Foliage spills from the tower of this birdbath. The potted begonia sits above the water level so it won’t get soggy.
Shade gardening - forget the flowers…just use Begonias for their foliage. They are available in an array of colors, shapes, sizes, and growth habits. Use them as bedding plants or accents in container gardens.
LSD by Benoit Paillé, Montreal, Canada.
Lettuce Love: Decorative & Nutritious Mesclun Mix
Mesclun is from the Provençal region of France and translates to “mixture” as in a mixture of lettuce greens. The traditional Mesclun mix consists of chervil, arugula, endive, and lettuce in precise proportions, but nowadays, many other wild greens may be included. Create a mix suitable to your own palette by adding the frilly fronds of frisée, spicy mizuna, nutty-flavored mâche, or mahogany-red radicchio, watercress, parsley or other herbs. The objective is to have a mix that is sweet, spicy, bitter, crisp…and beautiful.
Lettuces, herbs, container tomatoes, and edible flowers can be grown easily in planters on a sunny deck or porch where they are readily available at a quick snip for the kitchen cook.
Last of the spring bling…. I’m loving the burgundy-burnished-copper-mahogany & green combination. This will be a repeat for next fall. Here in Georgia, we had just the right winter weather (finally) with enough cold temperatures to keep the flowers looking fresh, but not so chilly as to dispatch a soggy palette of wilted winter container color. We also had a very chilly March, so that prolonged our winter flower display this year….a joy to behold.
And in a just a few short days, I’ll be ripping all these containers apart to make room for their summer counterparts!
Making the Rounds….Breaking Beauty
I love this time of year, visiting all my container garden clients as I do every Friday. The planters we installed last fall, break loose and fill porches, terraces and pool decks with color, fragrance, and frenzied foliage. The riot of color only lasts for a couple of weeks. But it’s worth every moment.
Acanthus mollis ‘Tasmanian Angel’
Winter Garden Foliage
Frigid winter temperatures doesn’t mean no color in the garden. Mix and match evergreens, perennials, and conifers for a luxurious winter tapestry. Many foliage plants thrive under chilly conditions ~ even snow and ice storms. Choose different textures and leaf forms for container gardens and place them near the front entry or friendship door where they will be seen throughout the winter. Keep planters evenly watered to prevent them from cracking during the constant freezing and thawing that occurs in winter months.
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (Eastern Redbud)
Arbor Day in the state of Georgia is the third Friday in February, the best time of year for tree-planting in this part of the country. (National Arbor Day is always the last Friday in April, which is too warm in Georgia, Zone 7B, for tree installations.)
The redbud is one of those perfect native trees, as it has just about everything one could ask for in a landscape tree. It is best utilized as an understory specimen where it can be protected from late afternoon sun. Bright pink flower clusters appear along the branches, limbs, and trunk in early April before the leaves emerge. The trunk is an attractive maroon-chestnut color, and the leaves are heart-shaped with a burgundy-red glow (a perfect tree to discuss on Valentine’s Day). When the leaves catch sunlight, they become Mother Nature’s stained glass heart-charms.
Another remarkable trait of the redbud tree, is that the flowers are edible. They have a slightly sour taste, and are very high in Vitamin C ~ a lovely addition to spring salads. NOTE: never eat edible flowers from any plant unless you are certain they have not been sprayed with pesticides.
Lastly, since President’s Day is just around the corner, it’s worth noting that George Washington reportedly transplanted redbud trees from the wild into his garden at Mt. Vernon, and Thomas Jefferson also mentions redbud trees in his gardens at Monticello.
All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind. ~Abraham Lincoln.
2013 Perennial Plant of the Year
Perennial Plant of the Year™ has chosen one of my personal favorites this year: Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ - more commonly known as Variegated Solomon’s Seal. It’s a drought tolerant perennial for shade, with the added attraction of fragrant flowers in spring. Because it is slow spreading, it works well as an understory ground cover in woodland gardens. Combine it with Hostas for a lovely, low-maintenance foliage garden. Read more….