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Kerry's Garden 2017

I am once again writing about my garden each month. You'll get to see the good and the bad, after all gardening is a different adventure every year.

Contributors: Kerry Meyer

You hear me talk about my garden every month in the newsletter, so I thought I would show you a few photos so you could actually see what I am doing. I will periodically add new photos. You can also see photos of my garden from 20092010, 2012, 201320142015 and 2016. Please note that most of the plants in my containers will not be available at retail garden centers until spring 2018.

Kerry lives and gardens in central Missouri on 10 acres, half of which is a rocky wooded hillside. She and her husband bought their house in 2005. They, along with their daughter, now live mere miles from the small family farm where she grew up, near her hometown of around 300. Both of her grandmothers and her mother loved flowers and passed this passion on to her and she plans on passing this on to her daughter. She expects her garden to continue to grow as she has time to add to and improve existing beds. Kerry has a BS in Horticulture from the University of Missouri and an MS in Horticultural Science with a minor in Plant Breeding from the University of Minnesota. After graduation she lived for 5 years on the Central Coast of California before returning to the Midwest.


October 4

Shortly after I wrote the info from September, the sedum were in full bloom. They were also almost literally covered in butterflies. Take a look at the photo below. I have red arrows pointing to the butterflies - 12 on that one plant. There is one red circle, that's a bee! And I have multiple plants, all covered in butterflies like that. Isn't that amazing! for a week or so if you walked down the sidewalk, especially in the afternoon, the butterflies would swarm you - it was like being in a butterfly house. I tried to get a picture of my daughter with the butterflies swarming her and it just doesn't show up in the photos. I love it!

Ok, on to this week. So I got lazy and complacent and didn't keep up very well with the watering and stopped fertilizing, so my plants went downhill faster than they should have. I composted my containers. Except King Tut - because he still looked awesome and the Luscious Royale Cosmo Lantana because my hummingbirds love it - I did remove the other plants from the combo though. I replaced them with 4 mums from the fundraiser at my daughters school. They look great right now! We've got fall blooming sedum for sale on our website, you can buy and plant them now for the butterflies to enjoy next year.

I know mums don't last all that long, but they really are quite spectacular while they do.

If you have ever wondered why I love lantana - this is a pretty good demonstration of why. They looked great all summer and will keep doing so until a really hard frost stops them.

Two mums flanking the front steps. We had extras and the lavender mums were in full color. How can you not love that!

The flower beds closer to the house are easier to keep an eye on and I tend to note when they are struggling quicker than the one that is farther away. This bed still looks pretty amazing - in some ways it looks the best it ever has. Look at the rich colors we are getting with the cooler temps!

I love the blue of Blue My Mind® and the bright pink of Supertunia Vista® Bubblegum!

September 5

Each year I have hummingbirds in my garden. I see them daily, flitting from flower to flower. For the first time I managed to snap some photos of them. There are generally two hummingbirds that call the garden home and that is true this year as well. Over the holiday weekend I had time to hang out in a beach chair, camera by my side and wait for them to come visit the honeysuckle. I didn't have long to wait and my long lens did the rest. I got some action photos and, the easier ones, some where they were at rest. The honeysuckle is pretty much a sure thing when it comes to hummingbirds getting a snack.


In the photos of the hummingbirds, you only see small bits of the honeysuckle bush. It has struggled a bit this year, with mildew being a consistent issue. With the cooler temperatures and lower humidity that we've experienced lately the honeysuckle bush has pretty much outgrown the mildew issue. I'll cut it back hard again in late fall or early spring and it'll be back just as strong next year.

As much as the front beds need some renovation, they do have a good succession of perennial color that starts in early spring and ends after the fall blooming sedum are finished. The sedum has just now come into full bloom and will keep good color deep into September. The Black-eyed Susans have been blooming since July and are really on the decline now. I'll give them another week or so and then I'll cut them back to allow the fall blooming plants to shine. When I walked down the sidewalk this morning I was practically bombarded by butterflies swirling around me.

A close up on the sedum. The bees and butterflies flock to it.

Luscious® Marmalade Lantana and Color Spires® Crystal Blue Salvia also add fall color to this bed. In the background you can see
Luscious® Berry Blend as well.

A last photo (probably) of the two combos by the front steps. They are still in full bloom and putting on a show.

 There's still good color in the bed on the right side of the steps as well.

Blue My Mind® is still in good color.


The big bed is still also holding good color overall, although in this case the Black-eyed Susans are almost completely done blooming. If I can manage to find time to get to the garden center (and to figure out what I want to plant). I am going to try and do some fall planting.

Lastly, the back deck with my combination planters is still chock full of plant material!

A few close ups of my favorite containers.

