Tag Archives: spring flowers

Great Gardening Weekend Satisfies the Soul

Wonderful weather can make a great gardening weekend!  Of course, there are lots of fun things to do during nice weather but this weekend was very productive in the garden.  I think because it was the first real “feeling” of summer here in the Intermountain West.  Some of you know what summer is like here but for those that don’t…

Well, the temps are real warm, even hot, (meaning 100) to the point that you would never pass up a cold drink that’s offered, but not humid to the point that you have to have a cold drink.  It  feels like a soft rustling of fresh air around you but not a gust of wind continually beating at your every move.  And my favorite part is the feeling the day will never end… it might be 9:30-10:00 p.m. and the sun has not completely set.  It’s wonderful!

This weekend many plants opened their delightful blooms!

  If you checked in on Friday you’ll see a big difference in the iris and peony in just two days.

Also the only rose I grow at this garden, a true classic, Rosa Glauca, opened its blooms. I have been in love with this species rose since I discovered it during my garden days in Portland, Oregon.   And I recently found out that even Margaret Roach from awaytogarden.com feels the same way! Now that’s a confidence booster!  Anyway, back to Rosa Glauca, it is sometimes called red leaf rose cause the leaves are tinged with red just like the stems.  It is extremely hardy but I suggest planting it in spring (instead of fall) if you are in a Zone 2, 3, 4 or 5 area just to make sure it gets established.  It has arching canes that will get 6-8 feet long so give it room.  To me the foliage color all season and the amazing large, bright orange hips are the best parts of this easy to grow rose.

Oh, and I can’t help but post a photo of Cerastium, ‘Snow in Summer.’  I know it is super common but it is such a happy-looking plant that I smile when I notice it and I love it up against a big rock.  I have to give it just a bit of due credit…

Another good garden thing this weekend included the ‘builder’ fancying up the trellis/cage system for the raspberries.  Last year, we planted raspberries and a trellis system was not critical as they were young.  However, the ‘builder’ started a copper masterpiece but then was distracted with backpacking, fishing and the like and ended up rigging together a wimpy wire thingamajig.  Good thing the ‘builder’ is somewhat of a perfectionist cause now that the raspberries are off to a great start  (one year more mature) he simply couldn’t stand the trellis thingamajig and went back to crafting a copper masterpiece.

 I like how it turned out and think it will do a swell job of holding the raspberry canes.

Finally, some of my edible/ornamental pots are taking off and I can now distinguish the sugar snap peas within the mass of pansies, heuchera and astilbe.  Now, that you have found the trellis, climb, peas, climb!

And on the topic of climbing green goods, I planted pole beans this weekend.  I’m trying ‘Italian Choice’, Santa Anna beans (first time) in a couple of areas.  Some up a trellis of my square foot gardening raise planter bed and some directly in the ground with my 5 minute, homemade trellis system.

No, the little Italian flags are not something that came with the seeds. They are something I’ve had tucked in the pantry for years and I thought it would be fun to use them as plant markers until the beans sprouted.  You know, add a little extra fun to my blog photo and the garden while I anticipate the magical sprouts!

I hope you had a great garden weekend or if not that you do very soon.  I find it so satisfying to the soul…

What do you consider a great garden weekend?  Do you grow edibles with ornamentals?  How do you support your raspberries? Do you grow pole beans and what is your favorite variety?  If you have a minute, share your growing experiences…

Friday Fun: Planting in the Garden…


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Finally a beautiful, calm, temperate day here in the Intermountain West.  Lots of big blue sky, fresh air, moist soil and plants!

 Plants that are starting to pop in the garden!

And plants that want to find a new home in the garden or in a pot.  The gardener of igardendaily is working hard today…

Let the planting begin…

Golden Raspberry, Boysenberry and Peonies – All starts from a great friend that is moving out of the area and wants to share some of the highlights of her garden.

Rescued Purple fountain grass and sedums grown indoors during the winter but are ready to step outside for summer.

New annuals (Batface Cuphea Cara de Palo) to mix in with perennials and herbs in the mixed border.

