Posts Tagged ‘jupiters beard’
This is one of those lemons/lemonade things.
For some reason, none of our Asparagus survived this winter. I don’t know if I hadn’t planted them deep enough or if the winter was too bitterly cold, or if there was a disease or fungus or whatever. But no Asparagus.
So…after looking at that empty bed for a few weeks, waiting and waiting, I decided to dig. At first I was digging to see if there was anything happening down below. When I found all of the Asparagus gone (DOA) I decided to really start digging.
I get excited when there is a blank space in the garden because it’s so fun to plan an new garden area and to make it happen. This new space is between a peach tree and the grape arbor. At the back is a 6′ wooden fence and large rocks in the front. A blank canvas.
I wanted something that would grow tall in the back, taller than the fence but not tall enough to shade the grape vines on the arbor. I wanted something in the mid-range in the middle and a little shorter closer to the front. Then much smaller plants in the very front.
On top of all that, I wanted plants that would have a long bloom time and be long lived. In other words, a permanent bed. I don’t like spending a lot of money on annuals that have to be re-planted each and every year.
I chose Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon, Hardy Hibiscus, Althea are other names) for the back. They will grow to about 8-9′ and bloom all Summer and Fall.
In front of the Hibiscus I decided to use Centranthus ruber (Jupiter’s Beard) since it can get to about 4′ easily and blooms from Spring through Fall. A very tough and beautiful plant and so easily grown.
In front of the Centranthus I used Garden Phlox. It too has a long bloom time and is very easy to grow. It will reach about 30″.
For the very front I planted Snapdragons. They aren’t perennials but they have re-seeded freely in my garden so I think I can could on them to re-appear each year.
On each side of this bed is a stand of Hollyhocks which re-seeded a few years ago and I just let them stay.
Now the fun of watching and waiting. It’s one thing to plan it all out and know what each plant is supposed to do, but waiting and watching for the magic to happen is part of the joy of gardening.
Centranthus ruber, or Jupiter’s Beard, is one of the beautiful plants I discovered about 3 years ago, after moving west. I’d never heard of it before, but I began to see it in gardens all around.
It is a beautiful plant and easy to grow. The plant only grows about 2 feet high but the flowers growing on tall, straight stems can reach 3 feet.
The flowers are made up of clusters of tiny, little flowers and can be very fragrant. The flowers can be white, red, pink or lavender, and last a long time. They are good as cut flowers in arrangements.
Jupiter’s Beard grows well in full sun or partial shade. It is drought tolerant. The plants spread and also self sows freely. Removing the finished blossoms will help to prevent this and to encourage more blooms. The plants can be divided and used around the garden or share the divisions with friends and neighbors.
It’s a really good plant to grow in difficult spots where other plants won’t grow. (See the Favorite Perennials List at: http://wp.me/P1OXDF-Ps
I love them and think they’re wonderful. They seem to stay in bloom forever. I’m hoping they will spread a little so I can divide them up and spread them around my garden.
My very first job, when I was 15 years old, was planting seeds at a local nursery. To me, it was just a part-time job that provided a little teenage spending money. Eight years later, I found myself married to a landscaper, living in a brand new home, with a brand new landscape to design.
It isn’t because I have a fantastic memory that I remember one of our very first fights as a newly married couple. It probably has more to do with the fact that my husband reminds me of it all of these years later. He doesn’t remind me to be unkind, nor to remind me that I was the one in the wrong. Instead, he reminds me because it is something we laugh at almost fifteen years later.
We laugh at the memory of the ‘discussion’ we had over how to landscape a four foot wide flower bed stretching out along a 50 foot driveway. My husband, a LANDSCAPER, and me a new bride, who had six months experience planting seeds along a conveyor belt, and a few weed pulling sessions in her youth. To say we had very different views about the design is an understatement. I suggested a patch of grass would be nice. My husband, putting aside all newly-wed sensitivity, laughed out loud at my suggestion, (I think that is when the ‘argument’ started) and instead suggested trees, shrubs and perennials.
I have thanked my husband for his wisdom ever since.
After my husband planted four beautiful towering oaks, and placed a few Spireas, Potentillas, and Barberry shrubs here and there, in a peace agreement of sorts, my husband left the rest of the design to me. I spent hours perusing greenhouses of a nearby nursery and became acquainted with Stella D’oro Day Lilies, Echinacea, and what became my favorite, Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia).
Within a year and a half our landscaped areas increased and I had three more good sized flowerbeds to take care of. Again after some careful placement of trees and shrubs by my husband, I was left to the flowers.
This round of landscaping, I fell in love with Forget-Me-Nots, Jupiter’s Beard and Woodruff. (And quickly learned to never again plant the ever-seeding Mexican Primroses.)
I’ll never forget that early summer day, just four years after our first fight as a married couple, when a city official knocked on my door and declared my yard as the recipient of the city’s ‘Yard of the Month’ award!
My husband is not often found sending me beautiful bouquets of flowers, but instead he has taught me an appreciation and love of flowers that last far longer than some store-bought flowers in a vase. I am a lucky woman.
And what a lucky man my husband is. He has beautiful flower beds AND a wife that can admit she is wrong.