Category: My garden

Tour of the garden – 10/26/17

Ego boost of the week

After my daughter’s recent field hockey game, my parents returned to our house with us to watch the New York Giants football game. They live in Pennsylvania and don’t get the New York CBS feed. We fortunately get the CBS feed from both New York and Philadelphia.

Irrelevant info but I gave it to you any way.

As my mom got out of the car, it was approximately 4:21 PM EST. That is when the sun illuminates so many of my ornamental grasses.

Even she, non-grass aficionado, had to comment on the Indian Grass that greets you at the end of my driveway.

I won the day.

 

Panicum ‘Northwind’

Fun fact #1 – this native grass won Perennial Plant of the Year in 2014 by the Perennial Plant Association (PPA).

Fun fact #2 – the name “Northwind” is based on Northwind Perennial Farm, where its owner, Roy Diblik, discovered the grass after collecting its seed near a railroad track in Illinois in 1982.

Fun fact #3 – the fall color is friggin underrated.

 

 

 

 

More autumn grass love

 

 

 

 

This hydrangea sucks all year

‘Lady in Red’ hydrangea has been a disappointment ever since I added it to my garden back in 2007.

Virtually no blooms and the advertised darker foliage has yet to emerge.

This is it at what I’ll sarcastically call its “peak”.

 

The view

This is what I see when I immediately look right after walking out my front door.

Ninebark ‘Diablo’ basking in the autumn sun with a gold-soaked Panicum in the background.

I like it. A lot.

 

Amsonia, yet again

Another week, another Amsonia money shot. These were planted only two years ago and they’re already making an impact. This one is Amsonia hubrictii.

 

Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’, more of a groundcover, is just starting to strut its autumn hues.

 

Boring

But I like it.

 

I see dead flowers

I added Hypericum ‘Blue Velvet’ this spring because I love the blue foliage. The yellow flowers are OK but I look at it as a foliage plant.

Call me odd, but I really dig the dark brown seed heads that have recently emerged.

 

Speaking of dying plants

The slow death of the Mountain Mint is kind of … attractive in its own way. Very seasonally appropriate may be a more accurate description.

 

 

Grass reviews

This is Molinia ‘Cordoba’. The straw-colored panicles are way impressive even if the grass itself is kind of drab. I know I can improve upon its location in the garden and will be studying it all winter. Most likely I’ll look to hide the foliage behind taller plants so only the panicles are visible.

 

This is Pennisetum ‘Burgundy Bunny’. I’ve got 5 planted along a walkway and while the foliage color is fantastic, the blooms have been sporadic and they are taking some time to get established.

More wait and see for next year.

 

Don’t judge. I think this is Calamagrostis brachythricha which I know I ordered online a year or so ago but can’t account for its location. I have high hopes for this one based on its universal love from other grass enthusiasts.

If this is a different grass, this photo will be deleted and you shall never speak of it again.

 

 

Designing with perennials and ornamental grasses

Thank you all so much for your comments on my prior post. I truly covet all of your opinions when it comes to the topic for my next book. You all know better than I do.

Between those comments, feedback on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and chats with my people, I realize that the next book must be all about ornamental grasses. A shock, I  know.

That is my sweet spot even if I still have loads to learn. But research and learning should be part of any under taking so I look forward to the challenge.

Now the debate comes down to what to include in this book on grasses. Is it one-stop shopping or should the focus be on design only? I’m still working that out and my door is still open looking for your feedback.

I have started to build an outline and will share that with you all in the very near future.

For today, I went back and found some of my favorite ornamental grass and perennial combos.

I know I’m already asking a lot of you, but I would love to hear which ones you like the most. If it wouldn’t be too much of a burden, would you rank your top 2 and let me know in the comments?

Also, I’d love to include photos of your grasses in the next book as well. If you have any you’d be willing to share, let me know and we can work something out. I’ve got no budget to pay, but I think I can get creative in terms of reward.

Thanks again and enjoy my OG’s.

