What do you know right now that you will plant next season?

rouge21_gw(5)November 24, 2013

I look outside and winter has truly arrived as snow now covers everything and the temp is 10 F..

But it is too soon to curl up with any 2014 hard copies or even on-line catalogues. So I instead ponder my short list of must have perennials that I had made note of this season of GW.

- Kevin's chrysanthemum thread has forced me to find space for 2 such plants. Full sun locations are in way short supply for us. And so I have decided to remove a couple of existing perennials.

- some type of Lathyrus vernus

- a "Blue Woodland" Aster

- a couple of ornamental grasses: "Desert Plains" and or Calamagrostis brachytricha and or Chasmanthium latifolium "River Mist"

Your turn.

UPDATE: How could i have forgotten "Sunshine Dream" Helianthus shown in all its glory by twrosz of Alberta.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Fri, Nov 29, 13 at 19:43

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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

I picked up a couple of seed packets earlier this fall: Asclepias incarnata (butterfly flower - a pink and white blend), and Calendula, so I'm going to try those. I'm normally not a yellow flower person, but last spring I saw some pot marigold in full bloom and I had them in my hot little hand and then put them back and wouldn't you know I thought about them all season, I wish I had bought them and couldn't find them again. So I'll give them a try next season.

I have a Daphne on my list of things to buy - have a spot picked out next to a window to put it.

BTW, Rouge: Is "River Mist" the variegated Chasmanthium cultivar? If so, I wouldn't bother. I've had it in a couple locations, and it has not thrived, it looks pitiful, even after multiple seasons. Matter of fact, a clump of it is being shovel pruned in the spring, to be replaced by the Daphne. However, if it's plain green Chasmanthium you want, now that's a fine plant.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 12:31PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

It's hard to say, as it depends largely on what I find locally. I hardly ever order plants.

But a rough idea of what I might/am likely to plant if able...

-Variegated Corn. Annual I know but...it's just such a fabulous foliage plant. Plus it gives me the texture I've always wanted out of a large variegated Miscanthus but without taking up so much space.

-whatever perennial seeds come up from my WS'ing and other seed starting attempts this year. Heaven only knows where I will find the space though...

-any Geum cultivars I don't have ;-)

-Any Anemone nemorosa cultivars I come across. Not sure why, but my thoughts always turn to these plants in winter. Ephemerals in general always capture my fancy when the weather turns bleak.

Ps. I agree with Michelle about 'River Mist' Chasmanthium. I bought it at Lowes a couple years ago and it has been a wimpy dud. Absolutely you need some Lathyrus vernus! If you can't find any let me know and I can send you seed. They are ridiculously easy to start that way. ;-)

This post was edited by christinmk on Sun, Nov 24, 13 at 13:27

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 1:26PM
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Next spring, I'm taking out three large clumps of 'The Blues' Little Bluestem for a couple of reasons and replacing it with one large Skeletonleaf Goldeneye. I've wanted this for three years now and finally received a plant in a trade which is now wintering over in my south window which I plan to harden off and plant in early spring.

I also received seeds of Salvia regla (Mountain Sage) which I cannot wait to try. 4ft bush type salvia which grows in shade. I hope it ends up being hardy here, fingers crossed. I'll start these indoors/warm in late January. I also plan to purchase a Mexican Bush Sage and consider it an annual, I'll test it for winter hardiness. I don't expect much but I've been pleasantly surprised more than once with root hardiness.

I have Agastache 'Coronado Red' seeds I plan to sow in spring. I'm planning this to go in a specially hot/dry spot hoping to do better with it than other Agastache I've planted in the past.

I once grew the plain green Sea Oats you all are talking about as a few specimen plants. Unfortunately it was a pest for me here, overwhelming #'s of seedlings everywhere. It would make an aggressive but attractive ground cover plant in shade. I am planting seeds I saved from three Koeleria glauca (Large Blue Hairgrass) because I definitely want more, very short, cute, compact tussocks of blue leaves which is the main attraction, much more so than blooms. I carefully saved every single seed.

I direct sowed various types of penstemon seeds needing stratification and as always, various mysterious other seeds I must have liked since I collected or traded for the seed, so hopefully there will be surprises next year. I love to haphazardly sow for the unexpected which usually leads to later wondering what it is and where it came from since I always forget. It makes gardening fun and exciting.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 4:47PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Rouge - chilly here but no snow other than the occasional flurry. I certainly hope we're not in for another almost snow-free winter!

