Kerry's Garden 2012, January through May
See photos and commentary on Kerry's garden in 2012.
You hear me talk about my garden every month in the newsletter, so I thought I would show you a few photos so you could actually see what I am doing. I will periodically add new photos. You can also see photos of my garden from 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Please note that most of the plants in my containers will not be available at retail garden centers until spring 2013. The photo at left is of Miranda and I at Christmas.
Kerry lives and gardens in central Missouri on 10 acres, half of which is a rocky wooded hillside. She and her husband bought their house in 2005. They now live mere miles from the small family farm where she grew up, near her hometown of around 300. Both of her grandmothers and her mother loved flowers and passed this passion on to her and she plans on passing this on to her daughter. She expects her garden to continue to grow as she has time to add to and improve existing beds. Kerry has a BS in Horticulture from the University of Missouri and an MS in Horticultural Science with a minor in Plant Breeding from the University of Minnesota. After graduation she lived for 5 years on the Central Coast of California before returning to the Midwest.
May 9th and 18th, 2012
The Sweet Pea and I went out this morning before work and took garden photos. Here she is enjoying Absolutely Amethyst® Iberis (a hardy perennial) and GoldDust® Mecardonia, which unexpectedly survived our rather mild winter. It is important to get them started cheering for the "right" team early, go Cards:-) You hear a lot, these days, about how lawns are bad because of high inputs and mono cultures. That is not a problem with our lawn. You can clearly see the clover blooming behind Miranda. It's not so much that we wouldn't like a beautiful lawn, it's more that it isn't high on our priority list and we're not willing to put enough time and chemicals into getting it perfect. Plus, we need to get the moles under control before we ever tackle reseeding!
I did get my beds planted on May 5. I thought I'd give you a run down of what I've planted. This bed is tucked between the sidewalk and the porch close to the stairs to the porch. The bed is approximately 10 feet long by 4 feet deep, not counting the corner where the hosta lives. In this bed I have 8 plants: 3 Señorita Rosalita® Cleome, 2 Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunias, and 3 Zahara Fire zinnia. The photo on the left is from the 9th the one on the right is from the 18th.
This bed is just up the sidewalk from the one above. It is anchored by a Honeysuckle bush that draws hummingbirds, no feeder necessary. There is a peony in the background also. This bed is approximately 6 feet long by 4 feet deep, not counting the corner which is mostly perennials. This bed has 3 Diamond Frost® Euphorbia (behind and to the left of the honeysuckle), 6 Zahara Fire zinnia. Please ignore the weeds you can see popping up along the edges:-) The photo on the left is from the 9th and the one on the right is from the 18th.
This is the corner between the honeysuckle bush and the front of the porch. You can probably tell that the photos I took on the 9th were on an overcast afternoon (photo on the left), while the one in the middle was taken in morning light on the 18th. That is why the colors look so different. This bed has a rose bush (one that my Grandma planted), 3 Daisy May® Leucanthemum (see how budded they are, right. I can't wait for them to get into full bloom!), 2 Absolutely Amethyst® Iberis and 2 GoldDust® Mecardonia that overwintered unexpectedly. There are also 3 Neon sedum that will bloom in late summer and early fall.
This is the bed to the left of the front porch steps. It is approximately 40 feet long and 3 feet deep. At the back of the bed are Goldstrum Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susans), yellow Daylilies, Allium and Neon Sedum. There are also a couple of perennial Salvia in the center front of the bed. Because this bed is so narrow and spreading or trailing plants have a tendency to try and overtake the sidewalk, I used mounded plants this year. I planted 6 Diamond Frost® Euphorbia (3 on each end) and 6 Zahara Fire zinnia (in the middle, 3 on each side of the Salvia)
In early spring, I moved my Sum and Substance hostas out to the sides of the front steps. They get sun until around a little after noon, which I knew would be too much as spring wore on. Just a few days ago I moved them up onto the porch next to the door, where they get some early morning sun and that is it.
