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Kerry's Garden 2016

I am once again writing about my garden each month. You'll get to see the good and the bad, after all gardening is a different adventure every year.

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 200820092010, 2011, 2012, 20132014 and 2015.  Please note that most of the plants in my containers will not be available at retail garden centers until spring 2017.  The photo on the left is of my daughter and I.

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, along with their daughter, 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.
 

October 6

Let's start things out with a picture of the sunrise from this morning.  We are lucky to be able to see both sunrises and sunsets from our house.  I thought this one was especially lovely.

Can you get a more prototypical fall scene than mums?  I bought these two from the school sale and they are just starting to pop into good color.  The lavender-pink has about quarter of the flower coverage, while the white is just cracking color.

This is the bed I am planning to overhaul.  It is about 80% Rubbeckia and the other 20% is Salvia and Neon Sedum.  I plan on removing all of the Rudbeckia and then I'll see with the rest.  I am also going to try and remove a foot of the back fill soil and replace it with topsoil, to try and get better drainage and fewer rocks.  Wish me luck!

Remember how decimated Vermillionaire® cuphea was from the Japanese beetles?  On the left you can see how well it has rebounded.  It looks great right now!  On the right is the other bed at the front of the house, it is showing reasonable color right now, but overall the bed doesn't look great.  Another bed I need to clean up at some point this fall.

The roof is done, but my containers were left a bit too long under the porch with not enough sunlight and since it was already fairly late in the season, I composted most of them.  I did put my two best flanking the front steps, where they continue to look awesome.

I've added at least one of each of our Shadowland® Hostas to my shade bed.  I'm excited to see how they do.

The big bed is still holding a fair amount of color.  It looks better form a distance than it does up-close.

Here are a few close-up photos from within this bed.  I know that two photos are overkill, but really Vermillionaire® cuphea didn't show well this summer thanks to the Japanese beetles and I want you to see how great it looks now.

Playin' the Blues® is a seriously awesome plant.  It looked great all summer and it is still going strong. Tough as nails with great color punch.  What more could you ask for?

You have to love ornamental grasses like Prairie Winds® 'Cheyenne Sky' Panicum, which looks great despite the long and late season.  The photo on the left is from late afternoon and the one on the right is from early this morning, right after I took the sunrise photo I showed at the start of this post.

September 7

I am going to write mostly about my in-ground gardens rather than my containers, but I thought I'd show you this first. You can see a photo of the deck, which is usually packed with color. Right now only Graceful Grasses® King Tut® is left. It isn't because all of the others expired, I moved them because we are having our roof replaced.

So where are the rest of the containers? They are in protective custody on the porch, out of harms way from falling shingles. They'll be moved back to their old places once the roof is finished.

The beds along the porch have transformed again. Last time, this one was chock-full of blooming Rudbeckia, in fact this bed is now basically Rudbeckia and fall blooming Sedum, which is the mass of bright pink you see in the photos below. This bed needs more diversity and my plan for the fall is to remove pretty much everything from this bed and then replant. I need to start working on my plant list. If I can pull it off, I want to remove at least 6 to 8 inches of soil from the bed and then bring in top soil. It would be nice not to see gravel on the top of the soil every time I go to plant or weed the bed. We'll see if that all gets done or not.

Butterflies congregate on the Sedum, although in the photo below the butterfly is on a Zinnia, which they also enjoy. When I walk by the Sedum dozens of them flutter around me.  The bees also usually abound, but I haven't seen them on the Sedum yet this year.

This bed didn't do as well as I had hoped it would. Most years I over-stuff it. This year, I didn't quite put in enough plant material. You can tell that the Japanese beetles are pretty much gone. My evidence? The Summerific® 'Cherry Cheescake' is actually blooming now and it is gorgeous!

My large bed is over the hill since the Rudbeckia are done blooming. I need to trim them back and thin them out.  

So, what's still looking good? It doesn't photograph as well as it looks in person, but Prairie Winds® 'Cheyenne Sky' Panicum has nice burgundy color as most of the rest of the garden is flagging.

Playin' the Blues Salvia is still looking great as well. The bumblebees love it for sure. I tried to get a photo, but they wouldn't cooperate. This plant had at least half a dozen bumbles buzzing around.

