Kerry's Garden 2019
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 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Please note that most of the plants in my containers will not be available at retail garden centers until spring 2020.
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.
Today is the first day of school and my baby is now a third grader. In honor of that, here she is hiding in one of the sunflowers she planted at the back of my big bed. The sunflowers are now ripening and are bending over. We are going to let the seeds dry and then use them for bird feed.
Sometimes I will give some of my container plants a mid to late summer trim. I do this when Supertunias get to looking a bit open. This photo shows Supertunia Vista® Snowdrift looking pretty darn awesome for the middle of August, but it is actually a bit open.
This is the plant after I took a pair of scissors and trimmed it back. It looks a bit like a green meatball now. I cut a little bit further back than I might have normally, because I had popped some Caladium bulbs into the pot and they were buried under foliage and flowers. Since I was trimming anyway and I was close to the tops of the Caladium, I went ahead and cut a bit more to bring them over the top of the plant. The reason I trimmed it like this was to increase branching and eventually flowering, which should result in a fuller plant and more flowers until we get a really hard frost. So I basically sacrifice some flowers now to have a better plant and more flowers for at least a couple of months to come. I did trim off inches worth of plant.
This is the second plant I trimmed. The plant itself looks pretty well awesome, but there are no flowers. This is Superbells® Blackcurrant Punch Calibrachoa. It went out of bloom for no reason that I can see. That happened a couple of weeks ago. I did fertilize shortly after it stopped flowering and I did see some buds on the plant. However, often a trim will help kick a plant back into flower, so I gave it a light trim - maybe an inch of foliage.
Below is the other reason I went ahead and trimmed even though it looked like buds were starting to develop. See that hole in the foliage? That is where I water when I get lazy and constantly watering at that spot has caused some fungal issues, which made a hole. I have been really good at putting the water wand up under the foliage and then watering at the very edge of the pot so that I am not getting that one area wet and cold from the water. The trim should help fill in that gap.
You've seem this one before. I love the Supertunia® Raspberry Rush™ Petunia with Heart to Heart™ 'Heart and Soul' Caladiums--I like the way the texture and colors of the two plants play together. It's even better in person.
This tropical feeling planter has Sunstar™ Pink Pentas along with Heart to Heart™ 'Fast Flash' Caladium. I have 'Fast Flash' with the other Sunstars as well, but the Sunstars have overgrown the Fast Flash. The planters still look great because the Pentas are awesome, but it is different than this one.
Portulaca are great heat tolerant, drought tolerant, tough as nails plants and a staple for tough summer environments. It's not necessarily a plant you truly love though. Well, I think I might be in love. We had a rather nice, not that 'super hot' kind of summer (woohoo!!!) which means it took longer than normal for this heat lover to really start strutting her stuff, but look at that color! Our improved Mojave® Fuchsia is a knockout! I have never seen so much branching and density and flower power from a Portulaca. It's fantastic!!!
Mixed Caladiums pots are going to look very cool for my shady spots and be very easy to care for. They are in large pots so I water maybe once a week. I will start from plants in the future rather than bulbs since they need heat to sprout and get growing.
Lastly, the front entry is looking good. My daughter's planters are still doing well and the mixed caladiums right by the door are really starting to fill in. The Fall blooming sedum plants I have in the beds near the house are enormous, really too big for the space I have. They don't add a lot of color until about this time of year, when they are truly spectacular. Youll see pictures next time. I am going to rehab that bed this fall - or at least that is the plan, so I can get a better mix of bloom times for the bed.
Since we are now back on the normal newsletter schedule, it's been a month since I last posted pictures. A LOT of growth has happened over that month. Our cool June gave way to weeks of highs in the 90's to low 100's with lots of humidity. My favorite plants tend to thrive when we have high heat and humidity. That translated into tons of growth and a deck with containers that were much too close to keep everyone happy. The heat finally broke and this week has been truly gorgeous. Lows in the 60's, highs in the low to mid 80's and low humidity. I took advantage of the cool weather to asses the planters on the deck, moved some of them into flower beds to add more color and spaced the ones that remain on the deck.
Here's a photo of the deck before I rearranged things. I realize it is not a good photo, but it is the best one I have.
Here is one from after I rearranged and moved planters. You can actually make out individual planters now. I think it looks much better.
Some of the planters I moved ended up adding additional color or height to the flower bed to the left of the front steps. My hose reaches that bed easily which makes maintenance simpler. There are two planters that I added at the back of the bed just to the right of the black-eyed Susans. This is a great way to fill in a bare spot in your garden should the need arise.