This is the bed to the right of the steps to the porch. It is approximately 40 feet long and 4.5 feet deep. The back is planted with Goldstrum Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susans) and yellow Daylilies. A peony anchors the bed end by the front porch steps. I also just planted a Double Play® Big Bang Spiraea, one of my new plant obsessions. In additiona, there are a few Moonbeam Coreopsis. For annuals, I've planted 3 Señorita Rosalita® Cleome, 2 Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunias, 2 Diamond Frost® Euphorbia, 9 Zahara Fire zinnia and 8 dwarf sunflower seeds. I plan on adding 2 Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunias, 1 Diamond Frost® Euphorbia and 1 Moonbeam Coreopsis. I'm having problems finding the Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ I need. If I can't locate them it will be back to the drawing board. The photo on the left is from the 9th, the right is from the 18th.
This is the bed in front of the 'Limelight' Hydrangeas. This bed is approximately 60 feet long and 6 feet deep. The back of the bed is anchored by 'Limelight' Hydrangeas. In front of that is a mix Goldstrum Rudbeckia, Daffodils, Iris, Peonies, Echinacea, Garnet Brocade® Sedum and a newly planted Double Play® Big Bang Spiraea. In front of and mixed with the perennials, I plant annuals for all summer color. This is not the planting scheme I had originally planned. However, when I got to the garden center, the annual blue salvia I was planning to use was nowhere to be found. They did, however, have Illusion® Emerald Lace Ipomoea. I swapped the chartreuse for the blue flowers and thought, OK that will work, but wasn't overly excited. Then I got home and planted the bed. I LOVE IT! I am so excited to watch this bed develop over the summer.
It is viewed most often from a distance (it is across the yard from the house and the driveway) and I think the bubblegum pink, chartreuse and orange will be fantastic from a distance, as well as up close. Add in the yellow from Goldsturm and I just think it will be great. Here is the plant count: 8 Illusion® Emerald Lace Ipomoea, 27 Zahara Fire zinnia, 11 Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunias, 9 Señorita Rosalita® Cleome and 4 Luscious® Citrus Blend™ Lantana - the other plant I was super excited to find at my local garden center. I love it! The photos to the left and in the middle are from the 9th, the one on the right is from the 18th. You can already tell that the plants have grown.
The shade bed is looking great. The Jackmanii Clematis is in full glowing purple and looks the best it has ever looked. The hostas and Dream Catcher™ Kokwitzia are both looking great. The orange daylilies are about to pop. When they do, the contrast with the purple is striking. That was a happy accident and it is rather a fleeting effect, but I love it while I have it.
The veggie garden hasn't changed much from the 9th (left) to the 18th (right), other than I got the weeding done:-) Although when it comes to growth, the veggie garden is leading the way. Currently I have 3 rows of potatoes, 4 cabbage plants, 1 tomato (Celebrity), 2 green bell peppers, 4 rows of Sugar Baby sweet corn (planted about a month apart, to stagger the harvest and have corn for fresh eating for longer). I will add most of a row of green beans (Strike) as soon as I get a chance and then we will call the garden done.
This time you get a gratuitous non-garden photo. We live out in the county and earlier this week, they cut the hayfield across from our house. It was drying in the sun and every time I went outside that day it smelled heavenly. There are few things in this world that smell as good as hay drying in the sun. It's a bit like freshly mown grass, but better. Sometimes you have to remember to take the time to smell the hay:-)
May 3, 2012
Miranda now has hair long enough for a ponytail, just barely!
