Thursday, September 23, 2010

More shade selections

Following up on my earlier posting, where I listed some excellent choices for adding color to shady spots in your garden, here's a few favorites that stay low. Some can even be used as ground covers.

Ajuga reptans. Whether you go for the green or the chocolate tones, ajugas are tough, low water plants that are good for adding a bit of texture to a shady spot. Plus, purple flowers!

Asarum canadense. One of my favorite shade ground covers. Known as BC ginger, this fast spreading GC with the heart-shaped verdant green leaves also offers as a bonus cute, oddly colored flowers. The Panda Face variety has leathery brown & eggplant flowers that one can only call weird.

Bergenia. An oldie but goody, this plant is an excellent choice for adding masses of green foliage as an understory planting. It has pink and white flowering varieties.

Campanula muralis. A popular and surprisingly resilient GC that once settled in provides lots of cheerful purple flowers over a long season. Charming kidney-shaped, toothed leaves add to its appeal.

Carex. There are quite a few sedges that can handle a fair amount of shade, though not dark shade. They offer grass-like textures in a variety of light greens and golds. Hardy, attractive, versatile.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Garden Visitors

As we head into fall, with its cooler temperatures and fewer flowers in bloom, my thoughts turn to helping the various winged visitors to my garden. I have several kinds of hummingbirds that are regular visitors and they love my marmalade bush's nectar rich orange flowers, as well as the salvias that are in bloom right now. But I recently decided to hang a hummingbird feeder to augment their feeding and that has proven very popular. I have it outside my kitchen window, in full view of my writing desk, so I get wonderful views of their visits.
There are of course a variety of other birds around our tree-lined street. The list includes finches & sparrows of all kinds, titmice, jays, mockingbirds, towhees, the occasional oriole and, since I've hung a sock feeder filled with nyjer seed, a crew of lesser goldfinches. Providing birdseed for these visitors will not only bring you the delight such visitors bring but help the ecosystem. Birds help to keep the insect population in balance among other useful functions. For those of you wanting to check out birds in your area, you might take a look at One doesn't need to venture out into the woods to observe a variety of bird life. Give them a little food and fresh water and they'll find you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Garden Photos

Here are a few recent photos from my garden.
Top line: Selaginella tamariscina 'Snow Tip' This is a new, brighter club moss. Love it!
2nd line left: Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi. Taking over the walkway!
2nd line right: Red banana leaf. So architectural.
3rd line left: Mahonia lomariifolia. Normally a winter blooming shrub, this one didn't want to wait apparently.
3rd line right: One of the whiter tricyrtis varieties, a nice contrast to the purple ones.
4th line left: Scyphanthus elegans. My vote for unheralded plant of 2010. A charming little climber that looks like it might be a painting.
4th line right: Abutilon Tangerine. Such a rich color that just looking at it makes you feel like you need to go on a diet!
5th line left: King protea. Caught this as it was just past its peak of blooming, giving it a distinctive look.
5th line right: A cute little fringed dianthus.
6th line left: Lilium tigrinum splendens. One of my favorite Tiger lilies & it's prolific.
6th line right: Helenium 'Mardi Gras' The easiest, most prolific and one of the showiest of the heleniums. It's been in constant bloom since May.
Bottom line left: Ratibida 'Pulcherima' This Mexican Hat is nearly a year round bloomer for me.
Bottom line right: One of my oriental lilies, a late bloomer this year.
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