Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sweet Alyssum

Lobularia maritima
I love the scent of Sweet Alyssum in the summer sun. It self-sows abundantly in my garden. I usually pull out a lot in spring and trim with scissor during the summer. I didn’t do much of either this summer.

After hurricane Irene left us a little soggy but without any damage, we are having beautiful gardening weather so I decided to tidy the big patch of alyssum.
As I started to pull up the plants, I realized how long they were - about 16 to 24 inches.
I ended up with a bale of hay sized pile and a little more room for the Dusty Miller.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chesapeake Arboretum

Lake Hughes at Chesapeake Arboretum

Chesapeake Arboretum is located at 624 Oak Grove Rd., Chesapeake, Virginia. Forty-eight acres “dedicated to promoting horticultural and environmental awareness through displays, education and research.” It is a pretty spot with well-maintained trails in a beautiful area of Virginia just 10 to 20 minutes from Virginia Beach.

From a large River Birch, Betula nigra, with cinnamon colored exfoliating bark

To a young Live Oak, Quercus virginiana, with its leathery, evergreen leaves, well-marked native trees and shrubs line wide paths.

A map and plant list to the Native Garden Woodland Walk can be picked up at the kiosk near the 18th century farmhouse headquarters. The arboretum also includes a Camellia Grove, Holly Garden and Stewartia Grove.

Chesapeake is the second largest city by land area in the Commonwealth of Virginia with sophisticated shopping centers and excellent restaurants amid large fields and rural farms. With hurricane Irene bearing down on this beautiful area, I hope any damage is minimal.

See Clemson University Extension information on River Birch and Live Oak

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Bad-Tempered Gardener

The Bad-Tempered Gardener by Anne Wareham and Charles Hawes

The intriguing title caught my eye in Amy Stewart‘s post on Garden Rant.

Sometimes I feel like that. How about you?

Here’s a taste of Anne Warham’s writing (and a hint to why we love gardening) in ”Why I Hate Gardening” Article in UK’s The Telegraph

This sample is enough to make me want to read the book.
I will be away for a couple weeks again. I’ll be checking on this blog and the other garden blogs from time to time. I hope you are all reaping from a bountiful garden.

Everything ends with flowers.
- Helene Cixous

(Fragrant Phlox ‘David’)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Silver Dollar Plant

Lunaria annu (Honesty)

The blooming Silver Dollar plant reminds me of garden phlox in a wild flower kind of way.  It blooms at the beginning of May in light shades of purple.
Sometimes the flowers are variegated.

The plant self sows easily guaranteeing plants for years to come. As a biennial the seed from this year will grow plants next year and flower in 2013. This little plant growing in May will bloom next year.

In the weeks that follow the plant forms flat seedheads that dry into papery, round, silver- dollar shaped seedpods.

The plants are often used in dried arrangements. By the beginning of August, when they are completely dry, gently rub the seed pod between thumb and forefinger to remove outer layer and seeds revealing a silver papery skin.

This plant is also known as Penny flower, Money plant, Moneywort, Moonwort. More information from Dave’s Garden here. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Liatris spicata 'Purple Spikes’

(Gayfeather, Blazing Star)

I’ve written about Liatris before but this is another plant I’m adding to my easy perennial list. They are also deer resistant as opposed to, say, tasty beans.
We returned home to find the pole beans chewed off at the bottom. The vines shriveled and died and made their contribution to the compost heap.
Anyway, the erect Liatris, at about 3 feet tall, looks good as a stand-alone display or as a backbone among other annuals and perennials.

Liatris is slow spreading and comes in several shades including white. It is easy to divide in spring and makes a nice cut flower.
Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White’ (with Casablanca lilies)

The plants are drought tolerant after established – a good thing for this hot dry summer - and bloom from July into August. They will need to be dead-headed at the end of their bloom.
But, even if Liatris is deer resistant, it won’t prevent an animal from sitting on it.

(Doug Green has expert advice on how to grow Liatris here.)