Red Prairie Coneflowers & Brightly Colored Gardens
I was going to do a lengthy post today about fantastic colors for your spring garden, pointing to the Red Prairie Coneflower, pictured, which is a beautiful coneflower that will add fantastic and eye-catching color to your garden. You won’t be able to pass by this beauty without stopping to get a closer look each time you walk by.
But I found a story in the Kansas City Star from this week that expresses exactly what I was going to write about by syndicated garden writer Marty Ross, with the headline, “Consider Color in Context for Spring Gardens.” Marty expresses it so well, I’m going to urge you to read her story, below link, and to “Brighten up: Color is in the Forecast!”
Bone Structure is Key to a Garden’s Success
Home owners are often taken aback when they realize, after many hours of prep time and intensive labor, their lovely and very expensive collection of plants in the garden are nothing more than too many lovely and expensive plants in a forgettable outdoor space.
The most memorable and eye-catching gardens are those with strong internal hardscape structure. Too many plants not separated and defined by hardscaping, a word landscaper architects and designers use to describe more permanent fixtures that give a garden its shape, depth, and framework for the plants, can be uninspiring and over- whelming.
Great landscapes get their character from lovely bones: stone work, benches, water features, garden accents, sculptures, terraces, garden lighting, containers/planters, patios, arbors/pergolas, custom fences and gates, and the edging around your plant beds. All the elements that aren’t plants!
When you add a bench, a large rock, or a delightful curving stone path to a large grouping of your beautiful plants or a garden bench, suddenly the garden comes to life with its own story to tell. Your garden will capture the attention of your guests, and if you look closely, you’ll see them leaning in as they marvel at your gardens, as if they’re listening to your garden tell its story for the very first time.
Last year I took on a project to repitch and reset a flagstone patio with a Belgian block border that had been installed eight years ago. Below are some “during” and “after” pictures.
The patio was built for a new construction home. After the house settled a bit, the rear patio did as well and run off water wasn’t draining away from the patio. The project was not costly yet very important to do to correct and extend the life of the patio for another decade. By solving the problem early, I saved the homewners a lot of grief and future headaches.
I don’t have to go very far to check on this project because it’s my own backyard! Yes, when my landscape architect (me!) talks, I listen. I made the corrections to our patio just in time to enjoy our garden for spring and summer. And once again our run off water is flowing freely to the surrounding landscape and drains.
If you see lingering puddles of water in your landscape, there may be a larger problem looming on the horizon. If you act in a reasonable amount of time, an inexpensive solution can extend the life of your beloved landscape and prevent larger and more expensive problems down the road.
Rising Sun Redbud
The Rising Sun Redbud is a new distinct variety of Cercis Canadensis found and introduced by Jackson Nursery in TN. This peach colored heart-shaped leaves is durable native small tree contributes brilliant, golden tangerine colored foliage all summer with no burning, even in full sun. Here’s more information on this full sun beauty:
Virtues: This is a tree with a compact size that makes it easy to showcase. Multiple seasons of interest through its spring flowers, vivid spring, summer and fall foliage and nice bark. Its flowers attract bees and butterflies.
Common/Botanical names: The Rising Sun redbud/ Cercis canadensis The Rising Sun (‘JNJ’)
Flowers: Tiny vivid pink flowers line the branches in early spring, before the leaves emerge.
Foliage: Large, heart-shaped leaves that are bright orange-peach when they emerge in Spring that turn green as they age. New leaves emerge all summer, so there’s always a mix of colors on the tree. Fall foliage is yellow and orange, and the bark is smooth and yellow, making it attractive in winter.
Habit: Deciduous tree 10 to 12 feet tall with a 10 to 15 foot spread.
Winter is coming and for those of us who plant multi-seasonal gardens, the garden show continues with some of our favorites about to take center stage. If you find yourself in the need of a new blast of color this year, there are some easy ways to do so that won’t break the bank.
Introduce new shrubs that will add colorful stems to your landscape. One of my favorites is the Yellow Twig Dogwood for its display of the most beautiful shade of gold in winter.
Display colorful containers. Add additional winter interest in unique and eye-catching containers in garden areas that may look barren during winter. Also add colorful containers in strategic areas that will enhance your winter landscape views from your home.
Add Garden Accents. While one of my favorite garden accents is a nice colorful shrub, think about adding a plant with colorful berries, such as Nandina. A metal sculpture, such as the penguin we sent to my in-laws in Los Angeles, can introduce some whimsical fun, while adding a new focal point.
Storing Clay Pots for Winter
Now is a good time to add storing clay pots to your list of garden chores to do before the cold weather sets in. It’s important to empty, clean and sterilize your clay pots for winter storage to give them a longer life. Clay pots must be stored in a dry environment to prevent cracking – old soil can be used for compost, but don’t save it for next year’s pots. Be sure to scrub your pots with a bleach solution to remove salts, algae and any lingering plant germs before storing. A cold location is fine as long as the pots stay dry. If you take care of your clay pots now, you’ll enjoy them for many years to come.