Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I thought I would do an update about what is going on and growing. Friday afternoon I started pulling the chickweed out of the north bed, the south bed, and shade beds. I already did it in the bed behind the old foundation and corner bed but there is still plenty to be done… I have no “to-do list” because it changes with the weather.
I decided to walk around the house, go to the garden, then around the shade beds and take a few photos. The photos are in the way they were taken and not alphabetical order this time. The names of the plants are linked to take you to their page although they may not be updated with 2020 photos. I am a little behind but that’s OK since we are a continual work in progress…
The first photo is the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. Information says it will reach maturity in five years and this will be its fourth summer. I haven’t measured it yet, but at maturity, the clump can grow to 4-5′ tall x 6-8′ wide. I moved it farther from the corner in 2018 to allow for that but I forgot something…
When I brought home the Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ in 2018 I planted it to close to the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. The Astilbe has really spread out all by itself and I forgot to consider that as well. The other Astilbe, that I forgot to photograph, has always remained small and really should be moved. I would really like a bigger bed on the north side but I would have to build a bigger house.
I don’t know if you have to deal with Chickweed like I do, but I am beginning to despise the stuff… I know it is good for this and that but I could easily do without it. To make it worse, I just spread the seed when I pull it up. I can’t complain, though, because I guess it does protect the soil from erosion and other harder to pull weeds would be growing in its place. I could use a mulch to keep it from growing but that would also interfere with the…
The Geranium sanguineum is on the move this spring. It has all but died out on the left side of the bed but is trying to regain ground more in the center of the bed. The north bed is actually a little wet for it and I think that is one of its problems. Dad didn’t realize it needs more sun and better drainage when he moved it from the bed behind the old foundation. It is a survivor, though, as it has been here since I first bought it from Bluestone Perennials and put in the bed behind my grandparent’s old house in the early 1980’s (when I lived there). I moved in 1987 and my parents moved their new manufactured home here in 1996. Then, a few years later, the old house was torn down… Now that mom and dad have passed I am here by myself. Well, not actually by myself. I have the darn cats, chickens, and plants…
Now, going around the house to the front porch…
Hmmm… I moved them outside then back in again since we had a frost warning on, um, whatever day it was. Now they are back outside again because they were beginning to give me dirty looks. With this many plants in temporary housing in the living room, I was worried they might start a mutiny or something. I had to start sleeping with one eye open. Anyway, most of them made it through the winter very well. There are a few exceptions but some even grew and flowered for the first time.
Now to the south bed…
The Baptisia australis ‘whatever you call it’ is starting to flower and is looking really good. If you remember this is the plant I bought that was supposed to be ‘Lunar Eclipse’ a few years ago as a first-year plant. As you may know, they flower their second year so I didn’t know it was labeled wrong. Probably the person who put the label in the pot didn’t know either. Anyway, even though it isn’t a ‘Lunar Eclipse’ it is still a nice plant…
I haven’t taken any photos of the Iris yet…
The Elephant Garlic is doing great as always in several spots in the south bed. My neighbor gave me a start when I lived in Mississippi so I have been growing it for around ten years. I really enjoy the flowers and it is great for cooking as well.
The Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ (‘May Night’) has been here in this spot since I planted it in 2014. The clump has barely gotten bigger for all these years. Then, when I was pulling up the Chickweed, I was surprised to see one had come up about 2 feet from the main clump. I have had some interesting conversations with this ‘Mainacht’, particularly about its size. I bought a large pot from the clearance rack at Lowe’s in 2012 when I was living at the mansion in Mississippi that was a much larger plant with larger leaves. This one, I bought at Lowe’s in 2014 when I moved back here and it has always been so much smaller. So, I question this plant about the issue and remind it that no matter what it is still AWESOME. The plant always tells me it is because of the Elephant Garlic invading its space and would like me to move it. I did remove the garlic once but I guess several bulbules were left behind because it continues to come up. I have said many times if some plants don’t like where they are they will move with or without your help… Apparently, ‘Mainacht’ has decided to take matters in its own hands and is showing me a thing or two. As you can tell, the new plant is much bigger and even already flowering. Hmmm…
I have grown MANY Salvia over the years and this one has survived where most of the others have failed. The Salvia nemorosa ‘New Dimensions Blue’ is barely hanging in there and I didn’t take its photo. Interestingly, it has the same issue with the Elephant Garlic in the other end of the bed.