 

Joe Pye Weed and Panicum ‘Northwind’

This may be my fave as it starts in August and carries all the way through October.

 

 

 

 

Joe Pye Weed and Pennisetum ‘Hameln’

Again, multi-seasonal interest extending summer through fall.

 

 

 

 

Bee Balm and Karl Foerster Grass

I could include just about any perennial in my garden with Karl Foerster but the bloom color of this Bee Balm really stands out here.

 

 

Bee Balm and Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’

This one really highlights the fact that grasses are the ultimate backdrop for blooming perennials.

 

 

Baptisia and Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’

This one is more understated, but for some reason I love the combo when the blooms have faded and the black seed heads emerge.

 

 

 

Baptisia and Sorghastrum nutans (Indian Grass)

This is from late summer when both are back lit by the afternoon sun. Some combos have a short duration but when it hits, it packs a punch.

 

 

Rudbeckia and Karl Foerster Grass

Like I said before, all perennials mix well with Karl and here is another example.

 

 

 

Bee Balm and Flame Grass (Miscanthus purpurascens)

The Flame Grass on its own is stunning. But the spent flowers of the Bee Balm add a magical dimension in early mornings during the fall.

 

 

Dwarf Sneezeweed and Flame Grass

The bloom color on the Sneezeweed is represented in the foliage of the Flame Grass.

 

 

 

Amsonia and Panicum (Switch Grass)

The contrast is subtle throughout the spring and early summer, but really picks up in late summer and peaks in the fall.

 

 

 

 

Boltonia and Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’

I like the backdrop of the lighter colored foliage.

 

 

Ninebark ‘Diablo’ and Karl Foerster Grass

Yes, I’m cheating as this is a shrub. But I couldn’t leave it out because I love the color contrast and the texture contrast.

 

 

My garden – 10/11/17

A lot of changes in only a week’s time. I’m doing my best to capture those changes, both  subtle and dramatic.

To the shock of no one, the ornamental grasses lead the charge.

And the remaining flowers are few and far between.

Enjoy.

Grasses reaching their peak

 

 

 

 

 

 

Color coming to an end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bye Bye Berries

 

 

Shrooms

 

Seed heads

 

 

 

Garden tour – 10/6/17

Still holding on

The Globe Amaranth is finally showing signs of fading but what a show it put on for months. I’ve mentioned it before but it’s worth mentioning again, to myself.

USE MORE ANNUALS FOR LONG LASTING COLOR ALL SUMMER

 

 

You know it’s October

When there is artwork left behind each morning.

 

 

 

Light

I said “Oh, shit” out loud when I saw the flowers on this Pennisetum early this morning. They are completely blinding. I think my eyesight is still screwed up hours later.

 

 

Sorbaria (Sem False Spirea) in front of Schizachyrium (Little Bluestem) in front of Panicum ‘Rots’ (Switch Grass).

 

Grasses

I kind of like them. Especially in October.

 

 

 

 

Savoring Fall via Instagram

I can’t take enough of these types of photos.

 

 

 

That’s Why I Wrote the Book

The seed heads left behind on the Boltonia look fantastic right now.

 

 

 

 

Tour of the garden – 9/27/17

After the events of the past two weeks, the garden has never felt more trivial yet has been a great refuge at the same time. I have no energy to attack the “to-do” list or even lift a shovel, but I could spend hours with the camera capturing it in all its early fall glory.

So with that in mind, here are some of the photos I’ve taken the past few days. I’m sure at some point in the near future I’ll be planting bulbs like a man possessed, but for now I’ll just bask in the peace the garden provides.

And a huge thank you to all that have provided such kind words to our family. While we’re all saddened and heart broken, we take solace in the fact that we can’t stop telling stories about my father-in-law, both with tears of sadness and of laughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tour of the Garden – 9/13/17

Northern Sea Oats ‘River Mist’

I’ve had zero reseeding issues with this NSO and it looks particularly killer this time of year.

