy away from splashy shades. Sizzling reds, bright oranges and shocking pinks dominate in her small, sunny garden, but by pulling these colors through in her handmade benches and containers, the end result is harmonious.
In their small, showcase water garden, Potomac Waterworks choose only two high-contrast colors, red and chartreuse, then repeated them not only in a range of foliage plants, but in the accessories and artwork as well. The ultimate effect is a garden that is simultaneously energizing and restful.
Whether your style is softly romantic or outspokenly edgy, stick to a few simple color strategies for a garden that reflects the real you—without sacrificing harmony.
Susan Morrison is a Northern California landscape designer with Creative Exteriors Landscape Design, blogger at Blue Planet Garden Blog and the co-author of Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces, an Amazon “Best Books of 2011” selection.
Susan knows first-hand the challenges and rewards of gardening in a small space. Her own 18 by 50 foot back yard serves as her laboratory for fresh ideas, and is the inspiration for her iTunes garden app Foolproof Plants for Small Gardens.
Categories: Gardening, Plants, Quick & Easy Tips | Tags: color garden, color wheel, Container Garden, garden art, garden bench, garden funiture, Keelya Meadows, pastel color garden, Potomac Waterworks, small space gardening, Susan Morrison, The Drunken Botanist
Written on June 14, 2013 at 6:00 am , by BHG Guest Blogger
The following is a guest blog post from Angela Treadwell-Palmer, Co-owner of Plants Nouveau and involved with a variety of garden programs.
If you’re like me, you’ve tried all of the repeat flowering hydrangeas on the market. I hope you haven’t been as disappointed as I have. Yes, they bloom all summer, but it’s a bloom here, a bloom there, and the plant is never completely covered in blooms, right? Right! Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Hokomarevo’ Everlasting™ Revolution is a game changer.
Not only does Revolution flower on new and old wood, making it sure to bloom for everyone, but the pink or blue (depending on the acidity of your garden soil) flowers fade to magical color combinations of deep rusty-pink and olive green, maroon and true blue, and even aqua and lime green. As the long summer days fade, each aging flower adds even deeper green highlights, extending the color in your garden well into the autumn.
This attractive, continuously blooming hydrangea not only has gorgeous, strong, long-lasting flowers, it’s a blooming machine. This might be the first super successful gift-to-garden plant. Here’s how it works; you buy it in full bloom for mom for mother’s day or Easter and enjoy it indoors for a month, then you can safely plant it in the garden and watch it bloom and grow for years and years – even in the colder regions of the US (USDA Zone 5)! Not many hydrangeas sold as gift plants are tough enough to be planted outside.
Wait – there’s more.
No house yet or no room to garden? Only have space for containers on your porch or patio? This amazing hydrangea will even survive outside in a large, freeze-proof container in many areas. Just give it a little water once in a while and let it sleep all winter. And since it grows to only 30” tall by 30” wide, you won’t need a big space or a big container. Its petite size is perfect for small, urban spaces, porches and patios. If you grew up with a Cape Cod-like cottage garden, but don’t have the space for larger mop head hydrangeas, this is the plant for you. All the color, all the nostalgia of grandma’s garden, cut flowers for the table and the perfect little garden plant all in one, who could ask for more?
Why buy a reblooming hydrangea when you can have an, Everlasting™ blooming machine?
Angela’s career has spanned almost every aspect of gardening, garden design and teaching folks how to garden with plants – especially natives. She most recently managed the development of new gardens for the U.S. National Arboretum. Angela managed new plant introduction and marketing for the Chicago Botanic Garden and The Conard-Pyle Co. She has designed and installed many private gardens throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
Angela founded and now Co-owns Plants Nouveau LLC; a company that specializes in introducing and marketing new plants to the nursery industry. She’s been directing the Native Plants in the Landscape Conference at Millersville University for the past eleven years. Angela’s career has taken her around the world, experiencing world famous gardens and remote areas looking for new ideas and exciting plants.
Written on June 12, 2013 at 6:00 am , by BHG Guest Blogger
The following is a guest blog post from Briana Johnson, Marketing Communications Specialist for Garden Debut® and Greenleaf Nursery.
When shopping for my first home, I had grand illusions of the gardening space I’d have available. I vastly underestimated the cost and maintenance associated with a landscape that rivaled the local botanical gardens. Thankfully, I came to my senses before I purchased and made a realistic choice in terms of lot size. My small in-town neighborhood lot isn’t quite the ultimate of small space gardening that an apartment balcony or a townhouse patio constrains you to, but even suburban gardeners have small space gardening dilemmas.
My first dilemma was porch height. I purchased my house for its beautifully large, covered front porch. I’d again had grand illusions of a gorgeous, raised, wrap-around porch, and while my porch is large, it is a scant 6 inches from the ground to the threshold. When it came to selecting plants for the mixed beds in front of said porch, I knew a 6 to 8 foot shrub would debilitate my views from the porch swing, so I set a 3 to 4 foot height limit on my plant selections.