I kind of upset the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ because I didn’t take its photo this go around. I told him his photo has been taken more than any other perennial and right now he wasn’t doing anything exciting. I am also trying to encourage him to flower which would be well worth photographing…
So, let’s move around the corner to the back porch…
Most of the cactus collection are on this table on the back porch. There are a few on the front porch that seem to prefer less than full sun (at least for the moment). I only lost one cactus over the winter, the Echinopsis mirabilis, which flowered itself to death last summer. Man, that was AWESOME. If you missed it, click HERE for its page. I also lost the big Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree) so I brought home a new one from Wagler’s a few weeks ago. Strange how small they look in this photo.
On to the northeast corner bed by the steps kind of where we started. Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is on the other side of the steps…
Last spring I put three Salvia coerulea ‘Black and Blue’ in the northeast corner bed. They went berserk and I soon realized I only needed one. I was very surprised when they all three started coming up this spring because hardly anything I plant here ever comes up the second year. HMMM… I do not seem to have a page for this one…
Now, let’s head to “the other yard”.
I am thankful I was able to buy a new motor for dad’s old Troy Bilt tiller. The last time I had a garden was 2017. I didn’t plant one in 2018 because I canned plenty of green beans and froze a lot of sweet corn from 2017. I was going to plant a garden last year but when I started the tiller it threw a rod after about 15 minutes. It also needed new tires because they had dry rot pretty bad. One of them was so bad I had to take the air tank to the garden and keep airing the tire up. It was full of slime and it started oozing out and the tire would then cake with dirt. Dad got a kick out of it but I really didn’t think it was that funny at the time.
There is still plenty of jars of green beans so I didn’t plant any. I used to eat a lot of green beans but then I got burned out. Dad didn’t eat them either. The sweet corn in the freezer is almost gone now so I planted plenty… Four double rows about 50 feet long. I planted half Peaches and Cream bi-color and half Incredible. There are 16 tomato plants, kale (three varieties mixed together), Sugar Ann snap peas, Black Diamond watermelon, some old fava bean seeds (which I bought and didn’t plant in 2017). I still have to plant the okra but it needs to be warmer and stay that way with no rain in the forecast or the seeds will rot. I am going to try ‘Jing Orange’ this year. I like experimenting a lot, especially with okra and tomatoes. For tomatoes, I bought Goliath, Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, and Rutgers. There were no Celebrity which I had good luck with in 2017. When I was a kid dad always liked Rutgers then he switched to Beefsteak which I didn’t like. I prefer Goliath as a beefsteak type so far. I wanted some sweet pepper plants but I didn’t find any.
OH, I put the mole repeller in the middle of the garden because I have had issues with moles eating seed in the past. It did a wonderful job in the shade beds and kept the moles out, even within 40-60 feet all around it.
I had to include this photo of my dad next to the Troy Built Horse from April 23, 2015. He was 84 when I took the photo. He bought this Troy Built Horse new in 1978 after his brother bought one. He passed away in 2019 but his memories are still here. He would be very happy the tiller has a new motor, which is its third one, and two new tires.
I lost this pruner when I was working on the tomatoes in 2017. I knew where I lost it but I could never find it. Sometimes when you lose something you can’t find it no matter what. I finally had to stop looking and figured the Troy Built would find it eventually. Well, it did… After being without it all this time. This pruner was in Suzanne’s stuff in Mississippi and I found it in 2009. I really love it.
Now to the shade bed…
Hosta has always been my favorite shade perennial and I started growing them in 1981 when I moved in my grandparent’s house after grandpa died in 1981. The Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is looking great. I brought this plant home in 2014 so this will be its 7th season.
The Iris you see behind the Hosta are some I had bought in the early 1980’s. Believe it or not, they have survived in this area even after being mowed off for MANY years. Since I came back in 2013 and started taking better care of them they have really multiplied.
The Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ was a bright addition to the shade bed in 2018 and is looking very good. This Hosta was developed in 1980 and there are at least 55 registered sports from Hosta ’Sum and Substance’ and 38 cultivars with it as a parent.
The Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ has always been a great performer and spreads very well. I bought it 2009, I think, while in Mississippi and brought it with me when I returned to the family farm in 2013. So, I have had this beauty as a companion for 12 seasons now… As usual, and for some strange reason, the deer sampled a few of its leaves again this spring. It is weird how they do that and never bother it or any other Hosta the rest of the summer…
Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ was registered by Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery with the American Hosta Society in 1995. It was selected as AHS convention plant also in 1995. It is the offspring of Hosta ‘Blue Umbrellas’ as the pollen parent and Hosta yingeri ‘Treasure Island’ as the pod parent.
Across from Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is a small area next to grandma’s old goldfish pool. I put a brick sidewalk around the pool in 1981 which I partially removed to dig a spot for the ailing Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ and the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ in 2017.
Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ has always been a favorite and I bought my first from Bluestone Perennials in 1981. This one is another Hosta I bought while iving at the mansion in Mississippi in 2009 and brought with me in 2013. We had some issues in 2016 so I moved it and it has done great since. This is an amazing cultivar that was registered in 1980 that has won numerous awards. It has over 23 registered sports. It’s most famous sport is Hosta ‘Regal Splendor’ which was registered in 1987 and became the American Hosta Growers Association Hosta of the Year in 2003.
Put on your sunglasses because Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ is a bright one! Even from a great distance, this Hosta stands out in the shade bed. I brought it home from Muddy Creek Greenhouse in 2017 and it was my first yellow/gold leaved Hosta. It is a 2005 introduction from Kent Terpening and Alttara Scheer. It is a cross between Hosta ’Split Personality’ as the seed parent and an unknown cultivar as the pollen parent.
Hmmm…. I had doubts this Hosta is actually Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ when I bought it from Mast’s Greenhouse in 2019 because that cultivar gets pretty good sized. This plant seemed to be a miniature because it has remained so small. When I was at Wagler’s a few weeks ago I noticed several pots labeled ‘Blue Angel’ which were also very small. I mentioned to Ruth I had bought this plant from Mast’s last year and it is so small compared to what ‘Ble Angel’ is supposed to be. She said when they bought the rhizomes the “Blue Angel’ were very small in comparison to the other cultivars. So, I suppose it is possible it is a Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ after all but it sure has some growing to do… Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ is supposed to eventually mature at 36″ tall x 48″ wide with 18″ x 12″ leaves… It certainly doesn’t look like photos online. Information online says it is one of the fastest growing of the blue Hosta and multiples more rapidly. Hmmm…
Also in 2017 I dug an area along the back of the goldfish pool and added several more Hosta Heuchera. Later I put some of the Iris from the other bed along the fish pool.
Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is one of several Hosta I brought home when I made the second shade bed in this area in 2017. Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is a tetraploid form of Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’ introduced by M. & J. Fransen with thicker leaves and wider margins. It was a weird grower at first but did very well in 2019.
If you are a Hosta collector you shouldn’t be without Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’. I really like its corrugated and severely puckered leaves which gives them the cup-shape. This cultivar originated by Dr. Charles Purtymun at Walden West Nursery in Oregon. He registered it in 1989 as a hybrid of H.‘Tokudama’ × H. ‘Sieboldiana’. Since its introduction, it has set the standard for all other cup-shaped Hosta.
I found this Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ at Lowe’s in 2017 and have really enjoyed watching it grow. Its leaves are kind of twisted and they change color somewhat over the season. Not only did it win the AHS Benedict Garden Performance Medal in 2007, but it has also been given Royal Horticultural Societies Award of Garden Merit. Since its registration in 1989, 17 other Hosta cultivars have been registered from it.
I am very happy Hosta ‘Red October’ is once again doing so well. This is another Hosta I bought in 2009 while I was in Mississippi and brought with me in 2013. It was in the original bed where H. ‘Guacamole’ or ‘Sum and Substance’ are now. It had issues in the spring of 2018 and I found out moles had tunneled under it over the winter. I dug it up and moved two parts of it next to two elm trees then put them back together in 2019. Hopefully, it will do well in 2020.
This Hosta was introduced by Roy Herold in 1995, although I think it was discovered in 1988. It was registered by Kevin Walek on Mr. Herold’s behalf in 2009. It is regarded as one of the best red-stemmed Hosta available.
The smallest of the Hosta in my collection is Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’. It was my first and only (so far) miniature Hosta. Hosta ‘Bue Mouse Ears’ has at least 24 registered sports and 2 seedlings where it is one of the parents. It is believed that another 28 cultivars have been registered from its sports. It is a MULTIPLE award winner.