For next year, Kevin's 'mums are definitely on the list - assuming I can find a source for them! They would be a nice replacehment for some of the asters we removed from the driveway border this fall.

I also want to plant some rhubarb in the front, although I think I may try it in a pot rather than in the ground. When we first moved here (in 1999) I tried some in the driveway border for a couple of years but it never did very well, so I might try the pot option to control the growing conditions better.

We started a fern bed in the backyard this fall in an area where an old dead apple tree fell down. There are a lot of white trilliums there and a young dogwood so I'll wait to see how that all looks together in spring but I'm pretty sure I'll be adding something more there - but am not sure what - yet.

I was washing this year's plant tags this afternoon in preparation for updating my tag binder - I dump all the tags from things I plant into a pot and then clean them up and record them when it's cold and I need a dose of the garden! :-) I didn't think I did much planting this year as there's not much space left, but there are quite a few tags... a lot of them are plants that were recommended here!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 5:38PM
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Thanks very much all of you for relaying your experiences re
the variegated River Mist". I have now crossed it off my list. It was appealing as it is described as being a flowering ornamental grass that does well in (much) less than full sun.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 6:50PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Rouge: The regular Chasmanthium (Chasmanthium latifolium aka Northern Sea Oats) performs beautifully in part-shade. Love it. Foliage reminiscent of bamboo. Flowers look like tiny fish dangling off arching fishing lines. Clumps expand at a good clip if happy.

One caveat: Notorious self-sower (is this where we get the term "Sow your wild oats?"). I can overlook this, since I adore this plant for the foliage effect.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 8:12PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-Doug, how about Deschampsia cespitosa 'Northern Lights'? The variegation isn't as bold as 'River Mist', but it is a great little grass with delicate plumes. It does fine in an area that's a little more on the shady side.

Here is a link that might be useful: D. 'Northern Lights'

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 8:20PM
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For next year, Kevin's 'mums are definitely on the list - assuming I can find a source for them!

'Woody', I am confident I know where to source such mums. I can let you know.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 3:58AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Rouge - are you thinking of Lost Horizons? My first option is likely to be a particular local nursery - the owner is always willing to order things in for me (as long as she can find a source for the plant!). Do you have a 'secret source' for plants?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 8:58AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I've got a list as long as my arm of native perennials that support the pollinators. I have a 2 year old butterfly garden that still needs some filling in, and a huge partly wooded, partly sunny swampy area between me and the highway that I'm going to turn into my own private wildlife sanctuary. Lots of penstemons, campanula, coreopsis, Snake Root, Joe Pye Weed, agastaches, and on and on. I'll also continue to expand my milkweeds.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 11:32AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

rouge21, snow already? We are having temps in the teens, but no sign of snow yet. I'll be happy to see it after Thanksgiving though. I’m really feeling this cold weather. We’ve been spoiled by the long warm fall we’ve had and the cold is going to take some getting used to.

I’m planning some renovations in some of my beds next spring, so I’ve been making lists for awhile. I’m really wanting to reduce the workload and replace some perennials with more shrubs and grasses. I’m thinking of adding Blue Oat Grass that some were talking about on an earlier thread on grasses, and there’s a Bouteloua ‘Blonde Ambition’ at High Country Gardens that I am thinking of using too. Possibly a Golden Hanoke Grass for a shady spot that CMK shared a photo of.

I’m still always trying to extend the bloom period in the garden so that pollinators have something early and late and everything in between. I just added more bulbs for early spring and asters are on my list for adding for the fall. Not sure which yet. I have an aster that doesn’t bloom for long and I’m going to see if there are any with a long bloom period.

CMK, I had Deschampsia ‘Northern Lights’ here and it was a dud for me and not even sure it came back the following spring.

docmom, that sounds like a great project. I am always trying to add natives, but I don’t have very much sun so a lot of what I add that is native is in shade. I do have Baptisias for the sun, a couple of new ones that I added last year and Monarda in part sun. I seem to be concentrating on woodland phlox, tiarellas, and I’m adding to my native ground covers, Arctostaphylus and Gaultheria. Do you have a top three native plants for pollinators to recommend? Any asters on your list?

I would also like to expand the vegetable garden next spring. I have to replace a couple of raised bed frames and might add a few more while I'm at it.

I have one narrow bed in shade that I've tried a few things that aren't working out, so I've started a list of small hostas that I want to try next year. 'Mighty Mouse' is one. Japanese Painted ferns are working and I think adding some variegated hostas might work out the best.

