async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js" My Enchanting Cottage Garden: July 2013

About Me

My photo

Gardening is my middle name. I have been an avid gardener for 50 years.  My goal is to help anyone who wants to start a Cottage Garden, be able to do so without the expense and frustration of beginning gardeners. I hope to encourage readers to share their thoughts and experience and help make this blog a knowledgeable and fun read.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

August: Dog Days in the Garden


 
C ommonly known as the "dog days," the mid-summer period does conjure images of a dog lolling in the shade with tongue panting. The expression is ancient, originating in stellar observations. During the sultriest days of summer, the Dog Star "Sirius" made conjunction with the sun; the "dog days" extended from about July 3 through August 11 in the Mediterranean. Heat and lack of rainfall caused challenges to human and plant comfort then.

When the days get very hot and the gardeners are so sweaty that even their hands sweat, most plants, with exception of a few that like to bloom at this time like the Rudbeckia and the perennial hibiscus, slow down. Even if deadheaded, they rebloom more slowly. These are “the dog days” of August. I wondered what this phrase means and where it comes from, so I did a bit of research.
The ancient Romans thought these hottest and most sultry days of the year were an evil time causing “the sea to boil and the wine to sour.” They “made dogs mad and other creatures languid, gave humans disease, burning fevers, hysterics and phrensies.”

For most of the USA, the "dog days" certainly extend through August and even into September, when rainfall dips to nearly nothing. Some September rainfall records note "a trace" fell. To protect the environment during these driest of months, avoid making fires. Many municipalities put out outdoor burn bans. This means no burning of "residential yard debris, no burn barrels, and no recreational fires" until further notice.

At this time of year many U-Pick farms where you can buy and pick the freshest and most luscious of crops.  Also take advantage of your local farmer's markets and in your area.  Let yourself know this region by shopping for local produce now.

Care for strawberries this month. If the entire crop bore fruit in June and is now out of bloom, keep them watered this month because they are setting up fruit buds for next year. Fertilize the entire patch with 5-10-10 at the rate of about 3 pounds per 100 square feet of strawberry plants. Fall-bearing or ever-bearing strawberries like 'Tri-Star' need monthly fertilizing and regular water until rains come. It's easy to neglect a patch of strawberries after harvest is over, but neglect now results in small or missing fruit next year.

Do your own observations of plant growth during August. You'll notice that the deep green of spring and summer leaves begins to alter. Many leaves show khaki tinged, or begin to turn color. This change reflects normal cycles in plant growth. The "big push" of leaf and shoot grow now slows down. Toward the middle and end of August, plants begin to go dormant, slowly ceasing their growth and moving carbohydrates toward the roots for winter. At this point, mature and established trees and shrubs require less water and fewer nutrients. Don't fertilize landscape trees and shrubs after about the first of August. You don't want to force new growth that could be killed by winter freezes. By slowing their growth now, mature plants prepare themselves for the next season.

Some careful gardeners say that they water in hot weather according to "triage," choosing those plants with the most need. Container plants, new landscapes, new lawns, transplanted material, and vegetable gardens will all need thorough watering during the hot dry days of August. Check plants under eaves, too.

Often it's difficult to tell what a plant symptom means. (Master Gardeners can help!) Yellowing leaves can result from too little or too much water. If ground stays soaked, such as might happen in an area where an irrigation system leaks, roots may rot and the result can be yellowing leaves that precisely mimic those created by drought. Dryness can also lead to symptoms of nutrient deficiency. Leaves may show yellowing between green veins or yellowing of the entire leaf on older leaves. Plant nutrients must be taken into the roots in solution. Lack of water will keep the nutrients from penetrating. Do not fertilize plants if they won't be kept watered.

 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Echinacea Queen of the Perennials


 
 My favorite perennial,also called Queen of the perennials and so named the queen of the Daisies, is called Coneflower for its dome-shaped center. Plants continue to bloom from June into the fall. When I first started gardening in the early 70’s there was only one coneflower and it was purple, and if you mentioned the name of coneflower, people would think purple. Now, breeders have teased out a considerable range of pinks, purples, yellows, and oranges, plus white, with more hues coming every year. There are double-flowered forms as well as varieties with petals pulled back like a badminton shuttlecock. Not to mention the health-giving properties attributed to the leaves, but can aver that these are first-class garden plants for full sun.
 Coneflowers are beloved by cottage gardeners and butterfly enthusiasts. The large daisy like flowers with mounded heads and showy rose or pink rays (petals) are usually borne singly on stout stems, well above the foliage. Coneflowers are erect perennials with coarse often toothed leaves. Plants grow from thick taproots that are quite deep on mature plants. Coneflowers are used as medicinal plants for alleviating skin rashes and internally for stimulating the immune system. 