The big hosta in the corner is just starting to bloom (left). You can see the sun plants in the bed in front of the hosta (middle). I know this might seem a bit odd the shade plant and the sun plants so close together. However, the hosta is tucked away in the corner where the "sun don't shine" (well, it hardly shines) and the sun very much shines on the rest of the bed. You can see a hosta in the container on the right hand of the middle photo. Since it is spring it is sitting in sun and doing fine. I'll move it onto the porch in a few weeks where it will thrive in shade through the summer. There are currently five plants in the bed, two Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunias and three Señorita Rosalita® Cleome. I am planning to add three Profusion Zinnia the the front middle of the bed. I know it looks bare now, but a month from now things will be filled in a lot. This bed is approximately 4 x 10 feet, not counting the area where the hosta is. The photo on the right shows the corner bed. The honeysuckle, peony and rose are all in good color. This is my earliest to bloom peony and it is a bit battered by rain and wind. The rose smells heavenly when I walk by:-)
You get a bonus photo this time, I took this on April 26, before the rain wreaked havoc on the peony. I love the red of the rose with the white of the peony.
Absolutely Amethyst® Iberis is looking great (left and middle photos). It is in full bloom. The color on my screen really isn't doing the plant justice. It is a really a vibrant purple. There is a saying about perennials "first year sleep, second year creep, third year leap." This means that often the first year you've planted a perennial they don't do a whole lot, maybe grow a bit but that is it. The second year, you get a good growth spurt and some color. The third year they are well established, you get great color and good growth. Absolutely Amethyst® performed exactly like that for me. The first year I wondered if they were going to make it. The second year I got a bit of color and good growth. This year they look like what I expected them to be.
The photo on the right is of the bed in front of the porch. It is looking green right now and I have yet to plant annuals. I am going to try something different this year. Since this bed is so narrow (3 feet front to back) and the perennials are taking up quite a bit of room, I am going to use only mounded and upright annuals to fill in. That is on the slate for Saturday.
I love these teal pots, but they aren't the easiest to work with color wise (left photo). This past year I planted a Sum and Substance Hosta in each container. I love the chartreuse and teal together. If the sun gets too intense here at the bottom of the stairs, I'll simply move them up on the porch and have them flank the front door. As time goes on the plants should really fill in and this will look even better. The middle photo shows my shade bed, which looks great if you ignore the weeds. Those are slated to get yanked this weekend. Cross your fingers! The right photo shows Coffee Cups Colocasia. It does best with moist to wet soil, so I put it in a galvanized metal bucket. It is hard to tell from the photo, but the leaves are cupped. When it rains they fill with water and then eventually tip over and dump it, then refill again. Very cool!
While the bed to the left of the porch steps is very narrow (three feet deep), this one is quite a bit deeper - around five feet front to back. This means a lot more space to play. While I will try to stick to a similar color palette, I will use a wider array of plants in this bed. The peony in the corner is just about to burst into full color. I can't wait. I do have a few annuals in this bed, two Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunias and three Señorita Rosalita® Cleome. I will add the same to the other half of the bed and then fill in with additional plants. I'm not sure what yet, I have to see what my choices are when I get to the garden center.
Last year this bed did not look very good all summer long. In addition to the plants looking a bit tired, the lawn was encroaching (those plans to line it with landscape bricks, have yet to come to fruition) and action needed to be taken. Last week I grabbed my shovel and added about two feet of depth to the bed, while straightening the edge and beating back the lawn. I planted several clumps of Señorita Rosalita® Cleome and nine Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunias. I do need to add more plants to this bed and do some weeding, but I have a good start. This is the first time this peony has bloomed for me. It is a great color!
Last, but not least, after taking last year off the veggie garden is back. I have potatoes, green beans (the variety Strike), cabbage (my husband loves cabbage soup) and sweet corn (the variety Sugar Baby). I am going to add two more rows of sweet corn, some green peppers and I am going to have to replant the green beans since they basically chose not to come up. I also desperately need to weed. Looks like I have a busy weekend coming up!
April 18, 2012
It's not as if I needed another reason to love Hostas, but it occurred to me today that they come up and look fantastic while most of the rest of my perennials are just getting going. Not only do they look great now, but for months this summer. There are usually very good reasons a plant class is considered a work horse and Hostas certainly deserve their status. Please, ignore the weeds in the photo on the right. Provided it isn't raining on Friday, I will be weeding and digging flower beds.
