BUTTONWOOD FARM – SUNFLOWERS FOR WISHES

The Annual Sunflowers for Wishes is taking place this now! – This is a blog I wrote several years ago on this wonderful place supporting a wonderful cause.  Enjoy it again!

The event runs from July 21 – 229, 2018 this year and Buttonwood Farm is located at 473 Shetucket Turnpike in Griswold, CT.

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The fields stretch forever

Bring your kids or just the kid in you as there are hayrides, and a cow train ride, sunflowers for sale and cows to check out! The hayride and cow train rides run throughout the day and are about 25 minutes long going first through the cow pasture and ends up going through the sunflower field.  All proceeds from the rides go directly to Make-A-Wish! Since 2004 they have been able to raise a total of over $930,000.  This year will push them over the $1 Million mark!

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Happy Trio
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Reaching higher and higher

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Looking up

Sunflowers are available on a first come first serve basis.  Bouquets are $10 for a bouquet of five sunflowers.  Again, all proceeds from the sunflowers as well as T-Shirts and notecards which are for sale all go directly to Make-A-Wish!

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Close up before the birds east the seeds or the cows are let into the fields
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Not yet ready to party
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Just opening

 

Go Enjoy and support this great effort to support Make-A-Wish!

The Magic of Georgia O’Keeffe @ NYBG

The New York Botanical Garden was founded in 1891 and is a National Historic Landmark world renown for its plant research and conservation programs.

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Georgia O’Keeffe was an American artist known mostly for her paintings of oversized flowers from New Mexico and Hawaii.  She achieved worldwide acclaim for her innovative impressionist images.  She is widely considered the “Mother of American Modernism”.  Known for her paintings of Oriental Poppies, Cow’s Skull, Heliconia to name a few.

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Start your visit in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory:

Enid Haupt Conservatory

 

The Visions of Hawai’i exhibit reflects her depiction of the Islands of Hawaii while on commission for the Dole Pineapple Company in 1939 for their promotional campaign. Her works are a study in understanding the natural environment of the islands.

The exhibit highlights the flora of Hawaii both inside the Conservatory and outside in the Garden showcasing the flowers and fruit of Hawaii like pineapple, papaya and bananas. There are more than 300 varieties of plants including ti plants, frangipani, bougainvillea, heliconia, hibiscus, bird-of-paradise, ginger and other tropicals.

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Hibiscus
Red Ginger
Red-Ginger Alpina purpurata

In the Conservatory courtyard pool you will find aquatic plants like Water lilies and Lotuses.  The Lotus is a sacred plant symbolizing eternal life in Buddhism. Chose your color! You will see the lilies and lotus in yellow, pink, purple, and blue. Pineapple plants surround the pool.

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Lotus ‘Perry’s Giant Sunburst’

Water lily

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There is also an incredible collection of 17 paintings in the Mertz Library Gallery not seen together since 1940 highlighting the influence of Hawaii’s dramatic landscapes and exotic plants. The exhibit includes Heliconia, Crab’s Claw Ginger, Pineapple Bud, and Hibiscus with Plumeria to name a few. There is a short film featuring letters to her famous husband who was a photographer, Alfred Stieglitz. NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED! These are photos of her paintings only.

Native Plant Garden highlights plants native to the Northeast including trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns and grasses. The pool is fed by recycled stormwater as it flows over stone weirs.

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Rock Garden

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Rosen Seasonal Walk showcases perennials, grasses and bulbs highlighting their shape, structure and color throughout the season as emphasized by Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf.

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Lily with Echinops

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Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden was just exploding with color and textures. The path winds through four themed garden rooms each with its own distinct personality. Here you will find daylilies, hydrangeas, black-eyed susans, nepeta, yarrow, begonias, caladiums, chives, salvia, crocosmia and amsonia to name just a few. Each garden room is devoted to a color scheme: The Fall Room: plants at their peak in autumn; the Bog Room: plants that love the moist and wet soil; the Hot Room: here bright flowers and foliage dominate like red, yellow and orange; and then the Cool Room: flowers and foliage in the silver, pink, blue and purple families.

