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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Glorious Gaillardia! (Photo Post)

Featured in today's photo post are two types of gaillardia, 'Oranges and Lemons' as well as offspring of 'Oranges and Lemons'!  The offspring gaillardia is more of the typical gaillardia (Blanket flower) with the dark red flower petals highlighted with yellow on the tips.  It's a beautiful flower that starts blooming and doesn't quit until the frosts come.  Both gaillardias are happy in my zone 6b-7 garden in well drained soil (typically rated for zones 4-10). 'Oranges and Lemons' isn't as tough as its child and couldn't take the north side of our home during the winter. The wet winter weather didn't agree with it and the plant rotted because of too much moisture.  Offspring was self-sown in exactly the same location as the original 'Oranges and Lemons' and it has lasted over two years.  Sometimes hybrids look really good but aren't as tough as the original!

Enjoy the glorious Gaillardias!

'Oranges and Lemons' Gaillardia with a backdrop of mums

A close-up!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wildflower Wednesday in September

Each month on the last Wednesday Gail at Clay and Limestone hosts Wildflower Wednesday where bloggers can display and share their wildflower photos.  Here's a little bit of the wildness that is my garden!

Is there a wildflower more associated with fall than goldenrod?

Scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea) is a self sowing annual here in my garden. Its beautiful scarlet red flowers are an awesome treat for hummingbirds who are sampling all they can of my garden before they journey south.

This seed sown offspring of an 'Oranges and Lemons' gaillardia is one of my favorite flowers. It doesn't stop blooming all season.  The gaillardia's red and yellow coloring is an attraction for all kinds of pollinators including those little metallic colored bees hanging out in the photo!

While it isn't really flowering at the moment the purple berries of this beautyberry surely are worth a mention!  It flowers in the late spring and summer with tons of little white blooms which produce the copious clusters of purple berries all over its branches.  

Thanks for visiting The Home Garden!

Join the 2011 Fall Color Project and share the brilliance of Autumn!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Ultimate Fall Flower

Is this the ultimate fall flower?

Yellow Mums
According to Robert Bornstein via Twitter and Stephanie via Facebook

Or is this it?

Goldenrod (Solidago)
According to Suzy via Twitter

Or is this it?

Shasta Daisy
According to Joyce via Facebook

Or is it something else?

What is the ultimate fall flower?

Bloggers please remember the

Monday, September 26, 2011

Surprised By the Red Spider

Red Spider Lily that is!  This Saturday I was mowing and passed by one of the garden beds on my riding mower when this bright red flower jumped out at me.  Did it really jump?  Nope but one day it wasn't there and now here it is. Spider lilies (Lycoris radiata) are also called a variety of names like Naked Ladies (which are actually Lycoris squamagira), hurricane lilies, and surprise lilies. You can see why the last name fits but the other names have their logic too. If you examine the picture you will note that there are no leaves.  Those come later on after blooming but for now this lily does look rather naked!  These lilies also appear during hurricane season which is why the hurricane lily name has become attached to this beautiful flower.

I don't know how this spider lily came to grow in my garden. There is only one so far and more would be welcome to my garden. I suspect the bulb for this flower tagged along with another plant from a past plant swap. Soon my surprise spider lily will fade from view and send up foliage to gather energy to produce next year's bloom (and hopefully more bulbs).

For more great information on Spider Lilies check out this webpage at the University of Mississippi!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Salvias of Fall

I have repeatedly written about how awesome salvias are.  I hope you're not tired of that kind of talk because your about to get another dose!  Salvias are one of the easiest to care for perennials around. During fall they bloom profusely. They aren't bothered terribly by heat and in many cases thrive in dry environments where other perennials may falter. This year, if any, can attest to that. We received a decent amount of rain before July then completely dried up.  Here in Tennessee we went for weeks without a significant rainfall then finally the rains returned in September.  That's when the salvias began to burst forth with blooms.

Let's start by examining the salvia that is just beginning to bloom. The other day I mentioned that my pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) was not yet blooming, well it's almost there as you can see in the photo.  The recent rain has left the stems weak at the moment but with another day of sunshine this large  3-4 foot perennial I bought in a tiny 3" pot in spring will be covered in red blooms!  No doubt there will be another post to come for my pineapple sage.