And finally, this rose is another sign that the Japanese Beetles are gone. The beetles love roses and it is nice to finally have one in bloom. This is a brand new rose called At Last because at last we have a rose that is fragrant and disease resistant. Boy is it fragrant!

August 31

A week and a half later, Toucan® Rose is more fully flowered and looking gorgeous.  Our resident hummingbirds regularly visit all of the Toucans looking for a sip of nectar.

August 19

I have been starring out the door of my office for two days at this flower on Toucan® Rose Canna, it completely fascinates me.   It finally occurred to me that maybe I should take a picture.  Which proves that even a highly impatient, thoroughly mediocre photographer can strike gold every now and then.  You know, exactly the way even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then:-)  Now, if i could only get one that shows the hummingbirds investigating the flower!

August 11

This month I am featuring my garden beds, since I focused on the combinations last month. The gardens are looking their best right now.  After an unusually hot and dry June, we've had a wetter than usual July and early August, although quite hot and very muggy.  The gardens do love it though.  I tend to choose heat and drought tolerant plants well-suited to my Missouri weather and mid to late summer is when they shine.  This is one of the beds flanking the front porch.

This is the bed on the other side of the front door.  It hasn't filled in as well as I had hoped.  The Japanese beetles did a lot of damage to this flower bed, which is contributing to it looking not as good as it could.  

While I'm not going to show other containers, the ones by the front door do complete the picture of how this side of the house looks.

This is my large bed.  I had gotten the weeds under control and it was looking fairly neat.  However, about 3 weeks ago I tore a muscle in my foot and I've been in a boot (one week to go hopefully!) so the bed really needs to be weeded again.  It will have to wait another week or so before I get out there and get it done.  This is the full bed view.  You can see that the bed has a lot of black-eyed Susans.  I love them, but I do think they need to be thinned a bit to give more room for plants that bloom at other times of the year.

 

A bit of a closer view...

A nice soft blue is a great contrast to the jaunty yellow of the Rudbeckia.

Another view...

Pink also provides a nice contrast to the bright yellow of the rudbeckia.

July 22

Last week I showed photos of all of my combos, but they weren't really blooming well due to recent rain.  Here an update of a few of them after a week of sun and boiling hot temps! I also managed to get out and weed my large flower bed, there are a couple near the house that still need to be done - hopefully this weekend, but let's call it progress.  I also did spot spray on the worst plants for the Japanese Beetles.

In the combo on the left, the thriller is Toucan® Red Canna.  Supertunia® Really Red Petunia, Superbells® Tropical Sunrise Calibrachoa and Superbena® Royale Romance Verbena.  The combo on the Right has Toucan® Yellow Canna, Superbells® YellowSuperbells® Morning Star and Supertunia® Picasso in Purple.

Graceful Grasses® Prince Tut and the Supertunia® Vista Fuchsia are looking really good.

On the left, the combo containers Toucan® Yellow CannaBright Lights Yellow Osteospermum and Superbells® Yellow and Superbells® Tropical Sunrise Calibrachoa.  The one on the right, is by the front steps and includes Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Jet Black Ipomoea, Angelface® Perfectly Pink Angelonia, Superbells® Morning Star and Superbells® Blue Moon Punch Calibrachoa. 

And lastly this combo contains Pure White Butterfly Argyranthemum, Superbena® Royale Peachy Keen Verbena and Superbells® Coralina Calibrachoa. They're looking much better than they did last week.  Isn't a bit of sun a wonderful thing?

July 14

I've been promising you pictures of all of my containers for weeks on end and this time I am going to deliver, but first a few caveats on the garden.  In the last 20 days, I've been out of town for 11 days and 3 were the 4th of July holiday weekend, during which it rained almost the entire time.  Now don't get me wrong, we needed the rain really badly and I am grateful for it, but all of this adds up to my having almost no time to care for my garden.  So you get pictures of everything, but you have to ignore the weeds and plentiful other issues. Deal?  Good!

Oh, one last thing, we got almost an inch of rain last night and it got really, really windy too.  So things are a bit rain soaked in addition to everything else.

As is usually the case with a garden a few issues have cropped up.  Lesson number 1 for the season, test your watering strategy before you really need it.  Again, I am really, really grateful for the rain.   And the rain has been plentiful since the beginning of July.  Which means no watering has been necessary - on my containers or landscape beds.  

