Thursday, August 27, 2009

African Foxglove

Easy to grow but hard to find Ceratotheca triloba or African Foxglove is worth searching for. This annual preforms best in full sun where it can grow up to six feet. Blooming from mid-summer till fall African Foxglove is deer resistant and also attracts hummingbirds. Since it is hard to find at most garden centers(at least in my area) I grow African Foxglove from seed started inside in mid March.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The 'Tropical' Garden

A number of years ago I became a volunteer at a local public garden . Along with the perennial gardens was the "Triangle Bed" which sat in the middle of the paths. Before I came along this garden consisted of cannas surrounded by rows of the most basic of annuals- geraniums, petunias , marigolds, dusty miller and red salvia . The garden needed to be bolder since it was a focal point in the park. I decided to go with the exotic look and totally changed the way the garden had been planted for many years. The cannas were kept in the middle to form a backdrop for the other plants. A mix of annuals, tender perennials and tropicals gave the garden a whole new look. Some plants self sow such as the verbena bonariensis and I have added shrubs including Cotinus 'Golden Spirit and Sumac 'Tiger Eyes' for their foliage. The garden peaks in August and September before frost cuts it down in October.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One of the benifits of my garden is the birds that nest and feed in it. My favorite is the Ruby-Throated hummingbird. This is the only species found in Upstate New York and is here only from late Spring to late Summer. They are a bundle of energy flying from one flower to the next. I managed to get a few pictures ( flowers are much easier) this evening of a female. These little jewels will be leaving soon for their winter home in a warmer climate.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Late Summer Blues

As the summer wanes and the garden starts its journey into Fall closed or bottle gentian(Gentiana andrewsii) begins to bloom in my shade garden. Bloom probably isn't the right word since the flowers on this late flowering perennial never open. Bumblebees have no trouble getting into the flowers to pollinate them and from my one original plant I now have many scattered throughout the garden. Closed gentian is hardy to zone 3 and easy to grow.