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This garden changes seasonally so if you can try to visit during every season as you will never see the same exact landscape twice! I guarantee it!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Chanticleer Garden

Just a short drive from Philadelphia, Chanticleer is one of the great gardens in this area. Once the Rosengarten estate, today Chanticleer is a contemporary garden situated in a  historic setting.   Garden Design magazine has dubbed this “America’s most inspiring garden.”

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Coneflowers in the Pond Garden area
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Expectantly awaiting blossoms!
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Sunset glistening on the maple trees on the elevated walkway

“The Chanticleer estate dates from the early 20th-century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine chose the Wayne-St. Davids area to build their country retreat. The family’s pharmaceutical firm would become part of Merck in the 1920s.”

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Clematis and Climbing Hydrangea
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Ivy
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Barley in the Serpentine Meadow

They purchased a neighboring property in 1933. It is now the site of the Minder Ruin Garden composed of three “rooms”. The Great Hall; The Library; and The Pool Room

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The Great Hall with its fountain shaped like a large sarcophagus

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Marble Faces gaze up from the depths of a fountain in the Ruins in ‘The Pool Room’

As you leave the Ruins you enter the Gravel Garden filled with orange butterfly weed, grasses, Alliums and a variety of other plants including Yuccas.

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Gravel Garden

Gravel Garden

Daughter Emily’s house, located at today’s visitor entrance, was built for her in 1935. It is presently used for offices and classrooms. Here is another house on the property.

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The heirs left the entire property for the enjoyment of the public   The garden opened to the public in 1993.  If you are in the area and are visiting gardens be sure to check out both Chanticleer and Longwood Gardens.

Trade Secrets 2018- Wethersfield Garden

Thankfully the weather held out for the Sunday Garden tours this year unlike Saturday’s Garden and Rare Plant Sale at Lion Rock Farm. Wethersfield Garden in Amenia, NY is a beautifully manicured ten acre garden surrounding the home of the late Chauncey D. Stillman. The gardens were created in a classical style similar to the Italian villas found in the 17th century.

In every direction the Garden takes full advantage of the views and creates rooms and spaces with statues, steps, water features and plant materials. It was created on a north-south and east-west axis by Landscape Architect Bryan J. Lynch and then Evelyn N. Poehler.

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The Garden relies on the architecture of varying shades and textures of plant material that marry themselves into the natural landscape starting immediately upon arrival in the East Garden. Besides the sculpted yews there are Korean dogwoods, azaleas, lilacs, rhododendrons and magnolias. The four corners of this garden feature the most magnificent European Weeping Beech trees trimmed into cylindrical shape. Sorry the Garden geek in me was drooling!

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The north wall in the East Garden features the Cupid Fountain surrounded by a fieldstone retaining wall that supports Sedum, Campanula and Ivy.

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When you look to the south through the Arborvitae Arch which is flanked by two figurines playing pipes the views of the countryside unfold. These statues are called the “Pan Pipers”. This area features Witch Hazel, Hawthorne, Elderberry and Gray Dogwood.

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The reflecting pool has a black interior that allows the surrounding shrubs to reflect onto the water’s surface. The surrounding yews are shaped into globes and cones.

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The Inner Garden was originally designed when the house was built.

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In the Knot Garden the flower tubs on either sides of the steps supposedly were designed by the architect Stanford White so they plant them with white petunias in his honor.

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The Pine Terrace so named for the White Pine in the center of the stone terrace. A goldfish pond with its frogs and Iris and Agapanthas and Clivia that attract hummingbirds.

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The Allee is flanked with Cupid urns that encourage “silence” in the garden. This area features a 12′ wide lawn and a bronze statute “Naiad” by a Swedish sculptor Carl Milles.

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The Trade Secrets Garden tours are always a wonderful opportunity to tour private gardens that we can get ideas from for our own gardens even if only in our dreams.

