Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Good Morning!!

(The picture is from June of last year, and it is "Outta the Blue" rose and yarrow.)

Good Morning Friends.... it is foggy and cold here in So. Indiana. BLAH!


Yesterday I took a trip to get the mail and ended up spending the better part of the afternoon poking around in my flower beds. I know we need to keep our little friends "tucked in" under debris, but it was driving me crazy. I got some shears and chopped down most of the mess. It looks so much better, not good enough to show...lol... but better.



While I was out digging around, I found several things growing... and it isn't even Feb. yet! My new pink and white daffodils are up about an inch and I have new buds on all my hydrangeas. We lost our blooms last year with a late frost... I have my fingers crossed.

The funny thing is.... I planted so many new bulbs and things over the past year, I have forgotten what I have. Did I just look at them, or is that one of the ones I bought?

Does anyone else have this problem....I'm sure you do. At least I have a good support system.

We'll all have fun walking around in circles looking at the ground.
I know I do.

Happy Gardening.....Brooke





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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2010 Wish List #6 --- ‘Cherokee Chief’ Dogwood Tree

At my husband’s parents home is the most beautiful pink dogwood tree I have ever seen.  It is ages old and glorious every spring.

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This is not it, but it looks very similar to it.   I am not sure what the cultivar of it is….just a “pink dogwood” around here.  But recently I have discovered the variegated leaves and bright pink blooms of ‘Cherokee Chief’. 

I have two young redbuds in our front yard, but I am dreaming of a pink dogwood to add this spring.  Here is some info from the web…..

All things considered, 'Cherokee Chief' flowering dogwood trees (Cornus florida 'Cherokee Chief') and Japanese flowering dogwood trees (Cornus kousa) win the top ranking for spring bloomers, with an impressive array of landscaping benefits. The lower branches of the 'Cherokee Chief' cultivar have a horizontal branching pattern, which in itself lends interest to the landscape. 'Cherokee Chief' flowering dogwood trees grow to a height of 20'-25' and spread 12'-15'. This tree puts out red blooms in spring, while its fall foliage is bronze-colored.

 

Red Flowering Dogwood Tree

Cornus florida 'Cherokee Chief'
   

Red Flowering Dogwood may be used in a variety of landscapes and are excellent accent plantings around the terrace or patio. 'Cherokee Chief' Dogwood is considered by many to be the best red flowering dogwood on the market today.

  • Zones 5b-9a Zone Chart
  • Full Sun-Light Shade
  • What more could you ask for from a small ornamental tree? Pink Flowering Dogwoods grow in most states in the USA. The large blooms put on an impressive early spring display, making it one of the most popular spring flowering trees on the market. Pink Flowering Dogwood erupts in a cloud of showy blossoms that darken as they age.

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    Low maintenance, care free Pink Flowering Dogwoods.
    This is an excellent ornamental tree for homeowners on the go. A beautiful tree in all seasons, fall color is fire glow red for a climax to warm weather.


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    Pink Flowering Dogwood is an important source of food for songbirds.
    Your new Pink Flowering Dogwood tree offers great winter interest with red fruit and rust accents on smooth gray bark. The fruit provides an excellent source of winter food for birds.

    In Indiana, they had dogwoods at Rural King and Lowes in early spring.  I think they were about $25 for a 7 ft tree.  I will be looking for them anxiously….lol.  Hubby….I need the truck that day!

    Happy Gardening…..Brooke

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    2010 Wish List #5 – Ornamental Oregano

    This plant on my wish list is one I know nothing about.  I have never messed with herbs much, but my first thought might be….. INVASIVE!  There is nothing worse that plants you are not sure of having “legs” and taking over a perfectly good border.  I am slowly learning my lesson over the years to do my homework….but this one really peaks my interest.

    I noticed this plant in one of my FAVORITE mail order garden site… HIGH COUNTRY GARDENS…. if you do not get this one…. click here.  In the pictures it had that deep purple color I love… almost that rich chocolate color that is so pretty.