Pests have also cropped up and for that I have photos.  These nice lacey leaves are courtesy of a massively bad Japanese Beetle infestation.  The local Cooperative Extension info says this is the worst infestation they've seen.  And in the bottom photo you can see the little critters congregating - middle left of that photo you can see a fairly clear photo of the beetles.  While I'm not completely organic, I am not quick to use chemicals to treat for problems, but as soon as I can get to the store I am going to be buying something to knock down the population at the very least.  So what do the Japanese Beetles like in my garden?  Roses, Sweet Potato Vines (Top), Hibiscus (Middle) and Cuphea (Bottom.)  Pretty much everything else has been left mostly alone.  What other issues am I having?  Well, there's the powdery mildew on my beloved honeysuckle and some kind of worm is also munching.

 

Not all insects are bad, of course.  Here are bees enjoying the fruits of my labor.  There is one bee in the left-hand photo.  In the right-hand photo there are 3 bumblebees in the photo - one by the black-eyed Susans, on on the bottom of the salvia spike above the right most black-eyed Susan flower and one toward the top of the right-most Salvia spike.  The salvia is Playin' the Blues®.

 

And insects and disease aren't the only things messing my garden.  The deer have gotten bold lately and for the first time in a long time I caught sight of a bunny, unfortunately he came hopping out of my flower bed.  I haven't seen much damage, all things considered.  Remember, I haven't had time to weed in weeks, but check out the sweet potato vine (top photo) and the obvious damage.  I am sure this is from deer.  The middle photo shows some nibbled stems from a container on my porch, in fact the container on the left in the bottom photo.  If the deer or the rabbit are coming on the porch and nibbling on plants, I am in real trouble. And I really, really want a picture of that!

My flower beds are doing really well, in general, and this is the time of year when they really start to shine.  I missed getting a photo of Amazing Daisies Daisy May® in full flower, it's a bit over the hill now, but the Goldsturm Rudbeckia are in full glory.  This is the bed to the left of the front steps.  It will only look truly awesome for a few weeks, but I get reasonable color for most of the season.

This is the bed on the other side of the porch.  It needs to be weeded in the worst way and I think a few more plants would have helped it fill out better.  I'm not thrilled with this one.  The five Vermillionaire® that are being chowed on by Japanese Beetles certainly aren't helping things.  I planned on them being the anchor in the center of this bed and they just aren't showing well with the beetle issue...

This is the overall view of my largest bed.  It's showing good color but needs a good weeding and some Japanese beetle treatment.

Here are a few close-ups from the bed.  Black-eyed susans, a couple of Echinacea (the lavender) and one daylily (the red).

Black-eyed Susans with Profusion Double Cherry zinnia and Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum (to the right.)

Prairie Winds® 'Cheyenne Sky' Panicum is a native that just keeps doing its thing.  The burgundy red tips are gorgeous.  It isn't too big, stays nicely clumped and I love it.  This area needs to be reworked.  It has great elements, they just aren't spaced quite right.  The spent white flowers are the remains of a great show put in by Amazing Daisies Daisy May® Shasta Daisy.

'Miss Molly' butterfly bush is a great contrast to the yellow of the black-eyed Susans.

The deck, filling out nicely.

Going combo by combo, first up is one not on the deck, left.  It contains Pure White Butterfly Argyranthemum, Superbena® Royale Peachy Keen Verbena and Superbells® Coralina Calibrachoa.  The one on the right, is by the front steps and includes Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Jet Black Ipomoea, Angelface® Perfectly Pink Angelonia, Superbells® Morning Star and Superbells® Blue Moon Punch Calibrachoa.

 The combo on the left is close to a copy of the one on the right above.  Three of the five plants are the same - Angelface® Perfectly Pink Angelonia, Superbells® Morning Star and Superbells® Blue Moon Punch Calibrachoa.  The two that are different is this one that uses Superbells® Hollywood Star and Sweet Caroline Bewitched After Midnight Ipomoea.  The combo on the right, is the first one on the deck.  The thriller is Toucan Red Canna.  Supertunia® Really Red Petunia, Superbells® Tropical Sunrise Calibrachoa and Superbena® Royale Romance Verbena.