A Day in the Country- Trade Secrets

With Trade Secrets being this weekend in CT I thought you might be interested in this blog I wrote several years ago on the Saturday event which is always a widely anticipated event by plant geeks everywhere.  People come from far and wide to attend, booking their hotel rooms a year in advance!  Many of the vendors come every year so although this blog is from several years ago the information is very relevant to this weekends show in Sharon!

Trade Secrets is a two-day event which started 18 years ago in Bunny Williams backyard. This event is the foremost fundraiser for Women’s Support Services which offers crisis intervention, counseling and education, as well as legal, medical, and housing assistance to fulfill its mission of creating a community free of domestic violence.  Women’s Support Services is a nonprofit organization that provides free and confidential aid to victims of domestic violence and abuse. WSS provides a 24 hour hotline, (860) 364.1900 short-term emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, education and emergency support for those in need.

The proceeds from Trade Secrets 2018 will help WSS fund programs that teach children about healthy relationships and conflict resolution and will help fund operation of their 24-hour hotline. If you missed it this year mark your calendar for next year like Martha Stewart.

“Sadly 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lives” (National Violence Against Women Survey, 2000)

The mission of WSS is to create a community free of domestic violence and abuse through intervention, prevention and education.

Trade Secrets is the premiere Rare Plant & Garden Antique Sale of the season on Saturday with Private Garden tours on Sunday! Today I will take you on a tour of the Rare Plant & Garden Antique Sale.

The plant and antique sale is held yearly at Lion Rock Farm in Sharon, CT.  This is a stunning property overlooking Amenia, NY located in one of the most scenic areas in northwest CT. There were antiques of every variety, rare plants that you can only find here as well as perennials, vegetables and annuals for sale.  There are trees and shrubs, containers and planters, statuary and towers, peonies, roses, and lavender.  You name it and I am sure you can find it here.

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Lion Rock Farm
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Plant towers

Plants in every shape and color to buy

 

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Lion Rock Farm
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Pool at Lion Rock
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Lion Rock
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Pots from Campo de’ Fiori, Sheffield, MA
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Topiaries in all shapes and sizes

 

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Ready for take off

 

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Every garden needs one of these

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Need backyard furniture?

 

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Splish, splash!

 

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I want this gate!

 

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Antiques

 

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Lilacs

Bye till next year!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Ornaments and its finally time to get out in the Garden!

Art in the Garden is certainly not a new idea.  It provides a practical purpose as a place for the eye to rest or be drawn to. It can be artsy, a container, a sculpture, a spiritual figure, an arbor, water feature or any type of vessel.  It provides structural definition and architecture to the garden.  It creates geometry.

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Hummingbird birdbath

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This can also be accomplished with clipped shapes or allee’s which emphasize the geometry of your garden.  In these instances maybe boxwoods or trees create the geometry and symmetry.

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Clipped boxwoods, Vessel, Tulips

Merge your art into your planting beds.  Your plants should be the frosting on the cake!

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Water fountain among the Daisies and bee balm
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Fun garden art in among the peonies
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Nepeta with Statuary among the flowers
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Water fountain

I spent today pruning shrubs, cleaning up leaves, removing the thick layer of mulch I put down around my roses and tender perennials.  Finally I think we may have turned the corner and I took off the burlap coats that I bundled some of my newly transplanted roses and hydrangeas in last fall. I think the Boxwood that I have now transplanted 3 times made it thru as did my new Oakleaf Hydrangeas.

Use garden supports to create winter interest and structure.

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Be whimsical

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Always when planning your garden start with the structure of the property!  In reality 20% – 50% of your garden should be evergreen and shrubs.  Remember we talked a few weeks ago about planting for winter interest.  We need to think of our gardens as a year round canvas.  A low maintenance garden might include 40% evergreens, 35% deciduous shrubs and 25% perennials, ground covers and bulbs. Try planting in masses of 9 -50 for broad sweeps of color, texture and pattern.

The goal is to create layers of interest throughout the year. Vertical elements will frame the garden views. Pay attention to the view from your windows.  Where do you most often see your garden from inside.  Create focal points around these axis points when creating major elements of your landscape, patios and walls.