And some Pumpkin seeds… (Musquée de Provence and Casper)

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Wistful For Wisteria

It’s that time of year…the wonderful blooms of Wisteria whisk you away to dream about possibilities…Possibilities of many things I suppose, but if you’re a gardener and don’t have Wisteria, it’s likely you are dreaming of possibilities of adding an arbor, utilizing a fence or deciding if the patio or porch needs an attractive adornment and whether it would be destructive to the exterior of your home.  Yes, that’s where I am…

I want to grow Wisteria but have never been brave enough.  I love its audacious blooms and the strength of presence it provides any setting but at the same time, I’m a little afraid of all that Braun!  I mean take a look at those canes and tell me they are easy to support!  And I won’t even think about what it would be like if there was ever a need to move or remove this seriously strong plant.

Wouldn’t it just be the battle of a century, for a gardener anyway…

After doing some research it seems there are two species popular with home gardeners – Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) and Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda).

The Chinese wisteria is popular because of its flowering habit  – clusters of fragrant 6 inch to 12 inch pendulous blooms on the wood of the plant, before the foliage has opened significantly.  Individual flowers in the clusters open all at once creating a gorgeous display and smell.  There are several cultivars available offering blooms in white, lilac and deep purple.

The downside to Chinese wisteria is it seems more than vigorous.  In fact, I would be remiss if I didn’t share that much of the literature called it down right invasive.  A very sturdy structure must be used to support it along with a commitment to keep it in-bounds.  The other negative I came across is that it can be an unreliable bloomer and that plants grown from seed may not bloom for 10-15 years!  Grafted plants or plants taken from cuttings will bloom sooner but it still may be 3-4 years after planting.

This said, I have a friend that grows this form up the front porch of their home and it is gorgeous!

I don’t recall her having any problems with it being invasive over the years so is it quite dependent on your individual climate?

Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) offers fragrant flowers that open gradually from the base of the cluster to the tip and can be 12-to 18 inches in length.  It blooms when the foliage is expanding in the spring.  Come Fall the foliage turns yellow before falling to the ground.  There are more cultivars available than Chinese wisteria and colors range from white, flesh pink, light purple, dark purple, blue-purple and reddish violet.  Japanese wisteria is also very vigorous (not called invasive as often but still sometimes) and needs strong support but is said to do better in colder regions.

Japanese Wisteria 'Texas Purple' growing at Idaho Botanical Garden

Japanese wisteria growing over pergola at Idaho Botanical Garden

Speaking of hardiness, both are suited for zones 5-9. Both prefer at least 6 hours of sun and moist soil that does not dry extensively.  As far as soil needs go, they like slightly acidic to neutral but will easily adapt to slightly alkaline soil.

Wisteria requires “hands on” maintenance meaning careful pruning 3 times yearly. Once after blooming, in late summer and again in winter or early spring.  Both species develop large pods following the bloom period (they are part of the pea family) and the seeds are toxic if ingested.

And then I came across American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens)   

The growth requirements are said to be the same as Chinese and Japanese wisteria in terms of hardiness, sun, soil, moisture and pods.  However, American wisteria is better behaved (much less invasive tendencies) and blooms at a younger age.  The blooms are smaller but fragrant AND they reappear sporadically throughout the summer and fall.  It is even said to be suitable to grow in a pot!

Interestingly, this spring while browsing at local nurseries I saw both Chinese and Japanese cultivars of Wisteria for sale but I never came across the American form…

Whew! A lot to think about when considering Wisteria for the garden.  Maybe I’m not so wistful for Wisteria that I want to wrestle with it?

What are your experiences with this exotic vine?  Have you grown the Chinese or Japanese forms before?  And what about the American form?  Can you share some Wisteria wisdom…

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Pot Up Edible Fare with Spring Flare

On this beautiful Spring day I decided to spend some time creating a container garden.  I absolutely love creating gardens in the confined space of a pot.  It is easier to see how the plants will highlight each other and provides instant gratification to set something beautiful on a porch, patio or balcony where there was nothing before.

If you haven’t tried container gardening you must give it a try cause I guarantee you’ll have fun!

Today my focus was on creating a pot that contained some edible fare alongside some Spring flare.  I purchased a few fun annuals and a variety of vegetable starts and then mixed them together designing a container that has contrasting colors and textures.  There are not a lot of flowers in this container but there is a lot of foliage contrast and color interest.  The flowers are a wonderful bonus!

I want my new container garden to be attractive the entire season and to host a few edibles that I can harvest for a dinner or two on a lovely  early summer evening.  In this garden when I harvest an edible such as a lettuce or cabbage, I will dig it and then there will be space to add more interesting summer annuals.  I have also included an herb (dill) that I will cut periodically to add to meals and when it gets beyond its prime I will dig it out as well.

Here’s my result and this is what I included:

I placed a fun annual grass called ‘Fountain Fireworks’ in the middle.  This should grow to about 30″tall and become a focal point of the pot.  I won’t be digging it out until the season is over.  Next I added  ‘Dark Angel’ Dahlia and ‘Ruby Perfection’ cabbage to each side of the grass that will grow to about 12-15 inches tall.  These will be considered filler plants and will fill in the middle-level of the pot nicely.  I will dig the cabbage at some point but will have a spot for another fun filler later in the season.  These plants offer color variety although in the same palette but  contrast in shape of foliage.

Next I added two romaine lettuces and a few beets called ‘Detroit Supreme.’  I’ve never grown beets before so this will be a new experience but folks at the nursery said the leaves would get quite large and you can cut them periodically to add to salads etc…  I liked the color and wanted to try something new so there it is.  The romaine lettuce and the beets will also fill the mid-level of the container but should be slightly shorter, to about 8-10 inches.  I will dig the lettuces when I harvest but just cut the beets periodically for extra greens and then dig them later.

For high-level contrast, ornamental value and a ‘spill’ effect I added Sedum ‘Ogon.’  It is a beautiful yellow sedum that loves half-full day sun and it will spill over the front edges of the pot as the season advances.  I will leave it in the container for the entire season.  Lastly, I couldn’t resist planting Dill (Fernleaf) in the back of the pot behind the grass.  I’m not sure how this will look over time but I love the soft feathery foliage of it now.  If it doesn’t look good later, I’ll remove it but in the meantime will get many cuts for meals requiring fresh Dill.

I’ve set this pot up for half to full day sun and here’s a detailed photo if you would like a closer look. 

There you have it, edible fare combined with Spring flare!   I can’t wait to watch as my garden grows and will update this post with new photos as it changes.  Now, go have some fun potting up your creative ideas!

A few things to think about when planting a container garden:

Size of pot  – My pot today is 15″ diameter and a good medium/large size that can hold  several plants.

How many plants needed to fill pot – Depends on types of plants you choose but plan on putting them close together with a little room to fill in.

Growing requirements of plants  – Pick plants that have the same light and water needs as they will be “living together” in the same “house.”  Read plant labels when picking out co-habitants.

Potting soil  – Purchase a high-quality, brand name potting soil.  My general rule of thumb for any gardening project is don’t skimp on the soil.  A good soil is what makes a great result.  I’ve learned this the hard way!  Never use garden soil in container gardens. It is too heavy and will not allow the plants roots to breathe and expand in the confined environment of a pot.  A good potting soil is much lighter and fluffier than garden soil and is formulated to get your plants growing in the right direction…bigger.

Make it easier  – If you have a medium to large size pot consider filling the bottom 1/4 – 1/3 of the pot with a light-weight item  such as a plastic milk or juice jug, unused plastic garden pot, aluminum cans or even pumice.  This cuts back on the amount of potting soil required for the pot and cuts your expense as the purchased potting soil will go farther.  It also reduces the weight of the pot in case it needs to be moved.

General purpose fertilizer  – I like to add a little Kelp meal around each plant when planting a container garden.  It is a 100% natural, all organic fertilizer comprised of mulched sea weed. It is a renewable resource containing concentrated amounts of vitamins and minerals, including potassium that plants need to really grow.  Later on in the season, I use an organic fertilizer that provides a total nitrogen, phosphate, potassium supply for the plants.

Planting  – I like to have a small variety of plants to choose from and I lay them out next to each other or in the pot in their containers before planting.  I think about several things at this time.  First and foremost – contrast.  The more contrast you create, especially with plant foliage, the more interesting and eye-catching the pot.

I also like to think about the shape and size of the pot.  If you have a pot holding several plants you want to have something with some good height that will provide a focal point.  Next, think about plants that can fill the middle space of the container, creating an understory to the focal point.  Sometimes these plants are called fillers because that is what they do, fill the middle level of  the pot.  Lastly, select plants that will “spill” over the rim of the pot.  They are the lower level of your container garden and will be very attractive spilling over or draping down the side of your pot.

Once you’ve got your desired arrangement, plant the plants in the container so they are situated slightly beneath the rim of the pot.  This way when watering, the potting soil will not run over the sides of the pot creating a mess.  Enjoy and remember to water if not hooked up to an automatic drip system.

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Tulip Tales, Textures and Tapestries

I have to say it can’t be officially Spring until the tulips arrive!  No matter where you live, it just seems like Spring is “official” once you spot the gorgeous cup-shaped blooms of brilliantly colored tulips swaying in the breeze.  Tulips are one of my favorite spring flowers and in-part it is because you never know exactly what you’re going to get.  You might study catalogs, box packaging or garden books and magazines planning exact color combinations for your garden.  Then go through meticulous planting to construct the color schemes and still, come Spring,  you may be in for a surprise.

The surprise can come in many forms such as completely different hues and tones than expected, taller, shorter, bigger, smaller, nothing but leaves and more.  Tulips are for those that don’t mind a little irregular contour in their garden.  For unlike Daffodils that come up the same every year, standing at attention in their beautiful structured manner, tulips (especially the blooms) seem to arrive haphazardly.  At times they dish out a helping of flora eye-candy that cannot be ignored by even the densest non-plant people,  other times they present barely a smattering of color like droplets of paint on a monochromatic green-leaf  canvas.

For me, the decadent color tulips can provide and their ability to mix smoothly with some of the backbone textures of the garden are worth the risk of the unknown.  Tulips harmonize and highlight so many other textures in the garden creating a visual tapestry that could not exist without their velvety smoothness and intense hues.

Here are some of my favorite tulip and texture combinations:

   Tulips have been tantalizing humans for hundreds of years as they were found in Asia in 1554.

They are native to Turkey, Iran, Syria, and parts of Asia and are one of the largest members of the lily family.

 There are more than 100 species of tulip flowers.

Holland has been the main breeder and supplier of new cultivars since the 1600s.  So, it’s no wonder Tulips can even mix with the strong steel of a sturdy bike.

And don’t you agree, no bike shop should be without tulips in Spring.

Glad my local bike shop gets it!

How about you? What are some of your favorite tulip and texture combinations?  Have you ever been to Holland to see the tulips in bloom?  Have you been to a Tulip festival?

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Ms. Elberta Peach Makes a Scene!

Ms. Elberta Peach made a scene!  She went all out garnering as much attention as possible in her surrounding neighborhood.  She started by unfurling her delicate rosy-pink blossoms all at once and then perfuming the vicinity with a scent as sweet as Chanel No. 5!  The neighbors, although they are few (Mr. Rhubarb, The Raspberry Clan and some new kids named Sugar, Snap and Peas), were stunned.  They didn’t dare challenge Ms. Elberta in all her glory.  They kindly obliged her need for compliment and Ms. Elberta has been carrying on with this show for days.  I swear she was thoroughly pleased when I strolled up with a lens in hand and I think I heard her whisper, “Now isn’t this just peachy keen!”

