Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not Asteraceae Favorites in the Garden


Cyclamen hederifolium (Primulaceae family)



Not asteraceae!

While the aster family is the largest flower family in the world, there are many others represented in our gardens. Here are a few in my garden this early fall.


Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

This South American plant is now starting to come into it's own after a disappointing early bloom. It over winters nicely in the garden and I have found it looks great in a large planting group. Look closely at the stems. They are square, which means only one thing~~ a member of the Lamiaceae or mint family.

Salvia coccinea 'Dreamsickle'

It is nearly impossible for me to capture their pretty salvia faces, but they are lovely plants and are just starting to bloom. They are planted in a large clump in the sunny front bed near the arching Lemon Grass. "This American mint is especially desirable in natural area gardens where it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds and maintains itself year after year without dominating or becoming invasive." If that doesn't exemplify Clay and Limestone, I don't know what does! If you've ever grown S coccinea 'Coral Nymph' you'll notice they look very much alike. Let's cross our fingers that these will reseed like Coral Nymph always has. Another square stem, another Lamiaceae or mint family member.

Celosia 'Dark Caracas'

Celosia's origin is still being debated, I've read South American and Africa. Wherever they hail from, they are tender plants and the first frost will take them out! This plumed variety really resembles Joseph's Coat. I will collect seeds and let some reseed in place. It will be interesting to see if they come true. You can see how beautiful the leaf color is; this is a plant I hope to be able to keep in the garden for a long time. Celosia is a member of the Amaranthaceae Family.

Even fading

Dark Caracas is lovely and can attract visitors. Please note: The stalks are now over 6 feet tall! Imagine a large planting and what a presence that could make.



Allium tuberosum Garlic Chives


Beautiful lilies! The Garlic Chives have made a beautiful showing this fall. They will be added near the Monardas and other plants to help combat mildew. Thanks Iowa Victory Garden for this tip. Frances has reminded me, that this plant is a rampant self seeder, so I do need to do some chopping soon. Garlic Chives are members of the Lily or Liliaceae family. They are considered medicinal, culinary and ornamental.


Anemone japonica 'September Charms'

A bit of a thug, it's true, but charming, don't you think? You can see that The Susan's presence is everywhere! But we are talking about other plant families aren't we! This anemone is happiest in shade, in slightly alkaline to neutral soil. It's in a bed where it has been allowed to wander to it's heart's content. A member of the Ranunculaceae family...always means it will be running amok in the garden!


Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride'

Planted in dryer shade with Sedum 'Matrona' (Crassulaceae family) I think this is the best heuchera for hot, dry and humid gardens. H villosa a native of the southeastern US has good genetic material going for it. If you've been frustrated with heucheras (Saxifragaceae family ), this one might be the one to reawaken your interests. Evergreen in my zone 6b/7a garden....growing in heavy clay soil! Top dressed with shredded leaf mulch each fall. They do require dividing every 3 years and it helps to add a bit of mulch around the crown should they heave themselves from the soil during the winter.


Autumn Bride flowers are attractive to bees and other pollinators.



Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy'

Bees joyfully flock to this sedum each autumn. My experience with this sedum is that, too much water is worse then not enough water! Flopping happens when the drainage isn't as sharp as we think it is! Sedums are members of the Crassulaceae family.



Buddleja davidii

This plant has its very own plant family...Buddlejaceae. You can't keep butterflies away from a Butterfly Bush. Some years this bush is semi-evergreen, but it is better to cut it back so the flowers are bigger. More for the butterflies! I find the color fantastic on this one.



Lovely Fairy Rose

Isn't she lovely. A small polyantha rose which blooms and reblooms. She's growing in almost full sun under the Crape Myrtle 'Natchez'. The color is a beautiful deep pink. No pests seem to bother her and she just keeps blooming! A much more attractive rose then the Fairy Rose, if you ask me! Roseacea family.