How to Grow

               Coneflowers are plants of prairies and open woods. Give them average, loamy soil in full sun or light shade. Plants grow best with adequate moisture but are quite tolerant of extended drought. These tough plants have deep taproots that enable them to store some water for lean times. Plants increase to form broad clumps. They flower throughout summer, and the rayless seedheads are attractive throughout fall and winter. Division is seldom necessary and not recommended. Once divided, plants tend to become bushy with compromised flower production. Propagate by root cuttings in fall. Sow seed outdoors in fall or indoors in winter. Give seeds 4 to 6 weeks of cold, moist stratification to promote uniform germination.

Planting Requirements: Full sun to light shade 

Landscape Uses

                 Coneflowers are comfortable additions to formal and informal landscapes alike. Plant them in borders with catmints (Nepeta), garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), blazingstars (Liatris), yarrows (Achillea), and Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum maximum). Create a pastel combination with lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina), verbenas, pink bee balms (Monarda), calamints (Calamintha), and cranesbills (Geranium) backed with ornamental grasses. In meadow and prairie gardens, plant coneflowers with native grasses, gray-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), goldenrods (Solidago), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), and black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia). They respond well to pot culture if planted in a deep container. 

 

Echinacea Butterfly Kisses
 
Only just over a foot tall and filled with 3in double pompom flowers, this breeding breakthrough fits snugly into smaller spaces and terrace containers. Its showy central cone, surrounded by pink ray petals, begins lime green and becomes bright pink, then golden as summer progresses. Well proportioned, with sturdy stems. PPAF
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflowers are equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens.

 
Echinacea Cleopatra
   
This compact new Arie Blom hybrid, the same cheerful yellow as its butterfly namesake, spreads a 3 1/2in-wide circle of petals around the prominent orange cone, radiating a summer-long display above stocky, well-branched plants. The delightfully fragrant blooms, which age to creamy yellow, blend companionably with neighbors in borders or pots.
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflowers are equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens. Deer resistant. For more information on growing and care, click on "Growing Guide."
 
 
Echinacea Big Sky™ Summer Sky
 
Another impressive Big Sky™ Coneflower, a delightful pastel two-tone (the first of its kind). The petals feature pale coral orange tips shading to reddish pink at their bases, and are centered around an orange cone. Big Sky™ Summer Sky is not only large flowered and prolific, but the most fragrant of this series with stout stems ideal for cutting. 'Katie Saul'
A North American genus, Echinacea has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Plants thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. We offer exciting new hybrids and excellent strains of Purple Coneflower, E. purpurea, a rugged species that is native from Iowa and Ohio to Louisiana and Georgia. Equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens.

 
Echinacea Big Sky™ Solar Flare
 
This brilliant new selection is as close as Richard Saul has come to breeding a truly red Coneflower. And, because the ray petals are held horizontally around the chocolate-brown center cone, each 5-6in fragrant blossom seems even broader. Contrasting dark stems emphasize the fireworks display from this flashy newcomer.
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflowers are equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens.


 
Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit
   
The vivid colors of western prairies mingle in this exceptional seed strain of first-year flowering Coneflowers. Plants in this award-winning mixture are well branched, producing an abundance of blossoms in clear tones of purple, pink, scarlet, yellow, cream, or white surrounding a central cone. Sturdy, compact, and drought tolerant.
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflowers are equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens.
 
 
 
Echinacea Indian Summer
 
A new Marco van Noort Coneflower hybrid. Golden orange, slightly recurved petals deepen to coral red at the brown center cone, and then mellow to warm amber tones. Graceful, long-stemmed blossoms continue summer into fall above vigorous, deep green foliage.
 
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflowers are equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens. Deer resistant. For more information on growing and care, click on "Growing Guide."
 
      
      
Echinacea Cone-fections™ Marmalade
 
Here's another winner from the talented plant breeder Arie Blom, whose cross of two Echinacea species resulted in these extra-large, double blossoms with sturdy stems to support them. 'Marmalade' wears a tangy orange center tuft that expands exuberantly above its slender, yellow-orange ray petals.
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear in late June and keep coming into September. Plants thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions, shrug off cold, and are equally at home in full sun or partial shade. Blooms last well as cut or dried flowers, and the large cone at the heart of the flower head turns black as the seeds mature, adding further interest and providing nourishment for goldfinches. Purple Coneflower, E. purpurea, is a rugged species native from Iowa and Ohio south to Louisiana and Georgia, and is a great garden plant everywhere in between.

