Cottage Gardening forum: Observing changes in the garden from year to year...

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Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
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gemini_sage
Jun 26, 2011 1:40 PM CST
Watching the evolution of a garden is one of the greatest joys I receive from gardening, and the cottage garden style lends itself so beautifully to allowing those changes to gracefully occur. This spring I started mulching my beds for the first time, and that in itself has changed the overall look of the gardens quite a bit. Last year at this time, annual Poppies and loads of Lilies were the big color providers. Some Poppies have returned, plenty in restrained clumps now blooming nicely, but not all over the place like I allowed last year, as the mulching has prevented a lot of reseeding annuals this year. Surprisingly, several Asiatic Lilies seem to have disappeared from a couple of beds, and not so surprisingly, several OT Lilies are gone this year (no surprise because I found lots of rodent tunnels early this spring while cleaning up and mulching). I was concerned that the beds would be sadly lacking color in early summer, but have been delighted to see other perennials have beefed up and are providing a wonderful show! Daylilies have developed into fat clumps that are blooming their hearts out like I've never seen before. Echinaceas that I started from seed a couple of years ago have developed into mature clumps with loads of blooms- I'd never realized what a great pairing they are for Daylilies!

What changes have you observed in your garden compared to previous years?
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
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PollyK
Jun 26, 2011 7:27 PM CST
Great topic, Neal.

I have found my beds that have matured I just love. I did plant a lot of things way too close together. But the trees and shrubs that I planted when we moved her are now maturing, and I just love the look.

One disturbing thing, maybe this cubit members can help me with~~with global warming it seems my flowering is over before the summer actually ends. Where I used to have flowers last throughout the season, by the end of the summer it seems pretty colorless. I might try a few perennials that are z7, to see if they last longer. I suppose annuals are an answer, but I would rather concentrate on perennials. Any ideas will be welcome.

But, I'm with you, I just love how one year, one plant does so well, and the next year something else might steal the limelight. Gardens are certainly not static.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
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irisarian
Jun 26, 2011 10:06 PM CST
I'm not good on late summer flowers, but when you cut back some of the David Austin roses they are supposed to rebloom. I would see what else you have with reblooming characteristics. Sedum for fall?
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jun 27, 2011 6:45 AM CST
Late summer is my off time too, and that's where I've been focusing attention lately. I started my first Helenium from seed last year, and it's looking promising- if it proves to be as pretty as I think, I'm going to look into obtaining more varieties. After several attempts, I've finally got a Japanese Anemone growing vigorously; hoping that will provide some nice September color.

A couple of years ago I participated in a Mum co op and picked up a variety of colors and bloom shapes. To my surprise and delight, some of them start blooming in early summer, and just keep going! Have any of you heard of mums that do that? I've got some brick red cushion type mums blooming now, and just yesterday moved several of them to my "salsa garden"- they look great with red and gold Daylilies.

Here in Kentucky, the heat and humidity of late summer along with our tendency to have drought conditions at that time make it tough. So many of the hardy perennials dislike heat and humidity that I often look to tender plants to fill in the gaps, those that perform well in the deep south. I've taken a liking to Coleus and novelty Pelargoniums that I grow in containers the last few years. This year I'm playing around with placing those here and there in the garden where color is lacking.

Hardy Salvias are good late summer bloomers, but not too many of them are hardy to zone 5. I've had great luck with Black and Blue Salvia, reported to be hardy to zone 7, but mine have returned reliably for 5 or 6 years now. They start blooming in late June and keep going strong till frost.

Tall Phlox are a favorite of mine too. Some are budding and starting to bloom now, but they have a long bloom season and give me a good show through July and August typically.

Lucy, I love Sedums throughout the season, but the color they provide from late summer through fall is great! I'd love to see more varieties and colors become available.

Polly, we should definitely compare notes on this thread on what we find to solve that late summer color problem! Most years it gets so hot and unpleasant outside here, that I just focus my attention on the potted plants on the porches, where we'll spend evenings when things have cooled off. I'm still dragging huge Brugmansias in and out every year- the color and fragrance at the end of summer make it worth it. For a few years I was growing quite a few annuals to help fill in the beds, but now that the perennials have filled in I'm not growing many. I'd like to reach a point where perennials are providing a continuous show through fall, as far as the beds are concerned.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Jun 27, 2011 8:41 PM CST

Plants Admin

Neal, I agree, this is a great idea! Unfortunately too much of my landscape matures into a lot of mistakes. It's nice to see so many garden shot here. Even when I don't know exactly what I'm looking at the color, texture, size compositions translate well.