On the left, the combo containers Toucan® Yellow CannaBright Lights Yellow Osteospermum and Superbells® Yellow and Superbells® Tropical Sunrise Calibrachoa.  On the right is the planter I made with the Flower Pillow.  It has Superbells® Miss Lilac and Superbells® Grape Punch Calibrachoa.

In the container on the left the thriller is Toucan® Red Canna and also includes  Supertunia® Really Red Petunia, Superbells® Tropical Sunrise Calibrachoa and Superbena® Royale Romance Verbena.  The combo on the right includes Angelface® Perfectly Pink Angelonia, Superbells® Hollywood Star and Superbena® Royale Romance Verbena.

 

Well all three of these look the same and they originally had Supertunia® Vista FuchsiaSuperbells® Tropical Sunrise and Bright Lights Yellow Osteospermum.  At this point the Supertunia® Vista Fuchsia has pretty much taken over the combinations, although Bright Lights Yellow still peeks out here and there.

Graceful Grasses® King Tut® is doing his normal thing and growing like crazy, photo on the left.  He is at least 6 feet tall and looking quite stately.  He weathered the wind and rain yesterday quite well.  Tthe container on the right has two Superbells® Hollywood Star plants.

Graceful Grasses® Prince Tut is half the size of his big brother and also looking great, left photo below.  The combo on the right has Toucan Yellow Canna, Superbells® YellowSuperbells® Morning Star and Supertunia® Picasso in Purple.

June 16

My containers have multiplied, going from 8 to 17.  I now have 12 on the deck, 4 near the front door and one in a corner of the sidewalk and that pretty much exhausts my options for container gardens - at least sun ones...  Here's the overview shot of the deck.  The welcome mat is outside the door to my office, so the combinations are what I see from my office windows.

At the very end of April, I planted Graceful Grasses® King Tut® in the container on the left below.  At the time it was about a foot high and maybe 8 inches across.  It is now around 5 feet tall and maybe 4 feet wide, with more to go.  The photo in the middle is of our "coming to a garden center in 2017" Graceful Grasses® Prince Tut, King Tuts® little brother.  I planted him a week ago and it is now about 18 inches tall and wide and will top out at about 3 feet tall.   It'll be interesting to see the differences at the end of the season.  The last photo, the one on the right, is the planter that sits on the corner of the sidewalk out front.  Once I get color on it, I'll talk more about the specific plants involved.

These three combinations are along the side of my office.  They will get reflected heat from the house as the sun reflects off the siding all summer long.  The two combos on the left are newly planted, the one on the right was planted from one of the Flower Pillows. Again I'll cover which specific plants are involved once I get more color.  

The two combos on the right below were planted from the earlier planting.  The one on the left is a week old.  The middle container has Angelface® Pefectly Pink Angelonia (new for 2017) as the height element, it isn't blooming yet.  The other two plants are both Superbells® Hollywood Star Calibrachoa, they have a cool yellow and pink pattern.  I think you'll love them.  The contianer on the right include all new for 2017 varieties.  The bright yellow is Bright Lights Yellow Osteospermum, the petunia is Supertunia® Vista Fuchsia Improved and the third plant is Superbells® Tropical Sunrise Calibrchoa (it is the reddish plant just peeking out on the right hand side of the pot.  If Vista Fuchsia doesn't outgrow the other two plants, I htink this will end up being an awesome color combinatioin, I have two other pots with this same combination of plants.

The planter on the right is a repeat of the one on the right above.  The one on the left has two Superbells® Hollywood Star Calibrachoa.  It originally also included the zinnia that my daughter grew me for Mother's day.  Unfortunately the rain rotted it.  I did convince her to add the other two plants to the planter so she hasn't realized that the zinnia didn't make it.  She just thinks her plant looks beautiful.  Dodged a bullet there!

Below on the left is the last of the three matching combos, it is the same as the one on the right above. The other combo is newly planted and I'll talk ingredients once it is in better bloom.

 Matching containers flank the front door, plant list to come when they are larger.

 

The last two combinations both look like this and flank the bottom of the front stairs to the porch.   Once again, I'll detail the plant material once they are flowering better.  And that is it for this week.  To see what the deck and combos looked like two weeks ago, just scroll down.

