Sunday, March 30, 2014

Monday's Favorite Flower Combination #13

Primrose or Primula vulgaris with Golden Dead Nettle  or Lamium maculatum"Aureum"

Primula vulgaris, commonly called primrose, is a semi-evergreen, rosette-forming perennial that is native from southern Europe to western Asia. I recommend to grow it  in organically rich, consistently moist, well-drained soils in part shade. Plants often perform best with a spring-summer mulch that helps maintain soil moisture and keeps roots cool. Plants thrive in placements along streams or ponds and tolerate some wet soils. Plant foliage may depreciate in the heat of the summer. I propagate this primula quite a bit by division in spring after bloom.
Primula vulgaris (zone 4-8)

Lamium maculatum "Aureum" is a golden deadnettle cultivar that is noted for its chartreuse foliage and pink flowers. It is a mat-forming perennial ground cover that typically grows 8” high and spreads to 12-18” wide or more by sprawling stems which sometimes root in the ground at the nodes as they go. It grows vigorously in optimum conditions but is easy to control and is not considered to be too aggressive. Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers evenly moist, acidic loams with good drainage. Dislikes wet soils, particularly in winter. Dislikes high heat and humidity, and does best when soils are cool. Also dislikes compacted or poorly drained soils.
Lamium maculatum "Aureum" (zone 3-8) in late spring with two different varieties of sedum.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Winter Anti-depression treatment #5

Spring is making us wait for her appearance and in the meanwhile we are stuck inside with winter temperatures for another 5 days. If you are in the same boat with me, I am offering some "sunny"  anti-depression views from our 2013 garden that all have something in common : Sundrops, Fireworks or Oenothera fructicosa are many of the names for this easy to grow, reliable (fast growing) flower in our garden.

This amazing North American native is one of the most stunning plants in the late spring garden. The hairy, woody stalk emerges in spring from winter reddish rosettes, clothed in lanceolate (narrow) green leaves and topped from mid-May thru mid-June with bright red buds that open to screaming yellow, 4-petaled flowers produced on the top half of the stem. Oenothera fruticosa spreads by underground rhizomes.  I received a start from a neighbor 15 years ago and I gave it away to another dozen new gardeners. Everybody loves it! Last year I decided that I am no longer giving this away! I am using it as a anchor plant for June in the back border so I took breaks from three of the large clumps in the border and created a forth large clump.  This spring I will repeat this.  It tolerates clay, drought, and rocky soil which is another reason to love it!
 Sundrops  with Knotweed Painter's palette or Persicaria Virginiana (zone 4-8)

Sundrops with Ligularia dentata "Desdemona" foliage and allium in the background

Oenothera fructicosa with Hard rush blue arrows or Juncus influxus, Hosta "Sagae" (zone 2-9) and Allium giganteum "Giant Purple" (zone 3-9) by the kids fountain

I hope that this lovely bright yellow sundrops and helping you put-up with this s&*#!2 weather.
I am sharing this with Floral Friday 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Monday's Favorite Flower combination #12

       This is another lovely April combination that I no longer have. Fresh foliage of roses, tulips and lupines with golden creeping Jenny and purple pansies. I still have the creeping Jenny (you can't ever get rid of it completely) but the purple pansies only showed-up on their own one more year.

      Last year I tried to buy small flower purple pansies and nobody had them for sale around here! Strange! Very strange! To think that these were the pansies that I remember from when I grew up.
Simple pansies with small flower heads and with a "face" coloration where planted everywhere in public gardens or city landscaped areas.
      Pansies are adaptable small, charming plants. Because of it, the growers started to mess around with the colors. Now you can find a wide color range like: red,  bronze, pink, black, yellow, white, lavender, orange, apricot and mahogany.  The flowers may be of a single color or have two or three colors with a face. But where are the purples and the blues? Nurseries of Ohio, please carry more purple and blue this year!

Lysmachia nummularia "Aurea" with Viola or Pansy

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Garden Blogger Bloom Day - March 2014

It is finally March! We hope that the snow storms and below freezing day temperatures are now behind us.  We had a rough winter here in Ohio, hardiness zone 5b.

The Witch Hazel started to bloom yesterday as the temperatures started to rise. 

Today I discovered some of the Snow Drops out of the ground in a rush. Where did they come from? Two days ago there was nothing over there but a blanket of snow.

And that it is all that it is in bloom in our garden today.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at  May Dream Gardens.  Visit her blog to see what is in bloom this month in gardens from many climates and countries.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Monday's Favorite Flower Combinations #11

Here is an early spring combination that I can't wait for. Helleborus orientalis, commonly called Lenten rose and Bloodroot (native). This picture was taken in April of 2010 and I haven't been able to take a shot at this combination since then.

This combination grows under deciduous trees in what I call the "Woodland Garden" along with native ferns, snow drops, native trillium and many other shade loving plants. We started this bed with added garden soil that was amended with a lots of leaf compost in 2006.
Helleborus orientalis - white (zone 4-8)

Helleborus- pink started together with the white one from two tiny seedling my next door neighbor Pola gave me in 2004.

