Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Essence of a Spring Cottage Garden

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When I think of Cottage Gardens I invariably think a lush mixture of plants, colors, textures, art ornaments, trees, and last but not least a Garden Shed.  Finally after living in Las Vegas for 3 years and planting, tilling, adding compost, building, and planting again, I think my little Eden is taking shape.  Now mind you having a Cottage Garden in Las Vegas is no easy feat, but as with anything, a little work, a little time and a whole lot of patience and you can do it.

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Las Vegas or high Desert gardening is some ways is no different from any area, plants bloom earlier than eastern gardens but they require the same ingredients, sun, water and nutrients.  The ground in high desert gardens is deplete of any nutrients, not even a worm will live here, though I do have an abundance of grubs. I have gardened in the northern state of Ohio and in the Southern state of Alabama and in both areas I hade to add compost, and other soil building ingredients. California is probably the only state I know of that comes with ready–to-grow soil. I can say finally after working my soil for three years I now have worms!  I also have fruit bearing trees. You can see the Chinese pear apple in the foreground and the pink nectarine in the distance.


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We have really strong winds year round and this plays havoc with the young growing trees, most of my trees all have unusual shapes, but I think it adds to the interest and character of the tree.

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I love the winters in Las Vegas, even though we can get a week or two of really cold weather, it does not affect the petunias, the result is a big lush container when spring arrives.  Nicotiana blooming on the right.

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Windowbox of succulents and a blooming nectarine.

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If you are a regular reader of my blog you know I am enthralled with all types of nasturtiums.  This is a climbing whirlybird.  Another plant that will bloom all winter.

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An essence of a Cottage Garden is a nice quiet place to rest and meditate and watch the evening hummingbirds and listen to the trickle of water.

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DSC03106  IF I DIDN’T KNOW BETTER, I would have thought it a hummingbird, this rapid wing-beating insect that swooped into my yard Sunday afternoon, drinking the sweet nectar of the yellow petunia.
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Often confused with a hummingbird, this white-lined Sphinx moth whips its wings at up to 85 beats per second.  I found photographing this fascinating creature an incredible challenge. As you can see from the many blurred photos. Seriously I must have taken 20 photos, honestly could not this moth simply just hover in one spot for maybe a minute? 










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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Get a Jump on Spring with Containers

 

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Beauty in Bloom

Tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are bellwethers of spring. In this simple clay bucket, a mixture of Tulips steal the show.  Prolong the life of your plantings by purchasing plants with tightly closed buds. The buds will open in a few days and color your container for two or more weeks.

 

Long-Lasting Fancy

Delicate white heart-shape flowers float among the foliage of perennial bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis f. alba) while the annual cascading Diascia completes the floral pairing in this old toolbox. Perennials spring to life as container plants. After enjoying their flowers, transplant them into the garden to become a permanent part of your landscape.

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Scent of Spring

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Sweetly perfumed stock revels in cool conditions. The handles on a loosely woven basket make it easy to hang this fragrant treasure where you are likely to walk by and enjoy the scent. An excellent cutting flower, stock is available in shades of white, pink, purple, red, yellow, and orange.

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Window Box Winner

Who can resist a stunning window box.  Plant with Angelwing begonia, sweet potato vine, pink petunias,, heuchera plant and as many other filler plants you can stuff into the box for a dazzling display.

 

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Excellent Echeveria Collection

This trio of echeverias in a pair of mismatched terra-cotta pots creates a stunning centerpiece on this stone slab. The more than 100 echeveria species and cultivars from which to choose means it's easy to create unique groupings of these easy-care succulents. Clump size of these spreaders increases over time. If the plants become too crowded in the container, divide and replant

 

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Door Stopper

This lovely Urn mix of petunia, geranium, verbena and ivy create instant porch appeal, and invites a guest to linger just a wee bit longer.

 

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Summer Teaser

Start this pot early in the Spring for lush mid summer blooms of red geraniums, salvia, dusty miller and bacopa.

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Urning Their Keep

This bountiful urn of double purple petunias is a focal point in the garden, and certainly urns it’s keep.

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Center Piece Attraction

You do not have to wait for Spring to plant this sensational pot of caladiums with Angelwing begonia. A fast grower and attention grapping container.