async defer src="//" My Enchanting Cottage Garden: May 2015

About Me

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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.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The 6 Best Summer-Flowering Bulbs

Summer bulbs can offer some of the most stunning summer flowers.  Summer Bulbs will give you years of perennial bloom and more bang for your investment bucks!

1. Crocosmia

Crocosmia is an exotic, beautiful plant that's a cinch to grow. Its summertime flowers appear in a cluster like freesias in dazzling shades of red, orange, and yellow. The swordlike foliage is handsome, too. Plus, it's a great cut flower.
How to Grow It:  Crocosmia grows best in full sun and moist but well-drained soil. Zones 6-9.

2. Dahlia
Dahlias are one of the most versatile bulbs for the summer garden. Dwarf types of this summer flower reach only a few inches tall; the monster "dinnerplate" varieties grow more than 6 feet (and feature flowers bigger than your head). Dahlia blooms come in nearly every color of the rainbow and a range of flower forms -- from daisy-like singles to more alienesque quilled types.
How to Grow Them: Dahlias appreciate a spot with full sun and moist but well-drained soil. Stake taller varieties to protect them from the wind. Dahlias are hardy in Zones 8-10; in colder climates, dig the tubers and store them a frost-free place for winter. Or treat them as an annual.

3.  Gladiolus
Gladiolus has rightfully earned its reputation as a top cut summer flower. The blooms (up to 40 of them) burst out of an upright spike and hold up as well in the vase as they do the garden. They run the gamut as far as flower color goes -- from bright, bold colors to soft pastels. And they come in different sizes; miniature gladioli stay under 3 feet tall, but larger varieties may exceed 6 feet.
How to Grow It: Gladiolus does best in a spot with full sun and moist but well-drained soil. Stake it to keep it standing straight and tall. Zones 8-10; in cooler climates, dig and store them a frost-free place over winter. (Or replant every year.)

4.  Oriental Lily
The lily tribe is a big one, but there's no overlooking the Oriental varieties of these summer flowers. The most dramatic lilies, they bear large, star-shape flowers in shades of white, yellow, crimson, and pink. These blooms are ideal for cutting. And many are perfumed with a spicy scent detectable from yards away. Dwarf varieties stay about 1 foot tall; traditional types can grow more than 6 feet.
How to Grow Them: Oriental lilies grow best in a spot with full sun and moist but well-drained soil. Stake them to keep them standing straight and tall. They're hardy in Zones 5-9.

 5.  Asiatic Lily
The easiest lilies to grow, the Asiatic varieties bloom in early to midsummer in a very wide range of colors on tough, hardy plants. Their star-shape summer flowers are great in the garden and last a long time in the vase (so grow a few extra to cut and bring indoors). Most types grow 2-3 feet tall.
How to Grow Them: Asiatic lilies grow best in a spot with full sun and moist but well-drained soil. They're hardy in Zones 3-8.

6.  Gloriosa Lily
Gloriosa lily is a perfect plant for growing in a container on a deck or patio. One of the few climbing bulbs, it produces exotic summer flowers in shades of red and yellow. The flowers are reminiscent of fireballs -- definitely garden showstoppers! They climb to about 6 feet tall and bloom in summer.
How to Grow It: Gloriosa lily grows best in full sun and moist but well-drained soil. Zone 10; in cooler areas, dig and store them in a frost-free place for winter.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Not Your Grandmothers Hollyhocks!

 Hollyhocks have come a long way baby!
How many of us have fond memories of eight-foot-tall hollyhocks growing against Grandma's fence... gardening is in great part an exercise in recreating the beautiful moments in our lives. They've seen a lot of history in the last 300 years -- those lilacs, and hollyhocks, foxgloves, and Johnny-jump-ups that have graced our gardens since before America lit its first birthday candle. No other plant has flourished with such persistent vigor, despite the handicaps of general neglect, poor soil, rust disease and drought that it has often had to suffer.  The hollyhocks survived when many more tender plants could not abide the rigors of late spring and early autumn frosts, burning noon-day sun, and persistent drought; and so they became the favorites; seed was shared; and soon, as one of my aged neighbors has said, "Everyone had hollyhocks." Year after year its strong spikes of gaily-colored blossoms have continued to gladden the dooryards, patios, acequia banks - even alleys and roadways.
The Old time varieties bore tall erect single blooms in a variety of colors. Modern hybridizers have perfected gorgeous, the hardy perennial double bloom of red, yellow-white, peach, pink, red, and bi-colored.