June 2

I have more new plant samples coming later this week and I'll use them to plant up more container combinations.  I have 8 already potted, up and residing on the deck and as usual they are all brand new varieties that will be available in garden centers next spring.  The photo on the left below, shows the overview of the deck.  The photo on the right below shows the combination that is in three of the planters.  The plants in these combinations are Supertunia® Vista Fuchsia Improved (brighter color and a habit that will now match Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum®), Superbells® Tropical Sunrise (they are both blooming) and the third one is Bright Lights Yellow Osteospermum - which isn't blooming right now, but was earlier.  I am going to give it a light trim and with warmer temps and more sun it should come back into bloom.  I'm really excited about this mix - I think it is going to be fabulous!

 

The combo in the photo on the left has two Superbells® Hollywood Star plants (bright rose-pink with a yellow star pattern) and one Angelface® Perfectly Pink Angelonia for height (yummy deep pink).  The middle photo is of Graceful Grasses® King Tut® Cyperus, which is, as always, growing strong.  The container on the right, is planted from one of the "Flower Pillows" and it is also showing really good growth, although it isn't yet flowering.

  

The beds around the house are coming along well.  I have quite a few perennials in most of the beds, so while I don't have a ton of color right now, the beds are nice and full.  I have been regularly seeing the hummingbird buzzing around the honeysuckle bush.  It's good to have him (her?) back!  

  

This is the last bed by the porch.  I am adding perennials to this bed as well, including two 'Denim n' Lace' Russian Sage that I planted this spring. The annuals I planted in this bed include:  Supertunia® Black CherryVermillionaire® cuphea, Diamond Frost® Euphorbia and Profusion Double Cherry Zinnia.  I'm excited, I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out!  The photo on the right shows Double Play® Artisan® Spirea in bloom, a bit past its prime now, but very nice and colorful.

 

The photo on the left below is of Clematis jackmanii, which is showing really well against the green and chartreuse foliage as a backdrop.  The photo on the right shows the shade bed looking good.  

The big bed is settling in and coming along.

A few close-up photos.  By next time I should be getting some better color in this bed.

May 20

Sorry.  With the double whammy of travel and rain, I have no new pictures this week.  I'm really glad to see the rain, my plants are going to be really grateful.  I have the garden beds done, unless something unforseen crops up, but the containers are just getting going.  I've already had to replant one combo - apparently a squirrel was absolutely sure that there were nuts hidden in the soil somewhere.  I think the plants will recover, but they were looking a bit sad lying there on the deck until I rescued them...  I'll add pictures as soon as I can.

May 2

The color is really coming in the garden now, with the earliest peony just starting to bloom, the rose bush in full color and more of the shrubs popping!  Let's take a tour.  I'll start with the one and only container I have potted up so far - my annual planting of Graceful Grasses® King Tut®.  As usual, he is hanging out in his own personal water garden again this year.  He doesn't bloom, but he is settling in nicely (photo, left below).  In the photo on the right you can see my stockpile of plants to be planted as soon as the ground is dry enough.

 

Shrubs are adding quite a bit of early color in my garden.  On the left, you can see Creme Fraiche® Deutzia and Double Play® Blue Kazoo® Spirea both just starting to color up.  In the center is one of the peonies just budded like crazy.  Another one just started blooming.  On the right, is my rose bush in full bloom. 

   

One of my other peony bushes had flowers that were just beginning to open, not the one in the photo above.  I cut some of the roses and some of the just opening peonies, put them in a vase and gave them a couple of hours and the result is what you see in the photo on the right below.  I have them on my desk and they smell heavenly!

  

The photo on the left is a little tilted - bad camera work.  It is a bit hard to see, but the Honeysuckle bush (the tall green one) is blooming.  Still no hummingbird sightings, but I am expecting to see them soon.  The silvery-blue flowers at the bottom of the photo is 'Cat's MeowNepeta which is in full bloom.  The bees love it, which is always a good thing (unless you are highly allergic to bees, although I have never been stung by a bee in all my years gardening).  'Cat's Meow' is super tough, blooms seemingly forever and is so easy to care for.  How can you not love it?  The middle photo shows the full bed to the right of the porch, it doesn't really have much color yet, but I included it because I was surprised to see both of my Summerific® Hardy Hibiscus just starting to send up shoots.  I wouldn't have been at all surprised if it took another 3 weeks or more to see them emerging.  it's good to know they both survived the winter!  The photo on the right shows Double Play® Artisan® Spirea nicely budded - it'll be blooming before long and the peony is also budded - it does tend to be the last of my peonies to bloom, though.  Note to self, get some early spring color added to this bed.