 

Clethra (Summersweet)

This deciduous shrub has been a savior for me. The deer have ignored it. The wet soil doesn’t bother it one bit. The suckering has been minimal and I’m OK with it if it picks up in the future.

While the blooms were fantastic back a few weeks, I’ve come to appreciate the foliage color more and more. As it lightens in color now that September has arrived, it provides a great contrast to so many other nearby plants.

 

 

 

Flowers

Stonecrop (Sedum) ‘Autumn Fire’

 

Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)

 

New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis)

 

Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)

 

Sonecrop (Sedum) ‘Matrona’ (Yes, the deer nibble. Why only a little bit I’ll never know. Maybe it’s a rabbit?)

 

Obedient Plant (Physostegia) ‘Vivid’

 

Fading

Veronica in front of Obedient Plant ‘Vivid’.

 

Allium ‘Mt Sinai’

 

One last show

I cut back the Catmint (Nepeta) ‘Walker’s Low’ one last time a few weeks back and the reward has been just enough new flowers to keep things interesting.

 

Subtle autumn

The slightest foliage color change on the Mountain Mint.

 

Same goes for Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’.

 

One leaf at a time on the Viburnum carlesii.

 

Yes, it never bloomed but the foliage color on Hydrangea ‘Lady in Red’ is still solid. Especially next to the dark-leaved Ninebark ‘Diablo’.

 

Not so subtle autumn

You’ll continue to see Amsonia hubrichtii and Itea ‘Little Henry’ from me on a weekly basis throughout the fall.

 

And Amsonia and Panicum (Switch Grass) as well.

 

The Viburnum ‘All That Glitters’ is in like the hardcore autumn phase.

 

 

Ornamental Grasses

I’ll allow the photos to tell the story.

 

 

 

 

 

Tour of the Garden – 9/6/17

Front walkway

It takes this deep into the season for the front bed to truly shine as the grasses emerge, fall foliage color subtly appears and late summer blooms arrive.

 

A step back from the same scene …

 

… and another step back.

 

 

Physostegia (Obedient Plant) ‘Vivid’

This mass started as only 7 small plants over a year ago. It has filled in at an insane level. I like.

 

 

 

Green

I love me all different shades of green. I find this section of the garden soothing. Who’s with me?

 

 

Paralysis by analysis

I have stared at this scene for weeks now. I like it but I don’t. While it’s full and a good mix of flowers, foliage, texture, etc, something is amiss. I’m close to figuring it out but would appreciate your input.

 

 

Secret weapon

This section of the garden is going to be the best in a few years. You can’t see it now but trust me, there is a lot going on here and it’s all awesome. I can’t wait to share it when it explodes in awesomeness.

 

 

Seed heads

The seed heads on the Baptisia transformed to dark black this week. I like.

 

 

 

Leave it alone

This combo hasn’t been touched for three years now. That must be a record for me.

 

 

Delicious foliage color

Panicum and Amsonia. But you knew that already because I talk about it every week.

 

 

 

Turkey foot

Here is why Andropogon (Big Bluestem) is also known as turkeyfoot. You’re welcome.

 

 

Viburnum berries

The berries on the Viburnum ‘Emerald Lustre’ continue to explode. More than I’ve had in ten years of its existence. I like.

 

 

 

Uncle

Fine, I’ll admit it. I don’t know what this white blooming plant is. I just know that I never planted it. It has fleshy stems that multiple like mad from year to year. Help a gardener out won’t you?

 

 

 

What the hell is that?

There are a bunch of Northern Sea Oats growing underneath this Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’. It has created this bizarre mash-up that looks even stranger as the Itea develops its fall color.

 

 

Finally

The Chelone lyonii (Turtlehead) ‘Hot Lips’ typically look like crap by now. All of the flowers turn black and become an eye sore. Not this year so far. I like.

 

 

 

Do as I say …

For those of you who bought my book, I specifically pointed out that Lady’s Mantle requires some extra attention once the blooms stop and the weather turns hot and dry in summer. I should probably follow my own advice next year.