Here are some photos of the containers that remain on the deck.
You may remember that I received Heart to Heart® Caladium bulbs rather late in the season. I had most of my garden already planted, so I just tucked a number of the bulbs into various planters I created earlier in the season. The Caladiums are finally coming up and adding a great new element to these planters. In this case we have Supertunia® Raspberry Rush™ Petunia with Heart to Heart™ 'Heart and Soul' Caladiums adding height. I love the colors of the Caladium.
Another picture of Heart to Heart™ 'Heart and Soul' from a different planter. It's such a cool plant.
My favorite corner of the deck. The plant in the middle back is Rockin'® Blue Suede Shoes™ Salvia. The flowers are crystal blue with black calyxes. The other three planters are 3 of the 4 new Sunstar™ Pentas. From left to right are Red, Pink and Rose. The hummingbrids so adore this spot! I love the Heart to Heart Caladiums, but I will be looking to buy plants in the future rather than planting the bulbs. The bulbs need it to be at least 60 to 65 degrees for soil temperature for them to grow. This can mean they aren't up and adding color in the garden until the middle of summer. I love what they add to the garden, but I want it starting in spring, which means I need to start with plants instead of bulbs.
The black-eyed Susan's are putting on their annual show. The rest of this bed, however, isn't showing enough color. I'll need to look at changing things up for next year.
The bed to the right of the front steps is showing quie a lot of color. It is better in person than in photos, but the color tones are too similar and the foliage texture is likewise too similar. Some darker flower tones and larger foliage and flowers to add contrast would help make this bed have better pop.
The big bed from the top of the bed. I am getting good color here as well, although I like this bed up close better than I do from a distance. I have the same issues with this bed as the last one. I needed better color contrast, flower size and foliage size variation. Too much of it, is too much the same...
If you look at a section of the garden more closely, you can see that there is a lot of color here. It just doesn't stand out especially well. You can also see the sunflowers my daughter planted. They are about 8 feet tall now and I rather like the statement they make, even though they are really out of proportion to everything else. And the deer ate one of them, which makes things a bit lopsided when you view the bed from the front and at a distance.
The lower half of the big bed isshowing a lot of color and better color contrast. I like the way the bed looks from this vantage point.
A wider view from the bottom of the bed. The garden has largely been devoid of pest problems this year, although the Vermillionaire® Cuphea have been munched by Japanese beetles. However, we have seen much less of a problem than we've had in the last couple of years - so far, at least. I have spot treated with Sevin once and am monitoring to see if I need to do so again.
I am heading out on a work trip, so I needed to get photos of my garden taken before leaving. I am focusing on containers this time - this way you don't have to look at my weedy flower beds! One week sure can make a difference at this time of year!
Here's an overview of the deck.
One thing I did this week was tuck Heart to Heart caladium bulbs into all of my containers. Some of the new Heart to Hearts are good for sun, some for shade or some cases both. The ones I planted in these containers were all sun tolerant varieties.
Let's take a look at the containers themselves. First up is the container that has Heat it Up™ Yellow and Heat it Up™ Scarlet Gaillardia. I love the clean, bright colors on these two plants. One plant did die in this planter - they spend a lot of time on my deck, squished together waiting to be planted due to weather and that took a toll. I'm surprised I didn't lose more plants. In the second photo you can see the empty spot where I lost the plant. I planted Caladium bulbs in that open spot. I'm curious to see how it looks. Caladiums love heat, so being next to the house with all of that reflected heat should make them really happy!
Luscious® Goldengate™ Lantana is looking good. I planted a Caladium or two with it as well.
Supertunia Vista® Snowdrift™ (left) has grown exponentially. If I was better at math, i might be able to figure out the exponent! Is that a thing? Fortunately, there's no math necessary to see how great it looks, and we are really excited to be adding a 'white' variety to our popular line of Supertunia Vistas.
The pollinator corner is looking good--love seeing hummingbirds every day. Today it hovered outside and stared in at me again. I guess checking to see if it's favorite zoo exhibit was there or not. I know it is probably staring at itself in the glass of the door, but I can't quite kick the feeling that he's watching me. The plants are Rockin'® Blue Suede Shoes™ Salvia and 3 of the 4 new Sunstar™ Pentas.
Superbells® Blackcurrant Punch Calibrachoa is just really coming into bloom. Isn't that a fabulous color?!
Superunia® Raspberry Rush™ Petunia is growing well. This is another plant that didn't enjoy the crowded three weeks on the porch waiting for me to get it planted. I really thought I was going to lose one of the plants, but it managed to bounce back and is growing well. I'm impressed!