Bottlebruss Grass/wild rye (Elymus hystrix) A Tennessee native from the Grass family (Poaceae). I have seen this lovely grass growing in the woodland and parks near my house. It seems to enjoy light shade and moist to slightly dry soil. Wind dispersal carries the seeds to hospitable ground and those seeds that fall near the plant will mean a small colony of a few plants. This is a great grass and has a fibrous root system, so you need not  worry that it will run all over your woodland. I think of it as a 'see through' plant and it is planted in the middle of the woodland garden. Caterpillars of the Northern Pearly Eye feed on it.

River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) another native of Tennessee from the grass family. Boy do I have mixed feelings about this guy. He is a beautiful plant, with arching spikelets, that are green then turn brown with age. This plant will grow anywhere; glades, stream banks, dry forests...anywhere! Which brings us back to my mixed feelings. It is a rampant self seeder and requires vigilance to catch the seedlings. Think beautiful ground cover with several seasons of interest.


Well here we are at the end of the Family of plants tour and we have hardly touched all the plant families a Clay and Limestone. I've counted over 40 different plant families in my garden. You have as many or more. Take yur lawn for example: If it isn't a monoculture...you possible have the grass family, violet family, pea family, aster family and maybe the ranunculaceae family, all there for a big family picnic.

Have fun counting your plant family members!

Gail

If I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant an apple tree. unknown

64 comments:

  1. Hi Gail!
    What a nice assortment you put together in this post! It's good to point out that not all interest in the fall garden is colorful (though you have a lot!), but that there are also other equally interesting plants coming into their own.

    It looks like some of your 'Caracas' is close to putting on seeds ... just get up close and peer into those 'chambers' and see if you can find the shiny black seeds. I usually wait until frost kills them before I collect seeds (unless they're completely dried up), but in your climate I'm not sure when is best. But if you see the seeds in there, time to start collecting!

    Looks like we both fell in love with 'Caracas' this year! Let's spread it around and hook more gardeners into planting it, heh.

    Thanks for the shout out, btw. Much appreciated!

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  2. You have quit a picnic going on in your garden! 2:55 in the morning and I cannot sleep so to the computer for flower peeking I am. Gee, too much fresh air coming in the windows keeping me energized I guess. lol.... I am enjoying this nice mild weather with no humidity but soon the colors they will fade on the blooming pretties in our gardens... Thanks for the peek on this early Friday morning...

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  3. Gail, I see I am not the only one who reads and comments late at night. :) You know so much about plants! My goodness, I am amazed. all of your prettys are so interesting-I was going to pick a favorite but can't. Maybe the salvia "dreamsickle". I have not seen that one around here. And the cyclamen, is that a perennial? Thanks for such a great tutorial on plant families.

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  4. Hi Gail, there are the night owls and then there is the early bird, HA. You have wonderful beautiful blooms and know so much about them in addition to how to grow them well. My garden bonnet is off to you! As soon as I saw the garlic chives I thought *Oh no* but then saw that you understand the threat they post! The salvia coccineas are my favorite though, they self sow here, but the reds seem to outnumber the corals by a thousand to one. In the yellow/white disaster bed are planted white nymph that are nearly for feet tall. They have never grown to that size before, not sure what is going on there but hope they will self sow like the red ones do in the knot garden gravel. The butterflies and hummers do love them. There is a hummer at the feeder almost continually, so fun to watch. Six feet celosias? Save me some seeds!

    Frances
    http://fairegarde.wordpress.com/

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  5. What lovely pictures of your garden Gail. I love the salvias you have pictured. They sometimes reseed themselves in my garden. It is such fun to find them here and there in early summer.

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  6. Hi Gail ~ Wow, such beauties and you have the knowledge to go with them! You've made me think about plant families too, but I need a plant bible to figure out what families I have! Or the internet I guess - haha.
    Happy Friday!

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  7. Now let me just yell you about the Celosia, I planted a small seed packet in the wheelbarrw uh, 5 years ago or so, now I have Celosia coming up EVERYWHERE, love it, although it has to be thinned will take over, in my zone antway.

