Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shade Plant of the Week - Solomon's Seal

Solomon's Seal or Polygonatum commutatum is a shade plant that is also a native wildflower of Wisconsin.  It grows to be about 3-7 feet tall, and makes a great back of the border plant.  In the spring it has small white, bell shaped flowers that remind me of lily of the valley (it is in the lily family).  It takes a while to establish, but once it does it slowly creeps via tubers underground.  In the fall the plant has small blue colored berries which cannot be eaten.  I have the variegated variety (see below).

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Queen of the Seas'

First, let me say that my hosta 'Queen of the Seas' is not in the greatest spot in my garden.  I had to move it under a tree, as it was turning green (which a lot of blue hostas do if exposed to sun).  I wanted it to maintain it's beautiful powdery blue color through most of the summer.  'Queen of the Seas' has leaves that not only have a slight twist, but also have a pie crust edge and heavily ribbing.  It's a beauty, as long as you can keep it in full shade.
Hosta 'Queen of the Seas' 2009
Hosta 'Queen of the Seas' 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Queen Josephine'

Hosta 'Queen Josephine' is unusual in that it is resistant to slugs and sun.  It has thick, shiny leaves that are dark green in the center with a gold margin that turns creamy white later in the season.
Hosta 'Queen Josephine' 2009 late in season
Hosta 'Queen Josephine' 2012 in early spring

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Punky'

Named after the daughter of Ken Ziarek, who is a hosta hybridizer in Wisconsin!
Hosta 'Punky' 2009
Hosta 'Punky' 2011
Hosta 'Punky' 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Moving?? Do you take all your plants with you?

 Today could be the day!  It could be the day we decide wether or not to put our house on the market.  Honestly, I have outgrown (no pun intended) my yard.  My husband and I have been casually looking, mostly on the computer, at houses with bigger yards.  We kept saying we were only trying to get ideas of what was out there, but things are starting to look more real now.  We stopped at an open house on Sunday and really liked the house and yard.  So tonight we have the realtor coming out to give us the market value on our house.  If it's in the right price range, the house is going on the market.  If it's too low in the current market, we will stay here for another year or two.

So what happens if we put the house on the market??  I have spent the last 9 years collecting hostas, and have over 400 different varieties in my yard.  There are some that are irreplaceable, and I already know those are going with me.  Do you think it would depend on the buyer, or should I stipulate right away that many of the plants are coming with me?  I could obviously divide and leave parts of most of the hostas with the house.  Perhaps the realtors will have more answers for me.  I just know that I have invested a lot of time and money in my plants, and I don't really want to start over completely.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Shade Plant of the Week - Shooting Star

Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia) is a native perennial in the primrose family.  The plant itself and the flowers are very small, so if you plant this one you'll want to put it somewhere you can actually admire it.  The leaves form a small mound that resembles many weeds in the garden.  I think I actually pulled it one year thinking it was a weed.  Mine receives sun in the spring before my trees leaf out, and then it receives part shade for the rest of the summer.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Purple Haze'

Hosta 'Purple Haze' from 2011

Close up of leaf shape, spring 2012

Hosta 'Purple Haze' the petioles have a slight purple hue to them

The purple from the petiole start going into the leaf

Another close up of leaf with purple coloring where petiole and leaf meet.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Putting Together Annual Containers

This past weekend was containerpalooza in my garden!  I look forward to the spring day when the weather is warm and the danger of frost is gone, because it's when I can start putting my containers together.  While I didn't finish all my containers, I am hoping to finish up the last of them this week after work.  Here are the elements I try to put into my containers:
1. At least one plant for height (this doesn't always work with smaller containers)
2. Contrasting colors....mix dark colors with light colors, etc.
3. Mixtures of heights and/or textures

Here is the empty planter

I add my plant for height, in this case it's Black and Blue Salvia

Then I start placing plants around and rearranging until I like the colors.

Once I have the plants in place then I add soil and plant them.

Some other containers from this weekend:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pics from today

I was out in the yard all day today.  I forgot how tiring it is!  I still have half of my containers to put together; one of these days I really have to downsize.
Hosta 'Stargate'

Lilac 'Little Miss Kim'

Tree peony and alliums in bloom.

close up of "little miss kim' lilac blooms

The honeybees love the alliums

Irises have started to open up

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hosta of the Day - 'Pilgrim'

Hosta 'Pilgrim' is a small to medium sized hosta with heart shaped leaves.  The leaves are grey green in color and have a gold margin that turns to creamy white by fall.  Pair this one with blues and solid greens.
Hosta 'Pilgrim' 2009
Hosta 'Pilgrim' 2011 Fall
Hosta 'Pilgrim' 2012 Spring

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shade Plant of the Week - 'Bergenia'

I love Bergenia!  They are usually one of the very first plants to bloom in my gardens.  I planted them along my front sidewalk, so I can admire them every time I pull in and out of the driveway.  They have beautiful pinkish flowers in spring, that in my opinion hold interest long after they have dried up.  The leaves on Bergenia are very thick and leathery.   Some of mine have reddish leaves in the spring and then again in the fall.  They withstand everything, even my husband salting the sidewalk in the winter.  They are also evergreen, so they hold their color even in the winter.