August 8

We took a family vacation to Yellowstone this year. My parents honeymooned in Yellowstone 49 years ago, so this year we all went (12 of us) for a weeks vacation. It was awesome.  We stayed at Mammoth Hot Springs and look - they have beautiful flowers outside the restaurant.

Awww aren't elk cute and cuddly?

Only there is a herd of them...

So how does Mammoth Hot Springs have beautiful flowers despite a herd of elk that like to visit? Yes, that is right - they cage the flowers. So now I have a new method, with visual aids, that I can use when I get asked how to keep deer from eating a garden!

A couple more caged flower photos. Even some caged Supertunia® Raspberry Blast (photo on the left).

Ok, now on to my own garden. I came back from vacation to full color in the beds and all of the critters that make my garden feel alive accounted for. The bees are buzzing. The butterflies are fluttering. The hummingbirds are zipping around. The dragonflies are soaring. The lizards scramble to hide every time I appear and the tree frog that thinks he blends in with our deck is, as is normal, spending his time pretending I can't see him. The only one missing is the owl that we commonly saw earlier in the season - I have yet to see her!

Here are a trio of butterflies.I think they are Spicebush Swallowtails. The photo is, I am almost positive, of a female Spicebush Swallowtail. I also regularly see Tiger Swallowtails, but they wouldn't sit still long enough for me to get a photo. And I also see swarms of smaller butterflies. The bottom photo is 3 butterflies all together - I added the arrows since seeing them clearly was difficult.


On to the actual plants, this is the front bed to the left of the front steps. It has strong color now. From a distance I think it looks pretty good, but some of the elements haven't really lived up to my expectations.

This corner by the porch is largely perennials. The honeysuckle bush (the large mass of green on the left of the photo) is one of my most reliable plants. It has had mildew all season but is still blooming. I'd like to see more flowers, but the mildew has really affected the flowering. It is a favorite for our resident hummingbirds. The Black-eyed Susans are favorites of pollinators too - butterflies and bees are regular visitors. In the spring, Peonies and oriental lilies give good color and there is a fall blooming sedum for fall color. I do add a couple of annuals into this bed each spring, although I probably shouldn't bother.

The containers that flank the front porch steps are still looking great. All I've done is water and fertilize. I did include a controlled release fertilizer (Osmocote is the most commonly known fertilizer of this type, although I use our Proven Winners version, which I think is better) and then about a month ago I started supplementing with water soluble fertilizer about every other week. The ingredients in these combinations are:

Karalee® Petite Pink Gaura, Supertunia® Hot Pink Mini Vista Petunia, Hippo Rose Hypoestes 
Fairy Dust Pink Cuphea and Supertunia® Lovie Dovie Petunia.

This is the bed to the right of the porch steps. I think it looks great from this angle, but...

I like it less when viewed from the front. It just feels like a mess. I think getting some landscape bricks in as an edging would help, but I really need to rethink this bed a bit...

Mid to late summer is when a lot of my flower beds are in full glory and packed with color. The big bed could definitely benefit from a good weeding and the installation of some landscape bricks as an edging (I'm working on getting that done!), but it is packed with color. Between the Black-eyed Susans and the Senorita Rosalita® Cleome adding really colorful height and the Diamond Frost® and Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum adding low growing color it's a showpiece right now - weeds notwithstanding!


Here you can get a better sense of the height and the plants adding color to the landscape.

The planters on the deck are still full. I wish they had better color on them, but part of that missing color is that I trimmed about half of them back two weeks ago. They are still recovering from that trim. A lighter trim would have brought them back into flower more quickly. 

I mostly plant Proven Winners, but this year my daughter made me a Mother's Day gift at school - which included three seed petunias (I have no idea which specific ones these are).  One of the three died, but the other two were transplanted to the small planter on right. They were planted about a month after the Supertunias in the planter on the left. Now I remember why I used to dislike petunias. The seed ones have pale green foliage (they've been fertilized the same as all of my other containers) and are much smaller. For reference there are two Supertunias in the container on the left (along with 3 additional Proven Winners plants) as well... I sometimes lose track of just how vigorous our plants are, but this comparison is a great reminder for me.

This combination is still showing quite a lot of color, although I did trim back the Dahlightful® Tupelo Honey and it has yet to bounce back. See the close up below.

The plant on the left I trimmed back too hard. I cut back more than half of it. You can see the dead branches. Now, I didn't quite kill it, you can see some green foliage on the left, but it was close. On the other hand the photo on the right I cut the plant back by maybe 1/4 - giving it a good trim, but not cutting it back hard. It has recovered with very dense branching and tons of new growth. No flowers yet, but they should be coming soon. Both plants are Dahlightful® Tupelo Honey.

I also cut back my Golden Butterfly Argyranthemum. You can see the dense branching and there are buds coming, so by the end of the week it should be back in good bloom.

This is the full container from the close-up, above. Superbells® Over Easy Calibrachoa has been great all season!