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Out the kitchen window

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Pay attention to the traffic flow throughout the garden. Of course, you must remember sun and shade and check your Zone when selecting plants. Create different rooms in your garden so there is always something just around the corner and consider a separation of public and private space.  There should be a reason to continue to meander through. Collect pictures that speak to you style, feelings and the light in your space.  Dream as big as possible then evaluate your site. If you have an amazing view try to frame it, almost like a photograph!

If you are starting from scratch, I recommend a qualified garden designer.  Like any renovation the job is always bigger than we anticipate and a knowledgeable professional can guide you thru the pitfalls.  Remember that plants take time to mature. I usually tell people it takes 3 years for perennials to start to reach their full potential.  If a plant is really struggling maybe try it in a different spot.  Is it getting the correct amount of light and water.

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Hydrangea ‘Pink Diamond’ on left with Loosestrife

 

Remember that every property has its assets and limitations created by sun and shade, soil and water.  There are always plants that will thrive in each condition.  Match the plants to the site and include ornamentals.  Instead of all your containers being on the porch move them out into the flower garden where you can add some height and dimension.  Plants requiring special needs can find a home here.  Don’t forget to mix vegetables into your flower beds.  No one says vegetables all need to be in a separate bed!  I mix my herbs, especially  sage, oregano, rosemary and chives into my beds. Last year I experimented with Kale and loved it!  The dark green leaves were an awesome contrast to the surrounding plants and help hide some struggling shrubs that I transplanted, yet again!

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Artichokes

Pay attention to the labels.  We are all guilty of going to the garden center and falling in love with this and that only to realize we have brought home something that will not work in our landscape.  Full sun means sun for the greater part of the day, typically 6 hours or more.  Daylilies for example.  Shade can be a little challenging.  We see full shade, part shade, dappled shade, light shade, so confusing right!  Full shade really means full shade for the entire day.  Plants that need full shade often get scorched when sunlight fades them out. When considering part shade morning sun is always preferable as it is not as strong.  Avoid afternoon sun when possible. Light shade means 2-3 hours of shade during the hottest part of the day. There are literally many, many plants for any given situation. Just like with painting, preparation is key.  If you take the time to properly prepare your garden beds you will find success.

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Try to get out and visit public gardens to see what combinations they have on display. Note how the plant is growing.  Is it in shade, sun, water, very moist conditions. Remember that foliage is truly important as no perennials or shrub blooms all year. Plan your garden with a succession of bloom by selecting plants that bloom at different times of the season and then sit back and enjoy the show!

Spring Arrangements & Flowering Plants

After a long winter I love to bring color back into my home as soon as possible. The houseplants have done their duty and brightened the gray days as best they can but now we all want some color!

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When planning your garden or rejuvenating it remember to plan for a variety of sizes, colors, sounds, shapes and textures to provide movement for the eye and a wide variety for bouquets and of course, to support pollinators.

Here are some early spring stars for bouquets that can be used to create the base or backbone of your floral arrangements:

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Tulips

Trees and shrubs – use the branches and flowers: Magnolia, Lilacs, Viburnum, Quince, Andromeda, Forsythia, Fothergilla, Ninebarks ( Physocarpus), Serviceberry (Amelanchier), Spirea, Deutzia, Azalea and Rhododendrons, Redbuds, Mock Orange, Red or Yellow Twig Dogwoods, Corylopsis (Winterhazel), Crabapples, Cherry and Apricot trees.

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Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Alexandrina’ saucer magnolia
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Flowering Cherry
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A Lilac allee’

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Forsythia on the Hudson River at NYBG

Spring flowers that are ideal for arrangements: Peonies, Hyacinths, Tulips, Daffodils, Lilacs, Alliums, Muscari, Pasque Flowers, Frittilaria, Roses, and Ranunculus to name a few!

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Muscari
Allium
Alliums
Daffodil field- Laurel Ridge
Daffodils as far as the eye can see!
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Pasque flower

Here are my top picks for more spring flowering perennials and bulbs.

