Entries in spring flowers (24)

Sunday
Aug232015

Two Salvias For Continuous Color

I tend to have a deep green summer. Except for tropicals, which are grown as annuals here, not many flowers tolerate the high heat and humidity of my summer climate. However, back in April I planted two different types of salvias, and they have both bloomed non-stop with little help from me. I have other types of salvias, but none have the almost continuous bloom I have seen from these. And the great news is that they should both continue blooming till frost. I am also pleased that they are attractive to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. They look great in the border, and they also do well in containers.

First, is Salvia splendens 'Saucy Red.' It features scarlet red blooms on a compact plant from April to November. The heart shaped, evergreen foliage has a neat habit, and the flower spikes are self-cleaning.There is no need to dead-head, though dead-heading will promote new growth. The seeds are sterile. The plant can reach up to 2-3 feet tall x 2-3 feet wide. It is not fussy about soil type, and it needs a moderate amount of water. If grown in a pot, it requires well-draining soil. It should be planted in full sun to part shade. Although Salvia splendens is usually considered a tender perennial at best, this one is said to have a maximum cold tolerance of 0 degrees Fahrenheit (- 18 centigrade).

Another salvia that has been a highlight in my garden this year is Salvia 'Amistad.' Everyone who sees it remarks about its beauty. Thought to have Salvia guarantica and possibly Salvia mexicana parentage, its exact origins are unknown.Originally from Mexico, the name means "friendship." It has amazing velvet purple blooms from spring till frost.It likes full sun and well-drained garden soil. It has deciduous foliage, and I have seen reports of winter temperature tolerance from around 10 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 to -8 centigrade). If I have a severe winter, I may not see it come back next spring, but even if not, it has earned its keep in my garden this year. A semi-shrub, it can reach 3-4 feet tall x 3 feet wide. Prune when new growth begins in spring. If desired, prune again in mid-season to control growth.

Both salvias should be fertilized with a slow release fertilizer in spring and then mulched.

Saturday
Apr182015

April Showers and the Garden

As I walk in the garden, my feet leave imprints in the sodden soil. Moisture drips from leaves and flowers.A rose leaf is bejeweled with raindrops.A spray of water soaks me when I brush against a branch. My friends and I warn one another to not complain about the weeks of rain; for in July, when the fierce summer sun becomes oppressive, we will be begging for rain. Let the plants soak it up, let the earth store it up, let the streams and lakes and rivers be filled with it; let us all rejoice in it now.Columbine grows in the front garden next to purple sage.

I am enjoying April. It is a beautiful month in the garden, saturated with colors, and even the rain cannot take away the glory of Japanese maples, azaleas, dogwoods, magnolias and camelias.

Some April blooms, clockwise from top left: Apple blossoms; Unknown camellia, planted in 1983; Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'; Erigeron, a wild aster also called fleabane

In the woodland garden I have a new bridge! I thought to replace the old wooden one, which had become infested with termites, with one crafted of iron. But then I found the very same bridge kit at half the price I originally paid. I couldn't resist! We treated it with linseed oil, meticulously caulked all the joints, and painted it with a high grade solid stain in hopes of deterring termites. The color is a bit different from the original one, and there is a new companion to the bridge. Do you see him?The little fox was a Christmas present from Lou. I called the old bridge my squirrel crossing, but this one will be for the foxes.

Here are more images taken in the April woodland garden:In the front are Autumn fern, epimedium, spreading yew and 'Waterfall' Japanese maple. Toward the back you can glimpse the new fern glade.

I place a number of potted tropical plants in the woodland garden for the summer, including Stromanthe tricolor in the left image and on the right in the middle: Bird's Nest Fern, variegated fig and Dracaena marginata. In the foreground of both images is the evergreen Distylium

Above, Upper left and right: Uvularia, also called merry bells; Lower left: native columbine; lower right: Heucherella 'Alabama sunrise.'

I like to walk in the garden in late afternoon. After a day of rain, I took the following photos as the sun was setting:

Blessings to you all!     Deb