- Daylilies that multiply too fast. Sounds crazy, right? Truth is, I get tired of dividing the same plant every year or so, and then trying to re-home the discards. (Why can't I just throw them in the ditch?) At one point in time, I'm pretty sure every friend I've ever had received a division of 'Mary Todd.'
- Blooms that have poor substance and slick-off in the sun (wet, slimy blooms). In my 100% sun yard that calls for instant removal.
- Scapes that droop and/or fall over. I refuse to prop up any plant in my garden. Away you go!
- Daylily bloom petals that canoe (when the flower petals turn inwards) Ick!
- A cultivar that puts out exceptionally beautiful blooms alongside of inconsistent blooms. Why put up with that? There are thousands and thousands of daylilies available that always have consistent, beautiful blooms; those are the ones I keep.
- Some daylilies have roots that are so densely woven together and tangled up that I have had to resort to a small saw to get divisions! It must be genetics, because most daylily roots are not saw-worthy.
- Daylilies that periodically send out traveling roots to new fans that are far away from the mother plant. Then Picky-Me has to dig out the traveling fan to keep the plant contained in its allotted garden space.
- Plants that bloom inside of their foliage instead of above the foliage.
- Ratty foliage. Enough said.
- Daylilies that exhibit scape blasting. I've had some cultivars that routinely did this every year. I've said goodbye to all of them but one, and that daylily (Virginia B. Hanson) is so perfect in all other aspects that she gets a pass.
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.
What better time than February to reminisce about last summer. Looking outside today, these photos hardly seem real! So far this winter we haven't had all that much snow in western Wisconsin (not complaining--just stating a fact). In 2019 our bloom season was a bit shorter than usual because of the excessively cold spring weather and the sudden 85 degree temperatures that followed. Nonetheless, the daylilies did quite well with the abundant rain we had.
Last year's photos will keep me going for the next couple of months as I dream about the upcoming 2020 daylily bloom season.
Daylilies pictured: 'New Series,' 'Firestorm,' 'Heavenly Curls,' ' Patty in Pinstripes,' 'Lotus Position,' 'Shores of Time,' 'Sharky's Revenge,' 'Frances Joiner'
I usually hype annuals and perennials that I like, but today I want to talk about an annual that I think was an epic fail -- Red Double Wave Petunias. I expected that they would bloom profusely like the regular Wave Petunias that I love. Uh...no, far from it! After giving them three months to do something, the Red Double Wave Petunias were dug out and disposed of. Marigolds were planted in their place that are happy, blooming like crazy, and look 100% nicer.
I'm sharing this so you don't have to experience the extreme disappointment that I did. And just so you know, it wasn't only me. My good friend, an avid gardener, also bought these annuals and felt exactly the same way I did. She disposed of her Double Waves as well. Simply put, we would never purchase these again. In fact, we don't want them even if they were free!
Tomorrow the calendar turns to July and there are no daylily blooms to be seen anywhere in my garden. None. That is definitely a first! But instead of whining on that topic, I will instead talk about what is blooming...this gorgeous Dwarf Asiatic Lily named 'Tiny Skyline.' The color on this one is sublime. Photos hardly do this beauty justice.
Developed in the Netherlands, Tiny Skyline was originally bred for containers, so they are also great front-of-the-border plants. The large golden-orange flowers are between 5-6" in size. These Asiatics are super easy to grow in full sun or part shade in just about any type of soil. Wisconsin bloom season is usually from the end of June and into July. These dwarfs can grow up to 14-16" tall, but at my house they typically stay between 12-14" tall. I'm just happy that something is blooming in my yard! The Asiatics definitely bridge the gap as I wait for my daylilies to take off.
Recently I visited Sunset Gardens in Galesville, WI. What a fun place to go! They have absolutely anything and everything garden related: annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, whimsy, plus they offer landscaping and floral services. I'll let the photos do the talking.
After visiting Sunset Gardens, Ange and I enjoyed breakfast at The Garden of Eatin' cafe in the Galesville town square. I'm pretty sure this is only place around where you can eat a great breakfast while listening to Led Zeppelin -- and how perfect is that?
Visit Sunset Gardens website: http://www.sunsetgardensgreenhouse.com/
Visit the Garden of Eatin' website: http://gardenofeatinwi.com/
Ange and I recently demolished our rock garden with the help of our neighbor. I will miss the garden, but the demo was necessary for a few reasons:
Now the garden is gone; the dirt has been leveled and seeded with grass. The perennials were relocated or given away, and the boulders are by our neighbor's fish pond. We did keep a few of our favorite boulders to incorporate into our landscape at a later date. After pondering this demo for a couple of years, this was the year that it finally came to fruition. Happy face/Sad face.