New plant breeding, such as that done by crapemyrtle enthusiast Dow Whiting, is often aimed at introducing smaller more compact versions of a garden favorite. Dow’s four varieties of Princess Crapemyrtles, introduced by the Garden Debut® collection, range in size from 18 to 48 inches tall by 30 to 36 inches wide, fitting perfectly within my range of selections. Not to mention they offer another feature every gardener loves: an extended bloom season from midsummer to fall that is improved by deadheading spent flowers.
The largest of the collection, Princess Holly Ann™, produces cherry red clusters of flowers and matures at 4 feet tall by 3 feet wide. Princess Zoey™ has two-toned blooms that emerge cherry red with splashes of hot pink, and it also grows to 4 feet tall by 3 feet wide. These two crapemyrtles are perfect choices for the back row of a mixed garden bed and can be under-planted with a variety of small shrubs and perennials.
The two smaller varieties also work well as a mid-level mixed garden bed selection. Mounding Princess Kylie™ has brilliant magenta flowers and grows 3 feet tall and wide, and tiny Princess Lyla™ matures at 18 to 24 inches tall and wide with light pink flowers. Their mounded shapes also look great in a cluster of mixed containers around a porch or patio sitting area where the delicate flowers can be observed closely.
I’ve found that with new breeding programs and new introductions each year from collections such as Garden Debut®, gardeners can expect solutions to a variety of gardening dilemmas, not just space limitations. Visit www.gardendebut.com to view the collection or call 1 (877) 663-5053 for questions.
Briana Johnson is the Marketing Communications Specialist for Garden Debut® and Greenleaf Nursery in Park Hill, Oklahoma. She is a first-time homeowner and amateur gardener with big ideas for her new landscape.
Briana relies on Great New Plants™ and Trusted Selections™ from the Garden Debut® collection to create a home where she can connect, share, enjoy and inspire. Discuss new and exciting features about these plants with Briana each day by following Garden Debut® on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Categories: Gardening, Plants | Tags: Briana Johnson, crape myrtle, crapemyrtle, Flowering Shrub, Garden Debut, Greenleaf Nursery, Princess Crapemyrtles, small shrub, small space gardening
Written on June 11, 2013 at 6:35 am , by Shawna Coronado
When I was young I loved visiting my grandmother’s shady perennial beds in central Indiana. They were filled with every leafy shape the mind could imagine, yet rarely a flower could be found. My grandmother taught me that there are other beautiful options that can bring just as much joy to your gardening heart. Both foliage and decorative glass offer colorful alternatives to the traditional blooming beds and I use them as much as I can in my own garden.
Planning your foliage garden well means your garden can stay beautiful year round without flowers. Mixing leaf structures and plant heights adds interest. At the top you see Fern ‘lady fern’ mixed with Hosta ‘halcyon’ in my side garden at home. I love the blue of the hosta because it contrasts marvelously with the bright green of the soft, feathery-leaved ferns.
A favorite combination is to mix some coleus love into my shade vegetable containers. Lacinto Kale from Bonnie Plants and Coleus from Hort Couture’s ‘Under the Sea’ line make a fabulous color splash together. No flowers can be seen, but the foliage color is astounding and really adds to a shade patio container arrangement (see below).
Mixing Heuchera and Hosta together can be a brilliant foliage combination. In the garden bed above you see a random bed plan of Heuchera ‘snow angel’ and Heuchera ‘beaujolais’ mixed with Hosta ‘krossa regal’, Hosta ‘gold standard’, and Hosta ‘half and half’.
Want to keep your perennials in place while adding color and interest with glass? Bring whimsical glass accessories in to the garden beds. I have endless wine bottle paths (photo above) draped with ground cover and a fantastic bottle tree (photo right) I found at Carolee’s Herb Farm, a favorite stop whenever I am in central Indiana.
Bottle trees are a remarkably cool folk art brought from Africa and the Middle East centuries ago and were originally used to capture bad spirits. Now they capture color and light and bring a bit of joy to my suburban shade garden.
Below are two books I recommend to help you study up on filling your garden with color not found in a flower; Fine Foliage by Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz is a delightful full color book which brings wonderful ideas for foliage color combinations, and Bottle trees.. and the Whimsical Art of Garden Glass by Felder Rushing is an outstanding full color celebration of creative glass-in-the-garden creations.
According the FTC, I need to let you know that I received products in this story at no cost in exchange for reviewing them.
Categories: Garden Obsession, Gardening, Get the Look, Plants | Tags: books, bottle trees, bottles, christina salwitz, Coleus, edible, felder rushing, fern, fine foliage, Foliage, garden book, glass, heuchera, hosta, kale, karen chapman, perennial bed, perennials, Shawna Coronado, shed, vegetable, wine