Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Green Acres is the place to be!

Green Acres Nursery

It was 73 degrees on Saturday.  Needless to say I surrendered my bathrobe and headed to the Nursery. 
Tables of sun loving annuals
Years ago I cleaned house for a couple in Corvallis Oregon.  He happened to be the Department Head of Ornamental Horticulture at Oregon State University.  Between Al Roberts and my two grandmothers I have been thoroughly tutored in all things garden related.

I know what likes the sun, and what prefers shade.  I'm on my fourth copy of The Sunset Western Garden Book.  Everywhere I've lived I learn about what thrives in that locale and what's gonna be just too much trouble.

Speaking of where I live, I hate my soil.  It's heavy clay in winter and spring which turns to concrete in summer and fall.  I've lived where some obliging river has deposited silt and made the soil a nice loamy consistency.  No such luck at my current address.  I'm always dragging home 2cf bags of stuff that seems to disappear into my dirt without leaving a trace of evidence that it was ever there.

It's Flora Fashion Week 2012 

Pink is big this spring.

English Daisy
If you don't have English Daisy (Bellis perennis) in your garden or on the patio you're missing out on a great plant.  The flowers are on 3-6 inch stems and look like little bouquets edging a walk or lawn.  It's superb in pots on the patio.  I often buy them and use them as centerpieces on the Dining table before planting them outside.  Wrap the 4" pot with plastic wrap then arrange in a low ceramic bowl and fill with Spanish Moss.

Coral Geranium

Geraniums are the strong silent types of the floral world.
They can take the heat without wilting and aside from the demon caterpillars they seem pretty immune to pests.  To be environmentally correct I tried soap suds, but ended up buying and using 'Caterpillar Killer' to get rid of a Biblical scale invasion.

More about these darlings under Red, White, & Blue.

 My grandmother had blue hydrangeas all along the back of her house.  She had great soil and added coffee grounds to keep them blue.  My Danube blue hydrangeas bloomed as pink as the ones in this photo the second year they were in the ground.  It takes about 4 applications per year to get them to stay blue.  Cut them back about 1/3 in the early fall.  Needless to say they require adequate water.

Armeria 'Armada Rose'
Armeria is a tidy plant but it requires good drainage.
It forms little clumps and is happy in containers where you can easily give it perfect conditions for growth.

Mix it with purples and blues or yellow and white.

 Columbine (Aquilegia Hybrids) can grow 1-3 ft. high and about 1-2 ft. wide.  It's a perennial so it returns each spring to give you another chance to enjoy the fruits of your cash & labor.


Licorice Plant

Lamium and Licorice plant both provide texture and grey green relief.  They look terrific in containers, but their real strength is the white & green variegated leaf they add to all the other deep greens found in the garden.  My Lamium cascaded down the sides of my big terra-cotta planters.  It has lived through two winters and I just cut it back fertilize and it starts up again.

On to the Blues & Purples.

Lithodora 'Grace Ward'
Low growing/ground cover

 Nemesia likes it below 100 degrees, but some types will handle a little more intense summer heat.  Blue is a great color for cooling off the garden in hot summer locations.  Plant this on the north or east side in warmer locales.

Think now about a Red, White, & Blue display for July 4th celebrations.  I use a red geranium, Nemesia, and alyssum.  You can also use white geraniums, red-hot poker plant and Nemesia.

A massed planting of Nemesia adds a soft blue carpet that makes a nice transition from hardscape to flowerbed.
Spanish Lavender 'Anouk'

I use Lavender in every flowerbed that has any sun exposure.  Just remember to cut back immediately after bloom to keep your plants from getting leggy or woody.  The blooms make wonderful sachets for Linen Closets and lingerie drawers.


Bacopa and Wallflower complete the Blue & Purple selections.
Bacopa is good in containers because it drapes over the sides.

Wallflower (Erysimum Hybrid 'Bowes Mauve') grows 3' tall and can be 6'wide. 

It can bloom almost continually in mild winter/cool summer climates.

Good garden whites are found in geraniums for sunny exposures and Impatiens for shady ones.  I especially like these double blossom impatiens.

White Impatiens Double 

Red geranium
Sweet Broom Patio Tree
Genista racemosa

What's your garden style?  
Do you like a riot of color?
I like the chance every Spring to make changes.
And I'm thankful to my Grandmothers and to Al Roberts for sharing their passion and knowledge with me.

Yellow Gerber Daisy

Put on your sunscreen and get your hands dirty.