 

 

The late August garden

The latest and greatest:

The signs of autumn are becoming less and less subtle. The Itea ‘Little Henry’ in the front are half green/half scarlet red. The Amsonia hubrichtii is revealing orange hues throughout. The Panicum in the upper left is now showing signs of its yellow fall color and even the blooms on Joe Pye Weed are transitioning to a richer and darker pink.

 

The blooms on Pennisetum ‘Desert Plains’ recently emerged in full force.

 

A smorgasbord of ornamental grass blooms. It’s tough to identify them all individually but included here are Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’, Karl Foerster grass and Indian Grass.

And now here they all are individually.

I took a few steps back for this picture of Indian Grass to show just how prolific it is as a focal point at the end of my driveway.

 

Red for days on Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’.

 

Those Karl Foerster blooms still soaking up the sun like champs.

 

Lobelia siphilitica (Cardinal flower) still popping up everywhere, including smack dab in the middle of this ornamental grass.

 

Have I mentioned Amsonia in every post so far this year? Here’s another one.

 

You know I attempted (key word here) to remove all of my Northern Sea Oats. While it continues to stick around, there’s no denying that it is stunning in the right light.

 

I’ll take the blush/pink faded blooms of this Hydrangea over the bright white blooms any day. Quintessential late summer color.

 

There are very few berries on Viburnum ‘Emerald Lustre’ that have been missed by the birds.

 

Boltonia in full bloom, fortunately being held up by the neighboring Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’.

 

 

Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed) while blooming, has been devoured by some critter so it’s a bit ugly right now. Yuck.

 

Butterfly chasing adventure of the week: Common Buckeye.

 

Tour of the Garden – 8/24/17

The Grasses

What else would I lead with at this time of year? Duh. I’m well aware that my last post featured Flame Grass, but I couldn’t resist featuring it yet again. Those silvery blooms blowing in the wind bring the garden to life. Once that green foliage color turns every imaginable shade of orange, it will be sensory overload.

 

Can you say focal point? Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) is killer right now. While I love it massed for maximum effect, it can hold its own on its own. While the flowers or inflorescence are a show-stopper, give me the sturdy blue stems any day of the week. Even on a Monday.

 

Ho-hum, another Panicum ‘Northwind’ pic.

 

The red is really shining through on Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’. These grasses are incredibly fool-proof and have been for over a decade now.

 

Multiple grasses are anchoring this garden scene. I’ll say it again, as ubiquitous as it may be, the upright and tan blooms of Karl Foerster grass add so much to the late summer garden. Massed or dotted throughout the garden, it doesn’t matter. It works and I won’t stop using it any time soon.

 

Just a different Instagram filter for a different vibe.

 

Fine, you win

I cut it down to the ground in early spring. I cut it back again in June. I chopped off a ton of the branches after they were infested with Japanese beetles.

It doesn’t matter. This Salix ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ (Dappled Willow) just keeps growing and growing. If I’m being honest, I’m bored with it but I can’t imagine trying to remove it.

Oh well.

 

Not looking good

All of my Achillea (Yarrow) ‘Moonwalker’ look like this or worse. The funny thing is they thrived earlier in the summer like never before.

 

I told myself I wouldn’t dabble in red-blooming Lobelias any longer. They have never escaped the jaws of the deer or the rabbits. Just when all 5 were starting to look great while blooming together, this happened. I even sprayed the bastards with Deer Off the night before.

I’m done.

 

You know I love me some Sneezeweed ‘Mariachi Series’. But for the first time since I’ve planted them, they are toppling over. It may have been due to a recent deluge of rain so I’ll do my best to remain patient.

 

Still chasing

Yes, still awkwardly running after each and every Monarch butterfly.

 

Autumn has arrived

This is the Viburnum that I ceremoniously moved to a new location in the garden a few weeks back. I’m sure the red leaves are due to the stress I put on it and not the fact that fall has come a few weeks to early. Either way, that color is solid and I have big hopes for the future as it matures.