Hellebores, Siberian Iris, Primrose, Feverfew, Alliums, Wisteria, Amsonia, Baptisa, Bleeding Hearts, Lady’s Mantle, Epimedium, Roses, Hypericum, Solomon’s Seal, Hosta leaves and Lobelias

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Bleeding Hearts – Dicentra spectabilis
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Siberian Iris

Also, don’t forget veggies when making arrangements.  Think about baby carrots, artichokes and curly kale and parsley.

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I love to pair Siberian Iris, Nepeta, Sage, Allium Globemaster or Gladiator, Amsonia and Baptisa and I mix them with Daylilies, Heuchera and Grasses for all season bloom after the spring flush is done.

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My spring garden

If you want to have flowers for cutting be sure to plant in large drifts not one here and one there. Planning for the next season now will yield you beautiful arrangements all year!

Are you interested in how I created my garden from scratch in just a few months? Here is a link to: Anatomy of a New Garden

Outstanding Fall Color from Shrubs

Fall in New England can be a magical time with the explosion of color everywhere, the crisp fall air and the anticipation of winter.  It is important to consider all the seasons when planning your garden or adding to it.  If something is not working, be brutal and pull it out and replace it with something that provides color in a different season.  Here are some of my fall favorites considering that I live in Zone 5.

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Winterberry ‘Red Sprite’
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Viburnum  ‘Mariesii’
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Kousa Dogwood
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Barberry ‘Royal Burgundy’
Hydrangea ‘Quick Fire’ leaves turn glorious colors in fall
Hydrangea ‘Pinky Winky’
Allium tuberosum

 

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Pink Diamond
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Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and Oakleaf Hydrangea ‘Alice’ which turn a deep red in fall
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Viburnum ‘Brandywine’
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River Birch
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Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’
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Physocarpus – Ninebark – ‘Summerwine’ and ‘Coppertina’
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Amsonia ‘Montana’
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Hamamelis x intermedia
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Acer palmatum – Japanese Maple ‘Koto no ito’

Of course, don’t forget about perennials- seed heads from Alliums, Sedum, Seed pods from Siberian Iris and Mums

Tell me your favorite fall perennials and shrubs! I also love Red Twig Dogwoods and Fothergilla gardenii for great fall color.

Did you miss the last blog on Fall Grasses or Handy Tips for Autumn clean up

Grasses- The Backbone of the Fall & Winter garden

There are grasses to suit every need and every garden no matter what climate you live in.  Slowly over the summer they grow and slowly by fall they capture you with the amazing structure they bring to the garden. They explode as the season progresses providing a perfect backdrop for late summer and fall blossoms like Dahlias and Black-eyed Susan’s. I now have so many different grasses in my garden and they serve as the backbone of each of my different beds. The foliage and seed heads can be variegated, gold, blue, red, dark-leaved, moisture loving, shade loving, sun loving, tall, short or just spectacular for fall color. They make great companions to other perennials like roses. They can be planted in planters, used just as accent plants, used to line or create pathways, to edge a border or even in water gardens.

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When the light shines thru the seed heads they are electric; lighting up the entire garden no matter the weather. Grasses capture light like no other plants I know. When backlit they almost glow from within and this is the ideal way to showcase them.

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Mine are mixed with Russian Sage, Salvias, Dahlias, Phlox, Black-eyed Susan’s, Daisies and Daylilies. I use them to create backdrops for my flower beds where hardscape is not possible. Certainly if you have a wall or other structures grasses can soften those features.

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The texture of different grasses provides a plethora of finely textured shapes all within the category of grasses.  You could just have grasses and no two would look the same. I love that grasses are such low maintenance plants.  Frankly, other garden plants take plenty of my time so these hard working plants can just take care of themselves.

