Plant of the Day: Grevillea ‘Molongolo’

I’ve had great success with grevillea in my garden- almost too much success. The full sun and slopes with great drainage make for ideal homes for these unique and beautiful plants. I tend to favor allowing my plants to grow as nature intended which has resulted in some pretty amazing specimens. At one point my Grevillea ‘Molongolo’ had reached about 8×10 ft (a modest estimate) and was smothering a large portion of my front garden. After doing spring clean up and discovering just what it was smothering, I decided it needed a massive haircut and chopped it back hard.

G. ‘Molongolo’ took it like a champ and still provided a flush of stunning apricot flowers for me to drool over! For those of you interested in this plant, I would suggest two things: 1.find a nice hillside for it to trail down and spread 2. Give it PLENTY of room to grow into. It only took about 4 year to reach a pretty massive size.

Credit for this plant goes fellow blogger, Matthew The Lents Farmer who quickly realized it needed space to roam!

Hopefully the rain will subside so I can discover tomorrow’s plant of the day!

Plant of the Day: Stachyurus salicifolius

This is another plant I fell in love with while visiting the garden of a fellow blogger. There really isn’t a better way to get ideas for your own emerging space than to “borrow” them from people who’s gardens you admire!

The drama of Stachyurus salicifolius hypnotizes me as its long branches, leaves and flower tendrils flow with the breeze!

I have a special setting for this plant that places it at eye level! It’s been a joy to watch it mature and this year it’s really taken off!

It’s also done a fantastic job of becoming the transition plant that divides a full sun area to a shade area.

The year round interest is a bonus, too, as so much of this area dies back over winter.

I’ll leave with a couple more pics of this beauty!

What’s your favorite plant right now!

See you tomorrow!

Plant of the Day: Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’

Orange is my signature color. I’m a big fan of euphorbia and have fallen in and out of love with many but I fell hard for Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ the moment I saw it and our love affair continues years later!

Although it began as a single stalk, after three years it’s spread to a nice patch in my hell strip and I’ve given it plenty more room to grow!

This part of the garden received a major renovation with the removal of a crepe myrtle and repositioning of collection of Stipa gigantea. It’s early emergence is just in time for the lavender-blue camassia and will bloom most of the summer as the purple allium and Russian sage take over!

If you are looking for a super easy, long blooming plant that packs a color punch, Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ is a great option! One word of advice, if you see it, buy it as it seems to always be in high demand!

See you tomorrow!

Plant of the Day – Camassia

Oh camassia..how do I love thee, let me count the ways!

Not being an Oregon native, camassia were unfamiliar to me so I gasped when I first saw them en masse in a fellow blogger’s garden. Several years later, camassia provide a sweep of deep lavender-blue flowers across my hellstrip in April.

These camassia are a combination of Camassia squamash ‘Blue Melody’, Camassia leichtlinii ‘Blue Danube’ and Camassia leichtlinii caerulea.

Our wet winters allow for the camassia to thrive even in my dry garden and I love the contrast to their pointy companions!

The camassia look particularly stunning adjacent to Grevillea miqueliana and Grevillea ‘Neil Bell’!!!!

See you tomorrow!

Plant of the Day – Rhododendron makinoi

I love April. Aside from it being my birthday month, it’s also the time when the garden comes to life! Every day there’s a new and wonderful discovery and I thought I’d take a moment (since I have so many of them on my hands right now!) each day and highlight a favorite plant of the day!

Today’s plant is Rhododendron makinoi. I’m not really a fan of rhododendrons but I am a big fan of the unique, long narrow leaves and the hot pink flower buds!

Here is a lesson for new gardeners: when shopping for plants that are a little pricier, wait until the end of season! Special plants like this can pinch the pocket books but often nurseries will have pretty drastic sales as they are closing up shop for the season! Also, be patient. It’s taken several years to start seeing the larger, more dramatic growth and more than one or two flower buds!

A special thanks to my friend Anna at Flutter & Hum for the recommendation!

