Everyday Gardeners

Plant. Grow. Live.

With all the buzzing, chirping, whirring, zitzing, and general insect noise here in Central Iowa, it’s hard to do anything else but listen. Late afternoons begin with the annual cicadas (scissor-grinders here in Iowa), at dusk the male crickets begin rubbing their wings together creating their signature chirp. Late at night the last signers take over, the katydids. That’s one I found hiding out in a daylily in my front yard last week.

Then, last Friday, the electrician pointed to the side of my house and asked me, “Is that a decoration?” No, but it most certainly was a green and glowing Luna Moth! Adult Luna Moths only live for about a week, long enough only to mate and lay eggs. I tried to get a picture of it. That’s it, above. Who’s been visiting your garden?

Just returned last week from Bailey Nurseries’ 2016 Media Preview in Portland, Oregon, where our friends at Bailey proved to be unflappable hosts to a small crew of consumer and trade magazine editors.

That’s Bailey President Terry McEnaney and her son Ryan welcoming me to their impressive Yamhill Farm operation, where we learned all about their container and bare-root production surrounded by millions of pots of garden-worthy roses, trees, and shrubs.

We also toured their growing fields on Sauvie Island and walked through acres of Endless Summer hydrangeas and Easy Elegance roses and First Editions plants. Bailey Nurseries’ West Coast operations consist of five bare root production farms of more than 3,000 acres, more than 150 acres of container production and some 8 acres of propagation greenhouses.

More from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016: While the designer gardens make the headlines, the real flower show takes place in the Great Pavilion, where an exquisite display of hepaticas stole my heart.

I know these dainty North American natives as one of the earliest wildflowers in New England, especially in upstate New York. Hepatica is a delicate woodland flower with white, pink or lavender flowers that open in the sunshine. The purple to maroon flower stalks have long, soft hairs. Petals appear long with rounded tips. Hepatica leaves are larger than the flowers and usually have three rounded lobes. The leaves lay flat on the ground, often hiding among the leaf litter.

But this display by Ashwood Nurseries (in the West Midlands) actually took by breath away. John Massey orchestrated these heavenly spring flowers in pale blues, deep blues, pinks, and whites beneath white-flowering small Prunus trees and a couple of small pines. There’s even a category of pygmy hepaticas!


Plants that caught be eye while in London:

First up, the apricot-orange climbing David Austin rose ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ in the rose garden at Henry XIII’s Hampton Court Palace.

Deep-red plume thistle (Cirsium rivalry ‘Atropurpureum’) looking rather royal at Kew Gardens.

Cuban lily (Scilla peruviana) in the rock garden at Kew.

Lilac ‘Sensation’ spotted at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Meet the ‘Roald Dahl’ Rose from David Austin Roses. Introduced at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. 2016 marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl—beloved author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This peach colored rose is a tribute to Dahl’s first major literary success as a children’s author with James and the Giant Peach published in 1961. Here is the rose unveiled at Chelsea and on display with an original illustration by Sire Quentin Blake featuring the rose. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of ‘Roald Dahl’ roses will be donated to Roald Dahl’s Marvelous Children’s Charity.

Lyn Berry and Margaret Knight set out to crochet a humble 120 poppies to “plant” on Remembrance Day in 2013 at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. It was this simple tribute of love and honor that sparked massive community interest, with an estimated 300,000 contributors from around the world. Contributors as young as two right through to 102 from many different backgrounds and cultures sent in their poppies and their stories. This breathtaking collection of beautiful handcrafted poppies is the result…and it is a stunning acknowledgement of the service and sacrifice of British servicemen and women. Acclaimed landscape designer Phillip Johnson collaborated with the 5000 Poppies Project and recreated this spectacular installation at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the Christopher Wren-designed Royal Hospital Chelsea. It serves as a poignant commemoration of the Centenary of WWI.

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