Tag Archives: weigela wine and roses

Tour of the garden – 5/23/17

The Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ are still making a big impact even as they start to decline, especially when absorbing the raindrops.


And still drawing in the critters.

Allium ‘Globemaster’ is in peak form, mixing well with the emerging flowers of Baptisia australis.



Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ is in flower.


Baptisia ‘Carolina Moon’ is in full bloom mode and a bit ahead of Baptisia australis in that regard.


I haven’t written much about Arborvitae ‘Rheingold’ over the years, but patience has paid off as it has rounded into an appealing shape, about 7-8 years in. It sits now at a golden chartreuse and will soon change to a very handsome light green as we head into summer.


Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) is another perennial in full bloom in my garden right now and the drooping branches of the Ninebark ‘Diablo’ shrub add a nice contrast in color.

Nepeta also combines well with the Salvia ‘May Night’ in the background.

Speaking of ‘May Night’, it is a bee magnet.

Lots of activity today. #bee #pollinator #flower #blooms #garden #instagarden #beesofinstagram #flowersofinstagram

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Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ is bursting in color and only after some serious dead branch clean-up was it presentable. I am leaning towards a harsh prune post-flower to hopefully improve the shape of this shrub. It has been years since I’ve pruned it at all.




Foliage contrast is in full effect with the variegated Diervilla ‘Cool Splash’, Heuchera (Coral Bells) and Monarda (Bee Balm) below.


Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle), Penstemon ‘Husker Red’ (Beard Tongue) and Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ rounding out the tour for today.







Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ update

It has been a while since I chatted you all up about my Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ shrubs. Back in 2011, I did a little experimental pruning with my three different W&R shrubs to see which of the three options (severe prune, selective prune and no prune) panned out the best. At the time, I concluded (albeit with scant evidence) that some sort of pruning was the way to go for the best foliage display and best overall shape.

Fast forward to 2016 and I’ve lost 2 of the 3 shrubs after moving each of them to a wetter and poorer draining location. Neither was residing in standing water or anything that extreme, but both were not in as dry of a location as the lone standing W&R. So point #1, fast draining soil is a must. I’ve got the evidence to back that up.

The last living ‘Wine and Roses’ Weigela was the one that was originally “selectively pruned” and it did look great for 2-3 years after that. However, in the years since, the shrub has become “twiggy” (the scientific term) as I haven’t touched it since 2011. Here she is current day:


Uninspiring, even in full bloom.

Upon closer inspection, you can see the bare branches which collectively, give it the current mediocre look.

weigela 3


weigela 2


weigela 4

I still really enjoy this shrub as a foliage first plant and a great background to a variety of perennials, especially when the purple coneflowers are in full bloom. With that in mind, I’m going to prune this shrub selectively once again, probably within the next week or so after it has put out its bloom to ensure I do not cut off next year’s flowers. It looks like this will be an every 2-3 year job based on current evidence.

More to come.



Chillin in the garden on a Sunday evening

First Iris versicolor (blueflag) bloom

Obnoxiously blooming Physocarpus (Ninebark) ‘Summer Wine’

Geranium ‘Karmina’

Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ backed by Physocarpus

Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’

Peony bud – enjoying them while they last

My new hiding spot to ensure the deer inflict no more damage on the peonies 

Hypericum ‘Albury Purple’ backed by Nepeta (Catmint)

Pruning Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’

UPDATE: After reading this post, you can see where things stand 5 years later. Click here to see that update.
Earlier this spring, I decided to experiment a bit by pruning Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ shrubs in three different ways, so I could study and document the results. You can read the original post here. Here is what I’ve found to date:
1)First up, the “selectively pruned” after a slight haircut:
And how it looks as of today:

It is only a tad bit smaller than it was at this time last year but it looks a lot healthier. I also like the fact that it kept it’s shape.

There were even a few sporadic blooms back in May:

2)The “severe” prune down to about 12 inches:

The foliage that first emerged within a few weeks was a fantastic color, an almost reddish/black:

As of today, the foliage still looks great and has grown to about two feet tall:

While it has remained on the short side, the foliage is by far more vibrant than the other two:

I’ll be sure to not touch this again next spring so I can closely monitor how it looks in year two, post severe prune.

3)The untouched Weigela:

And how she looks today:

Very uninspiring. Foliage has declined as the summer has dragged on and has really never looked good at any point.


