Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Oh What A Beautiful Garden" is right about Dahlias

Last spring my friend Carol Cichorski over at Oh What A Beautiful Garden was kind enough to let me stay with her and her family while in town for a conference (fantastic hosts by the way). While there, I was surprised to find out that Carol and her husband are avid Dahlia growers. Their garden was worthy of a tour and once they found out I had never grown Dahlias, they decided that trend must change. On my last day with them, I left with a large number of flower tubers tucked safely in my car.

I grew the hell out of those tubers. My Dahlias were certainly nothing compared to theirs  but 'Oh What a' wonderful addition of late season color. Many gardeners groan at the thought of having to dig plants up at the end of the season. Though the tubers will need to be dug up, these little gems are worth the minimal effort.  It's like a little treasure hunt to find all of the new tubers.

Dahlias run the gamut of colors, sizes, and textures. They offer something for just about everybody. If the large stems fall or bend to the ground, they just put down more roots, turn and run toward the sun again. Amazing example of phototropism. Dahlias are incredibly durable and fun in the garden. Thank you Carol.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Autumn, a cornucopia of color

Autumn and spring are my favorite times of the year. This autumn has been fantastic for tree color and the garden has been equally beautiful. I've been introduced to some new fall flowers and fruits this year that have added a new level of awesome to the colors and textures in my garden. I don't have a separate vegetable garden. I grow the plants mixed into the perennials in the yard. I let them fill in where other plants take longer to appear, or there are sunny gaps.

Peppers are great to grow. They need little water and produce big peppers and an interesting addition directly grown mixed in a perennial garden.

Poblano pepper

Snap dragons are a new addition for me this year. They were a last minute addition and I had no idea of what color they would flower. It was a nice surprise to see the peach, pink and yellow flowers that complimented the rest of the blues and purples around them.

Snap dragon, Lavender, Beautyberry co-mingling

Lavender was another new addition for me. Though not perennial, the punch of deep purple color that this plant added near the bird bath was just the right thing. On a side note, the bird bath had far more insect visitors this year during the drought than birds. Though on occasion I found a large variety of bird species taking turns drinking and bathing. I filled the bird bath daily during the summer.

Lavender in front of a bird bath

I am such a fan of the onslaught of Coleus on the market. I like growing red and pink varieties of Coleus because it looks like a flowering bush that lasts all season long. No deadheading necessary. If the plant becomes too large for the space, just pinch off the offending branch. I can also set my 5 year old free to cut them fairly harshly and not worry about it dying. Coleus in a nutshell is durable and fun.


This little rose plant (Oso Easy® Cherry Pie Rose) is compact, heavily covered in flowers, disease resistant and happy. It holds up well to its name. It bloomed all season long and didn't seem to suffer from the harsh summer conditions.

Oso Easy® Cherry Pie

I've written a few times about the Blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis) in the past. Everything about this plant is surprising and delightful. I can't get enough of it.

Blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis)

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