Friday, July 22, 2011

Twist-n-Shout Hydrangea

I decided to plant a new Big Leaf Hydrangea earlier this month, the new Twist-n-Shout. It is pH sensitive so I will have to work hard to keep the soil slightly acidic, but I don't mind. I like the plants leaf color, which is supposed to turn burgundy red in the fall, and the interesting flower heads.

To help the plant survive the first winter here in Minnesota, make sure to keep watering the plant until the ground is frozen. Also, place four inches of mulch over the plant to protect it, usually sometime in November (or as I say, before the first snow). In the Spring, when the ground has thawed, remove the mulch so the sun can kick start new growth!  Flowers bloom on new and old growth.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Swamp Milkweed

Of the three Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) plants I grew from seed last year, one has bloomed this summer. The other two were molested by rabbits and while they are growing again, I doubt they will have time to bloom this year. A few weeks ago I wrote about the monarch caterpillar I found on the plant, eating its fill.

This plant loves a moist area of the garden. Originally I planted Butterly Weed in this spot, but it was too wet and kept failing. Looks like Swamp Milkweed is much happier in this location. It is pretty difficult to find the plant in local garden centers, but I did find some at Linder's in Saint Paul a few weeks ago. Otherwise, you will have to grow from seed like me. The pink blossoms on the plant are quite lovely.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why, Hello There

I pulled up my spinach last week because it was going to seed. As I was pulling up one row, I discovered this tomato plant growing in the middle of the spinach. Since my tomato plants didn't produce anything last year, I guess this volunteer decided to wait and give me hope this year. This week it has some flowers on it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Catmint "Walker's Low"

I just love this catmint. It is easy to grow, doesn't self seed, and if you cut it back after the first bloom, you will get a repeat of blooms in late summer. Needing full sun and good to Zone 4, this plant has beautiful blue and lavender flowers.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

You Never Know if Something is Dead

It just goes to show you that you never know when a plant is truly dead. Take for instance the Butterfly Weed pictured above. I planted it last year along with two other plants, an extra from the Friends Plant Sale, because I don't like to waste good plants. All three seemed to disappear by early fall and it didn't seem like they were coming back this spring.

You can only imagine my surprise when I walked out one day to see two of the plants sticking out of the ground. It was like they grew five inches over night.  I had a few of these planted in a different location, but none of them ever survived as it was just too wet. Hopefully these hang in there and give me a good display.

So my best advice is to wait a little bit longer if you think a plant is dead, maybe even another season, as you could discover that the only thing wrong is that the plant prefers a later bloom time.