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  8. IVG,

    Anytime. You have been very helpful!

    It is a beautiful cool morning here in Nashville! Too dry still; we are moving into our dry humidless season as opposed to our summer humidity with drought. n. The Celosia is not ready yet, no little seeds. But I will be watching them!

    Gail

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  9. skeeter,

    There is something keeping me up, too! The nights are so cool, it would be a fun time to take a walk and no one in my house but me would want to walk! How much longer will you have bloom? Our first frost date is October 15 but it could certainly happen before or much later?

    Gail

    ps I did read that there is something about the computer lighting that triggers the brain to stay awake!

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  10. beckie,

    Really, Beckie, not so much! I know a little and my son quizzes me all the time, so I have to keep on my toes. Paypacks are hades!

    The cyclamen is hardy in my garden and sends up cute little flowers from late summer to December (if the weather is nice) and then afterwards pretty mottled heart shaped flowers. It might be hardy in your garden with mulch, we ought to ask Mr McGregor's Daughter if she has it in her garden and where she has planted it. You will like hem...they are that cutie pie pinkish lavender!

    Gail

    I can't do it much later then midnight! My husband needs to be up and about earlier then I want to wake if I have stayed up late!

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  11. Frances,

    I just realized that your link in the post wasn't working and fixed that...but yes, I can't look at them without having your voice remind me to cut them off soon...like now! So this morning off go their heads!

    I will save you the Celosia seed and bring it with me when I visit! There are so many salvias that I want...they are the perfect fall plant. The Salvia B&B is happiest now. It's funny but the reds are not doing well! I might have to get a snippet of one of yours. The genetic stock is hardier in your garden, it seems.

    I have one small feeder and there are two hummers that would rather chase each other off then dine together! They are so silly. It has been impossible to get a photo. No holy grails here.

    Gail

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  12. lisa,

    Are you in zone 5 or 6? We are in zone 6b/7a depending upon the winters, but they will reseed here.
    It's funny but one year they reseeded much better in a container then on the ground. Better drainage over the winter! I like salvias, too...they are delicate, yet sturdy.

    Gail

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  13. cindy,

    Happy Friday to you, too. I love all the pretties in all our gardens!

    Dave's Garden website is a good source and sometimes just googling the plant name helps....some plant family names I can't remember no matter what!

    Gail

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  14. Gail, I don't have much luck with asters in my garden. I do love salvia and my b&b and the greggii colors continue to supply the hummingbirds (when will they migrate is what I keep asking them). Beautiful photos and insights! Cameron

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  15. Darla,

    Thank you for the heads up, I will keep an eye out for wayward offspring! I have gotten a flower arrangement and the celosia flowers produced seeds...so they must want to take over the known garden world! Do the colors come true? I do like this particularly color it fits in the garden so nicely.

    Gail

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  16. Gail, I always get a mini-lesson in botany when I come here. So much more fun learning about plants by reading your posts than taking a class:)
    The dark caracas is gorgeous--it really grows 6 feet tall? I would love to hear more about it. And I knew the sage family was a large one, but you have shown some salvia I haven't seen before.
    You do indeed have a large family gathering in your garden!

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  17. Defining Your HOme,

    There are so many other plant families to enjoy! Look at all the delightful mint plants, Perilla, Salvias, Plectranthus. Gosh the lily family is also huge! Fantastic plants. Asters just happen to be happy in clay soil! BTW, I loved your recent post...beautiful! Are you a member of the Garden Writer's Association?

    Gail

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  18. Rose,

    I wish you could see me smiling! :-) There it is! Blogging sure has increased my vocabulary and plant knowledge...I keep saying that but it is so true. Will you promise to let me know if I get pedantic! You must pinky swear! I mentioned to Beckie that my son quizzes me all the time! When he was in France we had French lessons. I must have been a pain in the pattoot mom, because the paybacks are too funny.

    The Dark Caracas is in a small container and it towers 2 feet over my head! When I collect seeds I can save some for you! IVG says they produce a lot of seeds.