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Pink Double Hollyhocks are similar to roses and peony
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A light yellow and a very white hollyhock both double blooming
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The peach-apricot double booming Charters hollyhocks
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A red double hollyhock and a dark maroon single blooming hollyhock
peach  DSC03428
Hollyhocks, when grown in good conditions and soil, will reach anywhere between 9 to 15 ft.

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Pastel blooming hollyhocks only grown to about five feet but they are a delight and the colors are so unique
    The variation in hollyhocks takes on many forms, these species look familiar to a hibiscus
    When Planting Hollyhocks From Seed
    Hollyhocks are sometimes difficult to grow from seed. They can be started indoors in February if bottom heat is applied. They should be planted 1/2 inch deep and will take 14-21 days to germinate. Nigra can take longer. Because of the long germination time, the seeds often rot. They should be planted outdoors when the danger of frost is passed and spaced 8-10 inches apart. They usually do not bloom the first year. They will begin blooming in the second year during June and continue throughout the summer.
    The most common recommendation is to plant your Hollyhock seeds in the fall, this allows the root system to get established over the winter months. Hollyhocks planted in the fall have a chance of blooming following summer.
    If you are unable to get your seeds sown in the fall to have no fear Hollyhock seeds can be planted spring too. In the spring plant your seeds as soon as you can work up the soil. When planted in the spring Hollyhocks will produce foliage, but will not bloom until the following summer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

10 Striking Rare Climbing Roses You Must Plant

Climbing roses not only give you more bangs for your buck, but they add dimension, form and interest to your cottage garden. The big box stores, unfortunately do not carry these multi floral varieties. All those listed here are double, repeat blooming and delightfully fragrant, and the best feature is, they are all in my garden. These roses are all hardy and vigorous growers, even novice gardeners can grow these.

Abraham Darby

1. Abraham Darby bears large, deeply cupped blooms in shades of pink, apricot and yellow and, in spite of their size, they continue to be produced for the remainder of the season. They have a rich, fruity fragrance with a refreshing sharpness. ‘Abraham Darby’ is an excellent, vigorous, medium-sized shrub. It has a bushy, arching habit and large, polished, rather modern leaves; flower, growth and leaf are all in proportion and never clumsy. Sort Climber 6-8 ft.


2.  Goldilocks:  An excellent re-blooming sport of the shrub rose, Goldilocks. Few better climbing yellow roses have been introduced since the heyday of the Tea-Noisettes. The growth is very strong and upright Height: 12-15 ft.

MmeDriout23.  Mme. Driout an amazing finds amongst Teas, it has flowers of bright rose with stripes of carmine, quite large and full, that open to show the golden stamens. This rose has intense and interesting fragrance; Myrrh? This is a moderate pillar rose that can be pruned and grown as a shrub or pegged down for increased bloom. This is a Climbing Tea bred before 1902 by J. Thirat and introduced in France in 1903 by Lucien Bolut in 1903, according to HelpMeFind. Mme. Driout may be grown as a 5' tall shrub or as a 10' climber. It has good fragrance and reliable rebloom and is one of the few striped teas--- Growth Habit: Fully Double. Height: 10-15 Feet Color: Pink Blend


4. Westerland:   Magnificent, large, well-formed 5" blooms (petals 20-25) of apricot, copper-orange on a bushy, vigorous, upright continual blooming plant with bronze-green foliage. We have to keep busy propagating this one because it is so popular. A truly outstanding shrub rose! Marvelous fragrance. Repeat blooming. Very winter hardy. Vigorous plant grows fast 10-12 ft.

5.  Lady Hillingdon CL.A vigorous and hardy climbing rose and one of the best tea roses still in existence. The blooms are made up of large petals, resulting in long, elegant, waxy buds, which open to large, loosely formed flowers of deep apricot-yellow. These hang gracefully from the branch and emit a delicious, rich tea fragrance. ‘Lady Hillingdon’ continues to flower throughout the summer with unusual regularity. It has fine contrasting dark green foliage, which is coppery mahogany when young. 15ft.


6. Mme Caroline Testout Climbing An excellent climbing sport of an early Hybrid Tea Rose. Large, rose-pink flowers, the outer petals rolling back in an attractive way. Only a slight fragrance. It repeats flowers, producing a good second crop in September. Strong and enduring: David  Austin still has one growing on his wall that was photographed in 1919 and was a mature plant, even in those days. 20ft.

7.  Alchymist:  Fully double, old-fashioned blooms  golden-yellow touched with of apricot. Wonderfully fragrant. Vigorous plant with shiny bronze-green foliage that may be grown as a shrub rose or a climber. Vicious thorns and once blooming

8.  Awakening This is the latest "sport of Dawn, itself, a sport of Dr. Van Fleet and almost identical to it with the exception of Awakenings very double, old rose form blooms. It too blooms on this year’s wood versus last years and repeats very well all season... The very beautiful 3.5", soft pale pink blooms are very-double and born in clusters. Light fragrance, Reblooms reliably. The rose bush is very vigorous and very healthy. Foliage is a deep very shiny green. Disease resistant. 

