Under "whelmers"

rouge21_gw(5)August 14, 2014

It is probably late enough in the summer to be able to decide which plants have under performed in your garden.

First that comes to mind for me is Penstemon "Red Riding Hood".

I planted it later last summer and on a good note it did survive the Polar Vortex. It did flower sometime in June this year but it wasn't in bloom for long; no reblooms and it flopped badly (even in lean soil).

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Campanula UK Z8

Salvia greggii (of which I have quite a few) have been disappointingly sparse and the hopeless (for me) penstemon 'Sweet Joanne' failed to save itself, going on the compost heap along with a gallant, but ancient callirhoe. I have seen the seed strain (penstemon x mexicali 'Carillo Pink' ) which were equally feeble so all in, a bit of a duffer.
Having been all over the place this summer, it seems unfair to pick on under-performing plants when I am guilty of terrible negligence (I haven't even glanced at the scuzzy roses for 2 months!).....but I rarely pass up a chance to moan so... my meyer lemon has just put on a spurt but is also dropping yellowy leaves and there's the endless battle against scale and abortive blooming....in fact, it perfectly illustrates the meaning of futility,.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 5:13PM
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My young digitalis plants from seed ("The Shirley") should be referred to as "don't call me Shirley" since they survived the winter in poor shape and never did anything this season. I assume they are gone since I don't go back that way much.

The Amsonia tabernaemontana probably flowered, but I blinked and missed most of it. It also falls over if not pruned back hard after bloom. It is toast if I ever get around to it.

Other than that, most of my ire is directed at temperennials that do not perform. What good is risking my spinal disks lugging out big pots of seed-grown plumerias, if they don't bloom? Most of them will be abandoned in favor of my couple of dwarf Plumerias which at least modestly flower.
I suspect this is also the last year for a few tall and cadaverous Brugmansias. I have a 7 1/2 foot Brugmansia "Cherub" in the ground in the subtropical bed that's ready to open a good crop of buds, but have no idea how and if I can rescue it to take it indoors in the fall (weighs a ton).

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:52PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Campanula I feel like your futile lemon will still find a place indoors this winter. Isn't it unethical for Northerners to give up on a citrus plant?
I think my only underwhelming plants may be my astilbes. They just don't get enough consistent moisture to put on the show they're capable of so I barely remember them blooming this summer.
Maybe if I dig the bed, add compost, water faithfully.....

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 11:42PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Ha, 'Maybe if I dig the bed, add compost, water faithfully..... '

What, you mean like gardening! Get away with you....we only want to do that with babies - once they are in the ground, they are like adult children - a solid dose of 'tough love' is required.
....but yeah, I was gifted a bunch of astilbes and know utterly that they are doomed to fail in my dry and tree-rooty soil, along with some hopeful mimulus and even saxifrage urbium/umbrosa....all of which came from Scottish rellies with a truly damp garden.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 7:08AM
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A comment: most of these plants probably are great performers in the proper place and zone.

I know salvia greggii was great in Oklahoma and Texas. The penstemons are great in a cooler drier climate.

I suspect Eric's Amsonia would be upright in full sun, drier and leaner soil. My A. illustris is lovely in a full sun field and looks like a bush more than a herbaceous perenniail.

Point being...for readers of the thread, the plants aren't necessarily bad plants (for everyone).

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 7:36AM
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Actually, this particular Amsonia is in full sun, in well-drained soil. Cutting it back after flowering is no big chore. It's just that the bloom period is so short (and the hyped fall foliage nonexistent), so that it is difficult to justify its continued existence.

I am holding onto my few plants of A. hubrichtii, which at least is modestly attractive in fall.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 8:58AM
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Hmm, well I grew illustris and hubrichtii myself, both of which had fall color. It was a some years with my hubrichtii, sometimes it wanted to turn brown instead of yellow. The illustris had full open sun, and never disappointed. Hubrichtii naturally is a mound, illustris was strongly upright and I don't even remember storm broken branches.

My illustris would also take a 2nd or 3rd flush of bloom, but yeah, I hear you about short bloom periods on lots of perennials.

