This little gem came from the bargain bin at a local big box store. If I remember correctly, I only paid two dollars for it. Since being planted 'Buff Pixie' has thanked me over and over for giving it a place in my garden. The soft buff-orange sorbet color is so striking that it almost glows in the flower bed. Buff Pixie grows 8 to 12 inches in height. The large blooms look the best in a mass planting. I grow my plant in 100% sun, although it will grow in part sun also. Bloom time is in early summer, before the daylilies start blooming. When I see this Asiatic bloom I know that it won't be long before it's daylily time.
I don't have a good track record with tulips. I can't tell you how many tulip bulbs I have planted over the years –doubles, species, parrot, Darwin hybrids, tall ones, short ones – you name it, they just about all vanish. The deer love them and the buds would often get eaten before they opened. If that didn't happen, the squirrels, voles, moles, or rabbits either dug up or ate the bulbs before they could grow. My red and yellow tulips are the lone survivors. They aren't fancy, but boy do I love to see their faces every spring. They are tough characters that have somehow defied all odds.
Many gardeners have tribute gardens. They memorialize family members, friends and pets, just to name a few themes. Annuals and perennials with meaningful names and colors are chosen and planted to honor their loved ones. Names of certain plants may evoke comforting memories. Gardeners often add plants dug from the person's garden that they are memorializing as keepsakes. Personalized whimsy can be added for visual interest.
Gardening and being outside with nature holds vast rejuvenative powers. For some people, their garden is the only place they can put aside feelings of grief to feel peaceful for a brief moment in time. Tribute gardens are not only beautiful; they can be healing.
We keep a whimsical metal cat statue in a flower bed to remember our beloved rescue cat, Small Fry (a.k.a. 'The Fry'), that lived with us for 17 years. Our youngest son named her because he thought it looked like she had a small french fry on her face. Whenever I see the statue it makes me smile and reminisce about The Fry.
"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
- Robert Bault
Here are some photos of my dear friend Sharon's beautiful perennial garden. As you can see, she loves the pink and purple color palettes. Daylilies are a predominant part of her garden, but she also has a wide variety of other perennials. Enjoy!
With spring right around the corner, I am already looking forward to seeing this beautiful mini iris. My friend Sally gave me a division of 'Captured Spirit' from her garden about ten years ago. What a joy this delicate ruffled iris has been! It has reliably bloomed and happily multiplied year after year. Captured Spirit bridges the bloom gap between my daffodils and tall bearded irises.
Captured Spirit is a standard dwarf bearded (SDB) iris hybridized by Hooker Nichols (in Texas) and registered in 1980 as an early bloomer. Registered height for this variety is 13 inches, but mine rarely grows taller than six or seven inches. This may simply be the difference between growing in Texas as opposed to growing in Wisconsin.
If you make sure Captured Spirit gets six to eight hours of sun, has average, well-drained soil and some water it will reward you every spring. It is cold hardy to US Zone 3 (-40 °F to -35).
Dusty Miller is one of my favorite annual companion plants. I love the fuzzy silvery-gray foliage that complements any color of annual or perennial it is planted next to. Occasionally it has reappeared in the same location it grew the year before, but only if our winter was very mild. Dusty Miller grows best where afternoon shade is available during the hottest months of summer. I plant mine in an eastern exposure and it does well. Dusty Miller care is minimal when the plant is established. It is adaptable to many soil types, from acidic clay to sandy loam. Dusty may need a midsummer trim if the plant becomes leggy. Best of all, the lacy leaves are resistant to deer, and rabbits dislike the fuzzy leaves as well, which is an added bonus!
I know, I know, every September and October it's the same old story -- downsizing. This year the grand plan was to remove one-half of a large flower bed in our backyard that was separated by a central arbor and stepping-stones. I have some amazing friends and family that helped dig out my daylilies and relocate the plants I was keeping. I never imagined the job would be completed as quickly as it was. I am so grateful! The arbor is gone and the half of the garden we removed was tilled, seeded and turned back into grass. Then, finally, the rock border was re-done around the half of the garden we are keeping by our neighbor. The rest of the rock border still needs updating. That will be completed this fall, or next spring, depending on the weather.