This is another combo that has grown a lot over the past week or so. The Bright Lights® Berry Rose Osteospermum at the back is just starting to bloom. I put it with the Superbells® Double Amber because I thought the Berry Rose flowers might bring out the pinkish color on the backs of the petals of the Amber Superbells... I'm not sure that is what's going to happen, but that was the intent.
This is one of the two planters my (now) 8 year old planted up. These two planters were by far the first thing we planted and you can really tell it. The ingredients are Superbena® Royale Peachy Keen verbena (which is peach) with Supertunia® Bourdeaux™, a pink pentas and Rockin'® Playin' the Blues® Salvia.
Lemon Coral® Sedum is looking great.
Vemillionaire Cuphea is filling out and looking good.
This bed to the right of the porch has really filled out, but has a ways to go before it is showing the best color.
Container planters on the deck.
I did move these 4 planters from under my office window to the corner I can see the best from my desk. All of these are pollinator friendly plants and now I can enjoy watching my winged friends come to visit. The plant in the middle back is Rockin'® Blue Suede Shoes™ Salvia. The flowers are crystal blue with black calyxes. The other three planters are 3 of the 4 new Sunstar™ Pentas. From left to right are Red, Pink and Rose.
A close-up of Rockin'® Blue Suede Shoes™ Salvia. I love the color of the flowers!
I planted my containers over the holiday weekend, so let's start with photos of new variety planters. As you might remember, I trial our plants a year ahead of time so many of the varieties shown here will not be in garden centers until spring 2020.
As I am sitting at my computer, a hummingbird is sipping nectar from one of the containers and I see a bumble bee hovering as well. I arranged the containers a bit differently this year than I have in previous years. I also planted mostly just one variety in a container. This quartet of planters is in front of my office window. The plant in the middle back is Rockin'® Blue Suede Shoes™ Salvia. The flowers are crystal blue with black calyxes. The other three planters are 3 of the 4 new Sunstar™ Pentas. From left to right are Red, Pink and Rose. The fourth color is Lavender, which I will show later. All 4 of these are heat tolerant and pollinators love them. I placed them in front of the window so they'd be close by, but I think I am going to move them to the corner of the deck where I can watch them even more closely from my office window. I so enjoy seeing the pollinators that come to visit!
This is the spot where I want to move the planters from above. I'm not quite sure yet where I'll put this quartet. I can't just swap spots because the container in the very back, is very large so it won't work just anywhere. It has 3 plants each of our new Heat it Up™ Yellow and Heat it Up™ Scarlet Gaillardia. In the middle front is Luscious® Goldengate™ Lantana. The containers on either side are combination planters. Both have Diamond Snow™ Euphorbia, which is our new, more vigorous double flowered version of Diamond Frost®. In addition, the pot on the left has three Bright Lights® White Osteospermum. The pot on the right has one Bright Lights® Berry Rose Osteospermum and 3 Superbells® Double Amber in addition to Diamond Snow™.
This group is tucked into a corner by the steps to the porch. In the back is the last of the new Pentas Sunstar™ Lavender. On either side are matching containers with one plant each of Machu® Morado Ruellia, Mojave® Red Portulaca and Patti's Pink™ Isotoma. The container in front has Supertunia® Raspberry Rush™ Petunia. It was a bit damaged during the wait on the porch, but will hopefully recover.
The container on the left has two Bright Lights® Berry Rose Osteospermum and three Superbells® Tabletop Blue Calibrachoa. The container on the right has 3 each of Superbells® Tabletop White and Red. The Tabletop Superbells are compact, but pack tons of flower power and great heat tolerance. They are perfectly sized to sit on our patio table all summer looking great, without trailing all over the table.
The last container has ColorBlaze® Wicked Witch™ Coleus. I love the deep, almost black foliage with a ruffled chartreuse edge. I nestled it into the flower bed next to the steps near the kitchen door.
Now on to a few photos of the flower beds. The lilies in this bed are just about to start blooming. They are going to be spectacular soon. Here is the original Honeysuckle and the rest of that bed. I see or hear the hummingbirds pretty much every time I am near this bed - that's one of the most reliable things in my life! I have also been watching a tiny little Carolina Wren (based on a quick google search) on my deck - picking up small bits of debris and flitting off with them. I've really enjoyed watching her. Him? Not sure... There's not one bird there's two. AND they are building a nest in one of my planters. This is not good, watering is going to be problematic. I guess it's better to discourage this now rather than later...