Spring is about 16 weeks away. I really want it to go by fast. January will go by faster finalizing renovation plans and maybe starting some Winter Sowing, haven't decided yet. Right now, it seems like a long wait. (g)

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 12:48PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-PM2, that's too bad the 'Northern Lights' didn't work out for you. Any idea why it bit the dust? In too hot/dry of a situation? Mine does seem to look jaded when it doesn't get enough supplemental summer water...

You really do need a Hakone grass of some type! ;-) How's that for a bit of enabling? Lol!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 1:50PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

CMK, I didn't really have NK more than one season, it was growing on the West side of a full sun bed, so it probably got a little bit of shade in the morning. I have loamy/clay soil that I don't allow to dry out too much in that bed. I don't think it could of been from too much moisture. Maybe it needs more moisture or less sun? Sorry, wish I could be more helpful.

I 'need' a Hakone? Well, I think I'm going to have to believe you CMK and look for one. :-)

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 2:16PM
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rouge21, snow already?

'PM2', it isn't unusual to have almost no accumulating snow until after Christmas. And so this cold and snow did catch me a bit by surprise. The previous day I had distributed my final bags of shredded leaves onto our gardens...perfect timing.

I’m still always trying to extend the bloom period in the garden. I just added more bulbs for early spring and asters are on my list for adding for the fall.

That is exactly my philosophy right now and I similarly planted tons of early blooming bulbs and will put in 'mums' and an aster next season.

It is lots of fun mentally planning bed renos. Be sure to let us know your developing ideas throughout the winter.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 2:23PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Well, I'm happy to hear I've stirred some interest in mums. I enjoyed mine so much this year, so of course I have to have more. My predetermined yearly allotment is 6 new plants, but I'll have to see if that sticks (it probably won't just to be honest).

For sure I'll order the Mammoth Red Daisy and if you remember my posting about Peach Centerpiece, there's another one named Centerpiece which is the same flower only in lavender. I need it. I'm also thinking about trying a football-type mum. I realize it will probably need staking and dis-budding, but it might be fun to try. Other than that, I want more clear reds, pinks and lavenders.

rouge - You're posting on Rudbeckia Little Goldstar stuck with me, so that's on my list.

christinmk - You changed my mind with your Geum thread, so I see a couple of those in my future.

Other than those, I don't have anything specific nailed down, but I do plan on a bunch of plants from the following:

More Delphiniums - Oh Lord, that bug bit me big time this year!

Calamintha - My nepetoides was simply spectacular, so I need to see what else is available.

Helenium - Again, I need more. Just not sure which ones yet.

Nepeta - I'll be checking out some of the larger ones this year. Blue Wonder was just great this past year and the cats never touched it.

Sedum - I usually order a 2-3 new ones and plan on doing the same next year. I just have to review the comments on some of the previous Sedum threads. You can't have too many of these.

Veronica - Yup, need more, but I want some of the taller ones this time around. Too many of mine are very short which isn't all bad, but some tall ones would be nice. I also came across a golden leaved variety last year online, but can't remember the name. That could be interesting. More research needed.

Buddleia - Blue Heaven was such a success this past summer, I'm now thinking I need some larger ones, but I should really wait to see if that one makes it through the winter before ordering more. I probably won't wait to see and will just take a chance. Isn't that the way it usually goes?


    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 5:24PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

rouge21, good timing on the leaves, is right. I can’t imagine trying to spread them on top of the snow. (g) Yes, I do enjoy mentally planning a bed renovation. It’s a fun distraction, like a puzzle, that you can turn to at any time, in traffic, waiting for an appointment, etc. I’m sure lots of people will be here in the forum, including me, planning next year’s garden come January.

Kevin, I have ‘Walker’s Low’ Nepeta and it flops and I would like to find one that doesn’t, but I don’t know if that exists. How was your ‘Blue Wonder’ for flopping?

Is Calamintha in the Mint family and does it spread?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 6:50PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls


My Blue Wonder did not flop a bit, but it is kind of short. The online info states it grows to 12 inches, but I know mine wasn't that tall. I was really surprised at how wide it grew in one season. From a 3 inch pot, it was probably over 2 feet across by the end of summer and never stopped blooming.

