Monday, September 18, 2017

Fall Gardens Blooming with Color

Even though autumn doesn't officially start for another few days, it certainly feels like it outside. The air is cool and crisp and the sun still feels warm - a perfect day for a fall festival! The teaching gardens at Farmingdale State College are always beautiful and lush. But the colors I saw at their annual fall festival were just stunning. Have a look:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Hydrangeas - Blue, Pink, White and Lace

The hydrangeas are in full bloom in my yard right now. These clusters are rich blues with a hint of purple are really a welcome treat this month.

I have a few different types of hydrangeas in my garden. These blue beauties (above) are called Hydrangea 'Endless Summer.' These are the mop-head style hydrangeas and will alter their color based on the pH of the soil - pink blooms in alkaline and blue blooms in acidic. They stay true to their name "Endless Summer" because they bloom from late spring well into the fall. Gorgeous!

Here is a mop-head in full bloom (above left) and a little newborn mop-head just starting to open its many flowers on the one head. 

I also have a lacecap hydrangea. On these flower heads, small fuzzy blue flowers occupy the center and they are surrounded by a various number of 4 petaled flat flowers. The overall look is more delicate - like lace or a doily. 

Another new hydrangea I added last year is Hydrangea 'Annabelle'. These have gorgeous white blooms and big green foliage. Unlike the blue hydrangea, their color cannot be altered by changing the soil pH. We have them planted in a nice shady spot to the far end of the property. It's a lovely background to the seating area.

I inherited these hot pink hydrangeas from the previous owners of the house. The color is simply show-stopping and the flower heads can really get large. Beautiful in the landscape but also a great cut flower. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Liatris: A Vertical Form in the Garden

Liatris (also known as Blazing Star or Gayfeather) is a wonderful plant to add to any garden for its form, texture, fragrance and ability to attract wildlife.

The vertical form of the liatris is a welcome compliment to many of the daisy-like flowers that are in bloom this time of year. I often see them alongside echinacea (coneflower) or rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan). In the photo above, I love the mixture of purples and whites but also the contrast of liatris's strong vertical form against the wispy nature of the Russian Sage in the background and the big foliage of the montauk daisy. 

To me, the flower spikes of liatris remind me of fireworks just before they explode in the sky. Each spike blooms tiny flowers from the top-down (most other spikes bloom bottom-up). They come in purple, white and various shade of pink. It's lovely fragrance attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds. 

Even when not in flower, it's grassy-like foliage looks handsome nestled among the neighboring perennials. Give it lots of sunshine and It's easy to grow and care for. What's not to love?