Last photo, mostly foliage but kind of cool!

July 10

At this time of year 2 weeks makes a BIG difference in plant growth. We had close to an inch of rain a week ago, so the in ground plantings have been pretty happy. I am watering them really well though since I am heading on a trip shortly and I want them well soaked before I head out. The weather is supposed to be hot, hot, hot. The beds that flank the front steps are both looking good. I'm getting good growth from the annuals and the Goldsturm Rudbeckia blooming really adds a good pop of color.


The two combos that flank the stairs still look tremendous. I grabbed my Proven Winners water soluble fertilizer on Sunday and fed all of the planters. This is the time of year when I start adding supplemental fertilizer to help the combos thrive!

There's good color on this side of the steps as well.

 One of my favorite things about my garden are the bees. While we have several different types of bees, the Bumbles are the ones I like the most. This morning I got lucky and managed to get two photos of them enjoying the garden.

Summerific® 'Cherry Cheesecake' Hardy Hibiscus is one of my favorite plants in my garden. It is gorgeous and hardy hibiscus are both tougher and easier to take care of than you might think. We now have an improved version of this one called Summerific® 'Cherry Choco Latte' that has better stem strength and a bit more cherry in the flower color.

Here is a wider shot that shows the plant. Look at all of those buds!

Blue My Mind® evolvulus is the true blue plant that is great for places with hot and humid summers. Lobelia suffers here in the summer. Blue My Mind is a happy camper even when we are at our hottest and swampiest. That's Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum in the background.

The big bed is also showing good color. The masses of pink are pretty much Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum, the yellow is Rudbeckia Goldsturm, the fluffy white is Diamond Frost and the taller lavender purple is Senorita Rosalita® Cleome.

The masses of color at the bottom end of the bed.


This is a closer look at  Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum and Senorita Rosalita® Cleome - a totally under-utilized plant!

The only reason this photo is here is that I think it represents the color of this plant so well.

The lower end of the big bed again. I think this angle shows it to better effect.

The view of the big bed from the top of the bed.

Not everything is going perfectly in my garden. I planted 15 Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum in my garden and 14 of them are doing great - see the photo on the left below. The photo on the right shows a completely dead  Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum. The pink you can see on the right of that photo, is the plant you see in the first photo. They are literally next to each. One is doing great and the other is dead. I don't know why. I am guessing underground critters munched it, but I don't know.

Lastly, the planters on the deck are still doing well. I do think some of them would benefit from some trimming back - I just need to find the time to do it!

 June 28

This time I swear I'm just going to do a quick rundown of the highlights of the garden. I did manage to get all my garden beds weeded last weekend, so things are looking pretty good heading into the holiday weekend! First up, the deck of combination planters. There's a ton of color here. I did lose one of the Dahlightful dahlias that was the thriller in one of my combinations. It was wilting even though the soil was damp, which usually means root rot. The roots didn't look bad when I pulled it out of  the container. It looked to me like the roots just never grew much, which kept it from taking up enough water to keep the foliage turgid. I have no idea why it didn't root in. Anyway, here is the overall view of the deck.

I look out my office window onto these planters on the deck. I regularly see bumble bees and our resident hummingbirds visiting the planters as well. The bad news: Japanese Beetles have appeared. I have decided to spot spray for them this year after they got totally out of hand last year (I've been using Sevin). I'm hoping that keeps things under control without having to spray a lot. Here are close ups of the 4 different combos on the deck (3 pots of each combo). The ingredients for the first one are: Karalee® Petite Pink Gaura, Supertunia® Hot Pink Mini Vista Petunia, Hippo Rose Hypoestes Fairy Dust Pink Cuphea and Supertunia® Lovie Dovie Petunia.

Ingredients: Dahlightful® Crushed Crimson DahliaHippo Red Hypoestes, Bright Lights Double Moonglow Osteospermum and Lantana Luscious® Royale Cosmo.

IngredientsGolden Butterfly Argyranthemum, Superbells® Double Ruby CalibrachoaSuperbells® Over Easy Calibrachoa, Lady Godiva Orange Calendula and Campfire® Fireburst Bidens

Ingredients: Superbena® Stormburst Verbena, Supertunia® Mulberry Mini Vista Petunia, Superbells® Double Orchid Calibrachoa, Superbells® Plum Calibrachoa and lastly Dahlightful® Tupelo Honey Dahlia.

Cat's Meow catmint is one of my favorite plants. This perennial is tough, hardy and blooms like crazy all summer long. The bonus: bees love it. I almost never fail to find a bumble bee hanging out and partaking of a bit of a snack. Cat's Meow is doing awesome, but my honeysuckle bush (just above it) has some mildew issues. I have't treated it since the plant is tough as nails and will survive on its own.

