viola

Jane McKeon

irrepressible blooms

Written on May 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm , by

I don’t know about you, but my patience has been tested this spring. Just when I thought winter had finally lost its grip, a freak snowstorm hit Iowa last week, leaving several inches of heavy, wet, white stuff in its wake. But we Midwesterners are resilient. And so too, it appears, are many of the blooms that were caught naked in the arctic blast. The fat lavender buds on my Jane magnolia, for example, were just beginning to open when temps plunged from 82 degrees one day to 32 the next. If the cold doesn’t finish them off, I figured, the wind and driving sleet will. Happily, I was proven wrong. My magnolia blooms are still intact and prettier than ever.

This isn’t the first year that early blooms have had their toughness tested. Spring’s mood swings happen so often that cool-season gardening has become, well, cool. We can resist planting tender geraniums and petunias until warm weather is here to stay if garden centers offer up a smorgasbord of irrepressible flowers. Here are several container recipes that I’ve tried that will flourish even if temperatures dip into the nippy range.

These pink pots set the tone for picking plants that show off the season’s hottest hues: soft shades of pink, purple, green, and gray. In the background pot: Helichrysum Icicles, English ivy, Osteospermum Soprano Light Purple, and Diascia Little Charmer. In the foreground pot: Diascia Little Charmer, Intensia Neon Pink phlox, Heucherella Stoplight, Armeria Rubrifolia, Osteospermum Soprano white, Snowstorm Giant Snowflake bacopa, Nemesia Compact Innocence, and Ajuga Catlin’s Giant.

The edible ingredients in this container salad garden are just too pretty to eat…for now, at least. Included in the mix: Pigeon Red kale, Esmeralda lettuce, chives, Ultima Baron Merlot pansy, and Sorbet violas.

This sky-blue planter brightens a gray day with these cheerful, chill-shrugging occupants: Sutera Blue Showers, Snowstorm Giant Snowflake bacopa, Bracteantha Sundaze Golden Beauty, Osteospermum Orange Symphony, Nemesia Compact Innocence, Trinitaria pansy, and Fire and Ice hosta.

 


Denny Schrock

late bloomers

Written on November 9, 2011 at 11:01 am , by

While trimming back frosted foliage this past weekend, I noticed quite a few annuals and perennials that had survived the fall freezes. I had to admire their tenacity! Here are a dozen flowers that were still attractive in my yard earlier this week. I’ll soon see whether they bounce back after the 4 inches of snow that covered the garden last night!

'Walker's Low' catmint

'James Galway' rose

Verbena canadensis

Snow Princess sweet alyssumTwinny Peach snapdragon

Scabiosa 'Vivid Violet'

Salvia plumosa

'Pomegranate' yarrow

'Glamour Red' flowering kale

Chrysanthemum 'Cool Igloo'

Viola 'Endurio Sky Blue'

 

Lamium 'Anne Greenaway'


Eric Liskey

Shooting for Spring in the Fall

Written on October 7, 2009 at 10:58 am , by

Frost is fast approaching, and with it, the end of the garden photography season. We have a pansy/viola story planned for BHG next spring, and there were a few new shots we needed to complete our story plan. Heavy clouds, 50F and 20 mph winds made it a chilly challenge, but we got it done. When you’re working with such happy little flower faces, it is certainly easier! We used old and new varieties from companies like Ball, Benary, and Goldsmith.

Art director Scott and Photographer Pete setting up a shot on the side of a container. Looks silly from here, but then take a look at the final shot!

Art director Scott Johnson and photographer Pete Krumhardt set up a shot on the side of a container of elephant ears. Looks silly from here, but then take a look at the final shot!

This is my version of how the final shot could look. You'll have to check out the March 2010 issue of BHG to see what version made it.

This is my version of how the final shot could look. We did a few others with different pansies on other surfaces. You'll have to check out the March 2010 issue of BHG to see what version made it into the issue.