Monday, September 27, 2010

The Gardens In September

Late August and September are one of my favorite seasons here in the Cornwallville Gardens, The annuals and tropicals are in full glory and all my coveted gigantic perennials are strutting there stuff. So lets take a little tour of the gardens here in late summer. Above are the seed heads of Rudbeckia laciniata. A signature perennial here, with 6-7 ft. stems that barley need staking. There are several drifts of this plant throughout the island beds as a late summer back drop.

Above is a little scene of the roadside island bed with combination of a double form of Rudbeckia lacinaiata (this variety does need staking ), a Ricinus communus or giant castor bean and Eupatorium purpureum. Below are some detail shots of the same plants.

Below and the following photos of are the 'secret garden' out back behind the turkey coop. I'm sure I will come up with a different name for the space, but for now that's what we are calling it.

The big red banana below is breathtaking with the sunset behind it. One can see every detail and colored vein. An outstanding tropical that everyone should own if you have the space.

Next up are a few examples of the tender annuals and bulbs blooming now here. Below is a bog sage, Salvia uliginosa, a true blue salvia that has been blooming here since August. It is hardy to z6 but I was here in my z5 garden that it will either come back with heavy mulching or through re-seeding.

I have been looking for a special gladiola for years now that would fit the garden palette here and I think I found two of them. The one pictured below is a blue butterfly variety but more a deep purple and the other (not pictured) is a green variety with a white throat.

I have been planting Amaranthus caudatus or Love-Lies-Bleeding here for years pictured below. I love the pink dread-lock like flowers, and often pass them buy and hold them in my hand.

No garden would be complete without Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy' pictured above. I have a bunch of this late summer/fall blooming winner through out the gardens.

Below is Lilium formosanum 'Formosa Lily', a new one for me . I shot the photo from above so you could see the beautiful deep pink stripe that runs up the middle of each petal. Ill let you know how this lily returns, and if it does well. I'm sure it will be a "Freak Out Plant' for me. I can feel the passion for this flower already!

Another new one for me is the tender bulb Zantedeschia aethiopica. A giant calla lily 2-3ft. tall with rich sturdy, glossy green leaves. I started these bulbs so late in the summer, that I only got one bloom. Next summer will be a different story I'm sure.

Another tropical that I have featured previously is Clerodendrum 'Musical Notes', and exotic sub-shrub with the most unusual white flowers. It has been blooming all summer long and hopefully till just before the frost.

I have saved the seeds this year from Zinnia 'Creamy White Giant' although not a true cream to my eyes. This soft yellow annual has my heart skipping beats.

A new perennial to me that I picked up at Loomis Creek is Coreopsis tripteris. While working there one day I was asked to divide a clump of this monstrous perennial. It took a pick axe, saw, and hatchet just to get through the tight woody root mass. I was cursing it out as I worked.

I swore to myself I would never plant it in my garden for this reason. When I saw it in bloom I understood its true potential. I decided to plant in a bed where I would never have to move it. I suggest you do the same if your interested in this late bloomer.

Finally we have had three of these Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, or Flap-Jack succulents for years now. They reside in pots at our front door to the stone house. When temperatures dip down, I pot them up into smaller pots and bring them inside to over winter in a windowsill till spring returns.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour and I encourage you to plant many late-summer bloomers and annuals in your gardens. They truly reward you with flashy color when the leaves begin to blush up and the scent of firewood is in the air.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Freak Out Plant: Datura 'Evening Fragrance'

Well It's September; and the last of our tropicals here in Cornwallville is in bloom. It is Datura 'Evening Fragrance' that is in it's prime, and with summer coming to an end it is a sad reminder of our amazing season that will soon pass.

I found a couple of these Daturas at a local nursery in 4" pots barely sticks, but in full bloom. When I planted them I decided to sink them in containers not knowing of there full potential that they can gain in the ground, until I saw one planted at a mentor's garden.

