Columbine, also known by its scientific name, Aqilegias, is a lovely Spring perennial that is native to the state of Colorado. Its lovely flowers bloom between late in the spring and early summer. The plant prefers full sun but can do very well in light shade. Columbine flowers bloom in a multitude of colors including pink, white, blue, and yellow. Cross breeding the plant can even produce bi-colored flowers.
This perennial produces flowers that are known to bloom for several weeks. Compared to the lifespan of the flowers, the actual perennial itself is considered short lived, dying after only three years. However, this short lived plant produces large amounts of seed. This makes it easy to replant the perennial yourself. One could also let the Columbine replant itself. Columbines look fantastic when planted in rock gardens or along the front and under small flowering trees in large mixed shrub and perennial border gardens. The plant should grow well in fertile, well drained soil. If the perennial is planted in areas that are poorly drained, Columbines will likely receive too much water and die. Aside from the beauty of its bloom, Columbine flowers are full of sweet nectar. For this reason, the perennial flowers are known to attract hummingbirds. If your considering planting Columbines, expect to see plenty of hummingbirds in the early summer weeks.
In early spring, there are plenty of beautiful flowers including the blossoms of the Spring blooming trees. Among the most impressive of these Spring flowering trees is the Yoshino Cherry. Native to Japan, the Yoshino Cherry blooms in the spring and is always one of the first plants to bloom. The flowers measure at about one and a half inches in diameter. What makes this tree truly stunning is the sheer amount of flowers that bloom. The small pink or white clusters of blossoms literally cover the entire tree and last for about two weeks. The trees lack of leaves in the early spring only serve to make the tree’s flowers stand out more.
The Yoshino Cherry grows to an average of about twenty to thirty feet in height, although they can grow larger. The Yoshino Cherry is largely used in landscapes because it doesn’t get too big. The tree looks especially lovely near a water feature, where the trees reflection can be admired and the falling flowers can be seen floating peacefully in the water. Yoshino Cherries will require some pruning early on. This will ensure that the tree develops a strong structure. The tree will grow best in moist soil that is well-drained. It will also grow uneven if it is not planted in full sun. We recommend planting in full sun to allow the plant to grow to its full potential. I always remember the scene in Mulan when the father sits under the tree and compares his daughter to the flowers.
The Nellie R. Steven’s holly is a large, evergreen shrub also considered a small tree that grows to be about twenty feet tall and fifteen feet wide. It is a hardy plant that can thrive in most climates. Nellie R. Stevens are full of thick, dark-green foliage that maintains its dark coloring all year round. They require very little maintenance and are usually resistant to pest damage. A Nellie R. Stevens should be planted in areas where it will receive full sun or partial shade. They prefer acidic soil, but the Nellie R. Stevens are adaptable and can manage in most soils.
The Nellie R. Stevens will develop a dense conical shape that is difficult to see through. For this reason, the evergreen is often used in privacy green walls to block prying eyes from the neighbors into your gardens and to prevent you from doing the same. They also perform well as a low maintenance foundation planting for the house. They look great planted solo or a grouped to create a dense privacy or as an evergreen architectural effect in the gardens.
Nellie R. Stevens is a holly that produces bright red berries later in the year from little white blossoms. The red berries on an evergreen cutting from this holly tree perfect decorations for the Christmas season. This holly will need to be watered regularly during its first eighteen months in the ground in order to ensure that it grows a strong root structure. The Nelly R. Stevens holly will grow as much as three feet a year with irrigation and one foot without irrigation.
We use these well performing large shrubs in almost all of our designs because it is a stellar player in the garden and it thrives in our mid-south climate. Don’t get caught with your plants down. Early Winter into the early spring is the best time to plant large shrubs and trees. Enjoy.
Azaleas are spectacular, bright flowering shrubs in the Spring. They grow lovely flowers in colors that range from white and pink to yellow and orange. Azaleas are commonly used in landscaping with mixed shrub plantings. Some people even enjoy their potted azalea indoors. Despite the large variety of this plant and its clear beauty, Azaleas can be difficult to successfully grow. They usually do best in moderate temperatures and do best in areas that are very well shaded. The Azalea will not successfully grow in alkaline soil, instead preferring in slightly acid or ‘ericaceous’ soil with a pH between a 1 and a 7, for example peaty soil.