We also had a 'holding garden' on the east side of our house that I used for keeping plants I planned to sell or rehab. That area was cleared of plants and turned back into grass as well.
Ange wanted some of our shorter daylilies removed for more back-friendly deadheading in the future. Many of the large clumps were divided into four to six plants each and given away. This process needed to happen to make gardening easier. I did experience one minor slip-up in August when I purchased a new daylily, which I promised myself I wouldn't do. What can I say? It's an addiction.
Also pictured are a few of the plants/daylilies that found new homes.
Here are a few photos of the fluorescent marigolds growing by our home. They literally glow in the sun. People don't believe us when we tell them that every single marigold they see has re-seeded itself from last year's flowers. I know it doesn't appear so, but we really did try to thin them out. They have been re-seeding like this for years. I originally bought three or four 6-packs of 'Bonanza Gold' 8-10" marigolds maybe five years ago. They are super hardy and pop up all over, so we relocated a few of the seedlings where we wanted them. We even rescued some seedlings from cracks in the sidewalk. These are some crazy, happy plants!
Tip: We planted marigolds in front of our daylilies so when Fall arrives all the daylily foliage is covered up completely.
Photos by Ange and Jade Anderson
I'm not at all fond of orange ditch lilies (Hemerocallis fulva) as I've spent countless hours digging their invasive rhizomes out of my flower beds, but I'll be the first to admit that they look pretty darn good in roadside ditches.
'Eramosa Skies' is the most unusual colored iris I grow. It's difficult to capture the beautiful light blue-sapphire shade in photos. Visitors to my garden always comment on its unique color. This award-winning Standard Dwarf Bearded (SDB) iris was hybridized by Chuck Chapman (1996) in Ontario, Canada. So with Canadian genetics this iris grows like gangbusters in western Wisconsin. You'd never know this large clump was divided last fall!
My friend Sally gave me a division of Eramosa Skies from her garden about five years ago. It's an awesome border plant that grows up to 13 inches tall. It typically begins to bloom at the end of April or first week in May, depending on the weather. Dwarf bearded irises bridge the bloom gap in my garden between the daffodils and tall bearded irises.
In case you wondered, Eramosa is a township in Wellington County, in midwestern Ontario, Canada. Hence the name 'Eramosa Skies.'
This April I have really enjoyed my deep purple hyacinths. Their fragrance is amazing! Most of them grew about eight inches tall and four inches wide. These hyacinths were originally part of a large plant pot I received filled with a variety of bulbs, including daffodils, tulips, and scilla siberica. This was a perfect gift that truly kept on giving, as I continue to enjoy these bulbs every spring -- and I received them over 20 years ago! I wish I knew what variety the hyacinth is, but oh well.
Introduced in Europe during the 16th century, hyacinths are easy-to-grow spring bulbs that are still popular today (US hardiness zones 4-8). They like six to eight hours of sun each day and soil that drains well. After the bulbs have bloomed, be sure to cut off the flower stalks (not the leaves) to encourage the plants to store energy in their bulbs. Every fall and spring I sprinkle bulb booster fertilizer granules over my bulbs and gently work the granules into the soil. Rain will disperse the fertilizer. Hyacinths are best planted in early fall, about four inches deep and six to eight weeks before the first frost.
Hyacinth bulbs contain oxalic acid, which can cause a skin reaction in some people. If you are sensitive, wear gloves when handling the bulbs. Oxalic acid is also toxic when eaten, so keep your pets away from the bulbs. All kinds of rodents will chew on hyacinth bulbs. An easy organic method to deter them is to interplant hyacinths with daffodils, which rodents tend to avoid.
Hyacinth info from www.thespruce.com
Photos by Jade Anderson
Most landscaping design, along with interior and print design follows traditional color theory using complementary colors on the color wheel. Red and purple are an unconventional and unexpected color combination that will turn some heads. In fact, it's one of my favorite combos with flowers. I always buy Wave Petunias in these two colors. It was fun to try this pairing with daylilies. I love the look! So if you're bored with color and want to try mixing unusual tones, red and purple may give you that extra edge.