The Hello! Gerbera daisies are starting to pop back into bloom and seem to be settling in nicely after getting planted late. The lantanas have seen the most growth in the niches where I've planted them in front of the porch. Supertunia® Honey is really starting to show its true colors. Two examples are below. In the second photo, the Gerbera daisies are budded but not yet open. In another couple of weeks, I think I'm really going to love these little planting areas.

This is the bed on the right side of the front porch steps. I am getting good color in this bed.

The big bed is coming along. There's still a lot of open space. Planting about a month later than usual has really impacted how big the plants are. The good news is that despite the late start, the plants are settled in and growing well.

Here are a couple of close up pictures of the bed. They both feature Senorita Rosalita® Cleome. The bees were all over her flowers while I was taking photos!


The orange plant hiding behind Senorita Rosalita® cleome is Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), which pollinators adore. The Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum petunias have grown a lot in the last two weeks and Diamond Frost® euphorbia is growing well too.

June 15

I am going to focus this time on my in-ground plantings, but I am going to start with photos of the combination planters, which continue to grow quickly and look great right now.  Here is the overview of the deck, which holds 10 of the 12 planters.

If you compare to the photos from June 1, you can see how much the containers have grown. They are looking really great and are in pretty full color.

These are two of my favorites.

Ok, on to the garden beds. This one is to the left of the front steps. This bed had become overrun with Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia), so I really cleaned it out this spring, making room for more annual color. I did leave some of the Rudbeckia in the beds, but took out most of it. I also left in some fall blooming Sedum. The Salvia Color Spires® 'Crystal Blue' is certainly looking great. Next I'll show you the spots where I planted annuals and include a plant list for each area.

Here are the first two spots with annuals. All 4 of the annual areas in this bed include Supertunia® Honey petunia. The photo on the left also has Hello! Sunshine gerbera daisy and Luscious® Berry Blend Lantana. The photos on the right has Luscious® Marmalade Lantana and Hello! Magentamen gerbera daisy - not currently in bloom although there are buds. The Hello!'s arrived a bit late in the season and our weather got immediately hot, so they've taken a break in blooming a bit while they grow roots. They'll be back to blooming soon though.

The last two annual spots in the bed are similar to the first two. In addition to  Supertunia® Honey petunia the photo on top includes Hello! Miss Scarlet and  Luscious® Berry Blend Lantana. The photo on the bottom includes two Supertunia® Honey as well as Hello! SunshineLuscious® Marmalade and Diamond Frost® Euphorbia. I also planted a Peony in this bed.

I showed you a close up of one of these containers earlier. But I thought showing them flanking the front steps would be good - who wouldn't love those big masses of color! They are both huge and looking great. You might notice that there is a "hole" in the planter on the right where there aren't any flowers. That is because I got lazy and watered at that spot instead of lifting up the plant and watering at the edge of the container. I'll be good from now on though.

 Third is the flower bed to the right of the front steps.  I'll get into the details next.

Just to the left of this photo are a peony bush and Rudbeckia, you can see them here. In the back of the bed just to the left of center, is a hardy hibiscus, to the right of that are daylilies. From left to right we have a Hello! Magentamen gerbera daisy, 'Cat's Meow' Nepeta - silver foliage and silver-blue flowers - a perennial that is newly planted this year. Next is Meteor Shower® Verbena bonariensis which is an annual, it's tall with lavender-blue flowers. To the right of Meteor Shower is Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum - one of my all-time favorite garden plants. Behind Bubblegum is Denim 'n Lace Perovskia, also called Russian Sage - a perennial and native plant. I like the colors here a lot, but I am curious to see if placed the Bubblegum too far back. At the front of the bed there is a lot of room. I did that purposely to give room for the Bubblegum to grow before it encroaches on the lawn.  Now I'm thinking I should have moved it forward somewhat. I guess we'll see. There are also a couple of Diamond Frost® Euphorbia tucked in this part of the bed, although they don't show up in the photograph. Hiding in the back of this bed is Luscious® Marmalade.

This is the center part of the bed. Here we have red added as an element. I planted two Hello! Miss Scarlet and Hello! Sunshine Gerbera Daisies and three Lakota Santa Fe Echinacea. They are perennial and scarlet-red. In front, are several Blue My Mind® Evolvulus - which are a true blue and very heat tolerant. They have not yet started blooming. There are also a few Diamond Frost® here as well, although you can't see them in the photo. To the right is one Supertunia® Vista BubblegumAll across the back are daylilies. Because this bed is up against the porch and the last foot or so of the bed right by the porch doesn't get rain, I needed something really tough to plant at the back of the bed.

This is the last photo from this bed. On the far right you can just barely see Summerific® 'Cherry Cheesecake' Hardy Hibiscus (in back) and Double Play® Artisan® Spirea (in front). Also in this part of the bed are Supertunia® Vista BubblegumHello! Magentamen,  Diamond Frost®Meteor Shower®Luscious® MarmaladeDenim 'n Lace'Cat's Meow' and Luscious® Berry Blend Lantana.