This is the front bed to the left of the porch. The front beds were planted a few weeks earlier than my big bed, so they are filling in reasonably by now. It still isn't all that colorful, but that will change soon. In the foreground is one of the lilies about to bloom.
Invincibelle Wee White® Hydrangea has settled in nicely and is just starting to bloom. It is, however, rather crowded. I plan to remove the irises that are crowding it and may also remove the sedum you see in the front right-hand corner of the photo, but that will wait until fall after it finishes blooming or early next spring. I'll reevaluate the situation as time goes on and remove more plants if I need to.
Here are the two containers flanking the front steps. These planters are looking great and I'm starting to really like my daughter's bold color choices!
A closer look.
'Cat's Meow' Nepeta is still in full flower and should stay that way for the summer.
Double Play® Red Spirea looking great.
The shade bed from a distance. It desperately needs to be weeded, but the plants are coming along nicely.
Kodiak® Red Diervilla coming along in the shade bed.
Shadowland® 'Waterslide' Hosta - Love the wavy edges.
Things are just getting going in the big bed. It will fill out over time.
Double Play® Big Bang™ Spirea adding a good splash of color.
In some ways not much at all has happened in my garden. Take a look at the photo below, showing the plants that I am waiting to get in the garden when it is dry enough to plant. Nothing has changed. I think it's getting close to dry enough to plant, but I'm not quite there yet.
The sunflowers my daughter is growing are a good 8 to 10 inches tall, but the Caladiums still show no signs of growth. I think it might be too cool for them.
And in other ways a lot has changed, which you'll see in the rest of these photos. Here is the honeysuckle in full bloom. I could hear the hummingbirds when I was out taking the photos. They zoomed back to the tree where (I presume) they have their nest. The Peonies are finally just starting to bloom. The two open flowers you see here are the only two that have fully opened so far. I expect them to be bursting with blooms very soon. We are supposed to be in the 80's the rest of this week!
Here is the front bed. There hasn't been a lot of new growth yet on the annuals I planted earlier, but with the warmer weather I expect them to take off. I'm sure they have been growing roots already.
And you get a bonus photo of a Peony bud from the end of that bed.
I am the Floriculture project leader for our local 4-H club. We had a meeting at one of our local garden centers and the member picked out plants for a combination planter to grow as a fair exhibit. My daughter is still in Clover Kids, but she selected plants to go in the planters by the front steps. I don't think I would have put Superbena Royale Peachy Keen verbena (which is peach) with Supertunia Bourdeaux, a pink pentas and Rockin' Playin' the Blues Salvia together in a teal pot, but that is what she wanted. I've been surprised before by a mix of plants that looked awesome when I didn't think it would. We'll see...stay tuned!
A close up look at the plants in the planters above.
I have a couple of close ups from the bed to the right of the front steps, but it hasn't filled in yet and I haven't weeded in a couple of weeks either. It's been really busy around here! Cat's Meow Nepeta looking great!
I am sucker for the compact Oriental Lilies and bought another one this year. The ones from previous years are starting to bud, but aren't blooming yet. This one was force budded before I bought it so it's already in full flower.
The big bed hasn't been planted yet with annuals. I am hoping we will be dry enough this weekend to do it. It is showing some color from the Double Play® Big Bang™ Spirea. The second photo is a close up of the Big Bang.
I saved my most specataular plant, at this moment anyway, for last. Dream Catcher® Kolkwitzia is in full flower and looking awesome! The flowers are fragrant and the pollinators are all over it.
Check out those flowers!
Here are pollinator photos I snagged today on Dream Catcher. I think this one is a clear-wing moth.
Last Friday, I made my second foray out to the local garden centers in search of Proven Winners plants for my garden. I found most of the varieties that were at the top of my must-have list. Between my two shopping trips I found Truffula™ Pink Gomphrena (brand new for this year, a total score!), Rockin'® Playin' the Blues® Salvia, Vermillionaire® Cuphea, Senorita Rosalita® Cleome and Lemon Coral® Sedum on the annual side. For perennials I bought 2 more 'Storm Cloud' Amsonia' because I want to group them with the one I already have planted. I love the early spring color and the black stems are so cool. For shrubs, I bought Invincibelle Wee White® Hydrangea, Invincibelle Mini Mauvette® Hydrangea and Spilled Wine® Weigela. Here are the plants still waiting to get transplanted.
