Monthly Archives: September 2016

  1. 5 Plants With Silver Leaves

    Sometimes, you just need something different in your yard. Many of your plants may be colorful, with green foliage and bright flowers. But sometimes, you need something that adds a subtle color to your garden - especially in shadier areas where it can get dark with only green plants. Enter silver foliage plants. These five plants will add that bit of light to the rest of your garden with their silver leaves.  

    Silver Edge Lavender - Lavandula x intermedia 'Walvera' Silver Edge Lavender Overview- silver leaves Lavender is well known for its intoxicating scent - so why not include one in your landscape? Silver Edge Lavender provides that silver color to a sunny location. Growing to a mature size of three feet tall and two feet wide, Silver Edge Lavender sports beautiful purple flowers in the summer. To encourage flowering, cut the flowers back after blooming to encourage new growth. Best in zones 5 - 9, Silver Edge Lavender brings that cooling silver color to the sunniest of locations.    

    Ghost Fern - Athyrium 'Ghost'Ghost Fern Overview- silver leaves Having a fern with silvery foliage makes for an intriguing conversation piece. The ghost fern lives up to that expectation with its silvery gray leaves. With an upright habit and the tendency to slowly spread, this fern provides that silver color with a delicate texture to a shady planting. Reaching up to 3 feet wide and tall at maturity in zones 4-9, ghost fern thrives in moist soils. Add it to contrast against a bright green foliage plant for maximum contrast.  

    Silver King Wormwood - Artemisia ludoviciana 'Silver King'Artemisia_schmidtiana_Parc_de_Bercy- silver leaves The soft fuzzy silver foliage of Silver King Wormwood disguises one of the best features of this plant - it's drought tolerance. Its size is nothing to complain about either - this plant can grow up to three feet tall and four feet wide - making it an ideal sized plant to go wherever you need a touch of silver foliage. Best in zones 5-9, this plant provides a cooling feel with its silver foliage.  

    Silver Anniversary Abelia - Abelia x 'Panache'Silver Anniversary Abelia Full- silver leaves Variegated white and green foliage develop from red stems, making this shrub a fantastic addition to any landscape. White wedding-bell flowers begin blooming in the late spring and last through to the first frost. Their sweet aroma will add another touch of elegance to your landscape. Growing to a maximum height of 24 inches tall, Silver Anniversary Abelia will spread to approximately 3 feet wide. Best in zones 6-9 this plant will thrive in sun conditions ranging from full sun to partial shade. Enjoy the touches of silver on this plant within your landscape.  

    Silver Bouquet Lungwort - Pulmonaria Silver BouquetSilver Bouquet Lungwort Blooms and Foliage- silver leaves Don't be put off by the name of this plant - Silver Bouquet Lungwort is a beautiful plant that should be in your landscape. Its silvery leaves have a hint of lime green scattered along the edges, and the flowers shift from pink to blue as they age. It won't grow much larger than 10 inches tall, but will spread to almost 20 inches wide in ideal conditions. Best planted in shade in zones 4-9, Silver Bouquet Lungwort is the perfect addition to your shady landscape.   Whether you're looking for a shrub with silver foliage to use as a backdrop, or something unique to put in a secluded shady area, silver foliage gives you that color contrast you may not have considered. Next time you're looking for a unique plant, try using one of these to add some cooling color contrast to your landscape!

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  2. 5 Plants for Poolside Planting

    Hydrangea by the Pool Pictured here is a hydrangea blooming by the pool.

    Everyone loves diving into a pool in the middle of summer, but having plants around makes it that much more enjoyable. Whether you choose to put these poolside plants in pots or set them directly into the landscape, you should consider these plants. The chemicals of your pool are less of an issue than you would expect - the occasional splashing of water won't affect them. The larger concern is the high level of light. Because the surface of the pool and the decking reflect lots of light, you need plants that are ready to take on that challenge.

    Cranberry Crush Hibiscus - Hibiscus moscheutos 'Cranberry Crush' PPAF
    Hibiscus is the quintessential tropical plant. 'Cranberry Crush' Hibiscus lives up to that hype with large cranberry colored blooms that can expand up to eight inches in diameter. About three feet high and four feet wide, Cranberry Crush hibiscus is ready to go next to your pool and dazzle everyone with its beautifully colored blooms in zones four through nine.