Madam Alfred Carriere

9.  Mme Alfred Carrière’ There is few white climbing roses to rival ‘Mme. Alfred Carrière’ in performance. It bears large, cupped, creamy white blooms tinged with pink, which have a sweet tea rose fragrance. The flowers have a rather informal shape. In June and July it produces a magnificent display of blooms and continues to flower with great regularity until late in the season. This is a healthy, reliable and hardy climber with plentiful foliage. The growth is very strong and upright. 20ft

veilchenblau 1 .

10. This beautiful rambler is named "Veilchenblau" which means "violet-blue" in German is a deep purple crimson, producing large, closely packed clusters of small cupped flowers the buds open to a beautiful and unusual mix of colors. They open dark magenta with a white center and are occasionally streaked white - with an attractive boss of bright yellow stamens. As the blooms age, they turn dark violet, finally fading to lilac-grey. Can appear almost blue on occasions.

A vigorous rambler of typical multiflorous characteristics.  The foliage is light green and the growth almost thornless. There is a fresh, fruity scent, often with rich orange notes. It has a stiff growth, with many strong stems shooting from the base of the plant. A position in a partial shade often creates the richest coloring. Ideal for walls, pillars, and pergolas. Even though this beautiful rambler only produces flowers once a year, it is still worth having just to view it’s opulent show each spring.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Mme. Alfred Carrière a Mighty Climbing Old Garden Rose

There are few white climbing roses to rival ‘Mme. Alfred Carrière’ in performance. It bears large, cupped, creamy white blooms tinged with pink, which have a sweet tea rose fragrance. The mighty climber has virtually no thorns on its pencil thin stalks.  The flowers have a loose, informal shape and depending on your growing zone, it starts blooming anyhere between April to July. The first blush of blooms are magnificient and it continues to flower with great regularity until late in the season. 

This is a healthy, reliable and hardy climber with plentiful foliage. The growth is very vigorous and upright. to 20ft.

The rose was introduced 1875 by Schwartz and classed as a Noisette though the full blooms of this rose are more of a Bourbon or Hybrid Tea in shape. The flowers are intensely fragrant, cupped, and double opening and the palest of pinks, then cooling to creamy white. "Madame Alfred" will create a vertical focal point in any garden. It's nearly thornless canes make it a very easy rose to train. I have had flowers from it in January when it was the only plant in the garden to bear a bloom.

Madam Alfred Carriere

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

9 Ever Blooming Flowers for Your Summer Garden

Who doesn’t enjoy flowering plants? Their intoxicating scents, eye-popping colors, fancy shapes and textures are truly beautiful. Yet, with so many flowers for the garden and types of flower gardens that can be grown, where does one start. These unfussy, long-lived plants pump out beautiful foliage and flowers year after year. Plant in fall or spring when cooler temperatures help them get a healthy start.


Nicotiana is a genus of herbaceous plants and shrubs of the family Solanaceae, that is indigenous to the Americas, Australia, south west Africa and the South Pacific. Various Nicotiana species, commonly referred to as tobacco plants, are cultivated as ornamental garden plants.  Nicotianas were popular in early America and were planted by Thomas Jefferson. This tall variety produces flowers that open in the day; the colors range: pink, red, lavender, rose, and white. These are easy to grow and cause a splash of color.


Named after the ape-like rare creature that legend says inhabits the Himalayas, these white “Yeti” nasturtiums are rare indeed. Not just things of folklore, here is a creamy-white flowering variety that blooms on long trailing vines that have large leaves. In my garden they are a light yellow not white.

One of the most rewarding direct-sown flowers you can grow. Light, silky blooms float above rounded leaves on vining or bushy plants. Blooms and buds are edible too, a peppery or mustard-like addition. In the case of nasturtiums, it's convenient because you can plant them right where you want them to grow and never have to transplant. Just wait till the danger of frost has passed. To prevent accidental weeding, mark the planting site with a label. Because of the distinctive foliage, nasturtium seedlings are easy to spot. In zones 8 -10 they are self-sown and will come up every year.


