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In Flanders Fields… the stoic poppy grows

11 Nov

Poppies (the plastic version) are everywhere today in support  of our fallen heroes and stoic veterans.  These lipstick colour badges are in fact inspired by a gorgeous, though short-blooming,  flower which you can enjoy in your garden.  NOW is actually the best time to plant them and this one is easier than 1-2-3!

But it’s November… how is that possible??? Well, the Remembrance Day poppy, Papaver rhoeas, is an annual flower whose seeds need a cold period to germinate.  So simply sprinkle the coffee-ground-like seeds  right on top of the soil.  Then, amazingly, they’ll just sit there patiently all winter and burst into a swathe of uplifting and bold red in early July.

Add a patch to your garden so you can provide yourself and your neighbours and uplifting sign of hope and reminder of the hardships endured by those before us.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
~ Lieutenant Colonel John McCraie, May 3 1915

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Fresh Fall Plants (Part III): Fillers and Spillers

11 Nov

What a gorgeous Fall season we are having! Crisp, cool and sunny mornings have often turned into breezy warm afternoons with the sweet scent of fallen leaves and wood burning fireplaces.  Believe it or not, your garden is still not done for the year.  The latest installment of my Fresh Fall Plant video series highlights some great Fall plants to add to your Fall containers or garden bed.

Like always, I’ve showcased care-free, easy-growing yet striking accompaniments to your Fall garden. Enjoy!

– Sedum
– Ornamental Peppers
– English Ivy
– Heather
– Dusty Miller

Fresh Fall Plants: Part 2 Ornamental Grasses

3 Nov

Every Fall, ornamental grasses  strut their stuff by delivering bold vertical impact in your garden.  Part 2 of my Fresh Fall Plants video series highlights some of my favorite  ornamental grasses that will provide a dramatic effect to any container or garden bed.  Grasses featured include:

1. Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis)
2. Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum, native to Canada)
2. Blue fescue (Festuca glauca)
3. Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium, native to Canada)
4. Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘nigrescens’)
5. Golden Hakone Grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’)

Fresh Fall Plant Ideas

25 Oct

Are you looking for fresh ideas for your Fall containers and garden beds? My new Fall video series highlights some of my favourite plants  to give your garden the extra ‘umph’ it needs!

Darling, don’t forget the dahlias!

19 Sep

If you love Spring peonies then consider adding dahlias to your late summer garden.  They bloom from early August until the first frost and come in a dizzying array of sizes and colours. Some are as small as a golf ball while others rival the largest of buffet dinner plates!

Dahlias are know for their saturated and rich colours of orange, pink, purple, scarlet, yellow and white.  The best part is,  you can find many varieties that offer a combination of these colours all in one flower which make these perfect for cut- flower arrangements. My friend Roxanna shows us how gorgeous a simple bouquet of the flowers can be!

Dahlia Growing Tips

1. Select a comfy home.  Dahlias are sun lovers and must have well-drained (yet moist) soil.

2. Be careful when planting. The most common way to grow dahlias is from their tuber form (imagine oddly-shaped fingerling potatoes or ginger root).  These tubers however are very sensitive to any damage so be sure not to scratch, cut or break the tuber as otherwise you may be disappointed come bloom-time.

3. Provide Support.  Dahlia flowers are often very large which makes them top-heavy.  Give theses busty plants support by using a wooden or metal stake.

4.  Winter “Hibernation.” Dahlias unfortunately are not perennials in our climate. Once frost has brought an end to this years gorgeous display, remove the tubers and store in a dry, cool place until the following Spring.

Click here for more Dahlia growing tips.

 

‘Ray of Light’ in your late summer garden

24 Aug

It’s sad but true, we are closing in on the last few weeks of summer. ..but don’t fret!  I know the perfect plant that will keep your garden bright, playful and full of  “sun.”

Consider the very easy-to-grow Black-eyed Susan.   This perennial comes in several varieties of yellow/golds which will bloom continuously from July through October.  They also attract butterflies  and other pollinators to your garden so you’ll have playful visitors to brighten your day!

For a more relaxed cottage look, consider the native variety called Three Lobed Coneflower (Rudbeckia triloba). Local butterflies will show their love by fluttering in droves to this new addition in your garden.

Native Variety - Three Lobed Coneflower

Growing Tips

– Sun, sun, sun!

– Soil: perfect for less fertile soil (sandy) and make sure there is good drainage

– To promote blooming, remove spent flowers (gardening term= deadhead)  to encourage new blooms to develop

Learn about other pollinator and late summer perennials by watching this video.