My point was different sites, and different climates, they perform differently. I would have to damn all the arid penstemons, cacti, and most sages if I judged them by their performance here....but there's also the 'you don't know, until you try' (lol).

We need a plant amnesty program, where things are put up for postage vs shovel pruned.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:08AM
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Rudbeckia "Henry Eilers".

I liked it enough the previous 2 seasons but this year several stems shrivelled up throughout July and now that it is in bloom it is splayed with most all stems too near the ground.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 7:37PM
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campanula- was a def. under whelmer but this season there were so many over whelmers that I cannot complain

I am going to start a thread with stars of the season- hope to see you all there as well

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 8:53PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

I plant thickly and let them fend for themselves. Survival of the fittest is my motto.

This year I decided to remove two 20 year old Hydrangea 'Annabelle' because they had performed so well they overwhelmed their neighbors. Plus I got tired of their floppiness. I still have another huge clump that I may remove next year or let the gas company take care of it for me.

I finally got my front garden where I wanted it, but the gas company notified us that our gas line would be replaced in the near future. That means the bed on the right will be completely ruined. I am still wondering what to do with these beautiful plants:

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 10:02PM
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Pitimpinai, your garden overwhelmed me! I am sure you will be able to move and replant your gorgeous collection. Best wishes.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 11:24AM
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A dwarf scabiosa was pretty disappointing. The flowers stayed so low to the plant it looked quite out if proportion and it was difficult to deadhead due to the short stems. It still looks like an awkward teenager.

I have had poor success with a few campanulas--including great clips and a taller bell shaped one. I purchased three of each type mid spring and only one if each kind has survived. By contrast though, a couple small, ground cover type campanulas, planted at same time, have done well.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 11:31AM
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wow! your garden is gorgeous!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:28PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Thanks, splitrock and bellarosa. I am especially pleased with my garden this year thanks to Mother Nature. It is exactly how I wanted it to look. Those that did not do well disappeared on their own thanks to their neighbors.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:57PM
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I bought a Desmond Dianthus from Bluestone this spring because it was supposed to be a heavy bloomer, blooming from late spring to late summer. I'm still waiting for all the flowers. It had two buds on it when I got it. One was eaten by a bunny before we put a small fence around it and the other flower opened. There have been no other flowers since.

Still waiting for ANY flowers on a 3 year old Endless Summer Hydrangea. This is the tallest it's been and the latest it has waited to produce any flowers at all. Not a bud in sight. By this time the other two years, I had flowers but not this year.

Both these plants have been quite a disappointment.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 3:04PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Rouge21...wonderful tight, lush front gardens! I especially like the contrasts in leaf colors, and also your plant philosophy, which is similar to mine.

My roses and Lavenders did really well this summer, but my day lilies not so well. Usually some of them continue reblooming into the fall, but not this year. I've trimmed many of them.

My annuals, except for marigolds and my dragon wings begonia in a pot, are sparse this year. These are interplanted near the front of the garden and usually spread out and supply great color. Ah, well.

I'm in zone 6 and my Penstemons where just "meh"! But ALL of my later tall Phlox are looking glorious.

I guess the weather has a lot to do with the plants' attitude this year. It hasn't been overly hot. Maybe they're sulking?


    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 4:26PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

On the shovel prune list when I get around to getting out the shovel again:

* Stokes aster - healthy foliage but they have not bloomed in YEARS.

* Queen of Denmark alba rose - love the scented flowers but the bugs love the foliage even more. I doubt there's 10 leaves left on the thing at this point in the season, it's just a mass of twiggy branches, happens every year.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 7:11AM
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mjc_molie wrote: Rouge21...wonderful tight, lush front gardens!

I would like to take credit but I am sure you are referring to pitimpinai's wonderful layout. It is definitely 'action packed'!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 7:26AM
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Still waiting for ANY flowers on a 3 year old Endless Summer Hydrangea. This is the tallest it's been and the latest it has waited to produce any flowers at all. Not a bud in sight.

Linda, take a look at the mop head hydrangea known as LA DREAMIN'. It seems similar to an ES but a bit more compact and apparently hardier.

