29 May 2016

Black Ammi, Queen Annes Lace and Hemlock

The weeds have thoroughly mixed themselves in with the flower gardens this year.

Here's a bouquet in our living room made up of Black Ammi, Queen Anne's Lace (ammi), and Hemlock.

Not every bouquet has to be made of hybrid flowers.

25 May 2016

Grow Native - Bringing Natural Beauty to Your Garden by Lynn Steiner

Grow Native
Cool Springs Press
It may seem as though there have been enough books published about growing native plants to satisfy our need. Then, along comes this new one from Lynn Steiner that fulfills a unique niche: The author is a garden writer from the upper Midwest who writes for the gardeners outside the west coast, southern US and other regions.

If you don't know why that matters so much you haven't tried to follow the guidelines of writers in zone 8, 9 and 10 who have sandy soil and temperate evenings. This book helps out the rest of us.

Steiner grows a native garden in Minnesota that is filled with prairie flowers, ferns, grasses, ground covers, shrubs and vines. The best selections are set out in charts for easy reference.

Our garden was recently described as contained chaos and it probably is. We grow for wildlife more than for structure and form so we have lots of wildlife from turtles and toads to birds and yes, even squirrels are welcome.

The book is a little over 200 pages in a softback that is easy to carry around to coffee shop and garden center. $25 list and $20 online. Cool Springs Press, www.QuartoKnows.com http://www.quartoknows.com/


The pages have information about butterflies and how to attract them, how to start a garden, plants that lend themselves to sculptural pruning, garden problems and how to overcome them, plus dozens of plants to consider for your native and wildlife attracting garden beds.

Pick up a copy for yourself or a new gardener. The basics are all here plus tidbits of information that will increase your understanding and success rate.


24 May 2016

Larkspur is the Delphinium for our area

Larkspur
Erery year in late fall/early winter I plant Larkspur seeds around the cottage garden beds. They are the Delphiniums for our hot humid climate.

The various shades of blue and white are about the prettiest you'll see at this time of year as they blow in the breezes of spring.

Not only are they low-maintenance, seed-grown and reliable, they are rabbit and deer resistant. In our garden, rabbit resistant is essential to survival.
Each plant grows about 6-inches wide and a few feet tall. Plant them in full sun to part shade wiith other spring blooming flowers such as poppies, lillies, daisies, and clematis. 

Most of next year's plants will come from the seeds thrown off by this year's as they fade and go to seed. I usually collect seed heads and when they are completely dry, press them into prepared soil in other beds around the garden. 

Each year we have a few more plants in a few more locations, ensuring that we'll never run out of these spring beauties.