Saturday, July 30, 2011

Growth Spurt

Graham Thomas growth spurt

Graham Thomas blooms
 My Graham Thomas rose is three years old and it's been growing pretty much at a snail's pace.  It has produced more blooms every year, mostly in the late May/early June timeframe.  After that, it blooms sporadically throughout the rest of the season.  But a couple of weeks ago, it had a tremendous growth spurt--well, one stem did anyway. 

This particular rose is supposed to grow up to 8 feet high.  It loves the sun and is hardy to zone 5.  I do absolutely nothing to it all year long other than add some time release fertilizer at the beginning of the season.  Maybe if I fussed a bit more, I'd have more uniform growth but that's not the kind of gardener I am. 

When I ordered Graham Thomas, I was told I could train it as a climber.  I'm having some difficulty doing that since it has such an upright growth habit, but I'm not giving up yet.  Meanwhile, I'll just enjoy these little surprises when they happen.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Visitors

I've had frequent visitors to my garden lately.  Look closely or click on each picture to get a larger view.  These finches have been snacking on my Black-eyed Susans and my Agastache Golden Jubilee. 

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Saturday, July 16, 2011

But It Doesn't Look Like Fruit

Belamcanda "Blackberry Lily"

Belamcanda "Blackberry Lily" Bloom
The common name for this plant is Blackberry Lily.  It's official name is Belamcanda Chinensis and it is native to China and Japan.  It's called Blackberry Lily because in late summer, the seed pod dries and breaks open, revealing a blackberry-like seed cluster.  It's pretty cool and can be used in dried flower arrangements.

Even though it has the name lily, it's really part of the iris family.  You can tell by the fan-shaped leaves.  Belamcanda grows to about 3 feet and is hardy to zone 5.  It blooms mid-summer and requires no special treatment.  I think it is useful as a focal point of a mixed container so you could plant some shorter, fuller plants around it, some sort of Heuchera would be good.  I'd also plant something that spills over the edge of the pot--maybe something like Calibrachoa with a bloom color that complements the bloom of the Belamcanda. 

I think Belamcanda is an interesting plant with an unusual bloom so it will definitely remain a permanent part of my container garden.  I also like the fact that the blackberry looking seed pods add interest to a winter garden.  Just don't eat them!

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wild Thing...You Make My Heart Sing

Salvia "Wild Thing"

Salvia "Wild Thing"
This is a new perennial for me this year.  I've grown different types of salvia before, but this year, I discovered Salvia "Wild Thing".  The bloom is very unusual and the color is a wonderful, bold pink.  It likes part to full sun and is supposed to bloom from June until September.  That's a pretty long season for a perennial.  It's hardy to zone 6 so I am crossing my fingers that it returns next year.  Apparently, hummingbirds like it and, if you enlarge this picture and examine the shape of the bloom, you will see why.

I'm glad I came across this plant at the garden center.  It's a great addition to my garden.  As the song goes, "It makes everything groovy."

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books