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What Worked – My 2014 End of Summer Roundup

There is nothing like the official change of season (autumn equinox – I see you)  to inspire a look back over the summer.   I’ve done these posts for many years and I am always so grateful for them come spring – it is helpful to remind myself what was fresh in my mind the previous fall.  Do you do something similar?

I highly recommend it.

So, my vegetable garden was less than stellar (again) this year, but the bright star in the middle of the sickly, bunny ravaged, frustrating mess was my strawberry tower. Here is how the strawberry tower grew in.  Pretty right?  And so much better than the fleeing strawberries.  The Goldilocks Rocks Bidens Hybrid at the bottom was so happy, I am left wondering if doing the whole thing in just that one plant might be a good idea.  I will definitely play with this again.

Here is a look from the top – the Euphorbia Diamond Frost and the Sunsatia Coconut Nemesia were a white combo that I think I will try again too – perhaps in other containers.

My other big love this year was Dahlias – I’ve grown them before, but never as successfully as I did this year.  I’ll have to do a whole run down post of them separately – but check out this one… it is only the size of the palm of my hand and I found her face down in the dirt….and she still looks pretty great. Her friends are bigger than my face and you can literally admire them from 50 feet away.  In my big garden these ladies are really holding their own.

On the patio I have coleus of various sorts in pots.  I have fallen hard for two varieties, Sedona (which is clashing like crazy with the purple nemesia  that I paired it with  -so I am not sharing that eye bleeding shot – but loving both plants nonetheless – just need to separate) and this one Marooned.  These less variegated varieties were pretty luscious.  Those grassy bits in the shot are lemongrass (which was a great paring with the coleus) but next year I think I will try some of these great foliage plants near my dahlias for even more drama.

The grasses are really starting to come into their full beauty.  Fall is really the best reason to plant them.  My Pennisetum Red head is still an all time favorite and I have begun to use it profusely in flower arrangements – it pairs well with Golden Rod, huge Limelight hydrangeas, Sedum (Autumn Joy) and crazy face-sized dahlias to make ginormous-ly satisfying bouquets.

I will be so sad to see the end of the annual Pennisetum  Prince as it has been such a beauty and played so well with other dark plants (like the coleus). The dark plant thing was  interesting to me – I’ve avoided them as I have a very dark-colored house and generally thought that dark plants wouldn’t work that well.  Well, I was wrong….they are lovely and though they get a little lost when planted right up against a dark wall, they are perfect for bringing this sort of sophisticated color throughout the rest of garden.  It was relief from green that I didn’t even know I needed.

So what were your big winners?

images by rochelle greayer

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Proven Winners.  I am not an employee of Proven Winners and all opinions are my own. See the other posts in this series.

Normsie's picture
Normsie Sun, 05/07/2017 - 12:50pm

i am trying to order this plant on line.cannot find a spot to get it into the shopping cart.what gives? please help.
better still is it available at english gardens in royal oak.mi? can't find that either. thanks

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Fri, 05/26/2017 - 9:47am

Storm Cloud is brand new and while annual plant production can usually be amped up quickly so that within a year or two you can have millions of plants on the market. Most perennials take longer to increase production to the point where the plant is easy to find. We are unfortunately sold out at this point.  You can try calliing local garden centers to see if they have it one hand.  I stumbled across two of them in one of my local garden centers here ins Missouri.  Or if you are intersted in mail order you can try my go-to method for finding mail order sources for plant.  Google the word buy along with the name of the plant.  In your case I googled:  Buy Storm Cloud Amsonia.  Several promising links popped up in the rsults.  You might see if that method works for you as well.


Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sat, 05/06/2017 - 7:51am

I have a beautiful huge pampas grass that has been there for well over 50 years. The past couple of years, the center has died out completely in approximately a 6 ft area and the whole plant looks bad. Can I hack away at the outer edges with an ax (shovel does not work) without digging the entire plant (at least 15 feet across) and replant the chunks into the bare center to fill in the plant?

Kerry Meyer's picture
Kerry Meyer Fri, 05/26/2017 - 10:08am

For large grasses it is not uncommon for them to die out in the center.  digging the plant, dividing it and replanting is what I understand to be the best method. Due to the extreme root mass of large ornamental grasses, it lterally might be impossible to dig the center of the grass.  

These articles on Pampas Grass should be helpfuL;

Good luck!