Yes, Calamintha is in the mint family, but I don't think it spreads like regular old mint. At least I haven't read anything about that being a problem. I was a bit concerned that it might self-sow like crazy because it produces tiny flowers by the thousands, but again from what I've read, self sowing doesn't seem to be an issue. Maybe someone with more experience can chime in on these things. And once again, from a 3 inch pot, it was easily 2 feet across by summer. To boot, I never trimmed it back, never cut a dead flower off and it bloomed continually until early November and looked completely fresh and wonderful all summer long. It was probably my most exciting find of the year.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 7:24PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I had (note the past tense!) a nice calamintha - very pretty and never noticed any problems with spreading. It disappeared this year for some reason - perhaps because we dug out tons of oregano that was in the same area. Oregano is a mint relative that does spread like mad by both seeds and roots. It is just about #1 on the list of things I most regret planting!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 8:38PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

I'm on the delphinium bandwagon. Had them at my old house. Didn't have luck in my current gardens, but haven't tried them in years. I'm going to give it a whirl again. Also going to try lupine again. We replaced our front picket fence and I've ripped out a lot so have a fairly blank slate. Will have to go back to all the lists I've made from prior posts to decide what to put in.

PM2, I have gold hakone grass for you. Also have a great way to hold up 'walker's low'. When I see you I'll bring my new best friend for staking. It's that cheap wire garden fencing and I got a great type at K-Mart. Works wonderfully to hold up any perennials or even shrubs, and it blends completely in. Made very short work of all my staking this year especially for things like catmint, balloon flower, tall sedums, etc.......now if only I could remember where it all is before we get three feet of snow! LOL!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 10:14PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

CMK, I do love Ephemerals too. Is bleeding heart considered one? That is my favorite. I’ve added 2 or 3 every year for the last five. I’m going to be surprised in the spring because I can’t remember where I planted the last batch. I’ve not had any luck with a few others. I tried Trout Lily and it produced leaves only two years in a row. And Dutchman’s Breeches stopped coming up. I’ve had Virginia Bluebells for at least 7 years and it is still the same size as the year I planted it and once in awhile puts out a bloom. I think it may be too dry for them here. Bleeding heart comes back faithfully and just gets bigger and more gorgeous every year. I love the way the stems look coming up out of the ground and when the leaves start to unfurl.

GP1, my conditions are so different than yours, that I’m not usually growing a lot of what you are growing. I’ve lost all my ‘western’ Agastaches that I loved. The last one bit the dust last winter. I still have Agastache Honey Bee Blue but it’s just not the same effect. I will always keep that one because when you are collecting seed from it, it smells just like root beer. I’ve tried a lot of Salvias and Penstemons and again, I’ve lost most of those. I still have Salvia gregii ‘Marashino’ which has come back for me three years now. I thought I had good enough drainage but I’m assuming that is the issue. I had plans to have a praire/meadow look in my full sun, but I’ve finally had to abandon those plans and I’m evolving at the moment.

Kevin, ‘Blue Wonder’ sounds very interesting with that low height and constant bloom and no deadheading. I’m going to have to figure out where to put one. I’m wondering if ‘Calamintha’ is good for pollinators, with ‘tiny flowers by the thousands’. Did you notice? I love plants that look fresh all summer. Going to have to try that one, too.

Woody, glad to hear the Calamintha didn’t spread. Maybe losing it was because of not enough snow cover in the winter. You could try ornamental oregano, that’s the only one I have and it doesn’t reseed or spread for me.

T2D, Thanks! Well, that was fast, I guess I am destined to have a gold Hakone. lol I think I’m going to have to be persuaded to give support for that Nepeta. (g) Our daughter loves Lupine so I try to keep some around. I was surprised it will grow for me in part sun. The only issue I’ve had with it is it attracts a lot of aphids. Which isn’t too bad, because I seem to get enough ladybugs to take care of it and actually, I’m at the point of wanting a few plants that attract aphids to keep the ladybugs happy. (g)

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Tue, Nov 26, 13 at 4:14

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 3:54AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

"I’m wondering if ‘Calamintha’ is good for pollinators, with ‘tiny flowers by the thousands’. Did you notice?"

Oh yes, yes, yes! It's a very noisy plant with all the bees buzzing about. They seem to adore it.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 4:59AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-PM2, I'm pretty sure bleeding hearts are considered ephemeral or semi-ephemeral. I've got a D. spectabilis in a kind of crappy area and it goes mostly dormant, but I've heard of others who have a cooler and perhaps moister situation for it don't find it goes dormant at all.

I think a lot of the ephemerals native to cooler regions tend to go fully dormant in hotter/dryer regions and less so in places that are milder in summer. That's my theory anyway! LOL.

Interesting Trout lily doesn't do well for you. I thought there were a couple species native to the East Coast?? I didn't have luck with the bulbs I got in a trade either :-( Bulbs are kind of iffy for me in general tho....