    Nandina FirepowerFirepower Heavenly Bamboo - Nandina domestica 'Firepower' 
    As a poolside potted plant, Firepower Heavenly Bamboo will provide you with evergreen beauty during the summer, and a brilliant display of red foliage in the fall. Only two to three feet tall and wide, it is perfect for the poolside. With a tolerance for zones six through nine, the tropical feel of Firepower Heavenly Bamboo will last all year round.

    Porcupine GrassPorcupine Grass - Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus'  
    Gold and green striped blades and creamy white seed heads are the crowning glories of porcupine grass. At the height of six to eight feet and spreading up to four feet wide porcupine grass makes an ideal screen for a pool. Leave the foliage up over the winter for some interest, and enjoy it in the summer when it adds some unique color patterns to your poolside planting. It thrives in USDA zones 4-10, and will give you something unique to enjoy while swimming around.

    Tempelhof Hinoki False CypressTempelhof Compact Hinoki Cypress - 'Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Tempelhof'
    Another evergreen shrub, Tempelhof Compact Hinoki Cypress is the perfect plant to put in a container poolside. With its wavy, scale-like leaves, this plant looks like an anemone. Slightly tinged gold on the outside, but dark green on the inside, this shrub will reach 8-10 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide. This plant will flourish in zones 4-8, and is both deer resistant and easy to manage. 

    DaylilyDaylily - Hemerocallis spp.  
    Bright, cheerful blooms are the highlight of this plant. Blooming from June through August, daylilies will thrive in just about any situation.  Daylilies will thrive poolside, ranging from 20 to 24 inches tall. Try the species 'Entrapment' for a unique splash of purple, or 'Little Grapette' for a smaller, more compact plant. No matter what your needs are, though, there's a daylily just waiting to be planted by your pool.   Even though poolside can be a harsh environment with all of the light reflecting onto your plants, try one of these to make a splash next to your pool. They are all relatively low-maintenance and won't drop a lot of small debris into your water. Happy swimming!


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  3. Wisteria Care

    You've purchased a Blue Chinese Wisteria Tree, or an Amethyst Falls Wisteria Vine, and are now looking into how to maximize the blooms of this plant. Follow this simple guide to best care for your wisteria plant.

    Selecting a Location

    For best results, your wisteria should be planted in well-drained soil, and should receive a minimum of six hours of full sun. Be sure to have sufficient space for the full canopy to develop - 15 feet minimum is ideal. You may need to provide a stake for the tree for the first few years until the trunk can support the weight of the canopy. The vine requires support to grow up on- a sturdy wood or metal structure is best.

    Cut those Branches Back! - Pruning Wisteria

    Wisteria requires pruning twice a year - once in the summer after blooming, and once in the winter. Keep in mind that wisteria blooms on wood that is at least two years old - so don't be afraid to prune hard. In the summer, after the beautiful flowers have faded, prune the branches back, so six to eight inches remain on each branch. Pruning that amount off will encourage branching to develop further, increasing the number of blooms the next season. Remove any shoots that are growing at the base of the plant you do not want. Lower shoot pruning will most likely need to be done every year. Come winter, prune the branches down to about three to five buds. Reducing the branch length will force the energy in the spring into creating flowers, and you will have a prolific flowering season. Remove any long shoots that may have formed after the summer pruning. Since the foliage has dropped and you can better see the structure of the plant, this pruning will be easier than the summer pruning. The flower buds that form in the summer will be what produce blooms the following spring. Make note of this fact and make sure that you do not remove or damage all of the buds. Otherwise you may stifle next season's blooms. Root pruning is optional - it can help further develop the root system of the plant, but is not required. If you choose to root prune, take a sharp shovel and plunge it into the soil. Don't tip it taking it out, but instead go straight in and straight out. Make a series of slices into the root mass around the entire plant for best results.

    Feeding your Wisteria - Fertilization

    Nitrogen fertilizer is not needed - wisterias are a legume plant, and can produce its nitrogen as it develops. In fact, adding nitrogen fertilizer can decrease flowering, as it helps the plant produce leaves, not flowers.

