I am sad to announce that my weekly column, Pick of the Week, will be coming to a close at the end of June. The Home & Garden section is undergoing changes and there will no longer be room for it. For those of you have been regular or occasional readers I hope you enjoyed the columns and they provided some inspiration for your own garden. I will still be contributing to the Home & Garden section, though exactly how remains to be seen.
Meanwhile I will be continuing this blog. I hope to take up a bit of the slack with short pieces on individual plants, as well as tips on gardening. In that light it will shift its approach to being a bit more about gardening in general. I'm hoping that some of you who enjoyed the column will tune in to the blog now and again to check out the topics and tips to be discussed here. I continue on as a nurseryman at Grand Lake Ace Garden Center so have those experiences to draw upon.
I will still be posting photos of my garden, with brief descriptions or comments about those particular plants. I have over 500 different plants in my garden, so I have a lot to draw upon.
Here are a few photos taken this morning with, as usual, comments on either the plant itself or something about the photo's composition. Don't forget to click on these thumbnails to view photos full screen.
Dracunculus vulgaris. This is the (in)famous Dragon arum that has the gigantic deep burgundy spathe and even darker spadix. It is infamous partly for the unpleasant odor this spathe produces, said to smell like rotting flesh. It's not that bad but let's just say no perfume manufacturer is ever going to create an "Eau de Dracunculus." My spathe is about 15" but they can get as long as two feet!
Sphaeralcea incana. I'm not sure why globe mallows aren't better known. They have the loveliest, cup-shaped orange or rose-colored blooms (and lots of them) and in the case of S. munroana, beautifully scalloped, textured leaves. They're hardier than some other mallows and mine have never suffered rust problems.
Buddleja 'CranRazz.' The Cran is short for Cranberry and the Razz for Raspberry one presumes. In any case, this variety sports gorgeous plum-colored cones. It's a dwarf, so doesn't get too big. Buddlejas are not only a butterfly magnet, they're popular with bees as well, making them a great pollinator plant for your garden.
Here's another shot of my Papaver Orange Chiffon. It's hard to get over how just how orange these flowers are. The petals' natural crinkles only seem to add to the experience, capturing light in interesting ways.
Penstemon 'Apple Blossom.' A vigorous penstemon with subtle colors, it's one that blends in well with other perennials. I have it planted with lilies, a variegated plectranthus, a low growing, fragrant abelia and several campanulas in a part shade location.
Verbascum nigrum. Not as well known as other mulleins commonly available in the trade, I have found it reliable, sturdy and very floriferous.Verbascums are another excellent plant for pollinators and so much more versatile than simply as an English garden staple.
I thought the single white flower on my Agrostemma 'Ocean Pearls' looked lovely nestled in among the gentian blue flowers of the Echium Blue Bedder. Like a white corsage on a vivid blue dress.
My favorite shot of the day. Sometimes you just luck out. This red Ladybug landed on the 'field' of Eriogonum 'Shasta Sulphur' flowers. Lovely!
There's no blue quite like that of Salvia patens. Royal blue might be a good description. After some early bad luck, this specimen has returned three years running, very vigorous each time.
Sarracenia species. Here I thought the 'veining' on the flower looked exactly like blood vessels in the human body.
My recent column on modest-sized vines spotlighted asarinas and here's one of the loveliest -- A. erubescens 'Bridal Wreath.' It's made a nice little thicket in a morning sun location and is happily sprouting these white flowers with a bit of green in the throats.
Clematis viticella purpurea plena elegans. That's a long name for such a small flower but this variety produces an abundance of two inch, fully double burgundy flowers that possess infinite charm.
Everybody's favorite true blue hydrangea -- Nikko Blue -- is off to its usual rousing start. I have to keep it in check cause it wants to cover everything in its vicinity.
Though nandinas aren't "sexy," they are wonderful landscape shrubs. Mine has performed admirably, not suffering the fungal diseases that often plague Heavenly bamboos (as they are called) in winter. As you can see, it's starting to bloom, the white flowers soon to yield black fruits.