I mentioned in the newsletter that we got close to 5 inches of rain over the most recent Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We needed the rain, but not really that much. Nevertheless, the plants weathered the downpour with ease. The honeysuckle (left) is still blooming, although I have yet to see my first hummingbird. The Peony buds are getting larger (middle). They are still way ahead of schedule, but have slowed down and are developing at a normal pace now. The rose bush (Mom gave me a start of it, my grandma planted it at least 45 years ago and most likely much longer ago than that) is blooming (right), rather early too. The foliage looks a bit light green. I need to get it some controlled release fertilizer.
The Absolutely Amethyst® Iberis is just starting to crack color (left). Usually this hybrid Iberis would bloom a few weeks later than this, a month to six weeks after the common Iberis. This year, like many other plants it is on a turbocharged schedule. The ornamental allium (middle) is also just coming into bloom. In this bed, I'm starting to get a good progression of color through spring. From Daffodils to the Iris, then comes the Allium and finally the Peonies. By the time the Peonies finish blooming, the annuals are usually planted and adding color. The photo on the right shows Dream Catcher™ Kokwitzia. It took 3 years for the shrub to get large enough to truly have presence, but it is very much adding color and texture to the shade bed.
On the left, we see one of the 'Limelight' Hydrangeas. It is hard to tell from the photo but, the deer have been munching. I need to spray to discourage them. Usually if I can deter them for a short time, they will move on to other locations. Oso Easy® Paprika Rose (right) is also adding some color to my spring garden.
April 5, 2012
The 'Sweat Pea' is growing like crazy and changing every day. She is starting to develop her own opinion on what she should be doing. It is super fun, but more challenging too!
After several weeks of warm temps, we were back to average or below average temps here in early April. The garden is developing quite quickly. The hosta are up, the creeping phlox are in full bloom and the honeysuckle is already blooming!
The peonies are already well budded. Usually they bloom in May for me. It is nowhere near May and I'm a bit worried that we'll get frost and I won't get to enjoy my peonies this year. The hosta in containers are up and getting quite large already.
The shade bed is well along. The hosta are really taking off (left).In the March 15/18 photos I showed Dream Catcher™ Kokwitzia leafing out quite nicely, here in early April it is looking fantastic. In addition to the golden and bronze foliage, you also get lovely light pink blooms (middle and right).
My garden has always had a lapse in color after the daffodils finished blooming and I've been working on changing that. The Irises are really adding a good pop of color right now.
I meant to get out around the 25th or 28th of March - somewhere in there and get some photos of the redbuds and dogwoods in bloom. Unfortunately, I didn't make it. This is of one our dogwoods, you can see it is well past the blooming stage.
As a comparison to a more typical year, take a look at the photos from last year. On April 28th, the peonies were budded, the dogwoods were in full bloom and the Irises were still in color.
March 15 and 18, 2012
We were so warm that I didn't wait a month to take new photos. A week after my last set of photos things looked very different. These photos are of a wild Serviceberry tree in full bloom. I think most people think these are dogwoods when they see them, but Serviceberry blooms before the dogwoods do. They are gorgeous in early spring.
Walking in the woods by our house is always interesting. I'm not sure why I have a fascination with moss, but I love it. The spring ephemerals are in full bloom and with our very warm temps will end up being even more ephemeral than usual.
The daffodils were in full, gorgeous bloom on the 15th (left and middle), by the 18th (right) they were completely out of bloom. On the 8th the daffodils were just really getting started. Usually daffodils will remain in bloom quite a bit longer. The heat really hurried their demise.
The Forsythia was in full bloom on March 15 (left photo), by the 18th (right photo) it was done. Back on the 8th, it had just started blooming.