       

    Origanum 'Rotkugel'

    Rotkugel Ornamental Oregano

    Quick Facts

    Attract Bees Full and Afternoon Sun Morning Sun and Afternoon Shade Attract Butterflies Legend

    Description:

    15” x 18” wide. (cutting propagated). Introduced to the U.S. by Dan Hinkley, this is an improvement on the taller flower cultivars like Herrenhausen. ‘Rotkugel’ is more floriferous and has a more mounding habit in flower. The plant forms low-spreading stoloniferous mats of foliage that come into bloom from August through October. The flowering stems have large, loose heads of bi-color flowers with dark purple calyces and deep pink flowers. Butterflies love this plant!

    Zones 5-9.

    Deciduous clump-forming perennial with rounded grey-green leaves, purple when young, a profusion of tiny, tubular, cerise pink flowers, surrounded by red-purple bracts, in summer. Full sun and well drained soil.

    Name: Origanum laevigatum
    Blossom color: purplish-pink
    Bloom time: summer
    Plant size: 2 feet tall

    An excellent herb that grows well in stone walls, this 24-inch-tall creeping perennial is native to Turkey and Cypress, where it can be found growing in rocky terrain. Its dark-green leaves have a rich purple tint, and its purplish-pink flower clusters appear from late spring through autumn. Some of its cultivars are also garden worthy.

    ‘Herrenhausen’ (Zones 5–8) is a beautiful selection that displays masses of showy pink flowers with maroon bracts on purplish stems.

    ‘Hopleys’ (Zones 7–10) is taller (up to 36 inches) with large, long-blooming, deep-pink flowers. It’s a vigorous grower and more tolerant of heat than ‘Herrenhausen’.

     

    These ornamentals are not good for cooking, but their flowers are lovely when dried.

     

    Blooms:
    Summer to Fall

    Flower Color:
    Purple

    Sun-Shade:
    Full Sun to Mostly Sunny

    Accent Color:
    Red

    Soil Condition:
    Normal

    Plant Height:
    Short

    Zones:
    z5,z6,z7,z8,z9

    Found in list(s):
    Plants that attract Butterflies
    Deer Resistant
    Avoid Wetness
    Winter Interest
    Long Blooming 4 weeks or more
    OK in containers - see FAQ for overwintering

    ORIGANUM Herrenhausen : ORNAMENTAL OREGANO, Winter Sweet, Wild Marjoram

    OREGANUM Herrenhausen - Ornamental Oregano - Short 16" - Plant 18" apart. A bountiful bloomer. In the fall, makes an outstanding sight as the already dark-reddish violet flowers of late summer are seen against the basal leaves which become redder - until almost purple. Attractive to butterflies.

    Available: SPRING 2010

    I am thinking this is not a new plant, but it seems to be a new introduction to gardening sites.  I first saw it on an episode of “A Garden Story”, they had it as a groundcover and it was really interesting, even not in bloom.

    So the question is…..does groundcover equal taking over the garden?  Probably, but if it is as lovely as it looks…. that might not be such a bad thing.   But I will say it is probably for more of a wildflower look. 

    Two years ago I had an oregano planted in the ground, it did well that summer.  I never used it for cooking, but it was a pretty plant.  I worried it would spread everywhere, and I did not get one start that next year.  Go figure?

    Where am I thinking of using this… in my wildflower bed, away from the house…. I would love that pop of purple and it could fight it out with the other annuals.

    I am anxious to hear your take on this plant… Is it a yeah or a nay?

    Happy Gardening….Brooke

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    2010 Wish List #4 --- Reblooming Lilacs

    Josee Reblooming Lilac

    (Here is some info from the web) 

    “Enjoy the spring fragrance of lilacs all summer long with this 4-6' tall dwarf reblooming beauty. Like the little engine that could, this amazing lilac just keeps going and going with spring's dramatic first flush of blooms followed by intermittent blooms all summer long often right up to the first frost of autumn. The lavender-pink blooms stand out against the petite green heart-shaped leaves and attract butterflies of all kinds. This low maintenance, super hardy variety is perfect for borders, hedges or as a stand alone specimen. Great for cut flower bouquets!!
    Light: Full sun to partial shade
    Blooms: All Summer
    Height: 4-6'
    Zones: 2-9

    Enjoy sweet lilac fragrance from May to October with pretty pink reblooming Josée, a lilac-lover's dream come true. Dwarf variety grows about 4-1/2 feet tall ' just the right height for a hedge or border Blooms profusely each spring; with deadheading, it continues to bloom all summer A vigorous, low-maintenance plant Hardy in growing zones 2 to 9 “

    Sounds too good to be true…. but it has been out for a few years now.

