Tag Archives: mountain mint

The first tour of my garden in 2017

Daffodils in bloom

Some of the Narcissus (Daffodils) are in bloom now, no doubt pushed by the 80 degree temps we had here in New Jersey yesterday.

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers soon to arrive

Viburnum carlesii.

 

 

The tiny Muscari.

 

Golden ragwort (Packera aurea).

 

Daffodils that will hide the recently cut down ornamental grass.

 

More daffodils, ‘Kokopelli’, on the way.

 

New foliage growth, almost as exciting as the flowers

This is Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’ or False Spirea. Say that 5 times fast.

 

I get a lot of anxiety in early spring, fearful of what plants didn’t survive the winter. While this pic of Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’ may mean little to you, it means the world to me. I’m so thankful to have her back for another year considering I recklessly moved her around three times last summer.

 

This is the plant I’m most excited to watch progress this year. It’s Filipendula rubra (Queen of the Prairie). This will be its third year in my garden and I hope it can reach upwards of 6 feet in height with plenty of pale pink flowers in summer.

 

This is Diervilla sessilifolia (Southern Bush Honeysuckle) with its variegated foliage emerging over a mass of Bee Balm rosettes. This combo should be killer by early summer.

 

Photos that make me think

Baptisia is here, yeah. So are the weeds, boo.

 

I like to sing the praises of Bee Balm (Monarda) and its agressive nature, but this spring they have marched into enemy territory. Enemy territory being other perennials. Here it is challenging Heuchera (Coral Bells). I think we know who will win.

 

I am way excited to see that tulips have, knock on wood, survived the winter and appear ready to bloom. Even better is the fact that this small ornamental grass will strategically cover the decaying tulip foliage as it gets larger with the warmer temps. Hopefully by allowing the tulip foliage to decay, it will energize the bulbs and provide a repeat display of flowering next spring.

 

I’m totally cool with the Leucojum aestivum (Summer Snowflake) expanding its colony even if it’s underneath this evergreen shrub. I say “evergreen shrub” because I can’t recall the name even after a search through my garden archives.

 

Finally, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I can’t bring myself to cut down this pairing. I’ve loved it all fall and winter and can’t end it quite yet. It is Little Bluestem grass, with its stellar orange hue, and Mountain Mint with its still upright seed heads.

I’m going to enjoy it for a few more days before cutting them both to the ground.

In and around the November garden

What have I been up to of late?

Glad you asked.


I finally got around to installing my Screech Owl house. Fine, I didn’t physically install it so much as I was an active gofer for my handy brother-in-law who fortunately lives two houses away.

You all know me too well.

owl-house

The owl house was installed during the day on Saturday at a temperature close to 70 degrees and got its first test that night when we had gusting winds and almost 2 inches of snow.

Yay, November.


Who can resist a good late season plant sale? How about this monster bargain:

carex-lowes50 cents x 3 is so worth the risk of getting these through the winter. They are all Carex buchananii ‘Red Rooster’.

I consider it research for my ornamental grasses book.

A tax write-off.

Wish me luck.


Some times you just have a feeling.

Some times your gut tells you to just do it.

Some times you need it.

As silly as that all sounds, it all added up to me attempting to grow tulips successfully for the first time ever (not including in containers).

tulips

There is a deeper meaning at play here and one I’ll never talk about.

I need this to work and I’m confident that it will.

Tulips don’t dig the wet winter soil and that has been my problem for decades.

Until 2017 that is.

bulbs

We now wait until spring where my blind faith will hopefully pay huge dividends.


Beyond all that, I’ve been doing my best to soak in what is left in terms of color out in the garden.

spirea-fall

Spirea nipponica ‘Snowmound’

heuchara-fall

Heuchera

rhamnus-fall

Rhamnus frangula ‘Fine Line’

mountain-mint-fall-2

Pycnanthemum incanum (Hoary mountain mint)


And you know, ornamental grasses.

grasses-fall-2

 

grasses-fall

 

grasses-fall-3

 

miscanthus-fall

 

 

 

 

Deer resistant perennials for wet soil

A friend in town, who only recently became aware of this life changing blog, asked me for some plant recommendations. Oh shit. Typically I am not a fan of doling out plant advice because the pressure can become crippling.

If the recommended plant doesn’t survive, I’m scorned at the next basketball game.

If the suggested choice can’t be found at the local nursery, I’m no longer trusted and the kids aren’t invited to any more birthday parties.

But I’m putting it all on the line today.

Without fear.

I am that confident with the choices I’m about to offer up. The following perennials (staying away from grasses for now; he’ll have to buy me lunch first) are very specific to the conditions we have here in zone 6B New Jersey. Throw in deer and rabbits galore.  And a high water table which leads to very poor draining soil.

So my local homey, here are the top 7 perennials that I can vouch for based on my personal experience. Each has thrived for at least 5 years running and all show no signs of slowing down.

Click on the hyperlink for each plant name for additional info where applicable.

You are welcome in advance.

#1 – Joe Pye Weed close to 6 feet tall, blooms are long lasting, attracts numerous critters  and looks good all the way into the fall.

joe pye weed

joe pye and miscanthus

 

#2 – Amsoniathe deer have never touched it, great bluish blooms in spring followed by fine textured foliage all summer. But Fall is when it shines with unbelievable colors ranging from yellow to orange.   

amsonia2

amsonia

amsonia

 

#3 – Astilbeno critter has ever touched it, appreciates oodles of moisture, blooms in white and pink and red in late spring and the fern like foliage separates itself from others.   

astilbe2

astilbe3

 

#4 – Bee Balmthe scent keeps the deer at bay, the bees flock to it and the blooms last all summer and even into fall. I personally love the taller options which make their presence known in the garden.

monarda3

bee

 

#5 – Purple Coneflower – yes they are everywhere but it is still an oldie but goodie. Multiplies like mad so there is a full supply year to year. Consistent blooms without a care in the world.   

garden7

moth3

 

#6 – Lobelia – cherishes the waterlogged soil and provides late summer blooms.

lobelia2

blue lob

 

#7 – Mountain Mint not the showiest, but what a critter magnet. I could stand over these in bloom all day.

mint2

mint

We’ll talk again in spring dude but start doing your homework now if you want to continue to hang with me.

Assessing the blooms

It is a shock to see actual healthy looking blooms out in the yard this time of year. Even a blind squirrel …
OK, enough of the false modesty, here is what I am seeing in good old rural New Jersey this early summer 2013:
Yes, they are everywhere, but I still love the combo of purple coneflowers and russian sage, especially when the coneflowers actively re-seed, giving it all a much more natural look:

Monarda (Bee Balm) ‘Colrain Red’ in front of a soon to be blooming Clethra ‘Hummingbird’:

The first signs of bloom on ‘Baby Joe’ Joe Pye Weed. I am so psyched to have located these dwarf versions of the original:

Plant name, no idea; it is everywhere in the wild growth around my property and some snuck into my man-made garden. Pretty cool:

Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) emerging (in front of Panicum ‘Northwind’):

Mountain Mint is so understated but that is why I love it … that and all the bugs it attracts:

I have no idea which phlox this is; got three for $1.99 and I couldn’t resist, powdery mildew be damned: