Posts Tagged ‘yarrow’
After being inundated with a couple of feet of snow (which has been on the ground now about 2 weeks), and being house bound
because of the ice storm yesterday that left a quarter inch of solid ice on driveways, sidewalks and roads (the interstate was closed, as well as all the runways at the airport) I am SO ready for spring and summer.
It’s times like this that I’m so glad that I’ve taken lots and lots of pictures of our garden so I can, not only enjoy looking at them during the cold days of cabin fever, but to also evaluate the garden to see what’s working and what might need some tweaking.
Here are a few shots of warmer times in our garden.
If you like a lot of different kinds of plants…
If you like a lot of flowers blooming…
If you don’t want to worry about strict, formal lines and forms…
If you want your garden to feel natural, like it all happened on its own…
If you like using vintage pieces in your garden…
If you like the idea of plants seeding themselves or multiplying on their own…
If you want a garden that make you want to just hang out and relax in…
Maybe a Cottage Garden is just for you.
A cottage garden is loosely planned, and heavily planted. I think that most gardeners are a lot like me when it comes to plants. It seems that I’m a plant-aholic. I can’t seem to ever have too many. Even when I’m sure that I’ve maxed out the space available, I can always squeeze in one more specimen I’ve found.
Plants that bloom, smell good and re-seed or spread will eventually find a way into my garden. The great thing about having such a variety of plants is that most of them bloom, but not at the same time. So I have something blooming somewhere all during the growing season. If you have all the same plants then the blooms are all done with at the same time.
I did lay out a plan of the yard but only loosely designated a certain area for “flower bed” or “berry patch”. I paid attention to the height of the plants, so they would all fit together nicely, and to the sun and water requirements. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the bloom time but I didn’t really do that, and most of the time I was lucky. The blooms for any season, spring through fall, are spread around the whole yard pretty evenly.
If you follow the planting guides on most seed packets or plant instructions, your garden will look good eventually. While the plants are growing and reaching their full potential, there can be a lot of empty space to fill. It can either be filled with annuals for a year or two…or three, or with mulch. I like to plant things much closer than the instructions say because I like a very full garden. If the plants get a little crowded, it’s okay. If they ever get too crowded, I divide and move some or share with friends.
I like blooms. I love having flowers in the house, so I plant plenty so that I can cut plenty to use and to share. Try some of the cottage garden favorites like hollyhocks, foxglove, phlox, daisies, roses (of course), peonies or lilies.
It doesn’t take a lot of room to have a cottage garden either. A tiny plot by the back door will do. How about a 3′ border down the side of your lawn? I’d rather have the 3′ lawn and the rest in flowers, but that’s just me.
Mix in some vegetable plants along the way. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, squash and many other beautiful vegetable plants will fit right into a cottage garden.
Formal gardens are pretty but they don’t draw me in and make me feel as happy as I feel when I’m in my (slightly messy) cottage garden.
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Isn’t it too bad that cut flowers are so expensive?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have vases of color all over the house?
Well, actually, you can. If you have a few packets of seeds, and a little plot of ground that gets plenty of sunshine, then you can grow your own flowers for cutting.
This winter, when you’re looking through all those catalogs (see post “Have You Ordered Your Gardening Catalogs?” http://wp.me/p1OXDF-Ub) and planning your garden, be sure to carve out a space for your cutting garden. I use my whole garden as a cutting garden, but some gardeners like to have a patch set aside just for cutting.
Clear the ground of grass and weeds. Dig and turn the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches. If your soil doesn’t drain well or isn’t fertile enough, add some composted manure (available in bags at Lowe’s: http://www.lowes.com/pd_252970-82589-WGM03204_0__?productId=3083255&Ntt=manure&pl=1¤tURL=%2Fpl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dmanure&facetInfo=) and mix in well. Level out the top of the soil and plant the seeds. You can plant in rows, with the taller plants at the back so they won’t shade the shorter plants, or you can plant in squares or groupings of each kind of flower. To plant annuals, I put the seeds down and sprinkle more soil on top. Tamp down the soil with a hoe to make sure the seeds make good contact with the soil. Keep the area moist (not wet) until the seeds germinate and have a couple of leaves. Then water deeply every 3-4 days. As the plants mature and the roots go deeper, water deeply weekly. Soon you’ll have plenty of flowers to cut for your own use and to share with family and friends. Most annuals improve with cutting because it encourages more blooms.
Some of the flowers listed below are perennials (plants that come up year after year), and can be planted from seeds but many are planted as seedlings, which give them a head start in the garden. Some of the flowers listed below are from bulbs that will come up year after year.
Some Of My Favorite Cutting Flowers
- Centranthus (Jupiter’s Beard)
- Companula (Canterbury Bells)
- Bachelor Buttons (Corn Flower)
- Scabiosa (Pin Cushion Flower)
- Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco)
- Rudbekia (Black-eyed Susan)
- Gypsophilia (Babies’ Breath)
- Japanese Anemones
- Bee Balm
- Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower)
- Roses (a shrub, but great for cut flowers)
- Hydrangeas (a shrub, but great for cut flowers)
For more information and pictures of these blooming plants check out these posts:
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In case you don’t know, a perennial is a plant that comes back year after year, getting bigger and more beautiful each year. With perennials it’s sleep, creep, leap. They don’t do much the first year but gather strength. The second year they will began to put on more growth and the third year they take off.
The cooler temperatures have me searching the nursery sites and catalogs for some of my favorite plants. If you plant perennials now they will have a head start in the spring because they will have a stronger root system.
Here is a list of some of the plants in our yard and so I can vouch for their beauty and ease of growing. In my yard it’s survival of the fittest so if they don’t do well they kind of drop by the wayside on their own. There are so many more plants than this but these are some of my favorites.
Pulmonaria (Lungwort) (semi-shade)
Centranthus (Jupiter’s Beard)
Campanula – Canterbury Bells
We’re in zone 6 and so this is what we can have in our yard. I use to live in zone 8 where I could have Angel Trumpets, Crape Myrtle, Plumbago,Hibiscus, Citrus Trees, Palm Trees and Gardenias.
I really do miss the Natchez Crape Myrtles. They were so big and graceful… but I couldn’t have peonies there.
Do you have any favorites in this list?