An overview of the shade bed. I added several new hostas to it and once they are a bit bigger I'll get close up photos and talk about them, but for now, there's good color and I'm pretty happy with it.

One close up from the shade bed. This is Kodiak® Black Diervilla which is good in sun or shade. If it was in a sunny spot it would have dark black foliage. Since it is in bright shade pretty much all day it is green. It has yellow flowers, is native and is tough as nails. I planted it, I think 3 years ago and it has now sunk those roots nice and deep (it's competing with the trees it is planted under) and it is getting good top growth for the first time.

Lastly, the "big bed" which is about 50 feet long and 8 feet wide. It is a mix of shrubs, ornamental grasses, perennials and annuals. It was the last bed I planted this year.

The annuals in this part of the bed are Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum and Diamond Frost®The ferny, chartreuse foliaged shrub is Lemony Lace® Sambucus and Double Play® Big Bang Spirea is next to it. There are daylilies, Rudbeckia and Karl Foerster Calamagrostis.


 Both Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum and Diamond Frost® are here as well, with Decadence® 'Lemon Meringue' Baptisia is one of the perennials here, it's native too. Iris and Rudbeckia round out the plant material.

Similar to the plantings I've shown so far. Diamond Frost® and Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum are the two main plants, Senorita Rosalita® Cleome and Luscious® Citrus Blend Lantana are other annuals planted here. 'Sweet Summer Love' Clematis is on the white obelisk with Denim 'n Lace Perovskia here as well as Rudbeckia and Irises.

I kept the plant material pretty consistent in this bed. Diamond Frost®, Supertunia® Vista BubblegumSenorita Rosalita® Cleome, Luscious® Citrus Blend, 'Sweet Summer Love', Denim 'n Lace Perovskia, Rudbeckia and Irises. Glow Girl® Spirea and Pardon My Pink Monarda are the new plants in this area.

And here is a close up of the Pardon My Pink flower.

The new addition in this part of the bed is Amazing Daisies® Daisy May® Leucanthemum. The usual suspects are here as well. Diamond Frost®, Supertunia® Vista BubblegumSenorita Rosalita® Cleome, 'Sweet Summer Love', Denim 'n Lace Perovskia, Rudbeckia, Irises and Glow Girl® Spirea.

Moving closer to the top of the bed. In this part of the bed is Amazing Daisies® Daisy May® Leucanthemum, Diamond Frost®, Supertunia® Vista BubblegumSenorita Rosalita® Cleome, 'Sweet Summer Love', Denim 'n Lace Perovskia, Rudbeckii, Irises and Glow Girl® Spirea.

Diamond Frost®, Supertunia® Vista BubblegumSenorita Rosalita® Cleome, 'Sweet Summer Love', Denim 'n Lace Perovskia, Rudbeckia, Irises and Glow Girl® Spirea.

Diamond Frost®, Supertunia® Vista BubblegumSenorita Rosalita® Cleome, 'Sweet Summer Love', Denim 'n Lace Perovskia, Rudbeckia, Irises, Meteor Shower® Verbena and Glow Girl® Spirea.

And finally the very top of the bed, which is similar to the bottom of the bed. Double Play® Big Bang Spirea makes an appearance here again. Plus one Butterfly Weed plant to round out the native plants.

 June 1

Almost two weeks ago I managed to get out and buy plants. I haven't been able to plant them yet - time constraints and weather have both been problematic. I did finally get some planting done this week though. I have a bit more to do.

This bed relies mostly on perennials and shrubs, although I do usually tuck in an annual or two. This bed is looking great and it photographed well. I actually took this photo for a different reason though. I teach the herbaceous plant portion of the Master Gardener program for our local classes. Part of that class is color theory as applied to the garden. One of the color principals include are color triads - where the tips of an equilateral triangle touch three colors that combine well together. We use a really simple color wheel so one of those triads is red/yellow/blue. I have taken photos from the real world of all of these color concepts, but it is really hard to find a red/yellow/blue color triad in the real world. I have two pretty mediocre photos of the concept. Then one day driving home it struck me that this little corner bed is a a red/yellow/blue color triad and it took me 4 years to realize it! Sometimes you don't see the things right in front of your eyes!

This is one of the front beds. I did get it planted on Saturday, but I forgot that I was getting a few Hello! Gerbera plants for my garden. Well, they just arrived today. I want the Gerbera to be close to the house, so I think I am actually going to move some of these plants to my big bed to allow the Gerbera to be close to the house. The color scheme is yellow/orange/pink/white. We'll see how that changes when I swap in the Hello!'s.

A close-up of the first part of the bed.

And this one of the far end. I've added a Peony, which will end up dominating this corner, but for now it is small and needed more supporting plants.


The two combos flanking the front steps are looking gorgeous. The plant list can be found in the post from May 17th.

This is the bed on the other side of the porch. This bed is mostly blue/pink/white. I planted it last night. This is another bed where I am going to remove some of the plants I just planted to make room to plant a few Hello! Gerbera.

The Jackmanii clematis climbing my Dream Catcher Kolkwitzia. I love when happenstance gives you something pretty! The other photo is of the shade bed. It is coming along and filling in nicely.

The big bed. It's probably 3/4 of the way planted. This is where I'll relocate the plants I move from the front beds. For the past 3 years I've had rodents of some kind making homes in this bed. I don't see evidence of them this spring though. I'm thinking maybe the owl we've seen hunting did me a solid and snagged my problem critters.

Lastly, I'll do a quick update of the 4 different containers that make up my combo planters this year. This is one of the two planters that flank the front steps. Two weeks makes a BIG difference in plant growth at this time of year.

I am really loving the color mix in this one!

Once the Golden Butterfly Argyranthemum gets blooming, this one will be outstanding.

I need to pick off a few dead blooms on the dahlia, but otherwise this combination is looking great as well.

Lastly, an overall photo of the planters on the deck. It's pretty much a riot of color that makes looking out my office door a pleasure every day. That's it for today. Until next time, I hope your garden is growing like gangbusters!

 May 17

Time has been flying by with almost comical speed. I'm not sure how it happened, but my daughter's last day of Kindergarten is tomorrow. She had a great year, but I'm so not ready for that! On to gardening. I have been promising to get you combination recipes for the past month and now that I have good color, I am going to deliver on that promise.  My disclaimer, as always, with these new plants is that they aren't on the market yet and it usually takes a bit for them to become common in garden centers, so next year might be a treasure hunt if you are looking to add them to your garden. That said, I am really liking what I'm seeing in the containers. I think they are turning out really well and they are certainly growing like crazy!

I have three containers of each of the 4 different recipes. This first recipe has 5 different plants. The ingredients in this recipe are Superbena® Stormburst Verbena (the lavender and white flower), Supertunia® Mulberry Mini Vista with raspberry-lavender), Superbells® Plum Calibrachoa (deep plum purple) and lastly Dahlightful® Tupelo Honey Dahlia (yellow with a bit of an amber tone). Tupelo Honey is the thriller in this combo and I think the yellow flowers will be a nice counterpoint to the lavender, purples and pinks of the other flowers. In this combo the Superbells, Superbena and Supertunia plants work as combo thriller/spillers. I think this will be a really pretty one, especially if you like softer colors. I've included two pictures since the exact same ingredients can look different from planter to planter.

The second recipe is orange, red, yellow and white and has a completely different feel than the first one. It also used 5 different plants for the recipe.  The thriller is Golden Butterfly Argyranthemum which is a golden yellow color and should bloom through the summer in all but the warmest summer climates.The other 4 plants are all spiller/fillers. Let's start with Superbells® Double Ruby Calibrachoa which is a rich ruby red color, Superbells® Over Easy Calibrachoa which is white with a buttery yellow center and Lady Godiva Orange Calendula, which has golden orange double flowers. Campfire® Fireburst Bidens is the last plant in the combination and has red and yellow bicolored flowers. This pollinator attracting plant is tough as nails.

The third recipe features reds and yellows and only has 4 plants. I love the deep burgundy-crimson color of Dahlightful® Crushed Crimson Dahlia. It is a thriller as is the Hippo Red Hypoestes. Hypoestes is a great shade plant but it is sun tolerant as long as there is sufficient humidity. Now I wouldn't normally use two different thrillers in the same combination, but since I was creating combinations from a set of plants, I ended up having to be creative. The third plant is Bright Lights Double Moonglow Osteospermum which is a soft yellow color. You can see one bloom on the left side of the photo that is on the right. This is another plant I think could work as a thriller, but here it is acting more as a filler since the other two are ultimately taller than this one. The coolest thing about this plant is that it is double and has extra petals in the center of the flower. So while most Osteospermum close at night and need sun to open in the morning, this one remains open even in the dead of night. The end result is more color for gardeners. The last plant is a Lantana Luscious® Royale Cosmo, this is a pretty compact plant, the one bloom you can see (front of the photo on the left) is mostly golden yellow, but when mature the flowers will be deep magenta with a golden yellow center. It's really gorgeous. This is a non-traditional recipe and I'm really interested to see how this one turns out.

