Notes to Self 2011
Whatever you did with these plants, do it again. Do NOT ever remove them from their existing spots. They aren't broken so do not fix them!
Kalimeris is the white daisy type flower in the middle of the picture.
Kalimeris has proven itself to be one of the toughest plants in my garden. Even when I had it planted in too much shade, it refused to die. I planted it in two different slightly dry spots with bright afternoon shade and it thrived, rewarding me with white and blue daisy-like flowers all summer. It rarely needed extra water and benefited from an early summer cut-back.
I found this little white nepeta on the sale table and thought I'd give it a try. It was one of the earliest bloomers in my spring garden and survived all summer with no supplemental water. It only grows to about 8 inches high and forms a small, tidy mound. It grows in full sun in dry, well drained soil.
Silene 'Rolly's Favorite'
This picture shows the silene and nepeta blooming at the same time. The silene should be taller and fuller this year since it's had more time to establish itself. By the end of last summer I had a few silene seedlings that helped fill out this grouping.
This was another sale table special. I hadn't had much luck with other silene but these were so cheap I figured I could afford the gamble. They bloomed at the same time as the dwarf nepeta, which was a wonderful surprise. They also grew in full sun in dry, well drained soil. They looked a little rough over the summer since they didn't receive much extra water, but any time it rained they perked right up. I wrapped a soaker hose around them this fall and am hoping they'll be a bit greener this summer. They're such a tough plant, I might add more to the garden this spring.
Yellow columbine and kalimeris
I think this columbine is the southeastern native, but I'm not sure. It started blooming in May and didn't stop until October. Yep, that's right. OCTOBER! It was one of the best surprises of the summer. It grows at the very edge of my patio in bright shade under a dogwood tree. The sharper the drainage, the longer the columbine bloom.
Quit buying the plant you keep killing! The verbena are smuggling spider mites into the garden and the wine cups aren't "mingling" with the veronica, thyme, or any of the other hapless victims you've planted near them. They are planning a hostile takeover.
Antennaria dioica 'Rubra'
What an ugly mess!!
I usually just refer to this as "the plant I keep killing". Supposedly it loves total neglect, dry soil, and hot sun. However, it died when ignored, fussed over, or even treated with dismissive tolerance. I think it hates me and I'm tired of killing it. However, its function as a larval host food for Virginia Lady butterflies keeps me bringing me back. But this year will be different. It can die at someone else's house.
Wine cups (Callirhoe involucrata)
Wine cups in early spring before spreading three feet
They definitely have the coolest roots I've ever seen!
I should have this plant listed under the hits because it is impossible to kill. If there is ever a zombie apocalypse. it will be the only thing left living on Earth. Unless the zombies are vegetarians - then it's done for. Wine cups are the perfect plant if you have a steep, dry slope or retaining wall in full sun. They go dormant when the summer weather becomes too harsh and magically sprout back to life when it rains. I, of course, do not have a steep slope or retaining wall but was lured in by their tales of hardiness in the face of adversity. With nothing to cascade over, they spread horizontally in my garden, suffocating everything in their path. Drifts of dwarf veronica nearly met their end thanks to the frenzied sprawl of my wine cups.
If you look closely you can see the spider damage on the leaves. This happens every summer.
I hate putting verbena on the Do Not Buy list, but every year after bringing home pots of it, I end up with spider mite infestations. I'm convinced the spider mites are arriving as an unexpected bonus in my pots of verbena. Once established, I've found it almost impossible to eradicate the mites. This year I'm not buying any annual verbena to see if the mite infestation develops anyway.
These plants are on probation. They were underwhelming but had enough redeeming qualities that I might grow them again. But I might not. Perhaps it's just a case of the wrong plant in the wrong spot...
pain in the butt plant
I've decided that I'd like to skip growing dahlias and jump straight to just enjoying them as cut flowers. Wooed by gorgeous dahlia photos on other blogs, I finally bought a few tubers and and potted them up. Between the slugs, corn borers, leaf miners and summer storms that sent them crashing onto a pot of Louisiana iris, I'm not sure they were worth the hassle.
A newly planted 'Lemons and Oranges' gaillardia
I've read in several places that gaillardia are among the easiest plants to grow. That may be true, but there's a big difference between simply having a pulse and looking happy and healthy. After solving a previous summers drainage problem, my gaillardia decided they wanted to grow in partial shade in well fertilized soil. I expected the drainage demands, but shade? Seriously? Maybe it was a stress response to the damage done by the spider mites and leaf miners, but the plants in the shade improved while the ones in the sun didn't. My 'Lemons and Oranges' gaillardia self-seeded and seedlings are already sprouting in last years pots. I'm giving them one more chance.
I wish they looked this good all summer!
When it grew in the shade, it flopped. When it grew in a moist, sunny spot, it developed rust. However, I have seedlings popping up everywhere and the flowers are so pretty I want to figure out how to make this plant happy for longer than just a few weeks. Frustration....
I grew two pots of orange and red zinnia marylandica from seed last summer only to have the butterflies completely ignore them. I liked their smaller size but I'm growing the larger ones this summer while I decide if I prefer the Double Fire and Double Cherry varieties to the old fashioned variety, despite their inability to attract pollinators.
Showy Tick Trefoil (Desmodium canadense)
They spent all summer leaning towards the sun and didn't get much taller than 12 inches. They're supposed to be three feet tall!
I added tick trefoil to the shady Bed of Death and Misery, hoping it was tough enough to overcome the odds stacked against it. To my surprise, it grew although it didn't thrive and spent all summer looking like an alpine skier about to launch itself off a ski jump. I moved it to a patch of bright shade this fall and within a few days it was upright and happy. Fingers crossed that it's beautiful and lush this summer.
This Parisian Market carrot is so ugly it's funny!
I grew multiple pots of carrots this summer only to succeed in growing the ugliest carrots I've ever seen. They looked like they were sprouting little brains. My purple carrots actually grew large enough that I was able to shred them for a carrot cake so I'm trying them again. But even the ugly carrots had beautiful foliage that was full of swallowtail caterpillars so all was not lost.