  

The shade garden is filling in quite nicely.  Dream Catcher Kolkwitzia is now in full bloom and looking great.  The hostas are up and close to being fully leafed out.  There are few gaps where extreme weather caused some death and I do need to get those spots filled in.  The interior of the bed has never been all that full, but I am working on that.  Last year I planted one of our new bush honeysuckles - Kodiak® Black.  I was afraid that I hadn't given it enough care to establish it well enough to survive the winter, but it is up and growing well.  It has dark foliage - not as dark in shade as it would have if it was given more sun - and yellow flowers.  It ends up 3 to 4 feet tall and about the same width.  It should be a good contrast to the chartreuse foliage of the hosta and Dream Catcher and will really help fill in the interior of the bed.

  

Most of the color you see in this bed is still the chartreuse foliage plants, but there is some flower color coming.  The photo on the right below shows Double Play® Big Bang spirea budded up and about to start blooming.  In the foreground, almost visible is Vermillionaire® cuphea, with its orange tubular blooms.

 

Baptisia Decadence® 'Lemon Meringue' is just coming into bloom and adding some needed floral color.  Another shot of  Double Play® Big Bang, with Lemony Lace Sambucus in front of it.

 

April 20

They say April Showers bring may flowers, well I'm out taking photos during a break in those April showers, so the plants might look a bit rain soaked...  We've had a great slow spring this year, which has been really fun.  I did notice that our porch appears to be yellow now, which means the oaks are starting to bloom, which means we are going to be inundated with pollen - UGH.  On the plus side it only lasts a couple of weeks a year.  Below from left, Graceful Grasses® King Tut® is the one and only annual I've bought so far.  I wanted to make sure my local garden center didn't sell out before I grabbed mine!  While I was there I checked in on the Vermillionaire® cuphea they are growing (I stopped by nice and early and asked if they would have it, so they ordered some.  Saying I wanted 17 of them probably helped convince them to do it!) and they are still a couple of weeks from being ready for me to take home.  This time I'm getting photos of all of my main beds, starting at the kitchen stairs.  This is the little corner bed, which includes Creme Fraiche® Deutzia and Double Play® Blue Kazoo® Spirea and one of the peonies.  The photo on the right, creeping phlox in bloom.

  

Our tour around the house continues, first backtracking to right next to the kitchen steps, which features a large blue hosta that was living here when we moved in, so I have no idea which one it is.  The middle photo leads into the corner of the porch, everything is green and growing with the honeysuckle vine blooming, although I have yet to see the resident hummingbirds this season.  The photo on the right has a lot of open space that gets filled with annuals. Most of my perennials are up now, except the two Summerific® Hibiscus that are in this bed. They are always the very last plants to emerge and I would guess we are at least a month away from seeing growth yet...

  

 On the left is Double Play® Artisan® Spirea - you can see the great burgundy red tips on the new foliage, later I'll have fuchsia flowers as well.  The middle photos shows my massive Dream Catcher Kolkwitzia which is now fully leafed out and is just starting to bloom.  I'll get close up photos when the flowers really get going.  The photo on the right shows the Irises blooming in my big bed and the newly planted Amazing Daisies Daisy May® in front of them.

   

On the left is one of my two newly planted 'Pardon My PinkMonarda.  The middle photo shows a closer up view of some of the Iris plants.  They are really adding good color right now.  And on the right you can see the overview of this bed, the chartreuse in the spirea adds good contrast and a pop of color from foliage.  Right now even the lawn looks good. We overseeded last fall and the new grass is looking great. If I had taken this picture two days later, you would see the dandelion blooms.  Oh well, perfection isn't the goal.  I consider it part of our contribution to decreasing mono-cultures in yards!

  

These are the last two photos for this time.  On the left we have 'Cat's Meow' Nepeta which has been awesome and needs nothing from me other than a trim off dead branches in the spring.  It is tough and a really great plant.  It is actually planted by the honeysuckle bush. The photo on the right is the native dogwood close to the house.  It is still in pretty full bloom, but the end is near for flowers as the tree gets fully leafed.  That's the tour for this time!

