Category Archives: perennials

Shasta Daisy and Orange Cone flower



Echinacea (‘Julia’)

A couple of new blooms in the new flowerbed. I think my new favorite is the orange cone flower. I just picked it up at the Garden Center I work at. Can’t wait till it fills out!


Inherited Salvia

I’m not very fond of perennial Saliva, but I must say, it does look nice in full bloom and in a mass planting.
This came up in one of the two flower beds in my new yard. I assume this was the only thing the previous owners found that the deer wouldn’t eat.


Container Gardening for 2012

A favorite hobby of mine is seeing what I can grow in a pot, anywhere from little flowers to perennials, veggies and herbs, all the way up to shrubs roses and trees. Some things work, some things don’t, but that’s the fun of it.

Here’s some of this seasons projects…

Herbs in pots and tubs~ your standard basils, chives, rosemary, catnip, green onions peppermint, chocolate mint, camomile, sage, stevia, parsley-flat and curly, thyme got lost somewhere in there… no  pun intended (or maybe it was… ). Strawberries on the side are in their second year and I have them caged to keep the Devourer of Gardens‘ out of them. The hens and chicks and the blue spruce sedum are there because I thought they looked good in that spot.

close up of hens & chicks and blue spruce sedum (pink flowers belong to the spiderweb hens & chicks). This container is on it’s second year too.

Hosta in a pot. ‘Red October’ second year and doing beautifully.

Tiny Tim cherry tomato in a galvanized bucket (I grow these every year). It only gets 15″ tall and has 1″ size tomatoes on them. I’ll update this one later with the tomatoes. It’s one of my most popular tomato plants and I always run out fast.

Banana Peppers in a galvanized bucket. Just one of the many pepper plants I grow in a pot.
(The tree behind it is an Amur Maple I grew from seed-beautiful little tree that only gets 12′ high).

My favorite this year.
I planted Purple fountain grass, two purple potato vines and a white ‘Million Bells’ Calibrachoa in a garage sale plastic urn.
the window box is planted with a variety of romaine lettuces.

An assortment of flowers and herbs~ a Dwarf Korean Lilac, the Tiny Tim tomato in the middle, mandevilla vine, Pineapple sage, moss rose, variegated sedum, and blue spruce sedum starts.

“Wait Mom! There’s a leaf out of place on this sedum! I’ll fix it for you!”

My Farorite Fern

Japanese Painted fern ~Athyrium niponicum var. pictum
Of all the ferns there are to choose from, this little one is my favorite. It’s survived being transplanted three times and forgives me when I forget to water it during dry spells. 
It’s going on it’s eighth year in my shade garden under the cherry tree.

January Birch

January 6th and still no significant snow. Temperature was 55 ~ I actually left my coat behind today.
I really don’t mind. I got to go outside and mess around in my garden a little~ picked some kale and looked at my new perennial bed. The lavender and wormwood are still looking good and the penstemon seems impervious to the little cold spurts and frosts we did have. My butterfly bush still has green leaves on it! I do live in North Central Illinois right? Average January temps around 10 ~ 20 degrees…  with windchill….

Fun with Bricks, Plants & Mulch…. and a Photo Shoot?

For about four years running now, I’ve designed and built plant displays for the Garden Center I work at. 
2010’s design
Today, as I was leaving for the day, a nicely dressed gentleman came in to the garden center and asked if he could take a couple of pictures of my display.  He said he was trying to get ideas for his own garden. 
I didn’t see any harm in it so I said “Sure”…
Next thing I know, he whips out this big camera from it’s case~ one with all the lenses etc. and proceeds to shoot pictures.
Hmmm.  Wasn’t expecting that.
Made me wonder if he really did just want ideas or if he had an ulterior motive
and this was the only excuse he came up with…. who knows.
It’s not at all uncommon for us to see other companies walking around with little clipboards, jotting down our prices, but this was the first photo request I’ve ever had!
Should I be flattered?
Anyway, here are some photos of last years and this years designs.
I design them on the fly, not knowing what they are going to look like until I’m halfway done.
It’s a lot of fun, and even more fun filling them with lot’s of beautiful plants from my favorite greenhouse!
Before~ In front of the Sales Hut ~ 2010’s design

I love working with perennials more than anything~ so many interesting leaf colors and textures
Before ~ Main Display ~ 2010 Design
After ~ the theme was angels and woodland creatures last year!
Before ~ patio display ~ 2010 design
After ~ My fellow co-worker and friend planted this one ~ very nice!
This last set is this years designs but I didn’t have the plants available yet when I took these photos….
Main display is a little bigger and shorter then last year

The structure on this one tends to stay the same from year to year.
In the 2007 season, my first year, I had the opportunity to work with a Merchandiser who was also a landscaper. It is his designs that inspired mine~ though I could never come close to his expertise!
Here is some of his designs of that year!
Thanks Jeff!


Perennial Project

 I have a galvanized washtub by my front steps 
that I have been planting with annual flowers for nearly eight years.
While I like the instant color of the annuals, 
it’s the textures and colors of the perennials that I really love!
So this year I’m doing something a little different.

 A white & fuzzy theme garden.
 I gathered some of my favorite “white and fuzzy” plants
from my favorite garden center (supplied by my favorite green house)!
top left to right~ Snow in Summer, Yarrow
bottom left to right~ Wormwood, Silver Mound, and two Lamb’s Ears.

Next I get my tub ready…
I’m reusing the soil~ emptying out a few shovel fulls of old
and replacing with composted manure, with about a cup of dry, organic fertilizer~ 
then mixed well with a few turns of the shovel.
I then arranged the plants with tall in the back and short in front.
It looks a little open and sparse right now, but hopefully it will be full 
and overflowing the sides by end of summer!
I’ll have an update photo in a few weeks for you