(I dug out my 5 year old ES about a month ago. It sure did free up a lot of space.)

Here is a link that might be useful: A better mophead?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 7:31AM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

'action packed'!
I like that. :-D Thank you both, rouge & mjc_molie

I packed my garden tightly because I am greedy. Also a couple English gardening books mentioned how ugly many American gardens were because of exposed mulch, so I strive for a garden full of plants rather than a garden full of mulch.

I plant in layers. Each square inch is planted 2 - 3 times . :-D That means something would show up one after another yearround. As these plants mature they crowd out weaker neighbors. This garden takes less care than a lawn. Who needs a lawn anyway? :-P

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 9:39AM
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Thanks, rouge, for the suggestion. There may be some of these planted in someones landscaping on the road where I live. We drove by this house yesterday on the way home and I saw several plants that look like this - lots of blooms and multi colors on the same plant. They were gorgeous. There must have been a least a half dozen or more of these in the landscaping.

This is the first year that ES has not bloomed this late since I put it in. We did have a very nasty winter, and I will admit that DH cut it down to the ground when weeding the area in the late spring. It had not leafed out yet, to be fair, and I hate to turn down good help when I can get it! I thought that the "pruning" would not affect it, since it blooms on new wood too. But, still no buds and nice tall green growth.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 12:19PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Yep, Rouge... I definitely meant pitimpinai's front garden. This is scary... the fact that I forgot what I had read just a few minutes before typing! Geez, am I getting old or what.

And pitimpinai, I do like your logic of square inch planting. After going along with my DH's desire for a specimen-type garden, we've changed directions. Mulch is too expensive to replace every year, and weeding is annoying.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:27AM
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Lol, I garden that way, because there's too many plants I want to grow and not enough space.

So it becomes survival of the fittest...but somehow some (not many) weeds still need pulling.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:30AM
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luckyladyslipper(MA 5b-6a)

pitimpanai: is that a Sum and Substance on the right? You absolutely must save it somehow, though it will be a bear to move. Be sure to go to the hosta forum and look for Ken Aiden's suggestions for moving a large fully leafed out hosta.

Here is a link that might be useful: Moving a large fully leafed out hosta

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 6:41PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Yes, luckyladyslipper, it's a 7 ft wide Sum and Substance. I also have a precious collection of Mertensia virginica, Hosta 'Elegans', Hosta plantaginea, a beautiful purple Heuchera that is gorgeous this year, many choice daffodils, lilies, primrose, a Helleborus, Bleeeding Heart, I can't even remember them all. And on that little bed on the parkway is my precious Oakleaf Hydrangea that I nurtured from cuttings. I would hate to lose any of them. I don't have any room for a nursery either.

I can't even imagine how the gas company will begin to dig up that Sum and Substance. I am hoping to persuade the workers to dig along the property line rather than through the middle of that bed so the damage won't be as extensive.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:53PM
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WoodsTea 6a MO

The worst thing for me this year was wild ginger, Asarum canadense. I planted six nursery-grown seedlings under a greenspire linden in June. They've struggled all summer, with brown edges on all the leaves.

This seems to be a bad setting for them, possibly too much competition from the tree roots, as well as quite a bit of sun in the mornings and afternoons. I also planted them later than I should have, after letting them suffer in their little pots for a couple of weeks while I was busy doing other things.

I think I'm going to move a couple of them elsewhere in the fall, and leave the others as an experiment. I've heard that you can't expect much growth the first year.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 12:08PM
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Woodstea, you really can't expect ANY above ground growth on A. canadense. It only has one flush of growth per year (in the spring).

By now, most of them are looking ragged in the wild too...their time/purpose is done. The leaves photosynthesized and can now be shed.

Give them another year and see what you think.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 12:15PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I suspect the sun might be a factor too. My wild ginger in fairly dense woodland shade looks good all summer. Mind you, I was very surprised that much of it was killed out by this past winter - as was much of my Sweet Woodruff - but both are slowly recovering, although I expect it'll take a couple of years before they reclaim all their previous territory! I just hope this coming winter is more moderate.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 2:47PM
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