  • “Selective” pruning worked out well, foliage color was outstanding, shrub shape was perfect and there were even a few blooms to boot.
  • “Severe” pruning, while it obviously stunted the growth of the Weigela, it still resulted in outstanding foliage and shape and I assume it will look even better in year two.
  • “No” pruning on a three year old shrub resulted in the same uninspiring size, shape and foliage appearance. While this may also be due to other conditions, I’m determined to stay on top of the pruning of these shrubs to maintain their appearance as their foliage color is incredible among a sea of perennials and grasses.


Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ – He’s just not that into you

Imagine with me, if you will, that you are looking through old photos of an old girlfriend or boyfriend. You have good memories of that “ex” and do not have a bad word to say about them. However, as you thumb through the photos, you notice that each one has the “ex” in it, but they are rarely the center or purpose of the photo. Instead, they were always photographed with other friends and family. The photos are great, but your “ex” never stands out. It makes you question how much you actually thought of that “ex” at the time – maybe you really weren’t into them all that much.

Cut to present day – unlike many of you, I have nothing blooming and we are expecting snow this evening and into tomorrow. I have the gardening itch yet nothing to do to satisfy it. The next best option is to plan and look at old photos as a frame of reference. Well, as I was doing just that early this morning, I realized that Weigela “Wine and Roses” may not be as much of a favorite as previously thought.

I found only one photo where it was the Weigela and only the Weigela. And if you take a closer look at the photo above, you’ll notice that she looks kind of sad, like she’s not really present when the photo was taken. But, when she was photographed with others, she seemed to come alive, like she was making everyone else around her happier just because they were in her presence. 

This revelation immediately made me question if I treated any other past “flings” in the same manner. Well, seems like I felt the same way about the ubiquitous Rudbeckia (Blackeyed Susan) 

In truth, I think she did get around quite a bit so I never did trust her.

I will say, I am pretty sure I found “the one” now and I do have the photographic proof: 

Ain’t love grand?

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The Natives are restless

It has become a Mother’s day tradition (OK only for the past three years) at the ONG household. We make Mom breakfast in bed (and the term “make” is a bit of a stretch) and then the kids and I go out for the morning/afternoon to give Mom a truly deserved day off from being all mom-ish. We will go out to lunch and then we head for the Bowman Hill native plant sale in New Hope, PA (click here to read more). I spend the prior week studying their catalog in great detail and I identify which native plants will work for me and I bring that list with me. Then the spending spree begins and I purchase a ton of plants I had never heard of before. Below is a photo of everything I bought earlier today;        

What are native plants and why should you buy them? Glad you asked … school is in session (and my apologies to all those who know this already).

Native plants are those plants that grow naturally in your particular region and have grown there for a long period of time. They thrive under your region’s conditions and require very little maintenance. Here are some reasons why you should go native already:
  • As previously mentioned, these plants are way low maintenance since they have existed in the wild for a long period of time without any special TLC.
  • Very little water is required in allowing these guys to thrive. Umm … hello … good thing! 
  • Natives have developed natural resistance to diseases and insects which make them even more appealing.
  • By planting native, you are keeping with the natural and unique look of your area and that will keep your garden from looking  so cookie-cutter.
  • In my simple words – you keep shit the way it is supposed to be. The whole balance of nature is not disrupted and you my friend will have good karma. The wildlife will get what they need and keep that whole circle of life thing going.

Now to keep it real, I don’t only plant native. There are just too many non-natives that rock. But by educating yourself on what the native plants are in your region, you may find that there is a native plant that will serve the same purpose, or give you the look and feel you are going for with a non-native. 

Here are some native plants I have purchased in the past that are absolutely kicking butt today:
Lobelia Siphilitica
Amsonia Tabernaemontana
Chelone Glabra
Phlox Paniculata 
Aster (Purple Dome)
Chasmanthium Latifolium (Northern Sea Oats)
Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)
OK … enough of the preaching … for your viewing pleasure here are some updated photos from the garden this afternoon:  

Peonies, Campanulas, and Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’.

Super blooms on the Ninebark ‘Summer Wine’.

Cascading branches on the same Ninebark.

Another view of a Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’.

Bloom on the Astilbe ‘Deutschland’.

Nepeta (Catmint) in near full bloom.

Close up shot of the Catmint blooms.

Nice big bud forming on the Iris ‘Snow Queen’. 

The buds are forming on the Camassia Esculenta. It worked … it friggin worked … successful bulbs!  

Amsonia is blooming for the first time. Loooove this native (wait until you see photos of the yellow fall color).

The ornamental grasses (Panicum) I butchered/divided into three a few weeks ago are all thriving. Tough little bastards.

I don’t do it enough … here are some Peony blooms brought indoors.

That’s all folks. If you’re reading this far down – thank you.