Mallow Zebrina is a magnificent plant with spires of bi-colored flowers. Blooms all summer and fall for great color. (Malva sylvestris)An old Cottage-garden favorite, this cousin to the Hollyhock has similar satiny flowers in a soft lavender-purple shade, exotically striped with deep maroon veins. It forms an upright, bushy mound that may need to be staked if grown in rich soil. This is a short-lived perennial or biennial, often flowering itself to death in the first year, but coming back the next year from self-sown seedlings. Excellent in containers, or the sunny border. In cold regions this is well worth growing, because of the long blooming season. Flowers are attractive to butterflies. Also known as Striped Mallow.


(Formerly Chrysanthemum maximum) No sunny border would seem complete without the familiar presence of Shasta Daisies. This is a very tall selection that exhibits excellent tolerance to summer heat and humidity. Flowers are large single white daisies with a yellow eye, valued in the garden and excellent for cutting. Divide plants every 2 to 3 years to maintain vigor. Removing faded flowers regularly will greatly increase the blooming time. May require staking if grown in rich soil. Attractive to butterflies.


Nothing completes a country bouquet like great zinnias.Zinnias are annuals, shrubs, and sub-shrubs native primiarily to North America, with a few species in South America.  Most species have upright stems but some have a lax habit with spreading stems that mound over the surface of the ground. They typically range in height from 10 to 100 cm tall.[8] leaves are opposite and usually stalkless (sessile), with a shape ranging from linear to ovate, and pale to middle green in color. The flowers have a range of appearances, from a single row of petals, to a dome shape, with the colors white, chartreuse, yellow, orange, red, purple, and lilac


A native to the eastern United States, purple coneflowers are found in many flower gardens. Planting purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) in the garden or flower bed draws bees and butterflies, ensuring that nearby plants have plenty of pollinators. The plant also provides a tall background or repeating rows of large (often 6 inches across) purple, daisy-like flowers. The sturdy stalks, which may reach 5 feet in height, rarely bend or require staking for an upright appearance.  Coneflower plants may actually display pink flowers, when the cultivar Echinacea purpurea ‘Pink Double Delight’ is planted.  Purple coneflower plants grow best in poor or lean soil. Rich or heavily amended soil may result in lush foliage and poor flowering.


A reminder of things Victorian and a graceful accent in arrangements. Amaranthus caudatus is a species of annual flowering plant. It goes by common names such as love-lies-bleeding, pendant amaranth, tassel flower, velvet flower, foxtail amaranthMany parts of the plants, including the leaves and seeds, are edible, and are frequently used as a source of food in India and South America – where it is the most important Andean species of Amaranthus, known as kiwicha. The red color of the inflorescences is due to a high content of betacyanins, as in the related species known as "Hopi red dye" amaranth.


The growing and care of lantanas (Lantana camara) is easy. These verbena-like flowers have long since been admired for their extended bloom time. There are several varieties available that offer a multitude of colors. Depending on the region and type grown, lantana plants can be treated as annuals or perennials. Grow lantana flowers in the garden or in containers. Trailing varieties can even be grown in hanging baskets. Lantanas also make a great choice for those wishing to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden.

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Gaillardia is more commonly known as blanket flower and produces daisy-like flowers all summer long. Blanket flower is a short lived perennial that tends to reseed prolifically. There are several schools of thought about preparing blanket flower for winter. Some gardeners feel pruning blanket flower plants back and mulching is the way to go. Others do not prune, but deadhead, and do not mulch. Let’s discuss how to winterize blanket flower. Blanket flower starts readily from seed and will produce larger and larger patches of the flower over the seasons just from seed. The plant prefers excellent drainage and hot sunny locations in the garden. It will die back as temperatures drop in fall and that is when some blanket flower winter care comes into play.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

10 Unusual Colored Roses for Your Garden


'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.'  ~ from Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare

America's most popular flower is also one of the very oldest flowers in cultivation. There are over 2,000 different rose varieties to lure us with their history and fragrance. This is because the rose, like the orchid, cross-breeds readily—a trait exploited first by nature, and then by horticulturalists. Today, we can choose from old-fashioned favorites, as well as modern varieties that are the result of intensive breeding programs throughout the world. The rose is a flower with a rich past, and an exciting future. The important thing is to select a rose that you find beautiful, and that suits your garden.

Through hybridization some very  exciting unusual colored roses have been created and made available to the public. Below I have listed the 10 most different colorations in my opinion.  Enjoy.


1.  IRISH CREME:  Hybrid Tea, Bred by Astor Perry (United States, 1999).
Introduced in United States by
Certified Roses in 2000 as 'Irish Crème'.