Now for the Heuchera…
Sadly, Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ didn’t want its photo taken on the 15th because a lot of its leaves were missing. I think possibly I must have accidentally pulled them off when I was removing the chickweed. I decided I couldn’t do this post without a photo of it so I snuck up on it this morning and took a photo. Even though this photo was taken two days after the rest I put it in order where it should be (or would have been). I purchased Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ from Lowe’s in the spring of 2014 and put it in front of the Hosta bed. It had issues during 2016 so I moved it to the newly dug bed with the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ in 2017. I also had issues with H. ‘Southern Comfort’ which I also moved to the same area but it decided to completely fizzle out. When I first wrote the page for Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ information online said it was the most popular Heuchera for 20 years straight… It was the Perennial Plant Association’s Perennial of the Year in 2007.
I bought this Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ from Lowe’s in 2017. It was introduced from Terra Nova in 2004 and is considered the “black standard”. Some websites say it is the darkest of any black-leaved Heuchera and the color holds up without fading. Information says this cultivar grows 8-10″ tall with flower stems to 24″ but that hasn’t happened. It is a great performer, though, even during the Japanese Beetle invasion when the bed turns from shade to part sun.
The Heuchera ‘Venus’ is definitely a show stopper and it knows it. It is a very vigorous grower despite the conditions and gets quite large. The flower stems also get very tall. It is a great overall specimen and I am glad I brought it home in 2017.
Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ is an awesome looking with bright chartreuse-green and ruffled leaves. It is on the smaller side and even its flowers are very dainty. It seemed to struggle somewhat earlier but it appears to have snapped out of it. It doesn’t seem to care for bright light and doesn’t like it when the Japanese Beetles eat the leaves off of the Chinese Elm that shades it…
Well, that’s it for this post. I better stop anyway of this post will get much bigger. I feel like I have written a book already.
Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, be thankful always, and GET DIRTY if you can.
I do so like Hostas.Yours all look so healthy. Blue Mouse Ears grows great here. I use it in pots to fill in sometimes because it grows so easily. I really like mini hostas. My best heuchera is Palace Purple. It grows in difficult places and usually looks good. I have killed Lime Ricky twice. I just love the color but can’t find anyplace it would grow here. Bah humbug
Your cactus collection is quite large too. Wow. I would probably be this way if I had a green house to keep them in during winter. My house doesn’t have good light for house plants.
Your garden looks promising. I bet your Dad smiles every time you fire up that tiller and tells all the other angels “thats my boy”.
Have a good week.
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Hello Lisa! I never thought about using miniature Hosta in combination planters. That’s a good idea. 🙂 Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ may definitely be picky. Maybe it should be called Picky Rickey. H. ‘Palace Purple’ and ‘Venus’ are both great performers. Fortunately, the cactus don’t need bright light over the winter. Most of them sit in front of the sliding door that does to the back porch facing east. The porch has a partial roof so they are pretty much in the shade all winter. The succulents and a few cactus get the south-facing window in a cool bedroom over the winter because they do need more light. This house is not good for house plants either which is why I basically have none… The seeds in the garden are beginning to come up but since it rained so is the grass and weeds plus thousands of maple seedlings. It always happens and the garden can’t be tilled until the vegetables start growing. Otherwise, the dirt from the tiller will cover them up. If dad is looking down on me he is probably just as confused at times as I am. Sometimes I just choose to take a nap. 🙂 You have a good week as well. Take care and thanks for the comment!
Once more I loved your post. I, also, enjoyed seeing your yard and all our delightful plants. I had to laugh out loud when I read: because they were beginning to give me dirty looks. What a hoot.
It was also to meet your Dad through your memory photo.
You are so right…get outside and GET DIRTY! It’s FUN!
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Hello Linda! When you are alone you begin to strike up conversations with everything. I guess we are never alone even when it seems like we are in more ways than one. Maybe it is a spiritual thing to realize this. Anyway… Summer is upon us and no time to be bored or to get tired. Grass needs mowed and trimming needs to be done, weeds pulled. GEEZ! The Alocasia are STILL in the basement! I am glad you liked the post so I will keep them coming. Take care and thanks for the comment!
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Keep them coming…It’s a blast to come here.
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A lovely post to read on a Sunday evening! Thankyou
So the flowers are in the “yard’ but the veg are in a “garden“ – is that the difference? Nice to see your dad!
