Saturday, September 27, 2008

Flowers Speak

When words escape, flowers speak.- Bruce W. Currie




Maximilian Sunflower





Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Japanese Anemone

One of my favorite recent additions to the garden, the Japanese Anemone (Anemone x hybrida) produces exquisite fall blooms. To me they are as delicate as an orchid, as statuesque as a daisy and as carefree as a cone flower.

The flowers are almost 3 inches in diameter. The plant is about 3 feet tall. They are rabbit and deer resistant.

I received 2 plants in fall of 2006 from my friend Myra. Gardening friends are great, aren’t they? They are planted in part shade near a French lilac.

I’ve been warned that they may spread rapidly and may be hard to keep under control.
According to Sonoma County Master Gardeners, “They spread by underground runners and eventually make large clumps that can be divided and transplanted for more plantings.”

In the second year in my garden, they are still well under control. I would like to see them fill the space a bit more. Only time will tell if I regret this planting.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Squirrel Food

Our dogwood trees (Cornus florida) are full of pretty red fruit. The fruit, called a drupe, is also called stone fruit and is akin to a peach, plum or cherry.

I imagine snowy winter days with the tree’s graceful structure dotted in bright red fruit.

However, it’s not to be. Every evening we hear a faint crack, crack, crack. The squirrels sit in the tree, split open the fruit and eat the seeds.

By the time the last leaf drops, the tree will be stripped clean.

So it goes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Garden Mistake

How many times have I heard, “find out the mature height and width before selecting a plant?” How about, “the right plant in the right place.” But, I couldn’t resist free plants when a neighbor offered to give me a couple of tall ornamental grasses. I love the graceful look and the winter interest they provide.

These grass monsters have taken over their space several times during the last 6 years. Each time we’ve had to dig up the huge root ball. We’ve had to hack the root ball in pieces with an ax. Then we’ve planted ¼ of the plant back in the hole.

Zebra grass falls over in strong winds & rain. It blocks the garden paths. Cuts fingers if you’re not careful – like a very nasty paper cut. The root ball is now at least 2 feet in diameter.

The other grass does the same and the root ball is now at least 3 feet in diameter. There is a rose bush under there somewhere. I cut back and tied up both grasses this week. They are both too large for the space.

Spring cleanup is another saga. (see November 6, 2006 and April 2, 2008 posts .)

So, we’ll be digging out the ornamental grass next spring. We will not replant. Anyone who has space for these grasses will be welcome to them. Maybe, I’ll remember this lesson in the future.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


There is an interesting blog discussion going on this week at May Dreams Garden, Garden Rant and Doug Green’s blog (see links in sidebar My Favorite Blogs).
Is it valid for HGTV to include the “G” in the title when gardening shows have all but disappeared from the lineup?

Doug asked what blog readers would like to see in gardening programming.

Here’s my list:

Green gardening with practical garden advice
Gardener’s mistakes and how to avoid them
Regional gardening – the why as well as the methods
Real gardens as well as research and trial gardens
Integrated Pest Management
Soil management and compost
Gardening practices from around the world

The list is almost endless.

Isn’t that why we read blogs? HGTV would be wise to read a few blogs.

Join in the discussion and comment on Doug’s blog. What would you like to see in garden programming?


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Confessions of a Coleac

I can’t help it. I love Coleus. Ease of propagation, variety of shapes, versatility and wide color range creates a perfect annual for me. When I see a variety that I don’t have, I’m overcome with Coleus Envy.

I like to combine plants. The picture above is ‘Pele’ and ‘Pink Chaos’. Both varieties do well in the sun. Other coleacs plant single specimen plants. Either way, the effect is significant.


‘Pele’, ‘Religions Radish’ and ‘Trailing Garnet’ make a nice combination with the Creeping Jenny. I usually use ‘Trailing Garnet’ in a pot where it will cascade over the edge. I think I like that effect better.

‘Glennis’ is one of the most spectacular large coleus I have. It can grow 2+ feet tall under the right conditions. Here in a pot in dappled shade under a French lilac, it is about 1½ feet tall.


I don’t know the names of all the varieties in my little collection. Here are some lacy leaved coleuses. Merlin’s Magic is on the right. The one on the left is a mystery.

Two unnamed Coleus with Dusty Miller are holding their own in the dry shade under the lilac. I think they are trying to prove coleus will grow under any conditions.

Next spring I’ll order a few varieties from Rosy Dawn Gardens I’ve never ordered from Rosy Dawn but browsing the on-line catalogue almost makes me drool.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Garden Visit

I love visiting gardens – what gardener doesn’t? This week I visited Sharon & Ron’s amazing home and garden.

Rocks from around the world as well as local stones, brick and slate are meticulously set by Ron. Paths, borders and patios create a continental feeling. Hundreds of evergreens propagated by Ron fill the property and form the more formal front garden.

The perennial garden, designed and cared for by Sharon, creates a romantic spot. I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time in this garden. I’ll have to wangle an invitation to spend more time there.

With so much to see, I couldn’t absorb it all in my several trips around the garden.
The details in this garden are surprising and extraordinary – from fountains and sculptures expertly placed to a sedum garden in a sunny spot.

Years of time, labor and love have created an inspiring garden. Sharon and Ron are so enthusiastic about their gardens that the tour became more exciting with each plant and stone.

What a boost for my gardening enthusiasm! In fact, I came home and immediately hoed my entire front garden. (I have blisters to prove it.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


My Hydrangea ‘Venice’ bloomed this year in mixed colors on the same bush.

(see July 28, 2008 post)

“The color this year goes from pink through lilac to purple. I never know what color it will be. Last year it was a bright pink. (see July 25, 2007 post) It is full of blooms. I mean FULL of blooms. The leaves are barely visible.”

The picture above was taken August 29, 2008. The last bloom is a striking deep blue.

According to Hydrangea website,

”. . . hydrangeas often change color on their own when they are planted or transplanted. It is not unusual to see several different colors on one shrub the next year after planting.”

This hydrangea was planted 4 years ago. I guess it’s possible that it is still adjusting.

Has anyone else had different colors on the same bush? I can hardly wait to see what happens next year.