-Kevin, I just looked up your 'Blue Wonder' and one site said it was a sterile hybrid ;-) Very nice. I've heard of other Calaminthas reseeding enthusiastically, can't quite remember the species...

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 2:33PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

As of right now, a few things I know I would like to plant next year: more hardy geraniums, sedums and single-flowered hardy mums in a larger array of colors. I will be on the lookout for new types of all three of these.

In general, I love easy care plants with attractive flowers that also attract a large range of pollinators.

Like several here, I am a huge fan of Calamintha nepetoides. I am already planning on tucking as many in as I can find room for. It is impervious to extreme weather conditions (drought, rain, heat, cold) and looks gorgeous all season. Bees go CRAZY for it and it provides an ethereal frothiness in the garden that cannot be duplicated by any other plant I can think of. So far, no seedlings in the two seasons I have had it, and I do not deadhead. I wish it would reseed a little so I could save money buying more!

Another plant I know I want more of is Pycnanthemum muticum. A few members here have warned that this mint-family charmer can be an aggressive spreader, but honestly I can think of few aggressive spreaders that are as lovely, elegant, refined, unique or memorable. IMHO, it is a thousand times prettier than any true mint or monarda I have ever seen, and its dusty silver bracts combine well with every flower color I can think of. I have also noticed that the plants are very shallow rooted and are easily pulled up when transplanted. My oldest plant just finished its second season and has been quite well-behaved, spreading into a loose clump about 12 inches in each direction. (The evil 'Raspberry Wine' monarda almost took over half of the back garden in the same amount of time.) Best of all, insect pollinators of all kinds will flock to this plant and buzz and flutter with happiness all day long.

I might consider a new hybrid agastache or two. I have loved having 'Blue Blazes' (so have the bumblebees) and I have had my eye on 'Ava' and 'Desert Solstice' for a while now. At first, I was skeptical that 'Blue Blazes' would even survive for me in my climate, but so far (knock on wood) it has been rock solid hardy for two seasons.

I might add in a few fall anemones to my back garden next year (currently I only have them in the front). Maybe more 'Honorine Jobert' along with the lovely dark pink double 'Pamina'.

Oh yeah! And I would like to add in a few more of the bushier, non-vining clematis. When provided with a small support, these are such beautiful, long blooming, low maintenance additions to the perennial garden. They can also be grown just weaving along the ground but I prefer to see them slightly propped up to better see and enjoy the blooms.

And there is always room to tuck in some new hellebores and small bulbs!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Thanks for your comment re meadow-like beds, Rouge.

Re no snow yet:

View of bed last September 2:

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 10:17PM
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Same view today:
Hard to believe it'll all start again in the spring.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 10:20PM
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Prairiemoon, when we had to get a new driveway I asked how much it would cost to scrape off the whole front lawn with that Cat machine they dug out the old driveway with. It wasn't that much more and they scraped it off pretty quick. We got another dump truck load of coarse builders sand and put about a foot of it on the newly bare ground (a sort of awful clayish base). That made lean soil but roots grow unbelievably much better in sand and the lawn also slopes downhill for drainage. As far as average precipitation is concerned, we are not xeric here at all. We sometimes drop below 0 degrees in winter, often drop into the teens and hover in the 20's during the day, sometimes for extended periods.

Sometimes I have to buy a bag of soil to replace sand in a planting hole for some plants and I save the sand to put somewhere else (there's always a place in this clay I have). I've lugged a lot of sand and soil about trading from one hole to another. If a plant needs the drainage in the back, I switch out dirt and put in sand from the front and lug the dirt into the hole where I got the sand. Many plants, like penstemon, will grow in pure sand. A foot of sand made more difference for what I could or could not grow than any other single factor and its cheap.

Inconsistent weather conditions are the norm here. We can get several years straight of very dry and hot with mild winters and then we shift back into a wet and humid pattern with cooler summers and miserable winters. You never know what its going to do so I just try as best I can and experiment with non-picky tough plants that will tolerate extremes but I have had my share of losses through rain, freezes and humidity.

I have a variety of Salvia greggii which is deep purple and has a more prostrate habit I know you could grow, it is so undemanding. Also, Salvia penstemonoides (Big Red Texas Sage) would probably do very well for you, its good to zone 6, likes some extra moisture and takes half day sun. I have seeds that I would be glad to share if you are interested. I have an unimproved red type of S. Greggii and a more deep pink that are from very old plants, 2 unnamed types. I have had these through all kinds of very hot dry summers, wet summers and very cold wet winters. They are reliable through zone 6. Cuttings take root very quickly, they seed about and they layer easily too. The amount of shade they will put up with is amazing so I keep rooting cuttings and planting more.