    Aunt Dee Wisteria FlowerAunt Dee Wisteria Flower

    It's Not Blooming! - Trouble Shooting

    If your wisteria is not blooming, it is most likely an environmental issue. Check to see that your plant is getting at least six hours of direct light during the day - that is the absolute minimum wisteria requires for blooming. If it is not, see if you can increase the time by pruning other plants. Temperature is another factor that may negatively impact blooming. If a late frost comes before blooming, the buds may be damaged and will not flower. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to correct this issue except wait for the next season. If you know a late frost is coming, you can cover smaller plants with sheets to help protect them. If you have added a significant amount of nitrogen fertilizer to your wisteria, it may be encouraging it to produce leaves instead of flowers. Wisteria does not require nitrogen fertilizer - they can create their nitrogen in the soil, much like beans do. If your plant is young, it may not be mature enough to flower. If after two to three years of being planted in the ground, and it still is not blooming, check to make sure the environmental conditions are correct. Enjoy your wisteria and it's beautiful flowers!

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  4. 3 Design Ideas for Perennial Planters in Your Landscape

    Having containers at the front of your house allows you to expand your landscape and explore other opportunities for plants. Many people use annuals, but using perennials in your landscape enable you to compliment your existing landscape while not having to re-plant annually. Many plants will thrive in containers, and there are many ways to combine them to create a stunning display of color, texture, and shape. There are three main components to an effective planter: a thriller - the most upright plant, a spiller - something that drapes down and spills over the sides, and filler - the plant that fills the space between the thriller and the spiller. Using at least one of each of these components creates a combination that is attractive and unique.


    Classic Planters pw-b_11 (1)

      This combination echoes stately brick houses, covered in ivy with lions at the gateway. This planter will collectively do best in zones 5-9, but there is the potential to substitute and swap out plants for other zones that have similar characteristics. Use a concrete planter that has a pedestal for a completion of the look.


    Thriller: Gaura Siskiyou Pink Gaura Siskiyou Pink multi-colored - 200x200This plant makes for a stunning thriller; soft pink flowers effortlessly dip and sway in the slightest breeze. When there aren't flowers, small grey-green leaves provide a perfect backdrop to the other plants. Reaching about 24 inches tall, it makes a perfect thriller for our front-yard classic style planter.


    Filler: Heucherella spp.  Heucherella Stoplight Overview

    This group of plants has many options to choose what fits your needs; pick one that matches your style. Prized for its foliage, Heucherella ranges from a bright chartreuse green to a blazing red, with every sort of color combination in between. Small pink or white flowers bloom in early spring, reaching no higher than 18 inches. With it's bold, colorful foliage, it makes an ideal filler for this planter.


    Spiller - English Ivy   English Ivy Close Up Foliage Though English ivy is thought to be the plant growing up the side of the house, it works as a spiller in this situation. With dark green foliage and a tendency to drape down, this ivy spills out beautifully. Though you will probably have to prune it back partway through the season to keep it from spilling too far onto the pavement, it will thrive as a spiller in your container.


    Contemporary Planters combo_f_04 (1)

      This planter has a bit more of a modern feel to it. Collectively, this planter will thrive in zones 5-9, but each plant has a different zone associated with it. Feel free to adapt it to your needs with other plants. Use a brightly colored pot to contrast with the flowers and enjoy!            

    Thriller - Ice Dance Sedge 1742_1P Unlike grasses, sedges have triangular edges. Ice Dance Sedge has bright green blades with white edges, bringing a bit of pizzazz to the planter. It is relatively easy to maintain and provides a year-round backdrop to the rest of the planter.        

    Filler - Daisy May Shasta Daisy Daisy May Shasta Daisy Full Bright, bold white flowers with yellow centers bloom in late spring and continue throughout the summer. As the filler, this Shasta Daisy performs admirably in a container. Deadheading the flowers encourages a continuous display of flowers throughout the summer.    

    Spiller -  Chocolate Chip Ajuga Chocolate Chip Ajuga Close Up of Flowers - 200x200Chocolate chip ajuga has foliage that is chocolate brown, providing the perfect base to this planter. The depth of this foliage contrasts with the white flowers, and will put up its own purple flowers in the spring. Though it does not drape dramatically down the side of the container, it still provides the perfect spilling quality to this front yard planter.


    Rustic Planters     Accentuate the Positive

      For more of a rustic, farmhouse vibe, consider planting these plants in a barrel. Though many of these plants may thrive in different zones, collectively, this planter will do best in zones 6-8.        

