Everyday Gardeners

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Flowers

Cocktail Herb Garden Patio Tile View Shawna Coronado

This year I expanded my front patio to include sedum lined tiles, more space for seating, and a cocktail herb garden. This spot is a delicious smelling niche that has become the focus of outdoor room entertaining in my front garden.  Many of my friends and family discover birds and other pollinators like bees and butterflies flitting all around the herbs while we are out on the front patio spending time together.The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart

Inspired by Amy Stewart’s latest book, The Drunken Botanist, this garden design was intended to be a relaxing place that bathes you in delightful scents as you sip herbal cocktails and watch the wildlife. Pollinators love the plants that surround the patio. I planted basil, thyme, and plants from The Drunken Botanist plant collection such as, the “Old Tom Gin Garden” and the “Old Havana Rum Garden”. Sitting out front has become an amazing experience because of the bees and butterflies that dance through the herb garden as much as for the delicious herbal cocktails.

Bird watching is a part of this experience as well. We have a wonderful little hummingbird that flies in and out of the hostas and herbs. She loves the sage flowers, bee balm, cat mint, and my little red hummingbird feeder. I keep it stocked up with nectar just for her so she can entertain us with her antics.

Building an herbal garden with the goal of attracting the birds and bees and a few dozen cocktail aficionados could be just the fantastic late summer project you need to end your summer with a garden bang. Plan the lay-out, amend the soil, and then toss in a few perennial herbs such as lemon thyme, tricolor sage, and lavender. You can enjoy the herbs this fall and be surprised by new growth in the early spring for the first outdoor garden cocktail parties of the season.

Herbal Cocktail Garden Patio Shawna Coronado

According the FTC, I need to let you know that I received products in this story at no cost in exchange for reviewing them.


These days, when I walk down the stairs and around my garden path, I am greeted by the loveliest smell coming from my August Beauty Gardenia. The blooms are the purest white I’ve ever seen and the smell is just out of this world.

gardenia

I planted two gardenias in my backyard a few years ago where they get just a couple of hours of morning and mid-morning sun. They’ve had a bit of a rough time. Smashed by a falled tree during a tornado-like storm and then bitten by an odd freeze the following winter. They came back, slowly but surely, and I’m glad to see they are bursting with green growth and dozens of buds this year.

gardenia

Gardenias enjoy moist, well drained soil in a shady environment with some indirect light. I picked the brightest spot in my shady backyard! They’re hardy to zones 8-10, but after one frost that claimed almost a whole shrub, I sometimes cover with a sheet to be safe. (More info here!)

It doesn’t hurt to plant them close to the house too, so you can enjoy the sweet smell. I can’t help but clip them and bring them inside. It’s unbelievable how much smell can come from such a small flower.

Tip: To remember the variety of this particular gardenia, I had to reference my garden journal, where I keep tags, notes and a general history of my garden. If you’re just getting started with your green thumb or even if you already have an established garden, start a record of plants and make notes of your successes and failures! I use mine all the time. Plus, it’s a little bit nostalgic after you’ve been at this gardening thing for a while.

 


It’s easy to get wrapped up in work and become a bit oblivious to the world around us. I had one of those moments when a colleague (Nick from Country Gardens magazine) mentioned he had a fun idea for a blog post: Flirting with flowers. I’d forgotten Valentine’s Day is this week, but Nick’s idea is totally worth sharing!

Why not send your sweetheart a message using the language of flowers:

Want to tell them how magical they make you feel? Include ferns in the bouquet; they represent magic and fascination.

Let them know they’re your true love by dropping in some forget-me-not flowers.

Show them you have faith in them (or appreciate their faith in you!) with beautiful iris blooms.

Learn more about the language of flowers here on BHG.com. And if you’re looking to send flowers to your sweetie, check out the special Better Homes and Gardens collection of plants and flower arrangements at FTD!


Spring break for me this year was a week-long road trip through the Ozarks. In addition to visits with family and friends at Long Creek Herbs in southern Missouri, friends in Fayetteville, AR, and a side trip to the Clinton Library in Little Rock, public gardens were part of my must-see agenda. The timing was perfect. An unseasonably warm spring had coaxed redbuds and flowering dogwoods, into bloom, covering the hillsides with splashes of color. In town, lilacs, spireas, and spring bulbs were displaying their finery.

Eureka Springs, AR is a unique historical town with winding streets perched on hillsides. Nearly a dozen springs bubble up from the rocky outcroppings, and the town has turned the areas around each into pocket parks. The display of violas and painted twigs below, was at one of these mini-parks located, appropriately enough, on Spring Street.

Compton Gardens in Bentonville, AR features native plants of the Ozarks. This is the former estate of Dr. Neil Compton, who was instrumental in saving the Buffalo River as part of the National Park Service. Walkways through the grounds guide visitors to displays of groomed native plants. The trail system also connects to Crystal Bridges, the fantastic new museum of American art.

Golden ragwort (Senecio aureus) is a native wildflower with yellow daisylike blooms in spring.

Carolina silverbell (Halesia tetraptera) is a native tree with springtime blooms that resemble dangling white bells.

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is a relatively new public garden, but it has a lot to offer including a children’s garden, butterfly house, rock garden, water garden, native garden, sensory garden, vegetable garden, and Japanese garden. Despite constant rain during my visit, I was able to snap a few photos, including a planted concrete chair, obviously not intended for seating.

Hens and chicks cover the seat cushion on this whimsical "chair" next to the children's garden at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.

This Euphorbia martinii Ascot Rainbow was in full bloom at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.

 


Asking a hortiholic to list his or her favorite plant is like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. It’s impossible to choose just one! So when I was asked to select top picks of recent plant introductions that I have grown, I came up with a “short list” of 25. You can see them all here on the bhg.com gardening website. To pique your interest, see the garden combinations below which contain some of my favorites from the 2011 garden season.

What were your favorite plants this last year?

Zahara Double Fire zinnia, Henna coleus, and Mahogany Splendor hibiscus are attention grabbers!

Senorita Rosalita cleome makes a stunning backdrop to Vista Fuchsia petunia.


You may have heard by now that the Pantone fashion color report has designated Tangerine Tango as the must-have color for 2012. This reddish orange tone is not for the timid! The vibrant hue makes a bold fashion statement, whether you use it in home decor or in the landscape. It’s a festive color that infuses a happy mood. But it can be difficult to use in combination with other colors. Try it with blues and purples, which are complementary colors. Or go with reds and yellows, which cluster with orange on the color wheel.

If you’d like to inject some fashionable color in your yard in 2012, here are some suggestions for flowers that provide a punch of orange.

Row 1 (left to right): 'Sunset' daylily, 'Nonstop Apricot' tuberous begonia, Oriental poppy; Row 2: 'Safari Tangerine' French marigold, 'Sunny Susy Orange' thunbergia, 'Sunpatiens Compact Orange' impatiens; Row 3: 'Vavoom' rose, 'Warm Igloo' chrysanthemum, 'Zahara Double Fire' zinnia

Row 1 (left to right): Butterfly milkweed, 'Dreamsicle' calibrachoa, California poppy; Row 2: Clivia, 'Campfire' crassula, 'Mystic Haze' dahlia; Row 3: Crown imperial fritillaria, 'Intrigue' canna, 'Landmark Citrus' lantana


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