Saturday, June 26, 2010

Creating Miniature Succulent Gardens

Succulents are very forgiving plants,  you can pretty much plant and forget about them.  Which is why they are the perfect plant to use in container gardens.  In my garden, the succulent only has two enemies.  Chipmunks, which love to chew off their leaves for the water they hold inside of them.  The second enemy is water.  That is why it is important to use cactus soil, or some other fast drying soil when planting your succulents.
I lined this basket with cardboard, and then filled it with cactus soil and various succulents.

Adding little whimsical items such as miniatures chairs, birdhouses, etc.  add character to your garden.

This is one I created last year in a styrofoam fish box, which I made to look like concrete.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shade Plants

There are many people out there that think that the only plant that will grow in the shade are hostas.  This could not be further from the truth.  Most plants only require a few hours of sunlight a day to thrive and look gorgeous.  So here are some wonderful plants to grow in the shade or use as companion plants to your hostas.
Ligularia japonica - This is a wonderful, tall, airy plant for the back of  shade garden.  Not only does it have leaf interest, it also gets great yellow daisy-like flowers in late summer/fall.  This one likes water, so do not plant it in dry shade.
Martagon Lilies - martagon lilies work great in a woodland garden, since they tolerate shade.
Arisaema (Jack-in-the-Pulpits) come in all different heights and colors.  This one is Arisaema consanguineum, which can grow to be 3 feet tall.

Trilliums add spring color to your garden.  They also come in a variety of colors.

On the left is Corydalis lutea, which slowly creeps in the garden.  In the middle is Ligularia desdemona.

Hardy Geraniums - hardy geraniums come in various colors and leaf shapes.  Some bloom early in spring, some late, and some will bloom intermittently throughout the summer.

Violas - these can bloom from spring right through into fall.

Hydrangeas - a great shrub for the shady garden.

Campanula 'Blue Waterfall' adds a great blue color interest to the shady garden.

Heucheras (coral bells) come in all colors and add great foliage color to your shade garden.  Behind this one is a hardy geranium.

Masterworts flower in mid to late spring, and even after their flowers die off they are still look beautiful.

Primulas will grow in a moist, shady garden.

I grow both Asiatic and Oriental lilies in my shade garden.  As long as they receive a few hours of sun sometime during the day they will be fine.  I like to put the new "miniature" or pot variety of lilies in my shade garden since they only grow to be about 16-20" tall.

Epimediums flower in early spring.  They have a great evergreen leaf that adds to the texture of the garden.
These are only some of the plants you can grow in a shady garden!

Friday, June 18, 2010

AHS National Convention

The American Hosta Society's National Convention will be next week in Bloomington, Minnesota. If you love hostas, and have never been to a national convention, I strongly encourage you to attend. I attended the national convention a few years ago in Indianapolis, Indiana. What can you expect at the convention? Well for one there are lots of great hosta gardens to explore. This is a great opportunity to see all kinds of hostas to add to you want list. You will rub elbows with lots of great hosta people, and, of course, there are lots of hosta vendors to visit.

When: June 23-26
Where: Bloomington, MN
More Details?: Convention Page
Pictures from the hosta convention in Indianapolis

My favorite picture from the convention, we laughed for hours, heck we laughed all summer about this picture. My friend, Andrea, whom we stayed with and the hosta "gnome" (or was it elf).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Garden Road Trip - Flower Factory & Stonewall Nursery

Today my friend, Gina, and I took a road trip to the Stoughton, Wi area (south of Madison).  Our first stop was the Flower Factory.  If you ever plan a trip to the Flower Factory, make sure to plan AT LEAST a half a day.  No matter what you plants like, whether it be hostas, coneflowers, vines, water plants, miniatures, etc. the Flower Factory has them.  My one complaint is that every time we take this road trip it rains.
Gina head to the Hosta Hut
Some of the many hoop houses
Mixed hostas in containers
These are all old hostas in these hoop houses, I just want to take a shovel to them and start digging:)
More hoop houses
Gina, the hosta ninja, pointing out a streaky eye on a hosta.

One of the hosta huts
Green roof on Garden Shed
As we were leaving the Flower Factory today, one of the employees suggested we visit Stonewall Nursery, which is about a mile away, to see their selection of conifers and other trees.  
Some of the conifers
This is only a small selection of what was offered at Stonewall.
Of course our road trip would not be complete without a stop for cheese.  So a stop at Schultz's Cheese Haus in Beaver Dam was in order before heading home!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The stars of this weekend's garden walk/plant sale

I love talking plants, especially hostas with people.  So I was in my element this weekend touring people around my gardens.  I have my favorite plants and hostas in my garden, but since everyone has different tastes it's always interesting to see what plants my visitors really love.  Here were the stars of my garden this weekend:
h. 'Sum of All'

It's hard to tell from pictures, but the leaves on h. 'Sum of All' are huge.  As I like to say, "They are bigger than my head."  That is a one foot ruler in the pictures above.
h. 'Dream Queen'
h. 'Touch of Class'
Everyone loves just how blue this hosta is, which is hard to capture on camera.
h. 'Kiwi Full Monty'
This is another one you have to see in person. As 'Kiwi Full Monty' is very blue on the edges, has a wonderful, playful white line, and then the center is light green.
h. 'Foxfire Off Limits' everyone loves how brightness of this one.
h. 'Golden Meadows' this one is a real beauty with it's textured, twisty leaves.
h. 'Royal Tiara' this hosta may be small, but it's packs a punch of colors.
h. 'Elegans' this one is huge!
h. 'Earth Angel' is my favorite, and a favorite of many others.  It has beautiful tri-color leaves.
h. 'Academy Blushing Recluse' this hosta is actually reverting back to solid gold, but everyone loved how all the leaves were a different color.
Purple Smoke Bush, this non-hosta plant in my yard is one people will ring my doorbell to ask about.