Daylilies pictured: 'Woman's Scorn' in the foreground and 'Integrated Logistics' in the background
Ahhhh...September....the month we Northern gardeners try to remedy our planting fails from the previous spring by juggling daylilies around the yard. My friend Sally and I like to refer to this as the 'Domino Effect' because in order to move *one* daylily to a new spot, it seems like an entire chain reaction of plant-moving needs to take place before that *one* daylily can be put in its place.
The Domino Effect reminds me of these three Murphy's Laws:
Why move daylilies around? A daylily's registration information can vary greatly as to how that plant grows in your garden, due to differences in sun, soil, temperature, and location. Planting is definitely a trial-and-error endeavor until you get to know how a particular plant behaves in your unique situation.
Here are just a few examples of why you'd want to move a plant:
I have yet to encounter a year without experiencing the Domino Effect. And as a gardener, I suspect you haven't either!
Daylily pictured: 'Techny Spider' with a companion ant
Watch out for this plant! While it may look dainty and smell deviously fragrant, it has aggressive, unmanageable behavior. When I was a gardening newbie, a 'friend' gave me a tiny kiddie-shovel full of Lily of the Valley for my shade garden. What an epic mistake! Lily of the Valley has these invasive underground runners that spread out of control and get tangled up in the roots of the well-behaved perennials. After twenty-five years of digging Lily of the Valley roots out of my flowers, I am still trying to eradicate it. Every year when I think I have completely removed it, a survivor shows up. It has even popped up in the grass outside of the flower bed. Aargh!
This plant may be good for erosion control, far away from flower gardens, but to this day I still shudder when I see Lily of the Valley for sale at garden centers. I mean really...should you spend money for this kind of aggravation?
Picture courtesy of Pixabay
Here are a few daylily hacks that have helped me grow healthy daylilies over the years:
Here are photos of the field next to our house where I have regularly dumped wheelbarrows of weeds over the years. As it turns out, my weeds weren't all weeds! I do remember tossing some rotted irises and a few daylily crowns that felt soft and mushy when I was dividing plants, but not any other plants. Who knew?
In addition to the 'Garden Scarlet' Bee Balm, 'Purple Sensation' Allium, and Narcissus/Daffodils pictured, our field boasts quite an assortment of irises, some hosta, a few daylilies, and a spirea that are all thriving. In late summer the field morphs into a fiesta of multi-colored tall garden phlox.
So our field has transformed into a perennial garden of sorts. Surprisingly, the perennials are successfully holding their own mixed in with the weeds. And what a bonus to have a colorful field!
As much as I love my daylilies, Picky-Patty-Me harbors a few pet peeves. Here are my top ten:
In spring 2019 this dainty, 12" tall fringed tulip arrived unannounced in my garden. The odd thing is that I have absolutely no idea where it came from. However it got here, I love it and it's staying! Note the neat white eyes in the first photo. This is also my latest tulip that bloomed through May 12.
Also known as Crispa Tulips, fringed tulips have lacy petals and crystalline-like fringes. Some have fringes in the same color as the petals, but others have contrasting fringes. They come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. Like regular tulips, it’s easy to grow fringed tulips. Plant the bulbs in autumn, in well-draining soil that gets full sunlight and add a bit of bulb booster. That's it!
You can read more about fringed tulips at Gardening Know How:
Stratford-upon-Avon is a quaint medieval town in England's West Midlands. Stratford-upon-Avon was founded by the Saxons when they invaded what is now Warwickshire in the 7th century AD. In the late 12th century it was transformed into a town.
While in Stratford-upon-Avon, I visited the 16th century home of Shakespeare managed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Although the garden re-creations were not done to current standards of historical accuracy, I still enjoyed them. I found the huge holly bushes particularly beautiful. They clearly thrived in the English climate.
I also enjoyed spending a leisurely afternoon exploring the unique shops in town, seeing all the Tudor houses, and watching the boats lazily float down the River Avon.
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