Until tomorrow!

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – January 2020

There is not much happening in the garden at the moment. One thing for sure is I have a lot of work ahead of me once spring comes around! Here is a quick snapshot of the few blooms around Mardi Gras Gardens in mid January.

The grevilleas are definitely the stars of the show right now and are providing the hummers with winter sustenance. I don’t think there has been a time where I’ve walked by G. ‘Neil Bell’ and not seen one.

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Grevillea miqueliana ‘Sunset’

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Grevillea miqueliana ‘Sunset’

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’Grevillea victoriae ‘Murray Valley Queen’

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Grevillea ‘Neil Bell’

I’m guessing the mild winter so far has kept the leaves from dropping off my witch hazel but I don’t mind the color contrast at the moment.

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Hamamelis noid

This clematis is a favorite of mine and I’m looking forward to it maturing.

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Clematis cirrhosa ‘Landsdowne Gem’

I have about a dozen hellebores throughout my garden but few of them have opened past the bud stage. I am in love with this H. ‘Silver Veil’ (those leaves!) and will be looking to add more to the garden this year.

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Helleborus ‘Silver Veil’

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Helleborus ‘Pippa’s Purple

What few hellebores that are opening are looking a little worse for wear like this one with all the rain we have had.

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Hellebore noid

While today might feel a little bleak, there are signs of fabulous things to come!

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Loropetalum c. ‘Zhuzhou Fuschia’

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Edgwarthia crysantha ‘Akebono’

Thank you to Carol from May Dreams Gardens  for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!

 

Season of ‘19 – Top 25

Over the past few years, I’ve wrapped up the gardening year with a “Best of Season” list featuring some of my favorite performers.  With every spring comes expectation, hope and anticipation and in a blink of an eye it’s over with a few dreams realized but a few hopes dashed, as well!  My recap blog has become a great way for documenting this roller coaster ride and and a telling commentary on my ever-changing taste in “favorite” plants! Here’s who made the list this year (in no particular order).

  1. Feijoa sellowiana –

Why it’s on the list: Because it’s a survivor! I’d just about given up hope on this guy after each winter seemed like it would be the last. This year my patience was rewarded with several beautiful flowers and lots of new growth so I’m feeling confident it’s here to stay!

Feijoa sellowiana (Pineapple guava)

2. Kniphofia ‘Safronvogel’

Why it’s on the list: If I was ranking, this one would be a contender for #1! The almost luminescent apricot flowers burst forth in early summer and continue through the season. Kniphofia ‘Safronvogel’ is a prized member of my fairly large kniphofia collection.

Kniphofia ‘Safranvogel’

3. Dierama drachomontanum

Why it’s on the list: I heart dieramas…BIG TIME! It took three years but this was the season I finally got to see this beauty in my garden. Not your mother’s dierama, this species has upright flowers rather that the more well-known pendulous “Angel Fishing Rods” and stopped me in my tracks in the display garden at Joy Creek Nursery

Dierama drachomontanum

4. Lupinus albifrons 

Why it’s on the list: This plant shares a central theme with several others on this list – planted it, killed it, planted again, killed, ahhh, third times a charm! I could care less about the flowers because I’m obsessed with the silvery foliage! Full transparency, I’ve only managed to keep this alive for 8 months but that is about 5 months longer than any of its predecessors! Bonus, it is still looking glorious in late December!

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Lupinus albifrons 

5. Lilium martagon ‘Russian Morning’

Why it’s on the list: My experience with planting martagon bulbs has been a crap shoot. It seems with every two varieties I THINK I’ve planted I get one that is correct and the other is a surprise. While I was disappointed not to have the Lilium martagon ‘Album’ I expected, this beauty made a fabulous consolation prize!

