A few years ago I tilled up the entire lawn in my front yard and planted herbs, veggies, fruits and edible flowers, but I had a dilemma. How should I handle the strip that runs between the sidewalk and street curb? I certainly didn’t want to eat anything that grew in street grit and car exhaust and was irrigated by passing dogs. Over time, that strip has turned into my test garden for perennials and a few annuals, such as this bunny tail grass (Lugurus ovatus). Bunny tail grass is like the adorable kitten of the botanical world. It makes me smile every time I see it bobbing playfully in the breeze. My 5, 8 and 10-year-old sons can’t pass bunny tails without giving the silky-soft seed heads a quick stroke.
I started the grass seeds in my pantry early last spring and transported them outside the first week of May. The grass is doing quite well in my fairly dry curb strip and has been very low maintenance. Right before the first major snowfall, I plan to clip a few bunny tails for dried flower arrangements. Until then, they can amuse my family and passers-by.
‘Tis the season for spectacular light displays in the nighttime skies from exploding fireworks. You can mimic these explosions of color in your garden by growing plants bursting with color-infused foliage and blooms. Several heat-loving annuals and perennial flowers are named for 4th of July fireworks. One of my favorites is ‘Fireworks’ fountaingrass, a new purple pennisetum with pink striped foliage. It makes a perfect partner for the hot pink flowers of ‘Fireworks’ globe amaranth. Other color-laden plants exploding in the summer garden include ‘Fireworks’ goldenrod and ‘Carolina Fireworks’ lantana. All of these beauties put on their peak display during the sun-soaked heat of summer.
The pink-and-purple striped foliage of 'Fireworks' fountaingrass combines well with chartreuse, pink, and purple plants in the garden. Feathery seedheads add lovely texture.
'Fireworks' globe amaranth develops hot pink tufts of bloom on tall stems that waft in the breeze. Flowers retain their color when dried, too.
'Fireworks' goldenrod bears arching wands of pure yellow blooms in late summer.
'Carolina Fireworks' lantana combines sizzling orange and yellow hues on a mounding plant that thrives in the heat of summer gardens.
Although fall has started its descent, a quick stroll through the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden proves there is still a lot of life left in the season. Here are just a few of the beauties I found flourishing in the garden.
The Knock Out shrub roses are literally a knockout in the garden. Once their blooms start kicking in spring, they’ll last up till the first hard frost in fall. It’s hard not to stop dead in your tracks to admire their beauty.
Close view of the Rainbow Knock Out shrub rose’s bloom.
Ornamental grasses are center stage right now–everywhere! The gracefulness of the switchgrass’ plumes are what makes it one of my favorites, not to mention grasses are a perfect addition to any garden for fall and winter appeal.
2008 Perennial of the Year–Rozanne Geranium is the longest blooming perennial geranium in the landscape right now. I’ll be curious to see how long these flowers last this fall!
If you’ve got time or in the neighborhood, have your lunch in the test garden tomorrow–it’s open from 12-2pm! Otherwise, tune in next week…I’m anticipating a change in the scenery.