    The Salvias are wonderful!

    Gail

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  19. Wow, you have so much.

    Garlic chives, I'm about to get some, so thanks for the tip. The Fairy is beautiful. I have a partially shaded spot that might be right for anemone's. I want to research them some more.
    Great post, Gail.
    Marnie

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  20. Marnie, Thank you. The anemone's travel! But they sure are good looking in the fall. The rose is sweet and a good color. Can't wait to see which anemone you will plant in the garden!

    gail

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  21. Gail, I believe we will have color until early Nov and maybe a bit longer. I have never really taken notice of the timing but will this year! lol

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  22. I SO agree with all your previous commenters, you DO know so much and I have learned alot here. I am going to look for that Autumn Bride. I have never seen it but I do love these. Great info on all the plants too. I think the lighter pink Fairy is prettier:) but yours is stunning.

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  23. Very good post Gail! I like the black and blue salvia. We have a couple that I didn't expect anything from and it just popped out the other day. Very neat blooms! I still envy your stone wall there. That dark caracas is a nice one, I'll have to add that to the garden next year!

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  24. Gail,
    I think I have the very same Japanese anemone! They are growing under the sugar gum tree. Why did you call them a thug??? Because they grow rampant? This was my first summer in my house, so I'm trying to see what I need to keep under control and what I can let go freely.

    Also, on the butterfly bush...do you cut them down to the ground for better blooms? Or just cut off the spent blooms?

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  25. Tina,

    Thank you, again, let me know if it is too much info and not enough fun! I have to disagree ;-) Lovely Fairy is prettier! The Fairy does have a sweet gentle pink. I wish that she flowered longer and that Japanese Beetles didn't find her so tasty! I got all my Autumn Bride at Growild....you have to email them to arrange a visit. No credit cards!

    Gail

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  26. Gail, I can't imagine that salvia not reseeding. Coral Nymph & Lady in Red both do so with great abandon, loose women that they are! I wish I could grow those anemones, they speak to me.

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  27. Kristy, Yes they are strong growers; I have one that is now growing in a crack in the asphalt driveway! They travel by underground runners. The leaf shape is a wonderful change from the usual suspects! I dead head as the summer bloom fades but they go dormant in my mostly zone6b garden most winters...so I can cut them down to the ground. You can't hurt them! They will grow and grow and grow!

    gail

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  28. Your post ideas are so much fun, Gail! I love the variety of shapes and colors in your garden and see that we have some plants in common while your lovely anemones make me nostalgic.

    Maybe I'll get around to making that list of plant families [Texas natives have a LOT of members in the pea family] and seeing your upright sedum makes me think I should transplant some of my floppy slacker sedums into the sunnier, raised front bed.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  29. How I love Cyclamen! I had C. hederifolium planted under a tree in my old garden in Bartlett, IL. I tried planting them here, but the rotten squirrels dug them up & ate them. I've never seen a 6-foot Celosia, but I really want to now! 'Dark Caracas' looks like my kind of plant. I wouldn't know about "flopping happens," but you must be right, because my Sedum never flops, and my soil never gets too wet, even after a one-two punch from a tropical storm & a hurricane.

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  30. Gail, thanks for this tour around your garden! I'm amazed by the number of lovely plants on show today! I particularly liked the Celosia - don't think I've seen that one before.
    Katarina

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  31. Lovely assortment of fall blooms in your garden this time of year Gail. I really like the Salvias "Black & Blue" & "Dreamsicle". Your cyclamen is such a delicate shade of lavender. Gorgeous.

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  32. I was going to ask what zone you're in since you have the salvia coccineas and black & blues overwintering. That never happens for me in zone 5. I collect seed then sprinkle it around come spring. Lucky you. I'm with Frances on wanting seed for that 6' celosia! Wow. I can only imagine what that looks like ~ maybe you could take a photo of the whole plant for us?? Great assortment, like you said, at Clay and Limestone. I'm too lazy to count my families!! ;-)

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  33. Gail, I really must get that Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue!' It really provides quite the accent! Especially looking through at the rudbeckia.

