September 23, 2015

Back Up, Please

A reader of  p o t a g e r,  after seeing the images of Sedum 'Autumn Joy' (here) requested that I  back up with my camera please, to better see this perennial in the context of the larger border....not just a bee's eye view, if you will. In the image above, you can spot this late blooming succulent intermingled with some periwinkles (in white) and yet another tuft in front of the gaura.  I am just this year introducing it to

the front beds; consequently, the stand is not as robust or as full as it will ultimately be (another view, below).  There are other smatterings of it in the extended front border (I like the repetition of a plant throughout the space), but the clumps are, as yet, too small to photograph well and capture effectively. I like the contrast of their light green foliage against the dark green box...and the manner in which its flat-topped pink heads seemingly embrace the box on either side as it spills forward.

Its broader landscape representation in the context of the border is more evident in the back...where the stand is more mature, more robust, and can be seen more readily in larger clumps...

like here (to the left of the basket) edging the west border in the back and, even more dramatically, below,

in the foreground of my cutting garden, where it keeps company with Cleome 'Rosalita' (here), a marvelous PROVEN WINNER annual that I have planted in this border the last couple of years. As another reader noted, 'Autumn Joy' tends to be heavy-headed, toppling over of its own weight at about the time it blooms. This habit can be minimized by making sure it gets full sun, so as to prevent lankiness...or staking it...I sometimes even cut it back mid-summer to encourage bushiness. But no matter to me that it

flops over as it blooms. It can spill over my flagstone as it may, or not.  I like it either way; its behavior can't dim my affection for the border or in the vase.

In the image below, you can spy another sedum (of unnamed provenance, a gift from a fellow gardener), whose bloom and form is decidedly similar, but the flower more rounded and rust-colored. Its foliage tends to be more pointed in a blue-green hue, and it looks smashing with

dark rusty-red garden mums peeking out from behind. A wonderful contrasting tone on tone effect. I have recently seen both pink and rust blooming varieties in the same display area in garden centers...truly, you cannot go wrong with either selection.  Or both :)

 Clearly, it makes no difference to the honey bees!


 I do LOVE to hear your comments!  To comment, click on the word  'Comment' or 'No Comments' below, or go to the main page here.

September 21, 2015

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

I have written about this Oklahoma garden staple in previous posts, but have never put it out there, front and center on this blog, citing all of its ease, reliability and beauty. It may be  (okay, I am going out on a limb here) be my candidate for the easiest to grow perennial in the garden. Any garden. It isn't fussy about:

      good soil, though it will appreciate good drainage... full sun, can even tolerate some shade...
      how you propagate it, just stick a stem or even a section of the stem into moist soil, and voila!
      a new plant...intense heat, may scorch a bit, but generally likes the heat and it's almost impossible to kill...drought, it IS a sedum after all...

 and it will reward you with the loveliest of pink flowers in the fall. Sturdy-stemmed blooms that
are long lasting in the vase, and with the added benefit that when you tire of them in the vase...

you can just stick the stems back outside in the dirt and, given time, they will happily produce another little plant for you.

(And, oh my! the little pink tufts did look sweet after the rain.)

They marry well with the pink gaura I just featured in my last post (go here) and work well either in the front 

of the border as an edging plant,

or the middle of the border (seen here with verbena bonariensis).

The heft, thickness and weight of the stems contrasts nicely with delicate foliage, so try it with Nandina 'Flirt' (go here) from the SOUTHERN LIVING PLANT COLLECTION, or the purple leaved 'Purple Pixie' Lorapetalum (find it here), also from their collection

a combo of which I am PARTICULARLY fond.

And, as I think EVERYTHING in the garden is enhanced by spheres of boxwood, I would be remiss
if I didn't mention it as a planting companion as well. I have been editing out this season and carefully selecting what plants will and won't remain. I assure you, Sedum 'AUTUM JOY' will remain and prosper.

 I love to hear your comments!  To comment, click on the word  'Comment' or 'No Comments' below, or go to the main page here.

September 18, 2015

Gaura 'Pink Fountains'

Give a cheerful wave, please, to 'Pink Fountain' Gaura, one of my now-favorite late summer perennials. She will, I can promise you, wave back. Quite jauntily and coquettishly, I might add. I admit to being rather unhappy with her performance in years past....problems I now wisely attribute to operator error on my part...not recalcitrance on hers.

I had, as I so often do in my garden, tried to grow her in an environ that did not suit her sensibilities.

And what are those you may ask?

Well, don't be fooled by her delicate nature. This girl likes it rough. Lean soil with not too much full sun with room to romp and sway and dance in the wind (which she doesn't mind a bit, thank you very much.) 

Her dainty little floral butterflies will be happy to perform for you, bobbing and flouncing in the long as you are not TOO attentive with her care. A practice that comes quite easily to this garden caretaker.

So when I extended my front bedline on the west side last year (read about the change here, on the 
p o t a g e r  post 'MAKE BELIEVE') I added several clumps of 'Pink Fountain' in an area she has taken to quite nicely.

Her growth habit, wiry and tall and ethereal, works quite nicely with the many strong, rounded forms
of various evergreens in the same bed.

The tidy dark green backdrop grounds and enhances her spare, frail nature.

 She is thriving in the company of her bed mates: golden privet, compact butterfly bushes, drift roses...

through which she charmingly insinuates herself, without being a bother....

both having very romantic tendencies, you know.

I have a particular fondness for plants with a transparent growth habit...

and looking through thin, bare stems to a view beyond.

 Do drive by and see how lovely and undemanding she is.

    Voluptuous and airy simultaneously. A charming contradiction.

 She will not disappoint...happy to preen and flirt for and with you.

 A most delightful, pleasing perennial.

....for your viewing pleasure.