You saw earlier that the Serviceberry trees were in full bloom. Our crabapples (left), wild redbuds (middle) and wild dogwoods (right) were budded and about to pop on the 15th.
By the 18th the crabapple was in full, glorious bloom and the bees were in heaven!
On the 18th, the Dream Catcher™ Kolkwitzia is coming along nicely, starting to really leaf out.
March 8, 2012
Miranda is changing everyday and seems poised to start crawling at any moment. In honor of March Madness - the basketball version, not the flower version - here's a picture of her in tigers gear. Go Mizzou!
Yesterday, I finally got a chance to go out and rake leaves out of my flower beds. It would have been better to do it, when the first daffodil tips poked out of the ground, but I just didn't get to it. I battered the daffodils a bit and left some leaves behind, but it was 70 degrees and felt fantastic to be outside. It was also windy as all heck and by the end of the day some of the leaves had made their way back into the beds. I'll have to clean them out again soon. Since Daffodils and Forsythia are my harbingers of spring, I guess we'll have to call it spring here in mid-Missouri! The early daffodils are blooming and you can see the Forsythia just cracking color. I should swap this older Forsythia for one of the newer ones from our ColorChoice collection. My husband has been bugging me to move it, so that gives me a great opportunity to just swap it for a new one (or two).
The 'Limelight' Hydrangea bed also has clumps of Daffodils in bloom. I scatter bulbs between my perennials. The Daffodils bloom early and then the perennials grow and cover the aging foliage, so I don't have to watch it turn brown. There are several types of Daffodils here, some will bloom a bit later in the season.
February 9, 2012
There is nothing worth photographing in my garden right now, so I thought I'd show a new photo of the "sweet pea."
January 12, 2012
Just a couple photos from my lackluster winter garden.
It was 20 degrees and snowing this morning when I got up. By mid-afternoon it was 18 degrees and windy - not a good direction for the temperature to be heading! I need to add more winter interest to my garden. I usually have the dried flower heads from my 'Limelight' Hydrangeas, but I trimmed them back early this year and they are missing. We do have the holly by the garage. It provides a bird refuge each winter. I can't tell you how many times I've stepped out of the kitchen door only to be startled by an explosion of birds from the hollies. The snow looks lovely against the dark green foliage. Neon Sedum (middle photo) is also providing a bit of winter interest, after giving my garden a great shot of vibrant color for fall. Some of the best interest is given by the woody hillside behind the house. We have giant rocks back there. I find them very cool. The woods are also a bird haven. I've been seeing, among others, a couple of rather large woodpeckers hanging out back there. I'm attempting to ID which one. Now that I've reviewed the most likely options I need another sighting. I'll try to get a picture too, but so far they've eluded the camera.
Limelight' Hydrangea paniculataPP: 12874, Can.: 2319; Oso Easy® Paprika Rosa 'ChewMayTime' PP: 18347 Can. Can.: 3401; Absolutely Amethyst® Iberis hybrid 'IB2401' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum Petunia hybrid 'USTUNI6001' PP: 17730 Can. Can.: 2871; Senorita Rosalita® Cleome hybrid 'Inncleosr' PP: 19733 Can. Can.: 3290; GoldDust™ Mecardonia hybrid 'USMECA8205' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Diamond Frost® Euphorbia graminea 'Inneuphdia' PP: 17567 Can. Can.: 2830; Daisy May® Leucanthemum 'Daisy Duke' PP: 21914 Can. PBRAF; Double Play® Big Bang Spiraea 'Tracy' PPAF Can. PBRAF; Garnet Brocade™ Sedum (Hylotelephium) hybrid 'Garbro' PP: 16350 Can. Can.: 2723; Illusion® Emerald Lace Ipomoea batatas 'NCORNSP012EMLC' PP: 21744 Can. Can.: 4162; Luscious® Citrus Blend™ Lantana camara '2003301' PP: 19706;