Polly, other than the phlox Neal mentioned, they wrap up here in mid-September, the Rose of Sharon bloom early July to late September, as do the Hydrangea. Last year Crocosmia emberglow bloomed early August to mid September and the Montauk daisy late September to early November. My favorite is Ajania pacifica. It starts blooming mid/late October and reaches peak around Thanksgiving. The flowers aren't much to look at but most welcome as a last reminder before winter sets in. Oh, and though mine are small the Russian sage are blooming in August well into September. I've read Gaillardia bloom/rebloom till late summer although as I killed mine last year I can't say for sure.
Evan
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
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PollyK
Jun 27, 2011 9:22 PM CST
Thanks everyone for suggestions. I will consider all.

It used to be my rose of sharons, and butterfly bushes and phlox could be depended on to reliably bloom in September. Now they're blooming around the first part of August at the latest. So very odd. My hydrangea paniculatas are getting buds on them now. Always used to be end of July.

Anemone is a great idea. Most of them were not reliably hardy for me, but now they might be, and they would bloom later. Crocosmia also is a great idea, and I'm going to try some other varieties other than Lucifer. Thanks Evan.

This is my first year with brugs, Neal. A kind DGer sent me 8 starts, really nice ones. I haven't killed them yet.
Name: Mike
Long Beach, Ca.
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Roses Region: California Hummingbirder Farmer
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Calsurf73
Jun 27, 2011 10:40 PM CST
Unfortunately, summer (here) is a killer for a lot of the good cottage garden flowers due to the heat and humidity...sigh. Thank goodness for daylilies and crocosmia ! They're like blooming machines and just keep going and going regardless of how hot it gets.
Crocosmias do get a little invasive, but they can be pulled up easily enough.

This has to have been the most bizarre spring we've ever had. Everything appears to be off schedule: Blooming too early or too late, or not at all. Challenging, maddening and disappointing all at the same time.

3 years ago I was able to find old fashioned Phlox paniculata here. Everyone told me they wouldn't grow due to our winters not being cold enough, summers too humid, etc.
This year they're blooming like crazy. Evidently we get just enough winter chill for them to bloom so I'm more than ecstatic that these actually bloomed.

I got this bright idea to plant Arugula amongst other annuals because I liked the flowers on them and the cottage effect they give. COLOSSAL MISTAKE. Yes, they were pretty and did just what I wanted, but the raccoons devoured them and they've reseeded and are everywhere...and I mean EVERYWHERE.

This nation-wide strange weather we've had the past few years has left me wondering what to expect with each season since there doesn't seem to be any consistency anymore.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
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ge1836
Jun 28, 2011 2:30 AM CST
I planted balloon flower last july in hopes of seeing august color this year. They are budded up now so who knows if they will be blooming in Aug and sept.
I am counting on Anemone Jobert for blooms.
The color combos that worked last year are not blooming at the same time this year. I am disapointed in my larkspur projest in its second year. I think the lily patch I started has shaded many plants so they are short and small.
I will be moveing lilies this fall. DD 'S may be getting additions to their gardens.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jun 28, 2011 4:19 AM CST
Every few years I decide to get back into Dahlias for the explosion of color they provide at the end of summer, and for a few years I'll be good about digging and storing them. Then inevitably will come a fall when I just don't get around to digging them. This was the case last year, but to my surprise and delight, most survived the winter in the ground! They're considered hardy to zone 8, but I thought last winter was pretty cold and totally didn't expect to see any Dahlias return.

Evan, Montauk Daisies sound like a plant I need! I've never seen them grown before, do you know if they tolerate humidity?

Polly, I've been growing Brugs for about 7 years now- so that should tell you they're easy! LOL Plenty of water and fertilizer and they're happy. Mine get tossed into an unheated room for winter, where I give them a little water once a month or so.