Lilium martagon ‘Russian Morning’

6. Eryngium varifolium

Why it’s on the list: Eryngiums are another obsession of mine as documented in I’m the Mardi Gras Gardener and I have an eryngium problem. or one of my earliest posts Something Wicked This Way Comes…. where they were featured fairly prominently. E. varifolium has been a proven winner in my garden and this year reached almost two feet high with its magnificent barbed bracts! I love the contrast to the soft veiny leaves.

Eryngium varifolium

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6. Eryngium aff. latifollum

Why it’s on the list: This eryngium was a clutch the pearls moment at Cistus Nursery several years ago. This majestic specimen maxes out at over six feet tall! This is a pollinator magnet and attracts the broadest array of anything else in my garden.

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Eryngium aff. latifollum 

I think every gardener secretly likes to have their signature plant, you know, that one plant very few of their plant nerds friends grow and this is mine. I even squealed a bit when I googled it and found my blog on the first page!

eryngium aff. latifolium - Google Search

I made the Googles!

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Eryngium aff. latifollum 

7. Loropetulem c. ‘Zhuzhou Fuschia’

Why it’s on the list: How could it NOT be on the list with this flower power! This is another plant that I’ve watched struggle wondering if each year would be the last. Planted in a very open location in my front garden, it makes for a stunning display in late winter and early spring but also a target for the brutal winds and cold. It took about four years for the leaves to finally become the beautifully rich burgundy color they were when first planted rather than the weird green you see below in the picture.

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Loropetalum c. ‘Zhuzhou Fuschia’

8. Morina longfolia

Why it’s on the list: This wicked little beauty packs a bunch with its spiky leaves and dares you to get up close to see just how pretty it is! Bonus points for the unusual factor!

Morina longifolia

9. Eupatorium fortunei ‘Pink Frost’

Why it’s on the list: Joe Bye Weed + variegated = LOVE! Every once in a while I get lucky and find a plant that does exactly what I hoped it would. As my romance with sanguisorbas faded and I hastily ripped out a large Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’, I needed a replacement for the spot that would provide the breezy movent I loved about sanguisorba but without the horrible floppsies after it got too tall. Enter Eupatorium fortunei ‘Pink Frost’ and its sturdy, tall stems and fabulous variegated foliage and lovely flowers.

Eupatorium fortunei ‘Pink Frost’

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Eupatorium fortunei ‘Pink Frost’

11.Dahlia ‘Karma Fox Orange’ and Dahlia ‘Karma Lagoon’

Why they are on the list: This is the year I figured out how to grow dahlias – in a container! After years of rotted out tubers and floppy flowers, I had developed quite the distaste for dahlias and decided they were great as long as they were in someone else’s garden. This all changed when my twin sister moved in and she kept harassing me why I didn’t have her favorite flowers in my garden. During an early season visit to Garden Fever  I saw them roll out their first batch of dahlias and went crazy for the colors. I’d been waiting to find something for my sister’s patio and I knew these were the answer! She was thrilled and these babies lasted from April to November!

Dahlia ‘Karma Fox Orange’ and Dahlia ‘Karma Lagoon’

12. Salvia argenta

Why it’s on the list: I should write a blog called “To all the plants I’ve loved and lost” and this one would have a starring role. Like the Lupinus albifrons, it took several tries to finally get to see this stunner in my garden! Ironically, I think I dug it out and tossed it in the yard waste bin this fall because I’m not sure constantly babying those leaves is worth the short life of the flowers. At least I can say I did it once!

Salvia argenta

Salvia argenta and Kniphofia thompsonii var snowdenii

13. Kniphofia thompsonii var snowdenii

Why it’s on the list: I collect three plant species: Eryngium, Dierama and Kniphofia. I get teased for being slow at plant sales and nurseries because I’m usually making sure I don’t miss one of these that I don’t already have in my collection. Kniphofia thompsonii var snowdenii is the reigning favorite in my kniphofia collection and the one you will find all throughout my garden. I love the unique shape and its bright flowers in my favorite color!