    I am wondering if you have it and how is it doing for you?

    I am in zone 6… has it really rebloomed in the fall?

    How does it smell compared to other lilacs?

    I am really wanting to order one online, but I have seen what I think it one and it was disappointing.  Really a floppy mess of a shrub, is that how they are…or just a bad example?  I hate to give $20 or so dollars and a good spot in my border to a plant that does not live up to the “hype”

    What I really want is for it to be a standard or tree form.  I have seen lilacs as standards and really regret not purchasing it when I saw them.  They had them at Lowe’s early last spring for about $40.00.  I already had a cart full, and now I regret  not buying one…but they we’re not Josee’s.

    Of course, the best thing about lilacs is the scent…. can you imagine how lovely this bouquet must smell?  Oh spring…. how is look forward to you!

    If you have any thoughts on good lilacs to plant….leave me a note!

    Happy Gardening…..Brooke

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    2010 Wish List #2 – Green Envy Coneflowers

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    Green Envy™ Echinacea purpurea PPAF

    butterflies_29

    Common Name: “Green Envy Coneflower”


    Green Envy™ Echinacea PPAF

    Photo and Information Courtesy of Garden Crossings

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    (Coneflower) Green Envy™ Echinacea is a true collector's plant with rare greenish white flowers. The flowers emerge with lovely rounded petals with pink tones near the green cone. As the flowers mature, the petals elongate and the deep green cone gradually changes to dark purple. Green Envy™ blooms from mid summer until frost! Very unusual!

    Coneflower - Green Envy Details:

    The Coneflower 'Green Envy', Echinacea purpurea 'Green Envy', is an easy to grow flower that produces beautiful light green fading to pink daisy-like flowers. The Green Envy blooms from July to September and is a major attractor to butterflies and bees and is a must for any perennial gardens. The pretty flowers occur on tall dark green stems with dark green foliage.

    For best results, plant in full sun in a well drained area. Cone Flowers are known for their large flower heads that turn to seed in the fall. A great choice for cut flowers, adding a wilderness look to your garden, it is a definite must.

    butterflies_29

    I just love coneflowers, but these two toned green and pinks…. they are incredible.  I will definitely be on the lookout this spring.  Won’t you?

    Here are a few  more I am on the lookout for….

    image

    Coconut Lime Coneflower

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     Razzmatazz Coneflower (my mom has this one, but now me….yet!)

    Harvest Moon Coneflowers

    This one is called “Harvest Moon”….I bet you have just the place for it….I do!!

    Happy Gardening…..Brooke

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    2010 Wish list #1 – Variegated Iris

    As many of you know, I have quite a collection of irises.  I just love them and look forward to them every year.  This past summer I was lucky enough to attend a master gardeners sale and bought a mixed box of about a dozen irises and I cannot wait to see what colors they will be.

    Picture 043

    Here is a few shots of some of the ones I have, they bloom here in Mid April.  The majority of mine are shades of blue and purple, which go great with the beds they are in.  I especially like the combination of mountain bluet and purple irises.

     

    Picture 096

    I love this one for it’s size and almost flat bloom, very unusual.

    Picture 176

    This mauve and purple one is very striking.

    Picture 351

    And this is a new one to me I bought last spring….wow.   Glad I took a picture of it now.  It’s hard to remember!

    But the one I am most looking forward to is the reblooming Immortality Iris.  I have 8 good sized starts of it that I found last spring, they did not bloom last fall, but I figured that.  I have seen these in my area and they are stunning.

    But the iris I am looking for is the Variegated Iris.

    They just bloom for a bit, but your have the foliage all summer.  I love my grasses too, and this reminds me of a clump of grass.  Very striking! 

    So as the days are cold and dreary…I am looking for new things to plant!

    All info below from this site.