    You have identified my anemone "Susan" who definitely runs amok! But, I really like her!!!

    Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride' has just been placed on my Wish List for next year! I can't tell you how sad I was that my new heuchera (Lime Rickey) expired this spring... after starting out looking very well!

    I must investigate your Bottlebrush grass! I'm working up a plan for a friend that has a lot of rain run-off. She could benefit from a stand of prairie grasses and flowers! :-)

    Just look what you did for me today! Thanks, Gail. You had a beautiful post and provided some good information on some plants I need! ;-) Have a super day!!

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  34. Ha! You can tell I was trying to comment quickly! Anemone japonica "September Charms" is in Front of Susan! Oh, well... :-)

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  35. Thank you Gail, for a lovely walk through your garden. It is so lovely. Even for this time of the yr. you have so much.

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  36. Shady,

    Isn't it great to visit a blog and find the id on a plant you've been trying to locate. I like September Charm, too!

    Shady, I have a few seeds packaged with the bottlebrush grass...email me your address and I will whisk them to you! My email address is in about me, but I think you have it already!

    gail

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  37. Wonderful garden tour and so full of information. Great pictures! I really enjoyed it! Perhaps, Gail you can answer my question about spider flower--the caper family--has bean pods with tiny caper-like beans inside. Are these the capers that we eat?

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  38. lola,

    You know how it is lola, it looks like a lot of bloom but really, it is so fall like in the garden! But I am glad you came along for the walk...you are good company!

    Gail

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  39. Annie, Well thank you! I hear that latin names trip off your tongue quite easily! So plant families will be no problem. It will interesting to see how many of the Fabaceae plants you have!

    Is Austin too hot and dry for Anemones? They can tolerate zone 8 but your heat and lack of water might do them in! If you want to try them, let me know and this winter I will send you a bare root plant!

    Gail

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  40. kathleen,

    There is a big difference in our zones! For one thing you get a nice snow covering. We don't get snow anymore. Gosh I miss it! I wonder if the Salvias would self seed in your garden? They grew in an unprotected container last year, maybe they would?

    I will savethe Celosia seeds and let you know when they are ready...also, I can send a photo! They are quite lovely.

    gail

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  41. Cindy, I would send you an anemone plant but I fear it won't like Houston! It is lovely and would look great in your corner of Katy!


    gail

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  42. MMD,

    We must get rid of the squirrels and the mosquitoes, oh, yes, and the rabbits! The squirrels probably have gotten a few of mine but I keep planting them! I can't let the rodents win!

    Celosia has totally surprised me. it's planted in a clay pot that i set in the sunny garden and it keeps reaching for the sky! I should post a photo or two!

    Gail

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  43. tilelady, You have stumped me! But true capers belong to this family: capparaceae. Go here to see them: http://www.caperplants.com/. I am not certain about the others! When you see the photo of the Caper Plant you wills see the capers quite easily!

    Gail

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  44. Katarina,

    The Celosia Dark Caracas is a newer plant. I found it at a plant nursery and had to get it! The leaves are so attractive and then the plumed bloom is also attractive. I don't usually bring home exotics!

    gail

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  45. Tilelady,

    I just googled and found this! Cleome gynandra
    Order/Family: Capparaceae. It says that this plant is treated like a spinach crop! Is this the spider plant you meant? So much fun on the internet!

    Gail

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  46. Racquel,

    Thanks...the cyclamen is a cutie pie and every fall I rediscover it! It just appears and feels like magic in the garden. Do you grow it?

    gail

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  47. That was quite a tour. I'm happy to meet your plant families, Gail. I love that little anemone and of course the Autumn Joy sedum, neither of which grow here for me. I have the sea oats too and adore their flat, fish-scale-like seedheads, but you do have to watch out so they don't take over.

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  48. And for every plant, there is a critter who delights in munching the parts.

    It's hard to focus on the small things and unfocus at the same time from the background. Your pictures look great.