Back by my shed is a stand of Salvia farinacea.  This salvia was at one time a single plant I grew from a cutting.  The original parent was a seed grown start that I planted in the self-sowing garden. This salvia is easy to grow from seed or from cuttings and self sows very easily.  Just ask its 3-4 offspring which have completely grown over one pathway to my shed!

My 'Black and Blue' Salvia gauranitica hasn't stopped blooming this year. It grows fast, it grows strong, and it grows big!  The single plant I added to our birdbath garden (which incidentally no longer has the birdbath) is now a five foot wide by five foot tall mass of hummingbird heaven!  Hummingbirds love the tubular flowers of salvia.  I don't use hummingbird feeders anymore since they have all they need from the garden, and the real thing is almost always better isn't it?

I've often considered trying my hand at hybridizing plants and thought that maybe salvias might be an interesting plant to try.  The larger flowers of 'Black and Blue' could easily lend themselves to hybridizing. 

But some flowers can also be quite small and tricky to work with like the flowers of Salvia farinacea.

My Autumn sage (Salvia greggii) has been blooming off and on this summer, but normally flushes out with flowers once in the spring then has an big show in the fall. 

My 'Indigo Spires' salvia  (Salvia longispicata x S. farinacea) is located right next to the 'Black and Blue' and has a tendency to get overtaken by the larger cousin. I always get confused as to whether this is 'Indigo Spires' or 'Mystic Spires'.  I've planted both in the same location, but I have forgot which one died and which one was the replacement.  It could be either since both come from the same parentage.   

'Hot Lips' salvia (Salvia microphylla) is my newest salvia. The flower is supposed to be white with the lower lobe red giving it the appearance of lips.  Apparently my salvia didn't get the memo. Its still a beautiful flower even if it has reverted to red.

The salvias in my garden that area not pictured in this post include salvia 'Caradonna', salvia 'May Night', and salvia 'East Friesland' but can be seen in this post on salvias.

What's your favorite variety of salvia?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pineapple Sage - Still Not Blooming!

This spring I bought this pineapple sage at a garden show fully expecting it to thrive and burst into colorful red blooms. Well I can say one thing, it is thriving!  For some reason the blooms are just now beginning to form despite it growing to a size of about three and a half feet round.  It has nearly overtaken the 'Little Giant' arborvitae planted next door. The blooms that are forming should begin to put on their show within the next week but I could have sworn that my pineapple sage from last year bloomed much earlier!

In other blooming news my Gossypium herbaceum 'Nigrum' is in bloom, that would be cotton.  I mentioned this cotton on the Facebook page last night.  It's gorgeous blooms would be much better displayed if planted enmass in a better location. I'll blame the local gardener for that. He's always sticking stuff in the wrong place.

And here's one more picture for the day just to show that fall is coming...

Soon the rest of this crape myrtle will be just as fiery color as the leaf!  Are signs of fall in your area yet?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

6 Steps to Prepare for the Winter Vegetable Garden

This year I'm determined to grow more out of my vegetable garden than the typical summer tomato!  In the past I've managed to sustain herbs like cilantro throughout the winter but haven't been determined enough to nurture many vegetables other than spinach throughout the cold months. (It's hard to get psyched up to run out in the cold for garden maintenance!) The spinach I've done in the past usually lasts fine on it's own for a while but my garden could produce much, much more.  I've even had lettuce make it through the winter to produce in the spring but it really wasn't harvestable during the winter months. If we could have fresh garden greens rather than the greens from the store we would not only be saving money but eating healthier too.

Here's what I need to do to get ready for my winter vegetable garden:

    Radish Seedling
  1. Finish cleaning out a few more garden beds. 
  2. Prepare the soil by adding some additional compost and organic fertilizers.
  3. Plant more seed for cool season vegetables.  Lettuce, spinach, and radishes are doing great at the moment.  Our current rain streak is giving me hope for a great crop! I may need to start some vegetables indoors and transplant to the garden.
  4. Prepare a cold frame structure for my vegetable plants to live under. The shelter of a cold frame is the key to keeping my vegetables going through the winter.
  5. Cover my cucumber/melon trellises that can double as garden greenhouses with plastic.  I won't do that until frosts are in the forecast.
  6. Cover when the frosts are on their way!

