Tag Archives: lady in red hydrangea

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.



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.



Tour of the garden – 7/20/17

And on the very hot day, he sort of rested

This is where I’ve spent a lot of my time the past week.

Temps have been in the 90’s here in Jersey and it’s been wicked humid.¬†That doesn’t mean I haven’t busted my hump out in the garden though. I’ve been weeding like a mo fo and just before I’m ready to pass out, I head to this rocker in the shade, drink gallons of water and rest up until I’m ready to get back out there again.

Call me crazy, but I love this weather. It’s uncomfortable and the bugs are all up in my business, but this is what separates the hardcore gardeners from the casual gardeners. I love the sweat and the head rushes and the feeling of toughing out; not to mention the post-weeding cold shower avec a tasty cold beverage.


Plant recommendation for the week

Molinia ‘Cordoba’ or Moor Grass

It didn’t take long for this ornamental grass to get established as its only been in my garden for 3 years now and it started off as a tiny little plug.

While the grass leaves are only about 2 feet in height, it’s pushing 6′ – 7′ in height while in bloom.

I’m still tinkering with how to best use it in terms of design. I did follow a suggestion of planting it in front of a dark background as seen in the photo above where it is situated in front of a Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ shrub.

From another angle though, you can see how it can easily be lost in the garden shuffle.More to come as I joyously tinker and as the fall color emerges in a few weeks.


Filling in nicely

New garden bed and path back in 2010.

And current day where I am now running out of room for a path.

A good problem to have.


Never give up

I tried desperately to grow a Red Twig Dogwood in at least 5 different locations in my garden dating back a decade or more. The deer always got it or it simply never thrived.

I tried one in a container and it did OK but I feared it dying over the winter in that container so I knew I had to transplant it elsewhere.

On a whim, I planted it along the foundation of the house and the rest is history. She’s about 5′ to 6′ tall right now and that is after I cut it to the ground in March.

The deer don’t frequent this area that often but they will chew on some of the plants here sporadically.

True story: There is a large gap between the two sidewalk stones right in front of the dogwood and I’ve convinced myself that it messes with the footing of the deer so I haven’t adjusted it for years running now. Crazy? Maybe.


Lady in Red, isn’t dancing with me

If you look carefully at the pic below, you can see one flower on this ‘Lady in Red’ hydrangea.

The sad thing is that the one bloom is still more than the last two years combined. In fact, this hydrangea has never bloomed well.

But it takes up space, comes back every year and has decent fall color.

Not significantly bad enough to justify eradication.



Seed heads are good

You’ve heard me say it a million times (including in my new book). Keep those spent flowers on Baptisia because they add such an interesting element from summer through winter. Here’s how they look right now in the middle of July.



It’s better to be lucky than good

When these Veronica bloom, they are lit up by the emerging bright green grass (Pennisetum) in the background. I would love to say that I planned it this way but it was truly dumb luck.


What do you think?

The combination of Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ and Obedient Plant is an example of another not-planned-combo that has recently emerged in the garden.

I have no clue if I like the mix or not. So I need your input in order to decide how to proceed. Thank you.


If you plant it, they will come

That would be Swamp Milkweed.



Big hopes for the future

I posted this photo of a Purple Prairie Clover on Instagram recently. Very cool IMHO.

In truth, it’s the only one I have on the plant so it only looks great shot in macro. But if this native perennial blooms heavily next year, I am going to be madly in love. Those flowers are killer.


Shameless cross-promotion, not the least bit garden related

I recently wrote two new articles for Medium and I would love for you to head over there and check them out:

The Hardest I’ve Ever Laughed

Raising a Child That Is Nothing Like You

Thank you in advance.



Enjoying fall while it is still here

Ignore what I wrote on Friday. There were no bulbs planted this weekend and I blame it on the following:

  • 50% weather – we had a ton of rain late Friday into Saturday
  • 25% familial obligations – soccer game, kids Oktoberfest events
  • 15% smarts¬†– maybe a bit too early for bulb planting here
  • 10% wanting to soak in the autumn-ness – time spent smelling the roses grasses

In regards to that last one, I am typically not one to “enjoy the moment” when it comes to my garden. I am either looking towards the future when yet again moving or adding a new plant or hating on my current day plants that are underachieving.