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Kniphofia thompsonii var snowdenii

14. Kniphofia pauciflora

Why it’s on the list: This is a second attempt at growing Kniphofia pauciflora after buying a mislabeled plant last year and I’m very happy I gave it another try!  The open and airy flower structure and solid yellow color making this unique kniphofia a new favorite in my collection!

Kniphofia pauciflora

15. Allium ‘Summer Drummer’

Why it’s on the list: You never know when garden inspiration will strike. I discovered these majestic alliums during a trip to Argyle Winery with some fellow bloggers and knew I had to have them in my garden! Even though it was late in the season, I lucked out and found some bulbs online and was able to get them in the ground in time. At about six feet tall, it’s amazing how sturdy they are and how perfect they remained throughout the year!

Allium ‘Summer Drummer’

While only six of the ten bulbs produced for me, they were magnificent. I could not believe how sturdy and strong they were and have already multiplied nicely in just a year!

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Allium ‘Summer Drummer’ – close up

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Argyle Winery 

16. Sanguisorba minor ‘Little Angel’

Why it’s on the list: I’ve had a brief and torrid love affair with sanguisorbas. However, I quickly realized I have little tolerance for the floppy and messy ways of the taller varieties and narrowed my collection to just a couple ones of smaller stature. Smaller doesn’t necessarily mean lesser because this Sanguisorba minor ‘Little Angel’ has won my heart in big way.  This sanguisorba has incredible staying power and its dark burgundy flowers make a wonderful contrast to the fabulous variegated foliage.

Sanguisorba minor ‘Little Angel’

17. Khiphofia ‘Shining Scepter’

Why it’s on the list: This was my first kniphofia and is one of the first plants I  purchased in 2014 at Xera Plants as fully immersed myself into gardening. The Kniphofia ‘Shining Scepter’ below is the second one I’ve added to my garden. I needed an early summer bloomer as a backdrop until the Inula magnifica becomes the star of the show in this part of the garden and it did not disappoint!

Kniphofia ‘Shining Scepter’

In 2014, my backyard was a blank slate but it took just two years for it to start taking shape as shown below in the side by side pictures.

18. Pennisetum macrourum

Why it’s on the list: This is another example of a plant that performed exactly the way I had hoped.  After months of searching for ideas for a focal plant for the raised bed in my front garden, I decided to try this Pennisetum macrourum. I’d seen it in full maturity at my friend and fellow blogger, Patricia’s (Plant Lust) garden and she talked me into trying it during one of our blogger plant swaps.  I’d developed a love for grasses over the years (see Smokin’ Grass! ) and thought its showy, tall, sturdy yet billowy seed heads might be the prefect solution!

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Pennisetum macrourum

While it took a decent part of the summer to fully realize, my patience was rewarded with exactly what I was hoping for! Much is said about the seediness of this plant so it may not last long but its brief time in the garden was just what I needed!

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Pennisetum macrourum

19. Echinacea pallida ‘Hula Dancer’

Why it’s on the list: This is a plant lust spanning 5 years. I’ve coveted this plant in my partner’s garden from the moment I saw it in 2014 and quickly realized it was impossible to find in a nursery! But after four years, thanks to the generosity of fellow blogger, Scott Rhone Street Gardens and Matthew The Lents Farmer, I was gifted divisions from their own gardens! While I was only rewarded with one flower from each due to poor siting, I am confident that future years will be more fruitful.

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Echinacea pallida ‘Hula Dancer’

Echinacea pallida ‘Hula Dancer’ in the garden of Matthew Hubbard.

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Echinacea pallida ‘Hula Dancer’

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Echinacea pallida ‘Hula Dancer’

20. Parahebe perfoliata

Why it’s on the list: I gave this plant a job to do in my hell strip and it did not disappoint! I needed something that was going to give me year round structure, unique foliage and pops of blue flowers in the spring and I was so happy I peppered these throughout my entire hellstrip. I was surprised how quickly the new growth regenerated and that the flowers kept going and going all summer if I dead headed them! The maintenance was little tedious but I feel it was worth it!