Are you growing vegetables in your winter garden this year?

Spinach Seedling

Monday, September 19, 2011

Oak Leaf Hydrangea Propagation (Cuttings)

Oak leaf hydrangeas are an awesome landscape shrub to add to the garden. They get big and need room and enjoy part shade/part sun locations but if you have the right spot for one by all means add one! I'm always trying to propagate a few more but they tend to be rather tricky to propagate from cuttings. Layering is the easiest method and I've been 100% successful with that but the big drawback is you can only make a few at a time and you have to have suitable branches (low hanging).  The advantage of cuttings is that you can make many more, however oak leaf hydrangea cuttings are difficult to root.

I'm pretty happy with my recent batch of oak leaf hydrangea cuttings.  About two months ago I took 10 cuttings and followed the procedures for making oak leaf hydrangea cuttings.  My rooting success was about 50%!  Just so you know that's a high for me.  Some cuttings rotted away and were removed and one didn't root at all but in the end I have 5 rooted cuttings of oak leaf hydrangea. You can find the secret trick to rooting oak leaf hydrangeas in this post.

The next challenge will be getting my new plants through the winter. Sometimes cuttings don't have enough roots to successfully make it through the cold months.  For now I have them in a sheltered spot next to the house in a shady location. Fortunately my oak leaf hydrangeas have about 6 weeks before the first frost comes and I can protect them from that with the garden shed. They should have a little time to grow some roots!

Have you planted an oak leaf hydrangea yet? 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Guest Post From My Son

 Hi there!  I'm taking over dad's blog today and giving you a bit of a tour of the garden. Or at least of the things I like about the garden! I'm not quite sure what he's trying to do out there.  He digs a lot, sticks funny plants in the ground, and dumps water out everywhere.  But I get to watch and be outdoors which is pretty cool.  

Looking around you can see all sorts of stuff like trees, vegetables, and these odd plants dad keeps pulling up. He sticks some plants in the ground then pulls others up, I'm just confused.  He calls them "weeds."

Of course there are all kinds of nifty toys to play with. Like this water sprinkler. Dad was using it to water the grass seed we put out but I have another idea...

 Now if I could just figure out how to turn this thing on... 

It would be the perfect surprise for my sisters...

 Oh well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

 Let's head back to one of dad's favorite places!

  His shed! He built it with his dad.

Let's peek through the windows and see what's inside. Well doesn't work, I'm not tall enough yet.

Let's try the door then...locked.  No luck there.  Boy does he need to get these doors painted!

Well why don't we just sit back and hang out in the nice weather!

Well that's it from me for now. I'm worn out, especially after skipping my nap. I hope you have a great weekend.  Oh and dad wanted me to mention the Fall Color Project coming up.  I was way too young to remember the colors last year so I'm looking forward to this fall.  I've heard someone mention playing in the leaves...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Red Mums (Photo Post!)

Here's just a quick post to share a few photos! Enjoy the red mums of fall!
From bud...

To blossoming...

...to flower!

Don't forget to join in the 2011 Fall Color Project when your fall colors are at their peak!

September Colors in Bloom

It's been a couple months since I've participated in Garden Blogger's Bloom Day so I figured I was due for a post! Amazingly despite a summer of neglect the garden has quite a few reliable blooms to share. If you like to think on the positive side you could consider the neglect as a test of what thrives with or without the gardener in less than ideal growing conditions!

Here's what's blooming this September in my garden:

Orange Cosmos - Self-sown 

Red Perennial Mums - a returning favorite!

California poppy. The color orange again!

Rudbeckia 'Cappuccino' - a little orange here too.

Garlic chives

Caryopteris 'Longwood Blue'! A great fall blooming shrub.



Purple Butterfly Bush

More purple from the naturally growing ironweed (Vernonia).

And of course a favorite fall blooming native plant:

Enjoy more blooms at Garden Blogger's Bloom Day!