The 4th, and last, combo once again has 5 different plants. The thriller is the spikey pink one in the back - Karalee® Petite Pink Gaura. I love the look of the soft pink flowers, burgundy foliage and the slim stems that wave in the breeze. Supertunia® Pink Star Mini Vista Petunia is one of my favorite plants. The pink and white striped flower color is stable, so it will look the same in the middle of summer as it does in spring. Supertunia® Hot Pink Mini Vista Petunia is the third plant in this planter. The small flowers are on a densely branched, very vigorous plant. I've used it in a container and it will perform really well, but where it will REALLY shines is in the landscape. If you haven't tried one of our Charm's yet, you should. You'll love them. Hippo Rose is a second thriller in this combination. You can't see it in the photos, but it is really cool. The Hippo's love hot temperatures and with our cool spring they have been growing slowly. I expect them to really take off when the weather heats up. Fairy Dust Pink Cuphea is the last plant in these combos. It is a frilly little plant that reminds me of Diamond Frost® Euphorbia in look and feel. Unfortunately, Fairy Dust isn't overly vigorous and Supertunia Hot Pink Charm is SUPER vigorous, so Fairy Dust is getting buried by her neighbors.

I'll finish up with a few other photos from my garden, starting with how Graceful Grasses® King Tut® is doing. He is growing quite well. The honeysuckle is in full bloom and the hummingbird is back and busy visiting the honeysuckle and elsewhere in my beds and containers.


The plant I probably overlook the most in my garden is 'Cat's Meow' Nepeta. Wands of blue flowers grace silver-green foliage on this tough, drought tolerant, heat tolerant perennial.  It attracts pollinators and is just about the perfect plant. I am going to be looking for more of these to plant this spring.

This is the bed to the left of the front steps. I love black-eyed Susans for many reasons. When they are happy they tend to multiply and they have more or less taken over this bed, with the exception of a few Iris, Sedum, and one Salvia Color Spires® 'Crystal Blue'. I have started digging out the Black-eyed Susans to make room for the annuals I want to plant in this bed.

For the first time in 5 years I have hanging baskets for the front porch. I put one on either side of the front steps. I bought them from the plant sale fund raiser for my daughter's school. This is the Velvet Skies combination and they look great!

Here's a close up of one of the Velvet Skies baskets.

This is the bed to the right of the front steps. It needs to be weeded pretty badly, but is is mostly ready to be planted - I just need time to go shopping for plants!

I have two hardy Hibiscus in this bed. Hardy Hibiscus is incredibly late to emerge in spring. You will be absolutely convinced that the plants died over the winter, but more than likely they are perfectly OK. The photo on the left is of Summerific® 'Cherry Cheesecake' Hardy Hibiscus. It first emerged about 10 days ago. Everything else had been up for at least a month before it even decided to start growing. Compare it to Double Play® Artisan® Spirea, which is fully leafed and blooming.

Here are two photos from the shade bed. In the photo on the left, Clematis Jackmanii is using Dream Catcher as a trellis! The photo on the right shows Kodiak® Black Diervilla.  It's native, drought tolerant and not all that tasty to deer. Add colorful foliage and blooms and you've got a pretty perfect plant!

Lastly, this is a photo of my big bed. It too needs to be weeded and planted. I can't wait to go shopping!

May 3

Well the rain has been more than plentiful lately. Early last week we got 1 1/2 inches, then over the weekend we received a bit over 5 inches of rain, and today so far we've gotten 2 inches of rain. For a grand total of at least 8 1/2 inches of rain. Taking all of this rain into consideration, my combination containers are looking quite good. I did grab a few photos, while dodging rain drops. This shows most of the containers on the deck and if you compare them to last time you can tell they have grown quite a bit, although they still aren't really in color. You can see two yellow blobs in the photo, those are two froggy rain gauges that I use to keep track of rainfall amounts. I grew up on a farm - my brother and dad still farm - and I just can't shake the need to know how much rain fell on my own little patch of dirt!

This is one of the two containers that flank the front porch steps. They have the most color of any of the combinations at this point. By next time, if the sun is shining, the planters should have good color and I'll tell you what the ingredients are in this recipe.

Graceful Grasses® King Tut® is tucked into his corner on the deck. It is hard to tell from the picture, but his washtub is full to the rim with water. Since he is perfectly happy to live in a pond, the tub full of water isn't a problem at all. I do rather think that after the first 1.5 inches of rain fell, I maybe should have moved the planters under the porch to save them from the other 7 inches of rain that have fallen.

This planter is reds and yellows. I think I'm really going to like it! One great thing about colorful foliage - you don't have to wait for it to bloom!

This combination will be yellow, orange and white. It's just starting to pop.

This is the last of the 4 different combination recipes that I planted - put together from the new vareity samples I received. It is just starting to put on color.

