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Archive for February, 2010

Bring On The Black

Black & black-like plants are finally getting the recognition they deserve.  Black plants are alluring as they create excitement while making other colors come alive in the garden.  If you select black foliage or flowering perennials, they will come back year after year.

Yellow Creepy Jenny Lysimachia adds the POP when combined with Black Scallop Ajuga

Yellow Creeping Jenny Lysimachia adds SIZZLE when combined with Black Scallop Ajuga

The problem with black  that left alone in the garden they can appear dull and uninteresting. Given the right companion can make all the difference in making this color explode with excitement.


Actaea Black Negligee – black lacy foliage all summer!

Helleborus London Fog – Deer & drought proof shade groundcover with black flowers

Ophiopogon (Black Mondo Grass) – Narrow black foliage. is used as a groundcover or in containers.

Ajuga Black Scallop (Bugleweed) – Low growing black foliage groundcover for sun or shade

Sambucus Black Lace – A  black foliage Japanese Maple Look-alike – Pair  this with Sunny Knock Out Roses!

Heuchera Obsidian – sun makes the foliage color shimmer just like the stone obsidian!

Here are a few tips to make this gothic color come alive!

Tip # 1

Two plants that do a Tango!

Two plants that do a Tango!

If you really want to add some crackle n’ pop with black foliage combine with Yellow/Gold foliage plants.

Here’s two combinations that really tango when paired together – Lysimachia Aurea and Ophiopogon Nigrescens or Black Mondo Grass

Need other ideas to add some POP?

Love Story - Helleborus London Fog & Hakonechloa All Gold

Love Story - Helleborus London Fog & Hakonechloa All Gold

Plant low growing Ajuga at the base of  gold/yellow Hostas such as Sum & Substance or June Fever.

A magical almost spring love story happens with drought proof Helleborus London Fog & Hakonechloa All Gold.

Try Rose Sunny Knock Out with Sambucus Black Lace for a oh-la-la effect.

Tip #2

To bring out the best color in black-foliage perennials give them some sun – morning sun or afternoon sun. Black foliaged plants that are grown in complete shade will appear dull and uninteresting.

Tip #3

Use black plants sparingly.  If planted in large groupings, they’ll create a large dark & dreary spot in the garden.

Tip #4

Use black plants in containers. Select a light color container to make the colors jump.  I’ve used a white container with black-foliage Heuchera Obsidian and boy did that bring out the color.  Or surround your black plants with lighter colors such as golds, or oranges.

Certainly there are other colors that will play well with black. The important thing  is that black plants need some play on color to make them stand out.

Bring on the black in your garden and have sun fun coming up with exciting combinations that you’ll love!

A Pinch in Time, Becomes 9

Gaillardia Fanfare

Gaillardia Fanfare

Good gardening practices are sometimes difficult for the gardener.  Last summer I planted a variety of Gaillardia.  Now, I’ve learned from working with Mary and Chris, that the way to get the best results from your plants takes patience.  You should start by  preparing the ground, mix in some organic matter (either peat moss or compost) dig a big hole add some Osmocote fertilizer and make sure the plants are well watered.  If you want to achieve quicker branching and healthier plants you should also keep them trimmed.  That is the part that is tough for me.  I want the flowers!

Burgundy Gaillardia keeps going on for weeks even in the worst heat!

Burgundy Gaillardia keeps going on for weeks even in the worst heat!

Well, last summer I planted my Gaillardia in July, after we bought our house, and I lectured myself into trimming the plants.  While it hurt me to trim off new buds and keep the plants fairly short (about 8-10 inches tall) I knew that by doing so the Gaillardia would branch out and I would have many more beautiful red and yellow blooms next summer and for many summers to come.  And it worked.  By the end of September each of my plants had about 6-9 blooms at a time.   I am not a patient person when it comes to flowers or my husband putting dishes in the dishwasher, but this was definitely worth the wait.  I can’t wait to see them this summer!

Drought Tolerant Gaillardia blooms for 5+ months!

Drought Tolerant Gaillardia blooms for 5+ months!

9 Ways to Use Ornamental Grasses You Love

When I first started to garden I was drawn to the drama of fall & winter gardening with ornamental grasses. I began to notice what amazing (and needed) architectural structure that grasses provide while creating mood, providing motion, all the while transitioning in its own way to the next season. This video highlights both practical & fun ways to use ornamental grasses.

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