Oh, just thought of another late blooming perennial, Monk's Hood. I had no idea when I planted it that they bloomed so late, mine typically starts blooming in August or September.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
Jun 28, 2011 5:45 AM CST
I have a white thats in bloom now.
https://picasaweb.google.com/jgentle4/ShadeastWideViews?auth...
Another dark day here
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jun 28, 2011 6:24 AM CST
Polly, I was just reading some info on Japanese Anemones, and sources I'm finding list them as hardy to zone 4. With your typical winter snow cover, I think they would be hardy for you.

A few years ago I participated in a Mum co op (I believe the source was King's Mums) and chose a variety of colors and types. 3 or 4 of them bloom throughout the summer, which came as a surprise as I had only ever known Mums to bloom in fall. I have a brick red cushion type in full bloom right now, and have been moving divisions of them to a bed with red, orange, and gold Daylilies- what a gorgeous combination! I believe those that start blooming in summer were just listed as early bloomers.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
Jun 28, 2011 6:50 AM CST
It must be just wonderful all those hot colors.
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
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PollyK
Jun 28, 2011 7:03 AM CST
I'm not crazy about mums, but I see some new ones that are pretty, so that's a good idea, along with dahlias.

I do have some anemones that are hardy. Some are only listed to Z6, and I lost them before we became Z6, LOL.

Mike! Hey, I didn't know you were here, nice to see you. Phlox in Calif. Well!

Lot's of great ideas. Great thread, Neal!
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jun 28, 2011 10:32 AM CST
Polly, when you mentioned not being too crazy about Mums it got me to thinking about how many times I've gone years paying no particular attention to a plant species, just was never that wowed by them, but would for some reason decide to grow some. So often I'll find myself a few years later being an all out fan of said plant! May just be because I'm such a plant pig and flower freak, LOL. Till just a few years ago, I had no use for Pelargoniums (tender Geraniums) whatsoever- they just looked common to me and I never cared much for the smell of them. Now I've got several in pots that liven up parts of the garden needing color, and come inside to grow as houseplants through winter, and enjoy them so much. I amuse myself with my changing tastes as I get older, LOL. Do you find yourself revisiting plants you've never cared for, and then find yourself really liking them?
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
Seller of Garden Stuff
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PollyK
Jun 28, 2011 10:46 AM CST
Oh, sure. I guess pretty much any flowering plant that grows well in the area I like to some degree. OK, now you've sold me on mums, LOL. Is spring the best time to plant them?

Here's a pic of my garden. In May, June and July, I love it. In August there's not much, and September is just dead. I know it's pretty full, but I can remove things for some later bloomers.

Another plant that used to be a late summer bloomed for me is Eupatorium, and I love it, but now it's mid summer.

Thumb of 2011-06-28/PollyK/05beb3
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
Jun 28, 2011 11:51 AM CST
Fantastic Polly. What a stunning border
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jun 28, 2011 1:06 PM CST
Polly, that is such a gorgeous garden! So beautifully composed of varying heights, contrasting textures, color echos, and woody and herbaceous plants- masterfully done! Is that an area you can conveniently water? I'm wondering if a large container or two, like those whiskey barrels cut in half, filled with some kind of heavy flowering annual and/or a tall plant (like perhaps one of your Brugs) would be the ticket? That's veering away from perennials, but annuals are usually at their showiest and best the last month or two before frost, and that seems to be the time it needs color the most.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
Seller of Garden Stuff
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PollyK
Jun 28, 2011 5:23 PM CST
Thanks, Jo.

Yes, Neal, I could do that. Great idea. I have water to all the property that's planted.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Jun 28, 2011 6:50 PM CST

Plants Admin

Beautiful garden Polly. So much color and interest even without the bloomers.

Neal, I don't know about the MD handling your heat and humidity although there are several references to it growing further south in plant files. It is super easy to propagate by cuttings. I cut back early June last year and had dozens of new plants to give away/plant out this year. Loads left over. I'd be happy to send some along.
Evan
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jun 28, 2011 7:19 PM CST
Oooohhh, Evan, I'd love to try some cuttings! Seems I'd read that they tolerate heat, but I'm not sure about humidity. Don't they have kinda wooly leaves? It looks like there is fuzz on them in pics. I recall reading that they are drought tolerant, which would be a big plus here.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi

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