 

April 4

Spring color on emerging foliage can be really fun and here are three great examples, Left to Right:  Lemony Lace Sambucus with chartreuse foliage - of course, Double Play® Big Bang is showing off orange foliage and Double Play® Artisan with burgundy-red early spring foliage. 

  

 

Dream Catcher is almost fully leafed out now (below, left) and  will be blooming before long.  Last year it bloomed like crazy, I'm curious to see how heavily it blooms this year.  The photo on the right (below) is of a newly emerging peony.  I can't wait for them to bloom!

 

Our second crabapple is blooming and it is spectacular this year.  The bees were buzzing all around it!  The dogwoods are the last of our showy early spring flowering natives (here in Missouri) to bloom and they just burst into bloom.  Of the three natives - serviceberry, redbud and dogwood - dogwoods are my favorites. 

  

March 23

I was out again this week searching for signs that spring continues to move forward.   From left to right below - Dream Catcher Kolkwitzia is leafing out nicely and will soon be putting on its annual spring flowering display.  The chartreuse foliage is a dream three seasons of the year, the flowers are my annual early spring bonus!  In the middle is Lemony Lace Sambucus which is just starting to unfurl tender new foliage.  You have to look close to appreciate it, but it is very cool.  On the right is Double Take Scarlet Quince, which is getting ready to bloom for the first time since I planted it.  Color in early spring is awesome!

   

 The mid and late season daffodils are still in full bloom and adding good color.  The bees are happy to see them too - this one buzzed his way in from of my camera.  I find something fascinating about emerging foliage and these peonies (on the right below) have me looking forward to what comes next!

  

There's a lot happening in the woods around the house, as well as the garden.  The center and left photos are of blooming Serviceberry trees in the woods.  The one on the right is one of our two Crabapples that just burst into bloom.  They won't last long, but they sure are gorgeous while they do! 

  

The early native wildflowers are blooming also and I couldn't resist including a picture of moss growing in the woods.  Is it odd that I think moss is super cool?   

 

March 5 and 8

The very first daffodils of the season popped on March 5th, and yes my daughter picked them all!  They are still in a vase on the kitchen counter and smelling great!  It didn't take long for the rest to start popping open.  I have a bunch still to bloom, but we are well on our way.

  

While I was out getting photos of the daffodils, I also looked for other signs of spring.  There's something about buds swelling and and new leaves starting to emerge that makes my heart leap with joy!

 

 

Patent Info:  Lemony Lace Sambucus racemosa 'SMNSRD4' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Dream Catcher Kolkwitzia amabilis 'Maradco'; Double Take 'Scarlet Storm' Chaenomeles speciosa USPP 20,951; Lemony Lace Sambucus racemosa 'SMNSRD4' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Double Play® Big Bang Spiraea 'Tracy' PP: 21588 Can. PP: 4073; Double Play® Artisan® Spiraea japonica 'Galen' USPP 21,712, Can 4,072, Double Play® Red Spiraea japonica 'SMNSJMFR' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Amazing Daisies Daisy May® Leucanthemum superbum 'Daisy Duke' USPP 21,914,Can 4,376; 'Pardon My Pink' Monarda didyma USPP 24,244, Can PBRAF; 'Cat's Meow' Nepeta faassenii USPP 24,472, Can PBRAF; 'Cat's Meow' Nepeta faassenii USPP 24,472, Can PBRAF; Kodiak® Black Diervilla rivularis 'SMNDRSF' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Double Play® Big Bang Spiraea 'Tracy' PP: 21588 Can. PP: 4073; Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum® Petunia hybrid 'USTUNI6001' USPP 17,730, Can 2,871; Supertunia® Vista Fuchsia Petunia hybrid 'BHTUN65301' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Superbells® Tropical Sunrise Calibrachoa hybrid 'INCALTRSUN' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Bright Lights Yellow Osteospermum hybrid 'INOSTYELOW' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Superbells® Hollywood Star Calibrachoa hybrid 'BBCAL26702' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Angelface® Perfectly Pink Angelonia hybrid USPPAF, Can PBRAF; 'Denim 'n Lace' Perovskia atriplicifolia USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Diamond Frost® Euphorbia hybrid 'Inneuphdia' USPP 17,567, Can 2,830; Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia hybrid 'USTUN3003' USPPAF, Can PBRAF, US Utility 7,642,436 B2

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