In order to create a proper soil content it is important to amend the beds with a composted material and a refined pine mulch product known as soil conditioner. These amendments are then tilled and mixed into the existing soils to create an ericaceous soil bed. Soil that azaleas are planted in must always be moist. It is important to maintain the right amount of moisture. Too much water can easily water-log the roots, killing the plant. This could happen because of a lack of drainage in the area that the azalea was planted. A common solution to this drainage issue is to have raised beds built to aid in the drainage. The azalea can die from lack of water just as easily. The soil must be damp to the touch at all times. If the soil feels dry to the touch, then your azalea may be at risk of dying from lack of water.
If these important steps are followed, azaleas will thrive in their new home. Most other ornamental evergreen and/or flowering deciduous plants will also benefit from the soil amending process. This is the way to create beautiful and healthy ornamental gardens for your pleasure.
Spring is just around the corner and when thinking about what plants should fill those empty spots in your garden beds, one should always consider the lovely Blackberry lily. Blackberry lily is characterized by its bright green foliage and the zig-zag appearance of its stems. The plant also features wonderful clusters of yellow and orange flowers. These six-petaled beauties, which usually measure only an inch across, are also usually covered in dark orange spots. Because of this speckled characteristic, the Blackberry lily has also been named the Leopard flower.
These flowers usually only last for about a day. Luckily, the plant blooms new flowers for weeks in the middle of the summer. Every day, a whole new round of spotted, orange clusters bloom for the visitors to the gardens to enjoy. One of the most interesting thing about this perennial is that its season of bloom is not necessarily its most attractive time of the year. During the fall, the vibrant green leaves of the Blackberry lily change to a bright shade of yellow. Bright orange clusters are replaced by large seed pods exploding with black seeds. The contrast of the gorgeous, Autumn-colored leaves and the bursting, black seed pods is a striking sight. It can be so impressive that some gardeners prefer the fall wardrobe of the plant as opposed to the summer. The physical appearance of these seeds very closely resembles blackberries. This gives reason to the name “Blackberry” lily.
As a lover of all things gardens, I believe garden design is the most important aspect of any beautiful garden anywhere in the world. That may sound a little boorish but it proves true time and again. Garden design is not a hit or miss process. It’s thoughtful, mindful, and meant to provide homeowners with the most attractive and beneficial use of their land.
With that said, I will agree that certain times of the year mask poor or no design better than others. In the summer, when every plant is full of leaves and many plants have flowers, the fullness and density cover up bad placement or lack of thoughtfulness. In the winter, a few well chosen evergreens can give the appearance of good garden bones. Companion plantings may be nonexistent, but it’s hard not to like a healthy boxwood hedge.
Now let’s think about this time of year, late autumn and early winter, the beginning of December when the last of the well planned fall color that was ever so important for beautiful outdoor living spaces falls and returns to the soil. There’s just no way to have floral color and good fall color without a good design. A good garden installer working from a thoughtful garden design can make sure that this time of year has plenty of floral impact, and not just pansies and mums.
The other season that responds to well planned design is spring. So many choices exist in the spring as far as color in flowers and emerging leaves. In order for the outdoor living spaces to really pop without clashing or being difficult to look at is through good garden design.
We strive to achieve the idea of a garden plan that takes into account the 3 Ds of of garden plant design. The 3 Ds of garden design are Diversity, Depth, and Density. All great gardens are comprised of a well diversified pallet of plant materials taking into account color and texture for both floral and foliage to create a serendipitous experience when enjoying the garden. Depth is an important aspect for the viewer to experience layers of interest as the eye travels into the garden spaces. And Density is the fullness and spaciousness of a well planted garden.
These 3 basic rules dictate our plant material planning methods for the beautiful mixed borders and beds that are the hallmark creations of Teacup Gardener. Total garden design may also incorporate waterscapes and hardscapes such as water gardens, patio fountains, koi ponds, patios, decks, walls, gazebos, and arbors into the creation of custom outdoor living spaces. We consider everything when we design the spaces that make you smile year after year as you enjoy the perfect garden at your home.
The Bergeni Saxifragaceae is a tough plant that is not afraid of the cold. In fact, Bergeni Saxifragaceae, better known by its more common name, Pigsqueak, reaches the epitome of its natural beauty when lightly covered in a layer of fresh snow. The Pigsqueak, native to Siberia and Mongolia, earned its name from the humorous pig squeal noise that occurs when the leaves of the plant are rubbed between a person’s finger and thumb. I’ve been told that a little spit helps when making the noise.