I did get my two front beds by the porch planted last weekend. The soil was dry enough (barely) and I had the time (barely). In addition to the existing plant material in this bed, I added 5 Lemon Coral® Sedum, 3 Vermillionaire® Cuphea, 3 Rockin'® Playin' the Blues® Salvia, 4 Truffula™ Pink Gomphrena and Invincibelle Wee White® Hydrangea this year. It should be all set for the summer.
On the other side of the front steps, I added 5 Vermillionaire® Cuphea, 6 Rockin'® Playin' the Blues® Salvia, 5 Truffula™ Pink Gomphrena and 7 Senorita Rosalita® Cleome. It should also be ready for the season ahead.
I have quite a few plants waiting to go into my big bed, unfortunately it was too wet to plant last weekend when I worked on the other beds, plus I ran out of time. Then this week it has already rained 4 inches, with more to come. We should get a break, with sun over the weekend but then next week - more rain. Who knows when I'll get to plant the big bed. It's pretty much a muddy mess at the moment.
I did add one new plant to this bed. A stem from my honeysuckle trailed on the ground long enough that it grew roots. I left it there for a couple of years and earlier this month I transplanted it into the big bed. This honeysuckle will have more room to ramble since there is all kinds of space. I'm excited and as soon as it gets larger and the hummingbirds realize it is there, they'll be even more excited! My hummingbirds showed up a few days too early this year, the honeysuckle hadn't started to bloom yet. Fortunately, within the week, it was blooming and the hummingbirds have one of their favorite sources of nectar for the summer to come.
The Double Play® Big Bang Spirea remains a mainstay.
The original honeysuckle in full bloom, keeping the hummingbirds happy. 'Cat's Meow' Nepeta is happily growing at the foot of the honeysuckle.
The shade bed, which is in desperate need of weeding...
Dream Catcher Kolkwitzia looking great, the chartreuse foliage foliage really lights up this bright, shady spot...
It's been cloudy and cool quite a lot in the last two weeks, so the dogwoods have remained in bloom longer than I would generall expect them to. The dogwood closest to the house and a close up of the blooms.
Lastly, a shot that shows the woods behind the house with the river far in the background.
In the foreground is the lily which has grown a fair amount, but the Peony is the plant that is growing like gangbusters - close to 2 feet in 10 days!
The honeysuckle is getting ever larger. It grew a LOT in only 6 days!
Dream Catcher® foliage adds a ton of fresh color in early spring, a time when many other plants are just getting started.
Somewhere buried under all of these leaves are hostas and a few other plants. Yesterday I finally raked all of the leaves out of this bed and uncovered a bunch of plants coming up and in need of sun.
My big bed is a foot deep in leaves as well. When I took this photo I had maybe 6 feet worth of leaves hauled to the compost pile. Last night I finished cleaning out this bed as well. I did a quick weeding too.
The second Crabapple is in full color now too.
A closer look at the flowers.
Both trees in full color.
The lilac has started blooming as well.
The woods is in full bloom with the Serviceberry, Redbud and Dogwood trees all showing color.
Dogwood flower close-up.
We had a few warm, sunny days with highs at or near 80 degrees, which meant my garden was changing at lightning speed. Here are few photos to give you a peek at what's been happening.
On April 2, both of these shrubs (Deutzia Yuki Cherry Blossom® and Double Play® Blue Kazoo® Spirea) were just starting to show a few leaves unfurling. I did a bit of trimming to tidy things up and nine days later they are fully leafed!
'Cat's Meow' Nepeta is up and looking good. This kitty will bloom non-stop once she starts.
Lilies coming up.
Last time the crabapples were just starting to leaf out. A week later one of the two is in full, gorgeous bloom. Usually these trees just hum with bees when they are in flower. Since it was cool and overcast when I took the flowers, there were no bees to be found. It is short-lived color, but spectacular while it lasts. Below the full tree shot is a close up of the flowers
The honeysuckle bush is growing like crazy.
Early Spring is here so I grabbed my camera and looked for signs of spring emerging. Seeing these early signs of spring has me grinning with joy.
Here are some photos of emerging foliage. You have to look close to see it when you are out and about, but it is beautiful.
Double Play® Blue Kazoo® Spirea
Double Play® Red Spirea
Lilies just coming up. It's a short-lived show when they bloom, but it's pretty spectacular.
Fall blooming sedum tends to lie in wait all winter and emerges pretty early in the season. I do need to clear all of the debris out of my beds and then do some weeding!
White and yellow daffodils in bloom. I have masses of them and my daughter likes to cut them to bring early spring into the house.
Without foliage obscuring your view, you might happen upon unexpected things - like this birds nest (from last year I assume) hanging out in my Dream Catcher® Kolkwitzia shrub.