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Showing posts from July, 2013

August: Dog Days in the Garden

Commonly known as the "dog days," the mid-summer period does conjure images of a dog lolling in the shade with tongue panting. The expression is ancient, originating in stellar observations. During the sultriest days of summer, the Dog Star "Sirius" made conjunction with the sun; the "dog days" extended from about July 3 through August 11 in the Mediterranean. Heat and lack of rainfall caused challenges to human and plant comfort then.

When the days get very hot and the gardeners are so sweaty that even their hands sweat, most plants, with exception of a few that like to bloom at this time like the Rudbeckia and the perennial hibiscus, slow down. Even if deadheaded, they rebloom more slowly. These are “the dog days” of August. I wondered what this phrase means and where it comes from, so I did a bit of research. The ancient Romans thought these hottest and most sultry days of the year were an evil time causing “the sea to boil and the wine to sour.” They “…

Echinacea Queen of the Perennials

My favorite perennial,also called Queen of the perennials and so named the queen of the Daisies, is called Coneflower for its dome-shaped center. Plants continue to bloom from June into the fall. When I first started gardening in the early 70’s there was only one coneflower and it was purple, and if you mentioned the name of coneflower, people would think purple. Now, breeders have teased out a considerable range of pinks, purples, yellows, and oranges, plus white, with more hues coming every year. There are double-flowered forms as well as varieties with petals pulled back like a badminton shuttlecock. Not to mention the health-giving properties attributed to the leaves, but can aver that these are first-class garden plants for full sun. Coneflowers are beloved by cottage gardeners and butterfly enthusiasts. The large daisy like flowers with mounded heads and showy rose or pink rays (petals) are usually borne singly on stout stems, well above the foliage. Coneflowers are erect perenni…

10 New Must-Grow Perennials for 2013

 It seems we all want the latest gadgets, latest styles, latest new cocktail mix, but sometimes having the "latest" may not be the best for us in the long run, ever heard of buyers remorse? When it come to plants though  I definitely can say you will not regret buying these new 2013 varieties. I have listed my favorite 10 below.

'Freak!' Leucanthemum

The fluffy 2- to 2-1/2-inch-wide flowers feature layers of white petals. The long-blooming flowers smother the compact, well-branched plants. Plant in partial shade in really hot climates. 'Freak!' is ideal in garden beds -- especially cottage gardens -- but also excels in containers. Flowers bloom from June through frost. To encourage reblooming, remove faded blooms. Makes a great cut flower.
Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil
Size: To 13 inches tall and 21 inches wide
Zones: 4-8
Grow It With: Phlox

Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising'

 A brilliant red coreopsis (most varieties are yellow), …