The dwarf bearded irises are in full bloom! It's always exciting to see big bursts of color in May. Dwarf irises are a wonderful addition to any garden because they fill the bloom gap between the daffodils and tall bearded irises. I grow about ten different varieties of minis. Today I'm showcasing one named "Jazzamatazz" that came to me from my friend Sally's garden. It has a fragrance that is reminiscent of chocolate. If this showy perennial has one fault, it's that it multiplies too fast!
Jazzamatazz was hybridized by Heidi Blyth in 1986 down under in Pearcedale, Victoria, Australia, but it also grows in the U.S. Zones 3 to Zone 8b. It is very hardy here in Wisconsin. Jazzamatazz is happy in full sun to part shade. Mine is in an east-facing location. This iris is registered as growing up to 15" tall, but mine rarely gets taller than about 10." In my yard Jazzamatazz reliably blooms in mid-May every year.
Look what appeared on my desk at work last week! After the recent ice, snow and 30 degree weather, this hyacinth was such a pleasant surprise. It assured me that spring is really on the way.
Hyacinth 'Pink Pearl' won the Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society. The blooms are so waxy and perfect, plus the fragrance is amazing! Pink Pearl grows 10-12 inches tall in full sun and is hardy in Zones 2-10. Best of all, hyacinths are easy to grow in well-drained locations, plus they are deer and rabbit resistant. (Sorry Easter Bunny!)
What a find this cute little petunia was! Last spring I purchased this annual at the local plant hut from the 75% off clearance table. I had never seen this variety before so I thought I'd give it a try; what did I have to lose? The plant looked a little rough after being on clearance table, but once home I planted it in some amended soil, fertilized, watered, and that made all the difference in the world. It promptly returned the favor by looking fabulous! I gave my Supertunia fertilizer every couple of weeks throughout the summer to keep it blooming in top form.
Supertunia 'Daybreak Charm' has a striking color combination with the greenish-yellow throat surrounded by the vibrant electric pink edges. The flowers are a bit smaller than traditional petunias, but they still put on a great show. Daybreak Charm grows about 10-14" tall and spreads out to about 18-24" wide. Supertunias are very drought-tolerant and they love the hot sun. Mine looked perfect, even during the few summer days when we had temps over 100 degrees. Deadheading is not necessary either! Like most other petunias, by August, you may have to give it a manicure. My Daybreak Charm continued to bloom until the first frost in fall.
You can use Supertunias in the landscape as a groundcover, but they are also great spilling over the edge of a planter or a hanging basket. Note that butterflies love these petunias just as much as I do.
On a dreary, 'fake-spring' afternoon I spent some time on my laptop going through photos from last summer. I deleted images I no longer wanted and re-arranged my keepers. I came across photos of this Asiatic lily that I just had to share. 'Suncrest' is such a beautiful lily. It is a hardy grower that I'm confident *anyone* could successfully grow. It grows approximately 3-4 feet tall and thrives in Zones 4 to 9. (I live in Zone 4.) It grows so robustly that I transplanted mine to partial shade to slow it down a bit! What I really like about this lily are the different looks that it presents. The buds are green with a touch of rose. When they first bloom, the flowers look lime-y green with burgundy speckles over a yellow base. As the bloom ages it morphs into a pale yellow color, as you can see in the third photo. At peak bloom it often looks like the plant grows two different color blooms simultaneously.
Suncrest is a Longiflorum-Asiatic (L.A.) Hybrid Lily. L.A. lilies are hybridized for better performance, bigger blooms, and a vase-life that is the longest of any lily. For those with allergies, they are virtually scentless. I purchased my Suncrest at the Saturday State Street Markets in Madison many years ago. As annoying and awkward as it was carrying this lily around in its pot, while trying to maneuver around tons of people at the markets (without whacking them in the head with my plant), it was totally worth it. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
(And yes, the calendar says that it's spring, but I consider it 'fake-spring' until I can actually get outside.)
Every year, without fail, I grow Double Red Peony Poppies in my yard. I got a few peony poppy seed pods from a friend's garden about twenty years ago and have been growing them ever since. I love the grey-green foliage and the bright pop of color they provide early in the season, even though they have a somewhat brief bloom time. The flowers measure 4+ inches in diameter and the plants grow about 2-3 ft. tall. Snipping off the flowers will extend the bloom. They are super easy-to-grow annuals. When they are done blooming I simply shake the seeds out of the dried up pods where I want them to grow next year, rough up the dirt a bit, and that's it! Then I remove the dried-up plants from the ground and compost them. It can't get easier than that!
Important: You may want to deadhead most of your poppies after their bloom to keep re-seeding in check. With hundreds of seeds in each pod, they can overpopulate fast. Often the wind can blow the seeds to places in your garden you may not want them.
