Early Bloom in Containers

Blu Lobelia
Apricot Alonsoa- Mask Flower. A closeup.

Nashville was too hot for Blue Lobelia, but I am hoping it will weather the short summer here. Everyone sells it, and it seems to be a real window box favorite. I suppose one could edge with it in open ground, but I do not care to see tiny, delicate plants spattered by rain , their heads in the mud.

Its companion is Alonsoa meridionalis “Apricot”, a South American plant I bought from Annie’s Annuals in California. I took a chance on this plant, but was relieved to read in my old copy of Alan Armitage’s “Annuals”, that Eck and Winterrowd grew a form of it at North Hill. The heat may check it, but shearing it may bring it back for fall. I bought it because of its color. I am a lover of orange in all its shades.

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After buying many mail order plants this spring, I can report that the US Postal Service has lost the confidence of on-line nurseries. UPS and Fed Ex bring everything, and in under three days. Last spring dead plants were arriving after 2 weeks in limbo at the USPS. The online nurseries are gambling that gardeners want the nursery plants so much that they are willing to pay double for shipping. I think the nurseries have won their bet. Most are already sold out. Digging Dog Nursery in California was so overwhelmed by orders that they suspended taking them for over two months. I was just able to order yesterday.

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On the Hardiness Watch, I will report that a half dozen Dusty Millers I put in last year, when I was desperate for gray plants, have survived, and they look to be more attractive than the first year plants. They are sold as tender annuals, but I have read that people in Zone 4 are seeing them come back.

Second Year Dusty Miller

And here is a follow up photo of the Chartreuse Nine Bark shrub I bought in early spring. It is a nice alternative to Spirea.

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We have had so much rain in the past three days that I am certain the Flash Drought has broken. Because it was a cold rain through 45 degree days my vegetable plants, cosmos, and tender celosia seedlings are in the house with me, for I was worried about damp roots and mold. 48 F now, and 90F by the end of the week. Enough said about New England weather, but how grateful we are for the rain.

For those who like to browse garden photos online-

I was looking up a Persicaria I wanted to buy from Digging Dog when Google brought me to the photography website of Marianne Majerus and her photos of European gardens designed by Belgian designer and plant breeder Chris Ghyselen. Ghyselen designs in the Prairie Style, which I find spectacular, but impractical for small gardens. But his borders are more restrained than those common two acre mass extravaganzas of coneflowers and grasses.

Look at the plants he uses! The Persicarias, which he breeds, but also plants -dear to my heart- asters and goldenrods. The photos by Majerus are also captioned so that we can see what plants we are looking at, and I wandered all over the Internet looking for sources in the States that sell them.

The Europeans are adventurous . They grow great plants years before we see them, and they focus on American asters and goldenrods and eupatoriums. One need only to look at the Kew Garden book on asters written by Paul and Helen Picton , who seem to have in their garden, every aster known to man, most of them North American species and new cultivars.

Published by talesofanashvillegardener

Professional gardener, Experimental Cook. Constant Reader

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