Beth365's picture
Beth365 Thu, 11/24/2016 - 4:29am

I've never really dealt with plants much but I had a little flower garden for the first time this year. I decided to bring some of my plants inside because I became attached to them. I want to make them happy but hard to do when I don't even know the names of my plants. I'm not even sure if they are meant to be inside plants. Is there a way I can post pictures and someone tell me what they are?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:38am

I planted 4 little limes this spring but they are not growing upright just spreading and laying on the ground.
Any ideas as to why?

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Fri, 09/30/2016 - 7:28am

It's hard to say for certain - it could be too much shade, it could be too much fertilizer and/or water, or it could be just because they are busy devoting their energies to their root systems. Leave the plants as-is for winter, and come spring, cut them back by about one-third their total height. This ensures that next season's growth comes from vigorous buds that will produce thick, strong wood. As long as the site isn't too shady, you should see a big improvement next year.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Tue, 05/10/2016 - 8:21pm

The flower pillow is a wonderful idea! I can't wait to go get some! What a wonderful way to take the guess work out of ' combinations' that work we'll together. I'm definitely looking forward to trying these!!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Tue, 04/26/2016 - 6:53am

Which variety of hydrangea would work best with eastern exposure?

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Wed, 05/11/2016 - 7:54am

It depends primarily on what hardiness zone you are located in, though generally speaking, an eastern exposure is excellent for hydrangeas. Read our Hydrangeas Demystified to learn more about picking the best hydrangeas for your climate - once you've got that down, your eastern exposure will be perfect:'s picture Mon, 03/28/2016 - 3:25pm

I'm trying to purchase the Hebe Summer Magic: I Love it! there isn't a price for it?

Cindy Meyers's picture
Cindy Meyers Thu, 03/31/2016 - 9:26am

Magic Summer Hebe is not available this year through our online store. The best way to find it would be through your local retailers. You can use our 'Find A Retailer' page and enter your specific location using your zip code. There you will find 5 listings per page of retailers near you with their addresses and phone for your convenience.

Thank you!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Wed, 03/16/2016 - 11:48am

Love the pyramid planter!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 06/15/2015 - 6:52am

Is anyone having trouble with this cultivar? Specifically the leaves are yellowing developing a rust color and dropping. While there are signs of new growth, and the flower buds are set and ready to open the bush itself looks very disheveled.

Not at all what is pictured in any of the online sites or the proven winner site itself. This is the first full year it's been in the ground as I purchased it late last year any help would be much appreciated

Stacey Hirvela's picture
Stacey Hirvela Fri, 06/19/2015 - 10:42am

We would need to know where you are located and ideally see a photo of the plant to give you the best diagnosis and advice. Can you send us a message here: and select the "shrubs" category?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sat, 05/16/2015 - 2:07am

I don't know who wrote the article on How to Care for Your Supertunias, but believe me, that person is an EXPERT. We lived in the high Idaho mountains at zone 3, elevation 5200 hundred feet and fought frosts even in July. Fortunately we had a second story balcony that let me have petunias. One wonderful year one of our sons gave me a basket of Supertunias, and the longer I had them the closer to Heaven I got! YES, pour on the fertilizer (bloom or bust? Very common.) and mix it correctly, doing
exactly as our Expert tells you, and stand back for the accolades you will receive. Not only did the plants do stunningly well, but I would pack then into the pots with sides touching another Supertunia! Now and then I'd lose one, invariably because it wasn't planted deeply enough. Thank you, Dear Expert! You have made many a smart person who follows your instructions into an expert themselves. God Bless you and keep you writing and gardening!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Mon, 05/04/2015 - 11:41am

Hello, I was wondering if you could help me with a question....Someone posted that they lost their dog, because it had been nibbling on Heliotrope plants....She posted a pic of the one she has.....I have some like the ones on your page, that have flower clusters, that look like small bouquets....Would you know if all or just some of this family of plants are toxic?...Thanks in advance...Sue Speck Alicia Harrison's photo.
Alicia Harrison

Kelly Geoghegan's picture
Kelly Geoghegan Mon, 05/11/2015 - 5:16pm

We care very much about animals! We do not test our plants. We do recommend that people visit this site that shows toxic and non-toxic plants for animals.

Hope this helps!!

PW Kelly Geoghegan

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous Sun, 01/04/2015 - 6:19am

I would like to see the pronunciation of the botanical names printed with the name. Thanks

Cindy Meyers's picture
Cindy Meyers Mon, 01/05/2015 - 10:56am

Thank you for your comment! If you are in our plant search, next to the plant name is an arrow. If you click on the arrow, you will hear the pronunciation. Here is a link to the page for Goldilocks Rocks:
At the top of the page where you see Goldilocks Rocks click on the arrow in front of the name.

Hope this helps!

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