But even better is the sign of all of those berries. This is a Viburnum dentatum ‘All That Glitters’ which requires ‘All That Glows’ as a pollinator. I have both planted close to each other and I’m assuming this is the result of that pollination. They should turn purple in color in the coming weeks.

 

All of my Itea (Virginia Sweetspire) turn red prematurely in August. This is the dwarf cultivar ‘Little Henry’ which I’m allowing to sucker like mad in a very wet part of the garden.

 

While it may be slight, you can start to see the color transformation in the foliage of the Amsonia.

Amsonia tabernaemontana

Amsonia hubrichtii

 

The Red Twig Dogwood just displayed its red stems for the first time this week. And for those curious, the leaf damage was from Japanese beetles a few weeks back.

 

Ready to shine

The Eupatorium ‘Wayside’ (Hardy Ageratum) are starting to bloom.

But have they ever taken over.

So many of you warned me of this and it is coming to fruition. It may be OK this year, but I see a problem with the years to come. I’ll need to jump on this soon to prevent a total takeover.

 

Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ is rounding into form and they are all inundated with bees.

 

Helenium (Sneezweed) has popped up all over my garden where I least expected it and I’m good with that. That is until it falls over when the many flowers emerge at once.

 

They may not “shine” but Chelone lyonii (Turtlehead) ‘Hot Lips’ adds a nice dash of color in late summer.

 

My continuing use of annuals

I’ve added Heliotrope …

… and Persian Shield

… and I must admit I might be coming around even more on using annuals. As many of you know, I’ve rarely used annuals in the garden outside of containers but finally embraced them this year. I’m getting the “fill-in” functionality and long bursts of color. While I prefer to grow over time with my plants, I may be finally crossing the dark side.

 

I love you, but don’t know where to go with you

I am like totally in love with Aralia ‘Sun King’.

Look at that foliage.

Problem is I have no room for it in my garden. All of my shaded areas are accounted for and even if I made room, I worry about the deer destroying it.

So for now, I’m digging it in a container, shaded on my front porch, and will do my best to overwinter it in the container.

 

 

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2017

It’s good to be back after a week’s vacation down south with the family. If you care to read about our 13-hour car ride to South Carolina, you can check it out here:

A 13-hour car ride with the family  

Or if you share my obsession with people watching in the ocean, check this out:

The ocean is the great equalizer

I was also super excited to read this review of my book:

John Markowski’s book finds a place in my garden

No more self-promotion, I swear.

In terms of the garden, things are looking eh; a little worn out and beaten up from all of the rain this past week.

I’ve missed Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day for a months running but fortunately remembered it for today. Before diving into my garden pics, here are a few other GBBD posts from some of my friends around the country.

May Dreams Gardens

Hayefield

The Outlaw Gardener

The Rainy Day Gardener

On to my humble lot:

A little Lobelia love

Lobelia cardinalis ‘Black Truffle’

 

Lobelia gerardii ‘Vedrariensis’

 

Lobelia siphilitica

Grasses flower too

Micanthus purpurascens (Flame Grass) in front. Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ in back.

 

Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’

 

Panicum ‘Northwind’

 

Blooms of Molinia ‘Cordoba’

Still going strong

Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed) ‘Gateway’

 

Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed) ‘Phantom’

 

Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan)

 

Allium ‘Mt. Sinai’

Newly emerging

Helenium (Sneezeweed) ‘Mariachi Series’

 

Boltonia (False Aster) ‘Pink Beauty’

 

Rose of Sharon through the lens of an ornamental grass

 

Sedum (Stonecrop) ‘Autumn Fire’

Fading

Monarda (Bee Balm)

 

Echinacea (Coneflower) ‘Fragrant Angel’

 

Astilbe and Echinacea (Coneflower) ‘Sunset’

 

Veronica (Speedwell) ‘Royal Candles’

 

Perovskia (Russian Sage)

Hydrangeas