Bloodroot or Sanguinaria canadensis

Bloodroot is a  spring perennial native to Eastern North America.  Mine comes from the back woods of our own property. It is the only species in the genus Sanguinaria, included in the family Papaveraceae.
Plants start to bloom before the foliage unfolds in early spring and after blooming the leaves expand to their full size and go summer dormant in mid to late summer.
The flowers are produced from March to May, with  delicate white petals and yellow centers. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March is Seeds Time at Gardeners with Kids

It is March 6 and I feel that I am behind with starting seeds.
Last year's seeds starting set-up in my mud room.

Alexis, my 12 year old has been pushing me for three weeks to have her start seeds with me and she already started some Chamomile, some Leeks and some Basil two weeks ago and has seedlings that emerged.  Of course I helped her but somehow I don't have the motivation that I had last year when I wanted to do seeds under an indoor lamp for the first time.  I have everything ready and I am dragging my feet.

So the first thing I did this week is getting it together. I bought a new 72 plugs tray with cover for onion and leeks and washed with light bleach solution some old trays and 3" pots.  I bought  some soil free Seed Starting Mix which is very important to have no soil in.  You can find it in bags anywhere where you can buy seeds. This year I bought an organic version at a very good price.

I do not start using the mix until I sterilize it. I split it in two batches and placed it in a large aluminum pan (left from the parties) and baked the mix in a layer of 1-2 inches for 2 hours at 200F.  Trust me! You want to do it! The process will kill some of the fungal diseases sleeping in the mix.  Last year I had lots of issues with flower seedlings die off so when I started my Romanian Tomatoes seeds I also cooked my seed starting medium as described above and I no longer had issues.

I have saved tomato, peppers and two varieties of bean seeds from last year's garden and bought new Basil and Cucumber varieties, Dill, Chard and Purple beans. I also bought Leeks and Onion seed (new to me) which need to be started indoor NOW.
So now that I have all my materials I can get organized. This is the hardest thing I feel when it comes with seeds.  I made one pile with all vegetables and herbs that I will start directly in the garden and tied the envelopes with a rubber band and placed a note on.

 and one with the ones that need to be started indoor.

I do the same with flower seeds. Sunflowers, Zinnias,Cosmos, Love-in-a-Mist can be successfully started directly outside after the last frost date together with other easy to grow annuals

Next I check-up several calendars on line with the Last frost day for Northeast Ohio and decide what date to target.  I chose Mother's day or May 11 because it easy to remember and provides a 90% frost free based on my research. Last year, I already planted my veggies by that date and there was one frost night right on May 13. No worry! I covered the pants with some buckets and cut milk jugs and nothing happened.  Today is March until May 12 we have about 9 weeks left.
Next I organize the seeds that I want to start indoor by germination time in weeks and by growing conditions. Some seeds need a period of stratification or cooling before being planted under lights (aka Meconopsis). Some need covered in the dark until germination starts (aka Oriental Poppies) or the easy ones get started directly under lights.
In the 10-12 weeks category to start now, I have the Onion and the Leek seeds which Alexis was so helpful with and started for me yesterday.  We are late by 2-4 weeks but better late than sorry.

I also have some seed of new to me perennials and grasses from Hayefield gardens, PA. Garden geek , blogger and book author Nancy J. Ondra held a Fall Seed Giveaway and I can't let her down but try to start some of the beauties I requested from her  because some require a period of cooling before starting the seed. So I will have to start those today. I place the pots with the seed outside the house for the next 4 weeks then bring them in.
The next milestone for seed starting indoor is the 6-8 weeks to last frost date milestone which is the time to start the tomatoes and peppers. So is you live in zone 5b and agree with my Frost Free Date, mark your calendars: March 22 to April 12 : Time for starting Tomatoes and Peppers from seed.

The last milestone for indoor seed starting for me is 2-4 weeks before last frost date for Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash and Pumpkins. So mark your calendar with April 19 to May 3: Time for starting Cucumbers from seed.

After checking out over 20 catalogs (paper and online) I managed to only buy Meconopsis or Blue Himalayan Poppy which I plan to experiment with this spring.   But where is spring? I hope that is somewhere close because I am loosing my mind in here.

How many catalogs do you look at in the winter? I feel that my list is growing.  I will dedicate a post just for my favorite catalogs sometimes in the future. Until then, happy seed starting.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday's Favorite Flower Combination #10

Lupine Russel hybrid with Clematis "Marie Louise Jensen"
Early summer view

I shared this post with Today's Flowers  where beautiful photographs are shared by bloggers around the world.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Low views of the Gardens

Welcome to a long long tour of our 2013 gardens located in Hudson, Ohio hardiness zone 5b.
I gave you a glimpse of the our gardens in the High views of the gardens post a while back. I will now give you the Low views of our gardens. Pay attention to the names of all the garden beds! There will be a test at the end of this post. And please appreciate the "creativity" (or lack of) in naming all our beds !

Entering the back yard gardens from the garage -  picture taken 2013