Plant Datura in the garden, not in pots. My guys stressed from lack of water at times but still produced tons of mind-blowing huge 8" upright evening blooms that unfurl, at dusk and last till the next afternoon.

The fragrance is intense as well as majorly dream like. The details on the flower are incredible; from the sweet "Cupie" doll like curls at the end of the petals to the slight lavender hue edges they give off at twilight.

The blue-green foliage is an added bonus on this beauty but this tropical as sweet as it is; is highly poisonous, so beware if you are a gardener with a family with pets or children.

Datura inoxia 'Evening Fragrance'
Z 11-12
Full Sun
36" to 48" tall and as wide
Moist well drained soil (think tropics)
Propagation from seed

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Arrangement: September

September; the month of decline and the season of a fall change. This months arrangement is a bright cheery one, of pure sunshine yellow.

I put together a configuration of cream Zinnias, a double Rudbeckia (including the seed heads of another variety), green gladiolas, sunflowers, and goldenrod.

I placed them in a white stoneware pitcher with some added grass "weeds", and the picture was perfect.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Kitchen Container Gardens

This year I nailed it in my opinion, on the kitchen landing container gardens.
Last year I was in the thresh of creating numerous gardens and creating the landing that they sit on now as well. I planted a palette of white, plums, purples and soft gay foliage. It was beautiful but there was something lacking; that punch it needed was absent.

This year I really sat down and contemplated what would work. The backdrop for the containers is our home, which (the wooden half) is painted a gray-green. I love how dark burgundies and purples contrast with the home so that's where I started.

I began with the typical but always perfectly performing sweet potato vine in three different varieties followed by black Alocasia and a Colocasia pictured above that I received from a vendor as a gift with no tag (winter research).

Then came more foliage from the colorful and always promising coleus. I planted several varieties including 'Royal Glissade', 'Mint Mocha', 'Dark Chocolate' and my new favorite 'Henna'

But the one plant that brought the whole composition together and made it all melt was the impatiens. Yes I love impatiens and I'm not afraid to admit it. These are not your typical grandma's impatiens though, they are the light yellow Fusion Glow series.

I planted one in each pot for continuity and keeping the color running through the view.

I planted one other variety and next year there will be many more. The Impatiens 'Jungle Gold' pictured below is a freak out. It's deep gold color and colored throat screams for attention and gaining a height of 18", and 18" wide it is a keeper for next year.

I love staring into the flowers gazing at their unique red markings inside.

Below you can see the black Colocasia and a good shot of Coleus 'Henna'.

I love how simple the colors of foliage can have such an affect together like Ipomea, Plectranthus, and Coleus. Who said you need blooms for a beautiful scene.

This little vignette above is something special. Rex begonia 'River Nile' with Coleus 'Dark Heart' and the peeking bloom of Hydrangea Paniculata 'Tardiva' makes the ultimate composition.

The little earthenware frog below completes the scene.

The "Killer Combination" below; a new little series I will debut soon is of Coleus 'Trailing Black Heart' and Pelargonium 'Vancouver".

Now come the Begonias, In which now I have quite a collection. I have become quite obsessed with them lately as there foliage and blooms are sublime. The added bonus is that they overwinter perfectly in our parlour where they shine away the winter blues.

The variety pictured below is Rex Begonia 'Dark Mambo'. It is the oldest begonia I own and lives outside my kitchen door for the summer.

Next is Begonia 'Bonita Shea', that I purchased from Loomis Creek Nursery. I loved this mound-curled begonia so much that I planted several different pots of it.

Next is another winter research plant from a vendor. A huge begonia with palm leaves that are speckled with white dots. It's gorgeous and adds a real presence to the container gardens.

Although not a begonia, Tradescantia 'Golden Oyster', is a stellar foliage plant and with so many off-sets I will be sure to propagate many of this terrific tropical. The window box below adds height and depth to the gardens.

I hope you enjoyed this close look at my container gardens and I hope the compositions inspire you to experiment and play with color and texture next season!