 
Echinacea Cone-fections™ Hot Papaya

Another exciting double Coneflower, this hybrid from Dutch breeder Arie Blom is the very first in tropical, fiery orange shades. The blooms of 'Hot Papaya' are uniform in color, resistant to fading, and held on thick, well-branched maroon stems. PP 21,022
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. E. purpurea, a rugged species that is native from Iowa and Ohio to Louisiana and Georgia. Equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens.
       
 
 
Echinacea purpurea Cone-fections™ Milkshake
 
Roughly 8in taller than 'Coconut Lime', this double white Coneflower also produces more branches. Its large, yellowish green cones cap off the pretty ruffs of milky white petals. 'Milkshake' is delightful as a cut flower, and voted one of the top picks for 2010 in America's Plant Idol. Purple Coneflower is native from Iowa and Ohio south to Louisiana and Georgia, and is a great garden plant everywhere in between.
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflowers are equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens.

 
Echinacea purpurea Cone-fections™ Pink Double Delight
 
Simply stunning! Spectacular flowers are more consistently double than 'Razzmatazz' and are held on shorter, stronger stems that are better able to support the heavy flower heads. Very impressive, startling in fact, and short enough for mixed containers as well as sunny borders.
A North American genus, Echinacea has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Plants thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. We offer exciting new hybrids and excellent strains of Coneflower, E. purpurea, a rugged species that is native from Iowa and Ohio to Louisiana and Georgia. Equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens.

 
Echinacea purpurea Merlot
 
Our sommelier insists that this Coneflower's expansive pink petals look closer to rose; she agrees, however, that the long, elegant stems on which they pose are definitely merlot. No matter -- you'll love the bouquet, and the fact that this tall, much-branched perennial holds up its head without staking.
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. We offer exciting new hybrids and excellent strains of Coneflower, E. purpurea, a rugged species that is native from Iowa and Ohio to Louisiana and Georgia. Equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens.


 
Echinacea purpurea Fragrant Angel
               
A sweet perfume has been about the only desirable attribute missing from Coneflowers, and here it is! 'Fragrant Angel' boasts large fragrant white flowers. The double rows of petals are held horizontally, making the show even better. The tall, vigorous plants are strongly branched and flower profusely all summer long. 'Fragrant Angel' makes a great cut flower, and is equally at home in formal borders or prairie plantings. A butterfly magnet, just like its cousins.
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear in late June and keep coming into September. Plants thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions, shrug off cold, and are equally at home in full sun or partial shade. Blooms last well as cut or dried flowers, and the large cone at the heart of the flower head turns black as the seeds mature, adding further interest and providing nourishment for goldfinches. Coneflower, E. purpurea, is a rugged species that is native from Iowa and Ohio south to Louisiana and Georgia, and is a great garden plant everywhere in between.

 
Echinacea purpurea Ruby Giant
       
A vastly improved form whose sturdy stems have multiple branches, thus carry more flowers, which are large, ruby pink, and fragrant. A sport of 'Ruby Star'.
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Plants thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflower, E. purpurea is a rugged species that is native from Iowa and Ohio south to Louisiana and Georgia.

 
Echinacea purpurea PowWow® White
 
Overlapping, pure white petals arch downward on strong stems that don't require staking. This first-year flowering variety is a prolific bloomer, and the shorter, drought-tolerant plants are relatively carefree. 'PAS702918'
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflowers are equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens. Deer resistant. For more information on growing and care, click on "Growing Guide."
 

 
Echinacea Double Scoop™ Bubble Gum
   
Part of the Double Scoop™ series of well-branched plants with eye-catching, double blooms in brilliant colors, Bubble Gum is pure pink, right up to its cute-as-a-button center. As in many of the new double Echinaceas, the tightly tufted cone takes the lead role while the surrounding skirt of ray petals becomes the supporting cast. 'Balscblum'
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflowers are equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens. Deer resistant. For more information on growing and care, click on "Growing Guide."

 
Echinacea Sombrero® Hot Coral
   
A snappy color for the front of a border or even in containers -- this 2ft, well-branched Echinacea holds its flat-faced, 3in blooms where you can appreciate them all summer. For a sunny spot in the garden, we suggest combining Sombrero® Hot Coral with the soft yellow of Digitalis grandiflora or the blue-purple blooms of Nepeta. 'Balsomcor'
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflowers are equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens.