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Parahebe perfoliata

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Parahebe perfoliata

21. Fabiana imbricata ‘Violocea’

Why it’s on the list: This was my first year participating in the Hardy Plant Society’s Open Garden Program. This Fabiana imbricata ‘Violocea’ was by far the most asked about plant in my collector’s garden. As I mentioned earlier, its fun to grow things not often seen in other garden and I love that the HPSO Open Garden program provides a way for us gardeners to share our little treasures with each other.

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Fabiana imbricata ‘Violocea’

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Fabiana imbricata ‘Violocea’

22. Lillum martagon ‘Orange Marmalade’

Why its on the list: It’s an ORANGE MARTAGON! Come on?!?! In all seriousness, it took a couple of tries to get this one after what I thought were bulbs for this ended up being another Lillium martagon ‘Claude Shride’. I’m excited to see it take off in the coming years!

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Lillum martagon ‘Orange Marmalade’

23. Crocosmia ‘George Davidson’

Why it’s on the list: I’ve added many crocosmia over the past couple of years but this Crocosmia ‘George Davidson’ has been with me since the beginning. While it’s not the showiest or most unique, I do love the shorter grassy-like leaves and solid golden flowers with their staying power and reliability. Every garden needs its work horses and this is one of mine.

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Crocosmia ‘George Davidson’

24. Symphytum x uplandicum ‘Axminster Gold’

Why it’s on the list:  I am definitely a flower floozy but I have an equal love for foliage  and the texture and interest they bring to the garden so when I espied this Symphytum x uplandicum ‘Axminster Gold’ during a tour of a fellow blogger’s garden, I knew I had to have it! Bonus points for the variegation!

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Symphytum x uplandicum ‘Axminster Gold”

Although not the star of the show, I do thing the flowers are pretty cute!

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Symphytum x uplandicum ‘Axminster Gold”

25. Mathiasella bupleuroides

Why it’s on the list: This plant is a fighter. Even after I dug it up, this Mathiasella bupleuroides came back the next year bigger and better but still took several years to produce its first flowers! This summer I was finally rewarded with these fabulous, alien-looking flowers that kept coming and coming all season!

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Mathiasella bupleuroides

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Mathiasella bupleuroides

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year! Just a few more months until we get to do this all over again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m the Mardi Gras Gardener and I have an eryngium problem.

If you know me as a gardener, you know I have an obsession with eryngiums. Some of you even have witnessed a “clutch the pearls” moment where I’ve seen one in a garden or I’ve discovered another treasure to add to my collection! Once I graduated out of the Home Depot years of plant shopping, this genus became one of my favorites (it was part of my Holy Trinity) and my love for them has increased exponentially. You can always find me digging around in the “e” section of the perennials at any nursery hoping to find one I’ve never seen before!

I’ve been wanting to feature my collection on my blog for some time and I’ve been waiting for just the right time of the season.

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Eryngium agavifolium

This Eryngium agavifolium was my first eryngium. It was gifted to me by The Lents Farmer about 5 years ago. Since then it was provided multiple offspring throughout my garden but it seems happiest in its original spot.

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Eryngium agavifolium

This Eryngium lattifolium is my pride and joy. It checks off every box of weird, wacky and dangerous which are my favorite elements of a plant. At its peak it will hit about 7 feet tall! SWOON! A special thanks to Cistus Nursery for this bizarre and beautiful eryngium!

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Eryngium aff. latifolium 

This Eryngium ‘Blue Sapphire’ is a scene stealer!

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Eryngium ‘Blue Sapphire’

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Eryngium ‘Blue Sapphire’

Can’t wait for this to put on some size. So pretty!

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Eryngium tripartitum

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Eryngium tripartitum

There’s always room for an eryngium!

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Eryngium NoID but I think it may be Eryngium x zabelii ‘Jos Eijking’

Praise be! I thought I lost this one but as a wise man once said “Plant’s want to live”. This Eryngium maritimum is one of the most unique in my collection and I’m on the hunt for more! Oh those blue/green leaves!