    Orris, Dalmation Iris or Iris pallida variegata

    Extremely easy to grow and divide, their rainbow of papery petals and fuzzy "beards" that decorate the lower petals appeal to every flower lover. The large, elegant flowers come in every color except true red, and some have a grapelike fragrance. Heights range from dwarf to medium and tall, 9 inches to 4 feet. Some types bloom in spring and fall. Check specialty catalogs for hundreds of varieties. The fleshy divisions called rhizomes are available in the fall. Plant immediately, as they dry out quickly. Keep the rhizome's surface exposed, except in hot areas, where you should cover them lightly with soil. Cut back foliage on established plants only after it starts to die back naturally. Divide every 3 to 4 years after bloom to maintain vigor. Watch for rot in heavy soil and Iris borer.

     


    A parent of the hybrid Bearded Iris, it has yellow or white-variegated foliage and fragrant lavender flowers. The roots are ground for the violet-scented fixative used in perfumes and potpourri.

    Attributes - Iris pallida variegata

    Plant Type: Bulb

    Bloom Season: Late Spring through Early Summer

    Flower Color: Lavender

    Foliage: Deciduous

    Height: 3 ft. to 4 ft.

    Width: 2 ft.

    Sunlight: Full Sun

    Climate: Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

    Notes: Container Plants, Fragrant, Low Maintenance, Showy Flowers. Susceptible to Black Spot, Caterpillars, Root Rot, Rust.

    Sweet Iris

     

    This is the variety I am looking for, it is called Gold-variegated Sweet Iris, Zebra Iris, Aureo Iris,  Sweet Iris , Blue Flag Iris or Sweet Flag Iris depending on where you look for it. Dang…. why don’t they make this easier???

    From Heritage Perennials…. I found this information.

    (Iris pallida 'Aureo-Variegata').

    Also known as the Zebra Iris, this is a very old garden plant, still as popular as ever. It forms a low clump of sword-like leaves, with golden-yellow and grey-green stripes running lengthwise, remaining nearly evergreen in mild winter regions. Fragrant lavender-blue flowers appear in early summer. Excellent for cutting. Plants must have excellent drainage, particularly in hot, humid summer regions or areas with wet winters. Clumps may be easily divided every 3 to 4 years in late summer, exactly as you would treat a Bearded Iris.

    I am hoping to find it locally, but Gurneys has it as well here.

    Picture 077

     

    A couple more things about irises that I have found….they need good “bed buddies.”

    As you can see above, they look great with hostas.  Mine are broad leaf, if you have a choice I whole-heartedly suggest broad leaved varieties…but that is another post.

    Picture 458

    I have had the best luck with every place I plant and iris, I plant a daylily  almost in the same hole.  As you can see in the picture above, they just blend tight together.  They don’t seem to bother each other, I usually have the iris a bit back of it, and they compliment one another.  They bloom at different times, but it seems I keep color in that spot most of the year, and it is a good spiky bunch of vertical interest.  Even if it is a new start, it looks fuller too.

     

    One last thing about them is they really show up!  Some of my prettiest blooms need close attention, but irises rise up out of my beds and get notice!  You can see them very well from inside the house and from the road.  They just look happy and welcoming….and dang it…. I wish it was time for them now!

    But I will have to wait….so much to look forward to.  I’ll keep you posted!

    Happy Gardening…..Brooke

     

     

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    After the mess….or Christmas #5

    Picture 122 So here is the entry today, and yes…..there are still trees up! 

    Picture 121

    Four of them in fact, but these are my “nature trees”…. filled with flowers and even little birds.

    Picture 032

    I love the idea of filling them with berries and pine cones, mine this year are real ones with cinnamon scents. 

    Picture 033

    There are several little birds tucked inside…. I got them on clearance at JoAnn’s Fabrics this fall.

    Picture 125

    On top is two more little trees, an antique box ( one of my favorite things) and even a spittoon we got as a wedding present!  (Yes, really….but we love it)

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    This is very different than how the entry was before….but we had to make room…..

    IMG_0183

    Because this……

    Picture 014

    Become this!  We have a new fireplace!  It is propane and we love it!

    So now what use to hold the TV, is on the entry.  And I love the idea of the girls putting their backpacks and school stuff in there to hide the mess.

    My family jokes about me…. “It may all look good, but don’t open her closets!”

    And yes…there is more to come!

    ~Brooke~

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