Echinacea Prairie Pillars™ Flame Thrower
 
With rays of blazing yellow orange and a central cone of deep burnt amber, the vibrant colors of this member of the Prairie Pillars™ series live up to its name. A well-branched habit completes the package, and makes it an excellent choice for the middle of a border.
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear in late June and keep coming into September. Plants thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions, shrug off cold, and are equally at home in full sun or partial shade. Blooms last well as cut or dried flowers, and the large cone at the heart of the flower head turns black as the seeds mature, adding further interest and providing nourishment for goldfinches. Purple Coneflower, E. purpurea, is a rugged species native from Iowa and Ohio south to Louisiana and Georgia, and is a great garden plant everywhere in between.

Echinacea Raspberry Truffle
 
More garden candy from the Cone-fections™ people: a showy, uniquely colored double flower on chocolate stems. 'Raspberry Truffle' sports 4in flowerheads with salmony, reddish pink outer petals surrounding a chocolate-brown cone (the truffle). The cone turns into a coral-pink pom-pom as its flowers open. Reaching about 30in tall, this compact, bushy Echinacea is a vigorous, middle-of-the border companion for other sun-lovers like Phlox, Coreopsis, and Sedum.
 
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflowers are equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens. Deer resistant. For more information on growing and care, click on "Growing Guide."
 
Echinacea Sombrero® Sandy Yellow
 
Another selection from the floriferous Sombrero® series, this sturdy, compact Coneflower bears bright yellow flowers with orange-brown centers from summer through fall. Combine it with other Echinacea for a spectacular show in your sunny border or cottage garden. 'Balsomselo'
 
Echinacea, a North American genus in the Daisy family, has big, bright flowers that appear from late June until frost. Coneflowers thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions and shrug off cold. Blooms last well, cut or dried, and the seeds in the large cone at the heart of the flower head provide nourishment for birds. Coneflowers are equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens. Deer resistant. For more information on growing and care, click on "Growing Guide."
 


 
 

 

 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

10 New Must-Grow Perennials for 2013


 It seems we all want the latest gadgets, latest styles, latest new cocktail mix, but sometimes having the "latest" may not be the best for us in the long run, ever heard of buyers remorse? When it come to plants though  I definitely can say you will not regret buying these new 2013 varieties. I have listed my favorite 10 below.


'Freak!' Leucanthemum

'Freak!' Leucanthemum
 The fluffy 2- to 2-1/2-inch-wide flowers feature layers of white petals. The long-blooming flowers smother the compact, well-branched plants. Plant in partial shade in really hot climates. 'Freak!' is ideal in garden beds -- especially cottage gardens -- but also excels in containers. Flowers bloom from June through frost. To encourage reblooming, remove faded blooms. Makes a great cut flower.
Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil
Size: To 13 inches tall and 21 inches wide
Zones: 4-8
Grow It With: Phlox


Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising'

 Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising'
 

 A brilliant red coreopsis (most varieties are yellow), 'Mercury Rising' is a hot little number for beds and borders. A member of the Big Bang Series, this hardy perennial blooms from early summer through early fall -- sometimes even to frost. The wine-red flowers feature a golden button center. If you're planting a butterfly garden, 'Mercury Rising' is a must. Small flowers and airy foliage make this a beautiful addition to any flowerbed.
Name: Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising'
Growing Conditions: Full sun
Size: To 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide
Zones: 5-9
Grow It With: Perennial geranium      
                                         
'Pretty Lady Julia' Anemone


Anemone' Pretty Lady Julia'
 
Add plucky pink color to your fall flower garden! Compact and flower-covered, 'Pretty Lady Julia' is the newest member of the Pretty Lady series of Japanese anemones. Unlike other Japanese anemones, this perennial is a prolific bloomer. It is packed with double, 2-inch-wide, medium-pink flowers, each dotted with a lemon-yellow center. 'Pretty Lady Julia' is a long-lived garden perennial, so you'll enjoy her beauty for many years. This compact anemone is also ideal for containers.
Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and moist soil
Size: To 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide
Zones: 5-9
Grow It With: Mums



Dianthus EverLast series
 

Dianthus EverLast series
 Double-flowered, nicely mounding EverLast dianthus earned its name because of its continuous flowering ability all season. Starting early, this hardy dianthus blooms with vigor and can even take a little cold weather. It continues to rebloom even after temperatures start to drop in later summer. The EverLast series features double dianthus in several colors: White, Burgundy Blush, Lavender, Lilac, and Orchid.
Growing Conditions: Full sun
Size: To 12 inches tall and 14 inches wide
Zones: 5-9
Grow It With: Lambs'-ears