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Eryngium maritimum

If you are looking for an architectural plant, this Eryngium varifolium is for you! But watch out! It’s a feisty one!

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Eryngium varifolium #1

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Eryngium varifolium #2

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Eryngium varifolium

This Eryngium p. lesseauxii’s home has turned into a shade garden so I’m happy for it’s single flower stalk this year. Eryngium’s don’t seem to like being moved so I bought another one for a more sunny location!

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Eryngium p. lesseauxii

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Eryngium p. lesseauxii

I have killed more Eryngium bourgatii’s than I care to remember. I finally splurged this spring and bought one in a gallon container and it looks like I may finally have one survive!

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Eryngium bourgatii

I bought these two Eryngium “Big Blue” at the same time as the Eryngium bourgatii. Oddly enough they don’t seem very big or very blue but we will see how they mature.

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Eryngium ‘Big Blue’ #1

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Eryngium ‘Big Blue’ #2

Remember the “clutch the pearls” comment I made earlier? Well, at our semi-annual blogger swap this spring the wonderful Bonnie Lassie had brought a couple of Eryngium “Neptune’s Gold” – in gallon pots! I’ve killed more Eryngium ‘Neptune’s Gold” than I have Eryngium bourgatii so I was over the moon to see such large, healthy specimens! Thank you again, Allison! It is very happy!

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Eryngium ‘Neptune’s Gold’

I have yet to have the pleasure of seeing this Eryngium proteiflorum flower. It’s in a bad spot but I’m hoping for the best. It’s beautiful anyway, right?

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Eryngium proteiflorum 

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Eryngium proteiflorum 

This little guy packs a big punch! If you plant Eryngium venustum, make sure you give it some space because it’s leaves are vicious.

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Eryngium venustum

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Eryngium venustum

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Eryngium venustum

What a difference placement in your garden can make. I have had this Eryngium yuccifolium in my backyard in clay soil and partial sun for 4 years and it has always formed this perfectly well-behaved and today clump with 2-3 foot stalks.

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Eryngium yuccafolium #1

Fast forward to last year and this one was planted in full sun with crappy soil and it skyrocketed into a gangly tower of goodness!

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Eryngium agavifolium #2

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Eryngium yuccafolium

My Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ is a victim of my cramscaping days and has to stretch for the light that it craves. After several years, it’s leaves have finally all reverted and lost all variegation. I’m not sure I’m ready to replace it.

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Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’

A special thank you to Tamara at Chickadee Gardens for the seedling of Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Wilmott’s Ghost’. Fingers crossed for its survival! I’m very excited to see Eryngium amethystinum mature but I think I’ll try to move it before it’s too late because it’s not getting enough sun.

Next up….Kniphofia madness!

 

April Bloom Day 2019

The stars must be aligned! Not only did I remember bloom day but I had the time to do something about it! I took a quick trip around the garden to show you a few of my favorite things!

I freaking love this plant and now is its time to shine! Careful, this baby is pretty but dangerous!

Barbera replicata

I had to dig for the tag for this beauty I found a few years ago at Hortlandia and discovered it is somehow connected to the now defunct Berry B. Garden. I’d never heard of it before so I’m looking forward to doing little digging!

Epimedium x perralchicum

FINALLY! I’ve managed to keep a few of these alive! I love Euphorbia rigida but it seems to hate my garden.

Euphorabia rigida

Thankfully the slugs haven’t ravaged the leaves on this yet!

Erythronium hybrid

It’s taken a few years for my epimediums to get established in my shade garden and they are inspiring me to add more! They are perfect for dry shade!

Epimedium ‘Domino”

I feel like I’m cheating a bit adding this clematis I bought at Joy Creek this year but it’s so darn pretty!

Clematis ‘Blue Dancer’

The wind and rain has taken a toll on my poor magnolia but luckily it is a pretty prolific bloomer and I can always find a good flower!

Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’

The flowers of this pieris are lovely but the real star is the emerging foliage! Wowza!

Pieris ‘Flaming Silver’

My beautiful pulsatillas really don’t like this weather and they are struggling to pick themselves out of the dirt!

Pulsatilla vulgaris

Pulsatilla vulgaris (red flowered)

Saxifraga unknown

I’m so in love with this sweet little guy. Going to be picking up a few more this weekend!

Anemone nemorosa “Bracteata Pleniflora’

I need ALL of these ALL over my garden!

Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Starry Eyes’

Omphalodes cappadocica

I got a little cracked out over pulminaria a year or so ago and this spring they burst into the most beautiful bunches of color!

Pulminaria ‘Silver Bouquet’

Pulminaria unknown

Every year winter does a number on my loropetalum and by spring I think this it’s dead. Clearly it is not and holy cow the flowers this year are insane.

Loropetalum unknown

And we end with my very favorites. My Grevillea ‘Neil Bell’ and Grevillea miqueliana have been blooming like gangbusters all winter and are still going strong!

Grevillea ‘Neil Bell’

My Grevillea juniperina ‘Molonglo’ is becoming a monster. At some point it’s going to need a major haircut but I’ll wait until the explosion of flowers subsides!

Grevillea juniperina ‘Molonglo’

So perfect.

Grevillea miqueliana

It’s been a while since I’ve contributed but thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for sponsoring Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day!

 

Smokin’ Grass!

I’ve developed a late in life love for grasses. Where I once imagined a mixed border cramscaped with a vast array of flowering perennials, this fall I found myself purging and simplifying so I could focus more on texture, form and movement and less on flowers.  In my opinion, grasses are the epitome of all of those things and with every one I’ve added to my garden over the years, I’m inspired to add more! Is it crazy that I’m reinventing my garden after only 4 years?

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Leveled view of  ‘Triangle Garden’

My front triangle garden sits on an unobstructed incline that gets some serious east wind.  While it can sound quite scary at times, with its full sun location it does make for some pretty magical moments for anything tall and billowy in my garden!

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Gardening on a sunny and windy incline!

Here are a just a few of my favorites….

This Andropogon ‘Red October’ (?) has been in my garden from the beginning. I  accidentally purged a group of plant tags so I’m giving its identification a best guess here. As you can see here, it’s suffering a bit from my original cramscaping plan but it should enjoy some extra space come this spring! The Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ stayed ( I’ve learned the hard way that it’s not a good idea to transplant eryngiums) and the andropogon provides nice support as it reaches its peak height.

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Andropogon ‘Red October’

Last year I added several Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’ to my garden all with varying degrees of success.  The two in my front Triangle garden were the most successful. I’m hard pressed to decide if my favorite feature is their gracefulness, delicate seed heads or colorful transformation throughout the season!

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Schyizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’

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I don’t see many molinias out and about and I can’t figure out why.  If you’re looking for a tidy, tall, sturdy grass that will not get the “flopsies,” this is the grass for you!

My favorite is Molinia caerulea ‘Strahleguelle’.

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Molinia caerulea ‘Strahlequelle’

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In the background below is Pennisetum macrourum (African Feather Grass). This was a Fall 2018 addition from our blogger’s semi-annual plant swap. With it’s focal placement, I’m hoping it does as well for me as it has for my fellow bloggers!

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For blue color you cannot beat Agropyron magellanicum. This has been in my garden for years thanks to Xera Plants.

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Agropyron magellanicum

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I wish this Penstemon ‘Enor’ would be more prolific! I love the purple against the blue backdrop!

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My Agropyron magellanicum does seed around but tends to plant itself among friends so separating can be challenging. I chose to leave this one in the libertia rather than try to move it.

Another senior member of my garden is this Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’. While I had an idea of it’s size, I had no idea that it would become a beast in only one season! This fall I moved it a third time.  Its new home is now in the back of the left garden where it can be a fabulous back drop rather than a blocking screen! I’m hoping it survived the transplant.