    Thriller - Burgundy Bunny Grass 10056 Narrow green blades with a hint of burgundy create the perfect thriller plant for this planting. Come late summer, tufted seed heads bob in the wind, and the burgundy color deepens. The seedheads will persist into the winter, so don't be afraid to let them stand and add a bit of texture.      

    Filler - Coral Bells      Obsidian Coral Bells Overview With so many different colors to choose from, there is a coral bell that will suit almost any situation. Whether you pick for the spring flower color or the bright foliage, putting a coral bell in your rustic planter will be sure to please. Try using a plant that has the red or orange hues to bring out the colors of the other plants, or use a purple foliage cultivar to provide a dramatic contrast. The options are endless.    

    Spiller - Angelina Sedum      Angelina Sedum Overview Don't be fooled by this plant's ostentatious color; Angelina sedum makes the perfect spilling plant for this planter. Bright green in spring and summer and turning a brilliant yellow in the fall and winter, this sedum is sure to please all year round. It also provides a great contrast to the other colors you've chosen for this planter.  

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  5. Clematis Vine Varieties That are Perfect for Shady Areas


    Clematis vines are great additions to the landscape as a flowering vine, but there are so many different varieties to choose! No need to fret if you have a shady area; some varieties will flourish in shade. Whether you're trying to grow the vine up a trellis or around your mailbox, here are six clematis vines to plant in that shady location.

    Clematis Avant Garde - Clematis 'Evipo033'   For a plant that adds a surprising pink punch to your yard, consider using Avant Garde. It can reach heights of up to 10 feet tall in perfect conditions, and is often covered with two-tone pink flowers up to two inches across, reminiscent of dahlia blooms. Thriving in zones 4-9, Avant Garde will be sure to make any shady spot pop with color.

      Clematis My Angel - Clematis 'Engelina'    Boasting the traditional 4-petaled shape clematis is known for, My Angel is a stunning vine. It's purple-tinted vine sports 1 ½ inch flowers in the summer that are yellow on the inside and red on the outside. As the seeds start to develop, they form a fluffy seed head. Ideal for zones 4-8 and best grown with a support system, My Angel will cover any structure in one season, even in the shade.

        Clematis 'Patricia Ann Fretwell'Clematis Patricia Ann Fretwell Blooms   Patricia Ann Fretwell is a clematis variety that is incredibly unique: not only is it a double flower, but it also blooms twice in one year! In May, Patricia Ann Fretwell blooms on the old wood, and then come September, it blooms again. Its blooms are nothing short of extraordinary either. The outer petals are reddish pink that fade at the edges. The inner petals are barely pink but have a dark pink stripe in the center. They are nothing short of extraordinary. Best grown in zones 4-9, Patricia Ann Fretwell is a clematis you need to have in your yard.  

    Clematis Petite Faucon - Clematis 'Evisix' Clematis Petit Faucon Multiple Blooms   One of the more petite clematis on this list, Petite Faucon's size should not be cause for concern. With four purple petals that twist, the flowers bloom twice a year, once in May on old wood, and once in August on new wood. With the flowering as wide-spread as it is, there is an incredible contrast between the purple flowers and the white fluffy seed-heads you can enjoy all season long. Known to thrive in zones 3-9, this clematis needs a support trellis, but will quickly cover it and be the star of the show.

    Clematis Ville de Lyon - Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' Clematis Ville De Lyon Many Blooms   Red flowers will call attention to any plant in the landscape, and Ville de Lyon is no different. Red flowers reaching up to 6 inches in diameter bloom in spring, and then rebloom in late summer, providing a bright pop of color to an otherwise tired landscape. Even though a trellis is essential for best results, Ville de Lyon will be sure to please, especially in zones 4-9.

      Clematis Vyvyan Pennel - Clematis 'Vyvyan Pennel' Clematis Vyvyan Pannell Multiple Blooms   Given the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Merit, Vyvyan Pennel is a show-stopper of a vine. 8 inch double purple blooms in May give way to smaller violet flowers in August.  Even though it requires a trellis system to support it, Vyvyan Pennel will thrive in zones 4-9 without a problem, even in shady locations.


    Any of these clematises will add that pop of color you're searching for, even in the shady spots. Don't delay in purchasing one ! You won't regret the brilliant colors and growth habits of these vines.


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