Monday, April 25, 2011

Special Delivery

It used to be that if you lived in Alaska and lusted for mini orchids, or if your home was in Georgia but your heart was with rare desert cactus, you were out of luck. Not anymore, thanks to the fact that so many plant clearinghouses and specialist growers have gone online and will ship high-quality specimens nationwide.

The websites themselves are a pleasure to peruse, with gorgeous photographs and a wealth of information about the plants they provide; many also offer expert advice via e-mail and phone.
Here are some of the best websites to visit...

In late winter to early summer, Puya venusta (shown) sends up a 40-inch-long, deep purple bloom. It’s available with other California wildflowers and heirloom plants from Annie’s Annuals and Perennials.

If you live in an area with little water but lots of sun, try Simply Succulents for an extensive selection of drought-resistant hardy plants, including an array of sempervivum (hens and chicks), shown.

Rock or trough gardeners score dwarf conifers like the variegated Juniperus squamata ‘Floriant’ (left) through Tiny Treasures.

Rare Find Nursery focuses on unusual hardy plants, including woody shrubs and trees like the Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Pee Wee,’ shown. During fall foliage season, this charming dwarf form of the common oakleaf hydrangea packs loads of visual impact into its three-to four-foot form.

And if you’re hankering for something utterly new for your garden or containers, Plant Delights offers nursery introductions like this Agave schidigera ‘Shira ito no Ohi,’ a slow-growing plant that’s great in a pot.

Article by Lindsey Taylor from Garden Design Dec 2010.
Photos by Todd Coleman
For complete article visit:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Plant Picks

'Autumn Brilliance' serviceberry
x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'

The Morton Arboretum

Gardening with native plants has become a must in the urban landscape of New York City, not only because of zone hardiness, but they attract the most wildlife. When choosing native trees however, most reach a height that is overwhelming for a smaller city garden. One tree that fits the bill is the 'Autumn Brilliance' serviceberry. A hybrid of the native serviceberry, 'Autumn Brilliance' reaches a moderate height and spread and can tolerate partial shade. The showier blooms of this tree emerge in April along with the bronze-green foliage. The sweet red-purple berries ripen in June and are favorites of most birds, especially cedar waxwings. The real difference in this small tree, as the name 'Autumn Brilliance' denotes, is the bright crimson fall color.

The Missouri Botanical Garden

The Serviceberry has many common names; shadbush, shadblow (because the plant blooms in the early spring when the shad run), Juneberry, saskatoon, sugarplum. This particular hybrid, 'Autumn Brilliance', is also known as the apple serviceberry.

Zones: 4-9
Plant Type: Small tree, shrub
Size: 15 t0 25 feet high and wide
Light: Sun to partial shade
Growth rate: fast
Habit: round
Soil tolerances:
clay; sand; loam; acidic; well-drained
Drought tolerance:
Bloom: April; showy, fragrant white flowers
Key feature: fall color
Special attributes: attracts birds, easy care, improved pest and disease resistance
Landscape uses: container or planter, screen, highway median, deck or patio, specimen tree

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wet soil plants

Cornus canadensis

2 to 7
Size: 6 inches tall and indefinite spread
Conditions: Partial sun to full shade; moist, acidic soil

You can tell this deciduous ground cover is a member of the dogwood family just by looking at it. The star-shaped white flowers appear in early summer and have a sweet scent. The blooms are followed by clusters of shiny red berries, which are an excellent food source for birds. In fall, the foliage turns a brilliant red. Bunchberry makes an excellent ground cover in wet spots as well as under evergreens; it just needs adequate water while its first getting established.

From Fine Gardening Dec 2010, by Petie Reed

Monday, March 7, 2011

Carrots for containers

Daucus carota 'Paris Market Baron'

A classic round-rooted carrot with an outstanding flavour and lovely crunchy texture. Their short, almost spherical roots make them perfect for growing in shallow or stony soils where carrots traditionally struggle, and they also perform well in troughs and containers. Give them the shelter of a greenhouse over winter and you can continue growing them almost all year round

Light: Full sun
Soil: Well-drained light, fertile
Sow: March through May
Harvest: June onwards