High Country Gardens lists Agastache cana as one that "does well in average garden conditions". Many others they sell have the little cowboy hat icon that indicate they need xeric conditions. I am going to try to grow this one since my luck has also been dismal. There is a long row of it growing in a yard just up the street that was loaded with butterflies and other pollinators until it froze back unlike anything I have EVER seen for attracting pollinators.

Aachenelf, one of my best blooming plants is Helenium amarum which I brought home from Farmer's Market about 4 years ago. Its also called Bitterweed, how's that for an attractive name? Very fine leaves, solid reliable mass of yellow blooms on neat mounded 10" tall plants from spring to freeze. It naturalizes and I wouldn't be without it. At times its almost the only thing blooming in mid-late summer, nothing slows it down and it will grow anywhere, its got that nice wild "native plant look" except its very well behaved. It attracts small butterflies and bees.

The plant I keep coming back to is that Hibiscus coccinea posted by RyseRyse, the one with the "oak-like" leaves he(she?) was trying to ID. I think I'd like to try that one.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Wed, Nov 27, 13 at 1:52

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 10:53PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

CMK, that makes sense about the Dicentra spectabilis, because some years mine lasts a long time but eventually it disappears. In years when it gets hot sooner, it disappears earlier.

Ispahan, I had Agastache ‘Ava’ from High Country Gardens for two years then, sadly, it didn’t come back last spring. Didn’t try the ‘Blue Blazes’ but that’s a nice one too. I'm always ready for Hellebores too. I am full up on places to add daffodils, but I'm just getting started with the small bulbs. I wish I had started sooner.

Sunny Borders, quite a transformation. Very neatly prepared for spring. It is a very effective bed. I bet your neighbors really enjoy it.

GP1, I remember that you replaced your soil. Not something I would consider doing. I have pretty good soil, that I like. It’s loamy clay that is not too difficult to dig. When I prepared my bed for Salvias and Agastaches, I dug down and put a thick layer of gravel about a foot down and my front yard slopes to the street too. Plus I have a lot of organic matter in the soil in that bed, so it’s fairly light. I’ve lost ‘Ava’, ‘Orange Flare’, ‘Tutti Fruiti’, A. rupestris, even. I tried ‘Black Adder’ twice and it just didn’t grow. And an equally long list of Salvias, that just underperformed for me. 25% of my property is shade, 60% is part sun, 3-5hrs. Maybe 15% is full sun. So many things grow well for me that I also love, that I’m ready to go in a different direction, but I appreciate the offer of seeds. Thanks. And I have enjoyed photos of your garden when you posted them.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Wed, Nov 27, 13 at 7:02

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 6:50AM
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The regular Chasmanthium (Chasmanthium latifolium aka Northern Sea Oats) performs beautifully in part-shade.

I for sure am considering this option mxk3. Thanks for your experience.

'Kevin' wrote: You're posting on Rudbeckia Little Goldstar stuck with me, so that's on my list.

Good memory as I don't think I commented on GS in this its second year. I do like it very much. (Although as I recall you have had no issues with your Rudbeckia "Goldsturm".)

'PM2' wrote: Possibly a Golden Hanoke Grass for a shady spot .

I have several macra "All GoldI" grass plant and it is a wonderful plant for shade. I also highly recommend it.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Thu, Nov 28, 13 at 8:27

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 7:46AM
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'PM2' wrote: Bleeding heart comes back faithfully and just gets bigger and more gorgeous every year. I love the way the stems look coming up out of the ground and when the leaves start to unfurl.

Me too! Me too! I remember a couple of years ago I complained on GW on the size of our Dicentra "Spectabilis". But I was wrong. I love these plants. I also have a couple of "Alba", a "Valentine" and a few of the smaller of the ones with fern like foliage.

Our "Spectablis" never goes dormant. It is actually too vigorous and so I regularly remove branches and foliage through the summer. To be fair it is planted in a location which has very rich soil.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 8:16AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Rouge, thanks for the recommendation on the ‘All Gold’. It’s nice to hear so many people like it so much. I have a couple of dark corners that can lighten up.