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Miscanthus ‘Morning Light”

With it’s size, it can’t help but photo bomb almost every picture I take in this part of the garden. I think it makes a nice accompaniment!

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Classic photo bomb with this Kniphofia ‘Shining Scepter’, Edgewarthia chrysanthia and unknown acanthus.

Every gardener plants at least one plant that haunts them. In spring of 2015 I planted mine – Stipa tenuissama or Mexican Feather grass. Despite the warnings of Matthew The Lents Farmer , I just HAD to add this to my garden. I’ve been pulling it out of everywhere ever since! Its memory will haunt me forever living amid the spiky fronds of the adjacent windmill palm.

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2015 Triangle Garden with the original Stipa tenuissama

In the fall of 2017, when my grass craze was really getting going, I decided to make more bad choices. With its close downhill proximity, my hell strip was a perfect landing place for reseeding. I thought I would go with the flow and not just keep the seedlings, but transplant one so I could have three! While I loved the result, inevitably they had to go as more offspring quickly started popping up!

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Stipa tenuissima

Next season the tip of the hell strip with feature more molinias and Anemanthole lessoniana or Pheasant Tail Grass. After espying and coveting Anemanthole lessoniana in a fellow blogger’s garden, I’ve added several throughout the front garden. From its long, slender and wispy “tails” to its four season color interest, there is so much to love about this grass! I particularly enjoy it’s companionship with the caryopteris in early fall.

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Anemanthole lessoniana with Caryopteris ‘Dark Knight and Caryopteris ‘Longwood’

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Fabulous “pheasant tails

How many Stipa gigantea is too many? I’m hoping three is the magic number because I’m running out of room! ! This grass is the centerpiece of my hell strip and it’s nothing short of majestic. Reaching almost 8 feet tall at times, this grass mesmerizes me with it’s shimmering seed heeds dancing in the sun for much of the year!

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Stipa gigantea stealing the show!

Each year I’ve added another to the hell strip.

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Stipa gigantea

Speaking of fabulous seed heads, just past the Stipa Gigantea are five Stipa barbata. They are victims on my previous cramscaping ideas which doesn’t allow their long, alien finger-like seed heads to enjoy the space they need. This spring they will be relocated up the street where they can get space and the attention they deserve.

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Stipa barbata

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You know you and your friends are obsessed gardeners when they show up at the fanciest cocktail bar in town with a giant chunk of grass for you from their garden. My friend and fellow blogger, Heather, Just a girl with a hammer divided this gorgeous Miscanthus malepartus last year and did just that! Now I have a perfect transitioning plant from the hell strip to the shade garden!

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Miscanthus malepartus

I think it makes a beautiful backdrop to some colorful companions!

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As I started gardening and learning about plants, I began to worry that people would think I was weird because I would constantly ask them about their plants when I visited their garden. I would file things away in my brain or put notes in my phone so I wouldn’t forget if there was something of particular interest. Well, I’m wondering when Heather is going to realize how many of my grass ideas I’ve stolen from her garden!

Pennisetum spatheolatum was the first of several grass ideas I stole from Heather. You can’t beat it for tall, graceful movement in the garden!

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Pennisetum spatheolatum

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I repositioned two of them last spring and I paid the price with minimal seed heads from both. I’m hoping they will have forgiven me by this summer! 

Perhaps the best lesson I’ve learned experimenting with grasses is that they breathe new life into my fading garden in the fall and reinvent the landscape as many of my perennials begin to fade. I’ve developed a new appreciation for the fall color of my peonies!

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Last fall I edited quite a bit of my garden to more prominently feature grasses and added several alliums, multiple Kniphofia thomsonii var. snowdenii , Asclepius fascicularus and eutrochium to sway among them throughout the season.

As a new season approaches, I’m eager to see how the changes play out and what new and wonderful grasses I’ll discover!