Here are some of my grasses. Frankly, I’m losing track as my grasses as tags get lost.  When choosing grasses for your garden remember to check the water and light requirements, pest issues like deer and rabbit resistance before selecting.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Little Zebra’ – ornamental grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 3-4’ (6-8’ tall when flowering) Wine-purple fading to tan; winter interest; Full sun to part shade

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Miscanthus sinesis “Gracillimus’ – ornamental grass- Zone 5-9 Hgt 4-7’. (8’ tall when flowering) Copper maturing to Silver; Great winter interest; Full sun to part shade

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Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ – Maiden Grass – Zone 5-9 Hgt 4-6’ (Flower stalks 6’ tall) Narrow green leaves with white Variegation on margins; Silvery appearance; Full sun to part shade but best in Full sun (far back left next to Norway Spruce)

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Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ – Feather Reed grass – Zone 5-9 Hgt 3′ (5′ tall when flowering) Purplish-Green flowers turn golden as seeds mature; Winter interest

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Miscanthus sinensis ‘Yakushima’- and ‘Yakushima Dwarf’ – Maiden Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 3-4’  (Can reach up to 8’ tall) Very showy; Full Sun

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Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ – Switch Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 4-5’ (6’ tall when flowering) Olive green to bluish-green foliage with yellow flower panicles; Winter Interest; Full sun to part shade.  Full Sun is best

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Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’ – Switch Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 3’ (5’ tall when flowering) Silver-green leaves turning burgundy red; Winter interest; Full sun to part shade, Full sun is best

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Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’ – Switch Grass Zone 4-9 Hgt 2-3’ (4’ tall when flowering) ; Blue-green foliage that matures to purple-red. Performs best in Full Sun

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Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ – Switch Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 3-4’ Burgundy-Red foliage with reddish pink flower panicles; Full sun to part shade

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This year!
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Just planted last year

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’ – Black Flowering Fountain Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 2- 2.5’ (3’ tall when flowering) Best in full sun but can take part shade; Dark purple flower spikes (cover photo)

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Red Head’ – Red Fountain Grass Zone 5 -9 Hgt 2.5-5’; Winter interest; Burgundy-Red plumes; Full sun

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Softening hardscape (rock and fountain)

Pennisetum oritentale ‘Karley Rose’ – Oriental Fountain Grass Zone 5-8 Hgt 18″  (3’ tall + when flowering) Winter interest; Showy, fluffy, pinkish-white flower spikes; Full Sun

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Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’ – Little Blue Stem Zone 5-9 Hgt 3-4′ Brilliant fiery colored foliage though the fall

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Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ and ‘All Gold’ – Japanese Forest Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 1 – 1.5’ Woodland Grass – Part Shade- Aureola is a golden striped form; All Gold has bright golden yellow leaves.

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Chasmanthium latifolium – Northern Sea Oats Zone 3-8 Hgt 2 – 5’ Self seeds if not cut; Good in an area that you can naturalize- another words- let it do its thing. Full sun to part shade; Seed heads emerge green but turn purplish bronze. Bright green leaves.

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Carex morrowii ‘Evergold’ – Sedge Part Shade Hgt 12-14″ (in front of bird bath)

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I also use annual grasses for color contrast and backdrop in my annual bed.

Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ – Fountain Grass -Zone 9-10 Hgt 3-5′ Full Sun

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Now for the topic of cutting down grasses in fall.  This is really a question of taste.  Can you see your garden from the house? In winter, let’s face it – if we can’t see these plants or structures in the garden from inside you will not have much enjoyment from them.  In that case cut them down.  I typically leave mine up but tie them around so they don’t flop at the first sign of snowfall. This way I can watch them sway in the breeze, or more accurately WIND at my house! Be sure in either case that they get cut down in early spring before the new growth starts. Having said that some grasses do self seed and those you will want to deadhead or just cut down. I forgot to do that last year with my Sea Oats and I paid dearly for it all this year pulling out those unwanted seedlings.

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If your grasses are starting to have large areas that are not blooming it is probably time to divide them.  There are many great books out there on grasses. I really like “Grasses” by Nancy Ondra.

One of the best resources for plant information is Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder.  I use this to check zone compatibility, water and sun requirements, deer and rabbit resistance and soil preference. Another resource for information on Coleus: Plant Care Today

As you drive around notice how grasses are being used in your area!

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