I have the pink and the white dicentras. I’m still on the fence about adding ‘Gold Heart’. ‘Valentine’ looks really nice, it's red isn't it? I’d forgotten about that one. Another plant to look for! My list is getting longer and the new catalogs aren’t even out yet. I hardly added anything last year, so this year, I’ll need to make up for that. :-)

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 9:07AM
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Thanks for reminding me PM2 as I did plant a "Gold Heart" last summer (after several recommendations from GW). But it was too late in the season for it to show its stuff). Lots to look forward to this spring.

‘Valentine’ looks really nice, it's red isn't it?

This past season was its first full one in our garden and it is not red...darker pink than the traditional but not red.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Wed, Nov 27, 13 at 14:46

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 9:25AM
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Thanks PM2.
Ready for the spring bulbs.

I certainly rely on perennial helenium cultivars for late summer/early fall colour. I'm a bit apprehensive about the earlier blooming Helenium amarum, PM2 mentioned. I'd not heard of it before , but read it's an annual that, in some circumstances can seed quickly and apparently spread prolifically. Guess it all depends on the location.

Re ephemerals: the obvious kind we have here is woodland "spring ephemerals"; namely plants which are go through their whole life cycle in a short period of time, that is before the deciduous trees close the woodland canopy over.

My best ephemeral experience has been with trilliums. Have transplant several which have already lasted well over five years in our garden.

Picture: May 20, 2013.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 4:51PM
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Another successful garden spring ephemeral here is bloodroot.

A friend gave me the 'Multiplex', below.
Think 'Multiplex' goes back to a single wild plant found in Dayton, Ohio, in 1916.

Picture May 3, 2013.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 4:57PM
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I guess I did repeat myself :) I am not suggesting anyone change their entire soil but I was trying to share what I accidentally discovered. I found that by simply exchanging heavier richer loam for lean light sand in a single planting hole can make a dramatic difference between success and failure with some plants. Otherwise, I don't believe our conditions for moisture and temperature in winter are all that far apart. We probably have a hotter summer and shorter winter, but still very cold and often wet.

I have also tried putting gravel under the soil in the past without any difference in the results for other plants needing excellent drainage.

Mostly, I am determined to find an Agastache that will grow successfully because I am so jealous of the pretty ones up the street swarming with butterflies and the fragrance is also unbelievable. I am fairly sure they were Agastache cana. I keep wondering about their soil mix but never see the owners outside. The entire landscape is new and was put in professionally last spring. They are that kind of "gardeners".

Anyway, from what I read, Agastache cana sounds like the best bet for a person not living in a xeric climate so I plan to dig out three holes, take out the heavier loam and refill them with mostly light coarse sand in a high spot in the back yard next spring. All of the ones I have lost were actually lost in late spring or summer, not winter. I've never gotten one to make it through a single growing season. We'd get rain and then they would immediately start to turn black and die within a week. A woman in Dallas on the Texas Forum wrote in with the exact same problem. After some discussion, we both found the only ones each of us have ever grown successfully were dry and root bound in pots so we both figured it has to be the type of soil in the ground holding too much water.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Wed, Nov 27, 13 at 17:18

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 5:13PM
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"Sunny", seeing that picture of your front garden now that it is winter is a reminder to me of how you do so much of your end of season clean-up in the fall (whereas I do mine in the spring). It looks very neat and tidy SB.

(Btw GW members I have seen in person that front circular bed of "Sunnyborders". It is a garden that has colour and interest from spring to fall...love it.)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 8:33AM
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Thanks, Rouge.

Short of using perennials, all of which are mostly out of flower for most of the growing season, perennial gardening small flowerbeds is no easy task. Sure this is general knowledge among most of us.

The other curse of that particular bed is it's proximity to two silver maple trees. That necessitates periodically hacking out a mass of nasty little rootlets; also paying to get large branches cut out of one of the trees.

I kept my mouth shut when folk were talking about trees in gardens (speaking as a sunshine (= colour) gardener, who is often burdened with small flowerbeds).

Fortunately for those silver maples, they're across our property line. In the past, I had ongoing access to saltpetre. Perhaps it's a tribute to my real public spiritedness (and respect for the law) that I've not put saltpetre into their root systems. I also think that consideration of our own property values (buyers tend to like trees around) may have influenced me.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 10:41AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

SunyBorders, that's an absolutely lovely bed. Have you thought of adding a few evergreens so there is some winter interest? Or do you prefer it as is? I have some beds in front of my yard which are like yours, pretty much "disappearing" in winter, and I am planning on rearranging and adding some evergreens. Don't know exactly what, yet....