Pigsqueak is not only a hardy, thriving plant, but also a pretty one. The plant grows bright clusters of deep pink flowers that are sure show up brilliantly in any environment that one could imagine. Because it is native to the frigid climates of both Siberia and Mongolia, this is a strong plant that is likely to adapt to almost any environment and its evergreen leaves are known to take on a lovely reddish tint in the colder weather. Other than the slightly reddish hue, the leaves remain bright green in all but the most brutal environment.
It is because of its beauty and adaptive nature that makes Pigsqueak the plant perfect for gardeners everywhere. The plant usually grows to be about one and a half feet tall and can grow healthy in any common soil. Our favorite, the variegated leaf version has the round, shiny white mottled leaves and the bright pinkish red clusters, can survive in most cities as well, tolerating the urban environment with the durability of a true Siberian survivor.
In the spirit of Summer, we will be continuing our blogs on fabulous perennials in the garden.This is an entry from our Summer garden notes on Alchemilla mollis, the Lady’s Mantle.
Early mornings can be a painful ordeal. Even morning people have to hit the snooze button every now and then. However, no matter how drowsy I am when I step out of the back door into the patio, I can not help but notice the sparkling drops of dew in my garden that have formed overnight. At this moment, nothing visually calls out to me more than the beautifully formed droplets that cling to the leaves of the Alchemilla mollis in our patio garden. The leaves of the Alchemilla mollis, more commonly known as Lady’s-Mantle, are covered in small, silky hairs that allow the leaves to trap small drops of water, which shine brilliantly in the morning sun.
While its own flowers may seem underwhelming, the small blossoms provide perfectly understated backgrounds for the more colorful, vibrant flowers, such as white or pink roses. For this reason, the Alchemilla mollis could be a great addition to any flower bouquet. Furthermore, Lady’s-mantle provides terrific ground cover for flowerbeds. It looks fantastic combined with a variety of colors or planted along the fronts of garden borders.
The Alchemilla mollis does have a habit of spreading unwanted seedlings across the gardens. This can easily be avoided by weeding and trimming the plant. Alternatively, the overgrown appearance of the Lady’s-mantle also looks fabulous because of the plants tendency to find the perfect areas to develop.
In the heat of summer it’s hard to know what kind of work to do in a perennial garden. If the fall and spring work were done well, it should be a time to sit back and enjoy the riot of color. But part of having a garden is being in the garden with all the sweet smells and sounds of the outdoors.
Dividing daylilies is the perfect task for this time of year. The flower colors are still fresh in the mind. Weedy or empty spots in the garden can be filled with the divisions. Ordinary orange daylilies, attractive in their own right, should be kept in a separate garden bed so that they do not take over more interesting varieties of daylilies.
The task is simple . Just dig up the clumps that need moving. Once they are out of the ground, separate them with a garden fork. Examine the divisions for disease and/or insect damage. Remove any damaged plant parts and old flower parts. Cut the leaves back to about 6-8″ to create a nice neat clump.
Now it’s time to reset the divisions. It is acceptable to leave the divisions out of the ground for a week or so, stored in a cool dry place. This will help ensure no disease or insects are present. A mild bleach bath or sulfur dust will control problems if any are present.
At planting select a new part of the garden in need of color. Dig nice holes arranged in a diamond or rick-rack pattern and set the divisions in the ground. Fill in the holes, lightly mulch and water in the recent transplants. Now the garden has grown and will be an even more pretty place to enjoy.
We are currently working on a design to create a 40′ long and 5′ deep rock garden in Old West Nashville. The landscape design process can be complicated, especially when we begin to visualize a future effect of the garden over time. When the garden grows and matures the effect can be fabulous combining the best effects of the disparate elements blending together to create a pleasing aesthetic experience. The rock garden is an unusual dilemma, especially when the rock is not naturally occurring on the site of the future hillside garden. For more info on Rock Gardens click here.
The first thing to consider is the placement of the rocks and stones to create a naturalistic effect. I pay close attention to the chance formation of stone on naturally occurring hillsides to become more acquainted with the basic fractals of the non-repeating patterns of stone. I use these impressions when I calculate how much stone we need and the basic layout. Once the stones begin to take shape on the slope, the detail stones can be installed and the chirt loving alpine perennials and shrubs can be placed creating an interesting blend of stones, plants, and slope. This is the best solution for a sloping hillside that has a pleasing view from the comfort of the house and/or patio or along a busy street to enhance the curb appeal for the neighborhood.