It’s great You found your pruners – yesterday I was emptying out a composter and I found my bulb trowel inside the compost! I think That sort of serendipity can make your day
The Hostas are super – so sad I cannot have them
Forbidden Fruit is very good & Venus is my fave Heuchera . Keep safe 🙂
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Hello Debbie! It is strange how things can disappear then turn up in weird places. When I went to plant the garden the row markers were gone. They always go back in the same place and have been there for who knows how many years. I looked all over for them and haven’t found them yet so I had to make a new set. A few days ago my watch went missing after I have had it for nearly 12 years. I put it in the same place on my desk every time I take it off. I am very glad you found your trowel. What a relief for that! It does seem to bring relief when something turns up. Be safe and thanks for the comment!
I’ve tried hostas here because theoretically they like the damp conditions of the Wet season, but unfortunately, the giant grasshoppers find them totally delicious, like so many other things with tender leaves.
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Hello Kate! Sorry to hear about the grasshopper issue. They aren’t a problem where the shade beds are and neither are slugs. Most of mine have thicker leaves so they are more slug resistant. ‘Empress Wu’ does get visited by grasshoppers on occasion next to the house, though. I have to be careful what I plant on the south side because of the grasshoppers. They really loved the Cannas when they were there but not so much where they are now. Take care and thanks for the comment!
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I was amused that you lost your pruning shears and the tiller found them.
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Hello Jim! Yeah, that was amazing. I am so glad to have them back. I almost bought a new pair because I have been using scissors. Not the best substitute… I hope you and yours are well. Take care and thanks for the comment!
The vegetable garden here only got developed because we had so much time off of work. It was an unused area that needed to be cleared. It was way more work than it was worth, and is not very big. I suppose the area needed to be cleared anyway. The crew really likes the garden, even though it will not provide much for so many of us. I really should have developed a better spot.
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Hello Tony! You know what do… Compost, cow manure, work it in. Raised beds in small spaces are also AWESOME. You can plant so much in so little space. You have time and you can start getting prepared for future plantings. You have a much longer season than here so you can get multiple crops. Mulching between rows keeps the weeds down. My garden is so far away from the house that by the time I get there I just look at it. 🙂 I know what to do and what I want to do but doing it is another thing. I have an old big round bale I “was going” to move to the garden to use for mulch. Somehow, it didn’t get there before I planted the garden. How are the “you know what’s” coming along? Take care and thanks for the comment!
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There are no bovine here, but the compost gets quite a bit of horse poo. (I really do not know why there are horses here, but at least they make . . . compost for us.) I did not add any compost when I planted because the soil is so good under all that vegetation. I will add compost when I build berms. I have never used raised beds, and do not intend to. I would rather just clear more flat space. That is what I prefer. Terraces would be nice on the steep slope, but I insist on keeping it very simple, and building nothing permanent. Raised beds and terraces provide no more space than is already there.
Sadly, (very sadly,) none of ‘them’ survived. I suppose it was just to late in the season. I really believed that at least the male cuttings would survive, but none of the buds leafed out. They are not completely necrotic yet, so I will leave them for a while longer. I am very sorry that I do not have better news about them; and that is why I had said nothing about them yet. Thank you SOOOOOOOO much for sending them.
Raised beds are great for some people in certain situations, but I have always had plenty of space so I just plant in rows. I tried raised beds in Mississippi but I went back to the old method. I had a lot of leaves from oak trees so I covered the garden beween rows. It worked great.
Sorry to hear about the mulberry cuttings not taking off. We will try again next spring. We can’t give up!
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I will worry about that next winter. I will try not to think about it now. I was SO close! I am so sorry that I did not have better news for you.
Anyway, raised beds annoy me because so many here really believe that they are necessary, and so many insist that I NEED them, as if I know nothing about horticulture. I used to garden in a region that was famous for the ideal growing conditions. Those who can not grow vegetables in the soil there are doing something wrong.
Raised beds are great for those who have limited space or poor drainage and other reasons. Maybe they just want raised beds. I have no problems with what other people choose to do.
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As a horticulturist, I am expected to help clients with their horticulture. Raised beds are nice for those of limited mobility, but are really only to the benefit of those working with them. Most plants prefer to be in the ground and at ground level. Yet, some of my clients are convinced that raised beds are somehow better because everyone else is ‘doing it’. Landscapers exploit this fad to sell more ‘stuff’. I seriously do not mind raised beds for applications in which they are practical; but they are not right for every situation.
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