Garden slip-ups are, without a doubt, one of the easiest topics for me to write about since I have single-handedly made just about every blunder that a gardener possibly could. As I've mentioned in earlier blogs, I did not grow up in a gardening family; my love of perennials came unexpectedly out of left field. Without a mentor I learned to garden by the trial-and-error method. Some of my gardening ideas worked (luck), but many others were an epic fail. It was then that I borrowed books from the library. The gardening books helped me achieve a much better outcome. And why is it that we never read instructions until we screw up or can't figure something out? Human nature, I guess.
Here are a few of the things I've learned (the hard way):
I'm in love with black petunias! I grew these annuals for the first time last summer. The petal texture resembled soft black velvet fabric. Most plants that are 'black' are truly dark purple, but I was unable to see any purple undertones. The combination of the lime green leaves with the black flowers was exquisite. They looked perfect every day and required little to no care on my part. I planted them in a southwest exposure, so they endured the hottest sun possible.
So I want to buy these petunias again next year, but I have no idea what variety they are. I bought them on clearance and unfortunately they had no tag in the pot. After searching online, I suspect they may be 'Black Velvet' or 'Black Cat.' Next spring I'll plan to go back to the same plant hut and hope they use the same supplier as they did last year.
Black petunias were developed by Jianping Ren at Ball Horticulture in the UK and introduced to the public in the spring of 2011. They created quite a buzz because of their unique and unusual color. It is said that they don't perform as well as other petunias, but mine seemed to do just fine, as you can see. They may not get the same spread as a Wave petunia, but who cares -- I love the unique color. I used my black petunias as a specimen planting.
In the top photo you can see a clear mason jar with solar LED lights that I placed next to the petunias. The mason jar lights remain lit up all night until morning. I was able to look out the window and see my black petunias at night! Can you see me in the photo? I'm the one inside the mason jar taking the picture.
As I patiently wait for my daylilies to bloom, I am definitely enjoying my Asiatic lilies in the interim. Here is a hardy and reliable mini I grow named 'Tiny Padhye' (pronounced Pad-high). This cutie was a gift I received from a friend about six years ago. I got the bulbs in early March and placed them in my refrigerator until mid-May when I planted them in the ground. As you can see, they really took off!
This bi-color Asiatic was developed the Netherlands. You can grow it successfully in full sun or part shade (mine are in full sun). It is an easy-care plant that lives in normal, sandy or clay soil that is neutral, alkaline or acid. This variety is also showy in containers, rock gardens, and in front of the border because of its petite size. Tiny Padhye grows approximately 16" to 18" tall. They are said to be deer resistant, but I can't be sure about that since I regularly spray deer deterrent on all of my flowers. The deer in our area seem to eat just about anything and everything. I take no chances.
Today I'm sharing photos of my friend Donna's 'Friendship Garden.' What makes this garden extra special is that every plant has either been shared or gifted by a friend. And as you can see by the photos -- she has many friends!
Donna's garden has evolved and grown quite a bit since I have known her. After a busy day she enjoys relaxing on the deck and loves the tranquility that her garden provides. The flowers are a reminder that her friends are always with her. Donna told me that her husband appreciates the flower garden as well; not only is it pretty, but there's less grass for him to mow!
It’s December in Wisconsin and my Sedum ‘Angelina’ still looks great! This sedum a very tough plant and it thrives in sub-average soil, which is good news for any gardener. It did take a year or two to mature into the dense mat shown in the photos. The more vibrantly colored Angelina photos were taken in the summer, while the orange-tinged sedum photos were taken this week.
I got this ground cover from my sister-in-law, Sandra. (Thanks again Sissy!) I had always admired the beautiful mass planting she had in her front yard. This showy sedum is a brilliant chartreuse in color and seems to glow it is so intense. In the summer it gets tiny yellow flowers. Towards winter the foliage tips turn reddish/orange-ish.
Colorwise, this sedum is more yellow in full sun, and more green in part-shade. I find that mine grows thicker and more dense in full sun. It only grows a few inches tall and spreads slowly. If you do want to thin it, the roots come out very easily. For an attractive, low maintenance ground cover, Sedum Angelina is a great choice. It loves to grow around rocks, and even looks nice in a planter or hanging basket.
My three burgundy ornamental fountain grasses have grown to almost 5 feet tall in front of our sun room. For fall landscape plants, they really makes a bold statement. When I planted them in spring, they were so tiny it seemed like they would never fill up the large space they were in. As you can see, they not only filled up the space -- they almost ran out of space!
Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' (commonly known as Red or Purple Fountain Grass) is native to Africa, southeast Asia and the Middle East. In the U.S. it is hardy in Zones 9-11. In all other zones it is considered an annual. The genus name comes from the Latin penna meaning feather and seta meaning bristle referring to the flowers looking like feathery bristles, and rubrum means red.
I have done next to nothing as far as taking care of this grass. I just made sure it was watered well until it was established. Other than that, I pretty much just admire it. At only $4.99 per plant, it was totally worth it. I don't buy too many annuals, but this burgundy fountain grass is always a must-have.
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