    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Thanks, DD.
Good point about some evergreens.

I tend to be a bit of a fanatic about optimizing changing (flower) colour throughout the growing season.

That bed should have a lot of spring bulbs in it (especially crocuses). I do plant additional bulbs every fall and think that that bed is not prone to too much late fall/winter bulb loss to voles. Like full view of the bulbs in flower.

If I was doing the bed for a somebody else, I likely would add some evergreens. Have some small maintained yews, in another small bed, very close to our house (gets less sunlight).

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 2:09PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

GP1, sorry, I guess I didn’t understand what you were saying about changing the soil in a single hole. That might be worth an experiment with a plant that I really want to try that needs good drainage. Thanks. I hope you are able to find out what the soil mix is in your neighbor’s yard. Agastaches are great. I can’t imagine that their soil could be so much different than your native soil, since they live so close to you.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 9:30PM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

What with a friend terribly discouraged with the population decline of the monarch butterfly, I will try Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa. The ones I grew from seed, 4 years ago, have come back every year, and I did not find them difficult to grow. I will try many and get help potting them and giving them to local gardeners. potting up the young starts would be a great activity for a bunch of kids at school. What monarchs pass by should benefit, as a few have here in the last 3 years.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 9:59PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I'm trying really hard not to add anything new next year. It never works, but that's the plan for right now. Seeds and bulbs don't count, right?
I will be adding bigger beds next year though. It seems I'm always chasing space by having more plants ready for planting and transplanting than I have beds ready to plant them in... most of my new plants come from random nursery visits where "Oh I always wanted to try this!" happens a lot.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 7:02PM
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Like Kato, most of my new plants come from random nursery visits. Still visiting lots of garden centres/nurseries then makes meaningful selection possible.

If may be easier to sell a perennial in bloom, but it's also nice to see what you're actually buying.

When I started gardening, on a larger scale, I bought a number of great perennials from local horticultural society sales. The fact that I already had a good idea what to avoid (especially rabid runners and seeder) made that approach feasible.

Not into "wild gardens". Long since been into named cultivars. These may be more expensive (often being more costly to grow), but find that they're certainly worth it
for their good behaviour and frequently for providing lots of colour.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 4:18PM
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woodyoak wrote:

I was washing this year's plant tags this afternoon in preparation for updating my tag binder - I dump all the tags from things I plant into a pot and then clean them up and record them when it's cold and I need a dose of the garden! :-) I didn't think I did much planting this year as there's not much space left, but there are quite a few tags... a lot of them are plants that were recommended here!

I did exactly what you did, this past Sunday! Okay to be honest I don't put them in a binder but instead I sloppily throw them all into a large clear ziploc bag or two with the date 2013 very visible on both sides of the bag. I staple the appropriate tag to its receipt, for the more expensive perennials (and this year for the few pricey Japanese Maples I acquired). I decided to count these tags and I am shocked to say that there were almost 100! (I hope my partner does not find this particular post as I will never hear the end of it)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 6:00PM
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I yet don't have many plants on my wish list for spring, though have some roses on order. The catalogues are beginning to trickle in and I'm gonna attempt to place my seed and plant orders a bit earlier, as I tend to hold off and lose out one or two things.

Doug, here's another photo of helianthus 'Sunshine Daydream' for your enjoyment :) .... as for the Alstroemeria 'Inca Ice', I'm now keeping it as a potted specimen.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 8:05PM
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And .... I'll pretty much be planting rudeckia everywhere I can!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Lovely pictures, Twrosz.

I wouldn't call Rouge's picture, immediately above, lovely,
but it's so informative to see our dirty little gardening secrets (what didn't work out, how much we spend on plants, etc.). Rouge's picture actually makes an interesting contrast with his meticulous garden.

Like Rouge, I also keep plant tags (at least one of each type) (and frequently delay in washing them). Meticulous enough!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 12:17PM
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twrosz, again a wonderful picture. It has me yearning too soon for the next growing season.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Tue, Dec 3, 13 at 18:38

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 2:44PM
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Sunnyborders: your garden is making me drool.
And I love those trilliums. I think I will have to plant some of those.
My goal is to plant my orchard with poppies. I want to see lots of color between my trees. The orchard was started last summer and I planted daffodil bulbs (~200) to cheer it up until the trees flower. I want to seed the area with poppies for continuing color.
I also have a tree list (if trees count):
european mountain ash
tulip poplar
I doubt I will put all of the above in next spring, but it gives me something to think about.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 3:37PM
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