But this weekend I reminded myself that fall is possibly the greatest time of year in the garden, yet it is oh so fleeting. A famous man once said “Better enjoy the crap out of it while is here.”

With that in mind, more autumn photos for your viewing pleasure.

itea and clethra

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet and Clethra ‘Ruby Spice’



Physocarpus ‘Diablo’



Physocarpus ‘Diablo’



Hydrangea ‘Lady in Red’



Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’



Siberian Iris



Viburnum bracteatum ‘Emerald Lustre’



Amsonia tabernaemontana



Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’



Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’




Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lady in Red’

“Good things come to those who wait”. 
Really? Does that apply with plants also? Cause I ain’t feeling that dawg. I’ve waited and waited and for me at least, the good never comes. In fact, it usually gets worse. 
That is, until my Hydrangea ‘Lady in Red’ took off this spring, and I never saw it coming:

I planted this lacecap hydrangea back in 2006 as I was seduced by the promise of stunning fall color. She was given a prominent location along the path to my front door and I was pumped. 
Well, for three years, I waited for something – reddish/purple fall color, blooms, the deep red veining  – and I got a big bag of nothing. It looked like one of my ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangeas. Nothing terrible, just “OK”. 
In 2009, I relocated LIR to a minor league location to let it fade into the sunset. If the deer found it, so be it. Over the next two years I forgot about it and moved on. 
Fast forward to 2011. LIR decides to put in an effort and damn if she didn’t look good y’all. The foliage was clean as can be with a nice reddish hue and with red veining on the leaves/stems as originally promised:                
She also bloomed her butt off:

So I should leave it be and let her enjoy the new location, right? Wrong. I moved her immediately back to my front bed, where I’m sure she will disappoint again. I just can’t help myself. We’ll see … I’m hoping this will work out, even if she struggles a bit at first in her new home.

It’s been about two months now since the big move and the foliage still looks great. Here she is in late August:

And this week as the cold weather approaches:

At this point, LIR is about 4 x 4 and is located in a spot that gets afternoon shade – hopefully the perfect location. This time I’ll be more patient (you believe that?) and hopefully we will continue down the same positive path.

Have a great weekend.


A little bit of everything out in the garden

Things have been quiet on the garden front over the past week or so. It almost feels like the “calm before the blooming storm” as many of the perennials (coneflowers, daylillies, russian sage, phlox) are about to put on their show but they’re not quite there yet.

Still, the garden is always developing and there are new surprises even if it they aren’t obvious to the naked eye. This includes all of the new visitors to and fro; some wanted and others … not so much. Here’s what’s been going down in my garden ‘hood of late:

One shrub I have virtually ignored since planting it about three years ago is Hydrangea ‘Lady in Red’. I’ve never witnessed the supposed red fall foliage and haven’t had more than 2 blooms total to date. In fact, it has been difficult to tell the difference between it and ‘Endless Summer’. Well, this year it has shown some serious promise with multiple blooms and a more interesting foliage color:

Every time I am outside with the camera, I snap off at least one photo of my Hypericum ‘Albury Purple’. I can’t get enough of the foliage color along with the small yellow flowers. It is now loaded with berries so it stands out like no other shrub in my front bed:

Speaking of berries, my Viburnum ‘Shoshoni’ is also loaded with berries and the birds swarm to them like mad. I’d love to say that I successfully planted another Viburnum cultivar nearby in order to get these berries, but truth is, I have no idea why they have formed now after having nothing the first few years:

A bird photographer I am not. But I don’t let that stop me. I stalk them whenever I can and then try to figure out what I am actually taking photos of. My wife bought me a new book on New Jersey birds so watch out, a new obsession is in it’s infant stage:

I f’n hate bunnies: 
But really dig bees, especially when they are practicing their gymnastic moves:
I tend to lean towards the OCD side when it comes to my garden. I would love to say I like things a bit wild but that would be a lie. Reseeding has rarely appealed to me as it brings up nightmares of pulling tiny seedlings out all spring and summer. I am happy to report, however, that my purple coneflowers have re-seeded like mad this year and they have filled in beautifully – “controlled chaos” works for me:  
I received this Coreopsis ‘Star Cluster’ in the mail earlier this spring from Skagit Gardens and the first blooms have emerged. What do you think? I’m digging it big time: 
Thanks for reading!
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