April 19

I received my plant samples last week. These are the new introductions that will be sold in garden centers next spring. The samples give me a chance to know the plants better before they are in your hands, which puts me in a much better place to answer your questions! This year I used 12-16 inch diameter containers, with 5 plants in each to pot up the new variety samples. These photos below show you these containers, plus the one with Graceful Grasses® King Tut® Cyperus. I bought King Tut early because if I wait until I more comfortable about not getting frost I won't be able to find him anymore. I have 10 of the new variety combo containers on the deck. See below, first the whole deck and then closer up photos of the containers. Once I get a bit more size and flowers on the plants, I'll do some closer up photos and name the plants included in each one.

The last two new variety combos flank the front steps.

So, what else is going on in the garden? Here is an early look at the honeysuckle blooming like crazy. I haven't seen our resident hummingbirds yet, but I am sure they are coming.  We do regularly see an owl though. It has owlets nearby. I'm happy to have the owl nearby and hunting. Voles have been wreaking havoc in my large garden bed, so I am happy the owl is flexing her hunting skills! The photo on the right shows Dream Catcher Kolwitzia. This moth came to visit while I was taking photos.

This is the full plant photo of Dream Catcher as well. It looks great againt his year.

Here's an overall view of the shade bed.

Here's the overall look of the "big bed."

Lastly, here are a couple of photos of the dogwoods blooming in the woods behind our house from a couple of weeks ago. Two weeks later the trees are fully leafed out and we can no longer see the river.

PBRAF; Superbena® Stormburst Verbena hybrid 'RIKA18302M' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Superbells® Double Orchid Calibrachoa hybrid USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Supertunia® Mulberry Mini Vista Petunia hybrid USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Superbells® Plum Calibrachoa hybrid 'BBCAL76001' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; themum frutescens 'G15101' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Superbells® Double Ruby Calibrachoa hybrid 'USCAL83901' Can 4,591, US Utility US7,786,342; Superbells® Over Easy Calibrachoa hybrid USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Lady Godiva Orange Calendula hybrid 'kercaldiva' USPPAF, Can PBRAF;  Can PBRAF; Dahlightful® Crushed Crimson Dahlia variabilis 'G14402' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Hippo Red Hypoestes phyllostachya 'G14157' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Bright Lights Double Moonglow Osteospermum hybrid USPPAF, Can PBRAF, US Utility US8,759,646 and US9,040,792; Karalee® Petite Pink Gaura lindheimeri USPPAF, Can PBRAF,Supertunia® Hot Pink Charm Petunia hybrid 'USTUN2401M' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Hippo Rose Hypoestes phyllostachya 'G14160' USPPAF, Can PBRAF, Diamond Frost® Euphorbia hybrid 'Inneuphdia' USPP 17,567, Can 2,830, 'Cat's Meow' Nepeta faassenii USPP 24,472, Can PBRAF; Color Spires® 'Crystal Blue' Salvia nemorosa USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Summerific® 'Cherry Cheesecake' Hibiscus hybrid USPPAF, Can 4,945; Double Play® Artisan® Spiraea japonica 'Galen' USPP 21,712, Can 4,072; Color Spires® 'Crystal Blue' Salvia nemorosa USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Supertunia® Honey Petunia hybrid 'DCAS303' USPPAF, Can , US Utility 7,642,436 B2; Luscious® Berry Blend Lantana camara 'LAN 876' USPPAF, Can PBRAF; Luscious® Marmalade Lantana camara 'G12166' USPP 27, Can 5,309; 'Cat's Meow' Nepeta faassenii USPP 24,472, Can PBRAF, Meteor Shower® Verbena bonariensis 'INVEBPUTOW' USPP 27,722, Can PBRAF, 'Denim 'n Lace' Perovskia atriplicifolia USPPAF, Can PBRAF, Blue My Mind® Evolvulus hybrid 'USEVO1201' USPP 24,447, Can 4,918; Summerific® 'Cherry Cheesecake' Hibiscus hybrid USPPAF, Can 4,945; Double Play® Artisan® Spiraea japonica 'Galen' USPP 21,712, Can 4,072; Lemony Lace® Sambucus racemosa 'SMNSRD4' USPP 26,613, Can PBRAF; Double Play® Big Bang Spiraea x 'Tracy' USPP 21,588, Can 4,073, Decadence® 'Lemon Meringue' Baptisia hybrid USPP 24,280, Can PBRAF, Señorita Rosalita® Cleome hybrid 'Inncleosr' USPP 19,733, Can 3,290; Luscious® Citrus Blend Lantana camara '2003.301' USPP 19,706, 'Sweet Summer Love' Clematis x USPP 24,044, Can 5,303, Glow Girl® Spiraea betulifolia ''Tor Gold'' Can 5,121, 'Pardon My Pink' Monarda didyma USPP 24,244, Can PBRAF, Summerific® 'Cherry Cheesecake' Hibiscus hybrid USPPAF, Can 4,945; Summerific® 'Cherry Choco Latte' Hibiscus hybrid USPPAF, Can PBRAF

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