Plants that Thrive in Clay-Heavy Soil

GardenWise on Clay-Heavy Survivors

Some areas are lucky to have clay-heavy soil, something I think about often as I work often in the clay heavy soil of Northern Virginia.   I use the word lucky because I have the opportunity to share some of the most beautiful clay heavy soil survivors, with blooms that will take your breath away.  Below are some suggestions for those with clay-heavy soil, beginning with the irresistable Blue Cornflower.

Blue Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) These brilliant flowers are what memories are made of — rare among “blue” flowers as they are actually blue.  They are delicately fragrant and drought tolerant.  This flower has a lot of history — it’s the national flower of Estonia,  was used in Pharaoh Tutankhamunand’s funeral wreath, and was President Kennedy’s favorite flower, worn by John Kennedy Jr. at his wedding to honor his father. 

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) These plants (herbs, actually) do very well in clay-heavy soil, are drought tolerant,  and come in a variety of colors — the  purple blooms will stop you in your tracks.  They will break up soil as they grow, and are a favorite among those who practice herbal health as they have been known to boost the immune system. 

Daylily ( Hemerocallis) A must grow for anyone with clay-heavy soil, they do well in a wide range of soil conditions, come in a variety of wonderful colors, and are rugged.  They also establish quickly, grow vigorously, and survive winters with little care.  

Liriope (Liriope muscari) With spikes of tiny violet-blue flowers, this grass-like plant is named after the nymph Liropie, mother of Narcissus.  The plant is a member of the lily family, has dark green, ribbonlike foliage that recurves toward the ground, and does very well in soil with clay.   

Coreopsis Verticillata or Tickseed is a plant that is very tolerant of clay and its disc florets and ray florets are bright yellow that will make you smile from ear to ear, even on a not so sunny Fall day. 

• Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) is the Maryland state flower and a cheery perennial with bright yellow petals that surround black centers. It’s a striking flower that does very well in clay soil. Plant them en masse and enjoy the show!

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) With its classic daisy appearance of white petals around a yellow disc, they are attractive to bees and birds, and are drought-tolerant.  They do well in clay-heavy soil and have cheery blooms.

Adding New Color is GardenWise

New Colors Can  Transform your Garden  

An exciting and inexpensive way to bring the “pop” back into your garden spaces is to add new colors to your existing color pallette for a nice dramatic change.  Each winter we look forward to new and interesting color ideas for the upcoming year.  

There have been new Petunia colors  over  the past couple of years that have quickly become a staple in many gardens, and one in particular, the eye-catching   Sophistica Blue Morn, which was hailed by Better Homes & Gardens as a real show stopper.   It’s a flower that is easy to plant and care for, that will add wonderful bright color to your garden spaces.  

I also liked some other Petunia offerings  a coupel of years ago, including the Rhythm and BluesSupertunia Pretty Much Picasso , Famous Violet Picotee and the Shock Wave Denim Petunias.  Be sure to take a look at the Tex Mex Hot Pink Geranium, which is one of the more  heat-resistant Geraniums. 

 

GardenWise on Dramatic Garden Changes with Color

Transform Your Garden with New Colors

An exciting and inexpensive way to bring the “pop” back into your garden spaces is to add new colors to your existing color palette for a nice dramatic change.   

Each winter at GardenWise we look forward to new and interesting color ideas or the upcoming year.  Colors that will excite our clients and help make their spaces as enjoyable as possible.  There were some  new Petunias in 2010, and one in particular,   Sophistica Blue Morn, which was hailed by Better Homes & Gardens as a real show stopper.  It’s a real eye-catcher. 

I also liked some of the other Petunia offerings, including the Rhythm and BluesSupertunia Pretty Much Picasso , Famous Violet Picotee and the  Shock Wave Denim Petunias.  Be sure to take a look at the Tex Mex Hot Pink Geranium, which is one of the more heat-resistant Geraniums around. 

A big plus in adding some new color?  It’s one of the least expensive ways to create the change in your garden.  And who doesn’t like new and dynamic colors in a spring and summer garden?

 

 

Pruning Hydrangeas

Here are some easy guidelines for pruning some of the most popular hydrangeas, which  will make you so glad you turned on your computer today! If there is one thing about shrubs that confuses some gardenenrs it’s knowing when and how to prune them. One wrong move can make you lost your interest.  When to prune hydrangeas basically depends on whether it blooms on growth made last year or new growth made during the current year. Hydrangeas generally begin blooming in early summer and lose steam by midsummer, though occasional blooms may appear in late summer. To reduce the risk of removing newer buds, just prune as the flowers begin to fade. Often, the earlier you get it done after bloom, the quicker the shrub can recover, producing more and larger blooms for next season.

About.com’s Marie Iannotti has some excellent tips, which you can find here.     

GardenWise on Winter Garden Preparation

Winter Gardens

Well, we’ve had our first snow storm for the 2010/2011 season!   The snow came  early this year, so it’s important for all gardeners to prepare their flowers, trees, shrubs, and other plants for winter if you haven’t already done so.    

Many plants can be  vulnerable to our chilly and snowy winter season, so take the necessary steps to protect them to ensure a healthy spring and summer blooming season next year. It’s  important to carefully look at the various trees, shrubs, bushes, flowers and other plants that make up your landscape to determine the care they will need.

The feeding, fertilization, watering and care of each plant will vary, so it’s  important to give each plant what it needs now to prepare for winter.  Some plants will need to be pruned to create even borders in the snow, while others will need a healthy dose of fertilization to survive the winter.

Proper fall garden preparation can lessen the work necessary in the spring, and will cut down on the cost considerably.  It can also make your garden a year-round source of inspiration. 

Check out some beautiful winter gardens we’ve designed over the past few seasons

DC’s GardenWise on Freshly Cut Garden Flowers

Extend the Life of Your Cut Flowers!

Summer is a wonderful season to show off the beautiful flowers you’ve grown in your garden.  Big bouquets or creative vases filled with freshly cut flowers will brighten any room.  After all your hard work planning your summer garden and growing your flowers, their beauty should last as long as possible!   

A good first couple of steps is to give your flowers sugar for nourishment, and an acidic ingredient, such as lemon-lime soda or aspirin, to allow your cut flowers to absorb water more easily.  Another tip?  Add a drop of bleach to the water to prevent bacteria from forming, which will also extend the life of your cut flowers.