Buff to light apricot.  Moderate, spice fragrance.  Average diameter 4".  Large, full (26-40 petals), borne mostly solitary bloom form.  Blooms in flushes throughout the season.  Medium, upright.  Medium, matte, medium green foliage.  Height of 5' (150 cm).  USDA zone 7b and warmer.  Can be used for cut flower or garden.  Disease susceptibility: susceptible to rust . 


enchanted evening   

2.  ENCHANTED EVENING: Hybrid Tea, Introduced for 2009 by Jackson and Perkins this 3-4 foot lavender floribunda is being touted as one of the best lavenders ever. With glossy green disease resistant foliage and a strong citrus aroma the large clusters of lavender blooms make this rose perfect for beds; rose or perennial, containers or as a hedge.



3.  MEMPHIS MUSIC:  Miniflora rose,  Wells 2006.  A striking dark red sport of Memphis Magic that has bright yellow flecks throughout each petal. The rose definitely exhibits as evidenced by several queens of show in 2012 and 2013. It also makes for the most beautiful English Box entry one could ever want. Unfortunately, this miniflora rose tends to be very unstable and it is not uncommon to find Memphis Magic and Top Contender on the same bush. We do not ship a plant until we see it bloom thus trying to insure that what you order is what you receive. This novelty rose will last forever on the bush with the petals turning brown if not timely cut but, seeing an open bloom is not likely. Disease resistance is exceptional with a regular spray program.



4. PURPLE TIGER:  Floribunda, This is an extremely novel beauty with  every petal a varying masterpiece of amazing purple, lavender and white stripes, streaks, flecks, dots and dashes. Plus there's a powerful perfume of citrus blossom and rose. She's a little fussy to grow as roses go. But each blossom will convince you to keep up the effort Comments: Best flower size and purple color in cooler conditions. Color: Striped and flecked purple and white.  Hybridizer: Christensen-1991 Parentage: Intrigue x Pinstripe



5. BLACK BACCARA:  Hybrid Tea,  Hybridizer: Meilland, 2000.   While bred for the florist trade, this one of a kind hybrid tea also has what it takes to flourish in outdoor gardens. The velvety texture of the petals and unique burgundy-black color of the blooms is an instant success in any cutting garden. The flowers last up to 2 weeks in a vase. Semi-glossy dark green foliage lines the long stems. Enjoy flushes of these beauties throughout the season. Grown own root. Flower Size: 3-4". Fragrance: None.


Barbara Striensand rose

6.  Barbara Streisand Rose:  Hybrid Tea, Hybridizer Carruth, 2001. This impressive rose shares star qualities with the dynamic woman for whom it is named. The striking foliage and healthy habit of the bush command a dramatic stage presence, but it is the masses of deep lavender buds gradually opening into layers of lavender tones that will turn all eyes. She asked for fragrance and got it. Flower Size: 4-6". Fragrance: Strong rose.


Variegata Di Bologna

7.  Variegata Di Bologna: Bourbon rose, Italy 1909  Variegata Di Bologna Large, cupped 5" flowers (petals 60+) of creamy white cleanly striped with purple crimson. One of the most striking of the striped roses providing a fantastic display and only a few later blooms. A strong upright repeat blooming bush that will benefit from training up a support (like a pillar rose) to make it a standout in the garden.



8.  Crested Moss: Moss Rose, Though technically a Centifolia, we list it here as a Moss. Fully double, very fragrant, cabbage-style 2" blooms of rich pink with heavy mossing on the buds. A strong, upright once blooming bush with light green foliage. Also known as Chapeau de Napoleon, as the mossing on the buds resemble Napoleons Hat. Fragrant.



9. BULL’S EYE:  Shrub rose, bred by Peter James of the United Kingdom. A hybridizing breakthrough developed a reblooming Rose with an "eye". Petals marked with red at the base form an unusual, strikingly beautiful reddish violet center in each ivory semidouble blossom. This vigorous Shrub Rose has a sweet spice fragrance, is nearly thornless, and very resistant to black spot.The cranberry eye zone set at the base of each creamy white petal might remind you of 'Rose of Sharon' and it keeps that novel marking until the flower finishes. This bushy plant has superb black spot resistance. Better habit and bloom capacity in colder climates. One of the first ever repeat-blooming Hulthemia roses, Bull's Eye, , represents years of hybridizing in an effort to capture the novelty of Hulthemia persica blooms with the repeat-blooming characteristics of modern roses.


10. Paradise:  Hybrid Tea Rose, Hybridizer: Weeks, 1979. Nirvana is not far off when you encounter this rose. Breathe in its light fruity scent as you gaze at the enormous, unusual blooms, and it will be apparent why it's called Paradise. This continually-blooming, easy-to-grow, disease-resistant plant never ceases to amaze. Its clean, true lavender blooms open to reveal loads of petals tipped in magenta-pink. Flower size: 4". Fragrance: Moderate, fruity.