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  49. I can't tell you how jealous I am that your Black & Blue salvia overwinter in the ground! But that does remind me that I have to go take some cuttings of mine to try to overwinter indoors this year.

    The plants are beautiful, as always, but I really like that conch shell on the stone wall, too. Very nice touch there. And I can't believe that your Northern Sea Oats are still so green! My little spikelets bronzed up weeks ago already and are starting to fade to tan...

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  50. Pam,

    You get the fabulous Whales Tongue and I get Autumn Joy! You get Bat Faced Cuphea and I get Japanese Anemone...we both get some great plants and we can visit one another's gardens. Pam, I am so looking forward to seeing your new garden develop!

    gail

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  51. Anna,

    Hi there...yes there are always critters who want to devour our plants. I'm glad you like the photos...Have a lovely weekend Anna!

    Gail

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  52. Blackswamp Girl Kim,

    Our temps were in the high 80s until recently. Now they are bronzing just the tiniest bit and before long they will be dancing in the wind, dispersing the seeds everywhere.

    The first year that B&B over wintered, I was completely surprised....This new stand may not, since it's in a much more exposed position. So, Thank you for the reminder to take cuttings.

    Gail

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  53. I enjoy the discovery walks around the garden with you, to meet the family. The Cyclamen is beautiful. I also love the Anemone japonica 'September Charms'. It is such a pretty colour, and a nice flower to look forward to in the fall. The Heuchera is another good looking plant.

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  54. What a beautiful assortment of flowers and plants that you've organized. I feel cheerful when I read your blog! It's great that you have such a variety in your garden!

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  55. Northern Shade,

    September Charm is a lovely flower and this year she has bloomed so nicely. It has been a strange year, here we are in the midst of a drought and flowers look better then ever! I'm glad you enjoyed the family picnic!

    gail

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  56. dp,

    Aren't you a sweetie to say that...cheerful is a good reaction! There is indeed a lot of plant materil in this garden!

    gail

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  57. Gail ... you have bees posing on sedum for you too ! LOL
    I learn so much when I read your posts .. thank you ! Now I know to plant some garlic chives by my Petite Delight Monarda .. even though it is supposed to be mildew resistant (best cultivar) it STILL got it .. so I am making a not of that. The Fairy Rose was so pretty .. so much is so pretty in your garden ! Wonderful post .. I have to get my note book out ! : )

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  58. I would happily send my snow to you if I could Gail! I'm not a fan but I realize it's good for the garden. My salvias do self sow but they often are late to germinate so I don't get much bloom time out of them. To have reliable plants I have to either start them or buy them. I'll be looking forward to the "full" celosia photo!

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  59. Gail, you have an award! Come by my blog and pick it up, and have a great week!

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  60. By the way, yes it's the Cleome gynandra that I was referring to...wow, eaten like spinach! I'm on a quest to solve this delimma! :-) Thanks for looking it up for me!

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  61. Joy,

    The many attractive qualities of sedum! The bees love it! It always makes me feel good when someone tells me they learned something while visiting, but you really make me blush when you say you need your notebook! Thank you Joy, I love hanging out with you!

    Gail

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  62. Kathleen, The later greening up is something we don't have. We have early greening and late frosts! This fickle middle of the country weather! Now a nice snow covering would make my brown garden look stellar all winter long! Cuttings would be the economical way for me to go but I haven't a good place to hide them form the plant eating cat. He can spot a flower or plant in a NY minute!

    Ahh, a basement is heavenly, I sure miss them,

    Gail

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  63. Gail: I have quite a few 'Dreamsicle' salvias although the frost is about to get them. I like the celosia!

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  64. Layanee,

    Ooh frost. I just spoke with Matt and he said it's fall weather in RI. So I won't be wearing my flip flops while I am there! We are having mid 80s temps all week so we are still thinking and dressing for summer! I know it's going to be a lovely visit!

    Do the salvias reseed for you? They are delightful plants and bring on the bees~

    Gail

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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