Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yes You Can-Can!

Brachyscome "Blue Zephyr"
Calibrachoa "Terra Cotta Can-Can"
Today's post features two flowers:  Calibrachoa "Terra Cotta Can-Can" and Brachyscome "Blue Zephyr".  Both are annuals and are fantastic performers in a garden.  Although about 60% of my container garden is comprised of perennials, I think it's important to plant a selection of annuals every season.  Yes, it means shelling out some cash but, in my opinion, the trade-off is worthwhile because I am rewarded with plants that bloom like gangbusters until the first big frost. 

I planted these two together because I loved the bold color combination.  They need full sun and since I have them combined in a relatively small container, I water them every day.  My experience with Calibrachoa is that it can stand pretty intense heat and even if it starts to wilt in the July late-day heat, it will bounce back quickly if given an additional drink.

Calibrachoa is really a mini petunia.  You'll also see it referred to as Million Bells.  Brachyscome is of the daisy family.  You can shear back this plant as the blooms fade to encourage more blooming.

Can you grow these?  Of course you can-can.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Calling All Nebraskans

The common name for Penstemon is Beardtongue.  This is Penstemon "Husker Red" and from what I can gather, the University of Nebraska played a big part in developing the plant and, as such, named it after its own football team.  Well, I'm not much of a football fan, but I thank those Huskers because this plant has been a great performer in my container garden. 

First of all, the foliage is amazing--it's a deep burgundy.  So when the flowers fade, there's still something fantastic to admire.  The beautiful white blooms are produced on strong, upright stems which means no staking is necessary.  It's hardy to zone 5 although I've seen some accounts that its hardiness zone is 3.  It blooms from early to mid-summer and is attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  It requires full sun for optimal performance.

This Husker is definitely a winner.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, June 12, 2011

When You Need a Heavy Lifter

This is Heuchera and it is a workhorse in my container garden.  Here's why:  Its foliage can be found in lots of different colors so it's extremely versatile; it's an ideal height for a container--18 inches--which means it offers a lot of flexibility when designing arrangements; it's not demanding and is not bothered by pests; and its blooms are nice, but its leaves are what's worth writing home about.

This picture shows the blooms of a heuchera that I have in one pot and the chartreuse leaves of another heuchera in a container I have positioned behind it.  You can find heuchera in all different colors:  various shades of green, peach, rose, gold, purple, and almost black.  They all have wonderful names like creme brulee, tiramisu, obsidian, peach flambe, plum pudding, and solar power. 

Heuchera is perennial and hardy to zone 4.  It also likes part sun/part shade.  It can tolerate full sun but you might end up with some slight scorching on the leaves.  It blooms in the spring and early summer, but really, it's grown for its foliage. 

When desigining a container, you can play up the color of nearby blooming flowers.  For example, you could plant a heuchera with lime green foliage near a purple blooming plant.  Or you can put several different heuchera in one container for an interesting foliage-only container.  The possibilities are endless.  This is a garden must.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books