In case you are wondering, Ms. Elberta Peach is a newcomer to the northwestern corner of my garden.  I bought her last year from a small, nondescript nursery near my house for $20.  The 5′ tall tree came in a large (but liftable) black plastic pot.  I planted Ms. Elberta  last June in a semi wind-protected area, set up an automatic drip waterer and admired her deep green, elongated leaves.

I have not had a peach tree before so I was pleasantly surprised this spring when I realized the young tree had a healthy amount of blossoms ready to open.  The lovely fragrance is an additional bonus.  I might even hope for a peach or two! I’ll keep you posted…

Personal Stats of Ms. Elberta Peach

Botanical name: Prunus persica

 Zones: 5-9

Size: Semi-Dwarf

Mature Height: Around 10 feet

Mature Width: Around 10-12 feet

Fruit: Semi-dwarf Elberta produces the same size fruit as standard trees and does not need a pollinator.  It is self-fruitful and bears wonderful tasting peaches usually within 2-3 years.  Due to their three season interest and small size they can be an ideal addition to small spaces. Note: Even though self-pollinating, will produce more if two are planted. 

Ripening Date:  August-Early September

Sun Level:  Full Sun to Partial

Soil: Adaptable

Water: Once established, moderate

In case any of you are inspired by Ms. Elberta Peach I have included this video on how to plant a peach tree.  I found this video to be detailed and correct as far as the method I use for planting a fruit tree.

One step that I incorporate (that is not mentioned in the video) is to pour some mycorrhizal treatment over the rootball before planting.  The mycorrhizal fungi is a root stimulator and helps the tree take in more nutrients and moisture.  It can be found at most any nursery or garden store.  Otherwise, this video is great and I think you’ll enjoy a bit of humor too as the dog(s) can’t seem to stay out of the camera!

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And its out like a LAMB!!!

Yes, its true!  March is out like a lamb here in the Intermountain West near Boise, Idaho.  And you may wonder why this is so exciting.  And I’ll tell you… it’s because like another local garden blogger likes to share, “It can be quite a wild ride here in the wild west.” And that is no more true than in Spring.  Many, many, times March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a

bigger, tougher, meaner Lion.

So that’s why it’s so exciting. Yahoo!

I found some beautiful signs of spring this morning and although Spring has not reached a “feverish pitch” just yet, it won’t be long.  Enjoy the subtleties of Spring.



More Spring Showoffs…

My first ‘Bloom Day’

Many garden bloggers have a “Bloom Day” where they feature what is blooming in their garden or area during a particular week.  Well, I’m excited to say that even though here in the Boise area Spring is just starting to rouse and rustle (pacing itself extremely slowly) I have a bloom to share!  Alas, my first “Bloom Day!”  And I’m featuring… (drum roll please) Hellebore ‘Blue Lady.’  Yes, Hellebores are tried and true cold weather bloomers showing up far before most ‘green goods’ possessing this kind of beauty.  They seem to command a premium price as far as perennials go but I think worth a bit extra since they “get the party started” and stick around for “last call” too.  Cheers to ‘Blue Lady’ for my first ‘Bloom Day!’

If you would like to share something blooming in your garden this week that offers some of the same characteristics (early bloomer, long bloomer) of Hellebores.  Send me a note with a photo.


My Darling Spring

My Darling Spring!  I am so HAPPY to see you!  Now delight me with woven tapestries of color. Show me your shades of pink  (…blossoms of apple, dogwood, magnolia, plum, cherry)  that are the anchors of your show.  Send out your satiny collection of early, double, Darwin, parrot, fringed tulips with their seductive shades of color that are the “must haves” of your fresh-grown line. Of course, no ensemble is complete without military-inspired pieces so stand at lovely attention all daffodils. And forget-me-not for a single second your entourage of well executed harmonies –  drifts of euphorbia, wind flower, allium, hellebore, iris, viola, columbine, poppy, heuchera and so many more…  All this plus the ultimate scene-stealer that combines luxury and timelessness like no other  – Queen P (as in Peony).

Oh Spring, your truly endless creativity with color schemes, textures and design provide a ‘couture’ I cannot resist! Put me down for several new items!

Courtesy of UBC Botanical Garden