Archive for the shade annuals Category

More Annuals for 2014

Posted in annuals, annuals, container gardening, container gardening, containers for shade, How to, landscape design, shade annuals with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Since I revisited the boat planting last post (click here to see those photos), I thought I would also pay a repeat visit to the window boxes I raved about last year.  To read my 2013 window box post, click here.  They are located at a little market on Main Street in Yarmouth, Maine.  I am happy to say that they did not disappoint, but you can judge for yourself:

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Although the plant material and the color combinations are not as wonderfully creative as 2013, I would still be happy to have these window boxes at my house.  I hope they have given you some good ideas for your containers. 

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the summer and will reopen in early September.  You can sign up to receive notification emails by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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Row Your Way To Color Revisited Again

Posted in annuals, annuals, container gardening, container gardening, containers for shade, How to, landscape design, organic gardening, product review, shade annuals, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , , on July 9, 2014 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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DSCN4634The dinghy planting this year is a disappointment.

Those of you who follow my blog may remember the posts that I wrote in 2013 and 2012 on the creative use of annuals in a dinghy (small rowboat) at a Maine marina.  You can find those posts here and here.  I used the dinghy planting as an example of how the imaginative and thoughtful use of annuals can produce an elegant and striking result.  Unfortunately, the planting this year is not up to the former standards.  Normally I wouldn’t feature it, but I thought it might be illuminating to think about what went wrong.

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Handy Boat dinghyThe dinghy planting in 2012 was gorgeous.

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Handy Boat dinghy 32013 was not quite as sophisticated but made up for this with its exuberance.

When comparing the three plantings the first thing you notice is that the colors for 2014 are too subtle.  I love chartreuse and purple, but in a container planting you need some plants that cause passers by to stop and look.  But the bigger problem is that there are not enough plants.  As I pointed out before, containers generally last for one season only and need to be filled to bursting from the beginning.  There is no time to let them fill in as you would with perennial plantings in the ground.

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Handy Boat dinghy 22013 packed with plants

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DSCN4630This year’s planting shows a lot of bare soil.  The photos for all three years were taken in early July.

Another mistake the designer made was to ignore the classic filler-spiller-thriller formula of planting containers.  The heucherella flowers in the back just don’t provide the necessary height that you need, especially in a container this big, and will be done flowering shortly.  The sedum, coleus, and plectranthus (I think that what it is) will not fill in the middle, and the fibre optic grass and the two sweet potato vines are not spilling over the side enough.

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DSCN4633 A close up of 2014.

Despite my negative comments, as you can see from the photo above, the habit and colors of the plants go well together.  They would look great crammed into a smaller container situated for close up viewing.  I also always encourage the use of perennials in containers, like the sedum and heucherella here.  In late fall, you can transfer them into the ground and enjoy them in your perennial garden for years to come. 

Looking closely at this dinghy planting in good years and bad has given me a lot of ideas about my own containers.  In fact, I had never seen fibre optic grass and purchased some for my window boxes.  I hope you too will find inspiration for your own containers.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the summer and will reopen in early September.  You can sign up to receive notification emails by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

More Annuals for 2013

Posted in annuals, annuals, container gardening, container gardening, containers for shade, shade annuals with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Although we are out on a beautiful island, my husband Michael and I do like to explore the mainland when we are in Maine. Not surprisingly we visit a lot of nurseries and gardens. On a recent excursion to Yarmouth, Maine, we discovered the Rosemont Market and Bakery on Main Street. This market sells all kinds of wonderful fresh and local foods, including meat and fish, delicious bread, fruits and vegetables, deli and gourmet items, sandwiches and soup, and beer and wine. They even deliver weekdays to the Casco Bay islands and have additional locations in Portland.

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It was a cold day (that seems unbelievable now with the heat wave we are having) so we decided to have hot soup, which was delicious. We ate at the tables outside so that I could admire and photograph the spectacular window boxes. They were planted using the techniques I described in my last post (to read it click here, if you read this post when it had small, fuzzy photos, you might want to look again because I fixed them). The boxes are crammed with plants chosen to spill out the front, fill the middle, and provide some height in the back but not too much due to the windows.

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But what I really love about these containers is the creative use of colors and plant material. Nontraditional color combinations like pink and orange abound, but they work. The plants are chosen not just for the color but also for their habit and texture. The designer clearly did not feel limited by the traditional group of annuals but cast a wide net for plants that would combine to create a striking whole. I hope you will incorporate some of these ideas into your own containers—I know I will. If you have already planted them stuff some more plants in.

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Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed and will reopen in the fall around September 15. Have a great summer.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Colorful Annuals for Shade

Posted in containers for shade, shade annuals with tags , on August 24, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Colorful container for part shade

Every year I  design the window boxes and main container at my family’s camp  in Maine.  Someday I want to write an article on all the combinations I have used, but right  now this summer’s offering is all I can handle.  I really enjoy the process of putting together the plantings because, at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, I don’t get the chance to work with annuals (although I also use perennials in the containers).  The process of designing containers is like creating a temporary work of art.  Cramming all the colors, textures, habits, and heights into one pot to be viewed just for the season is fun.

The container and the window boxes are by the front door, which faces the path coming down from the road.  It is a part shade site, but it gets a lot of morning sun, making almost any plant suitable.  I have used plants that take full to part sun and also plants that require part to full shade, and all have thrived.   Over the years, my plant choices have become taller and more dramatic, with 2011 being my most colorful design yet.  The house is stained driftwood gray, and the only color limitation is the front door, which is eggplant colored.

Just in case you want to use some of these plants in your own containers, here are the details.  In the pot above, height, interesting texture, and color is provided by the annual red fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’.  I  use this grass a lot in containers because it is very reliable and only gets better as the season progresses.  The middle of the containers is filled with purple ‘Dark Star’ and orangey pink ‘Sedona’ coleus, both reliable workhorses. The star of the mid level is a new plant to me, perennial golden aralia, A. cordata ‘Sun King’.  It grows in part to full shade and matures at 3′ by 3′.  Lower down is the tuberous begonia ‘Nonstop Apricot’ and spilling out the front are purple-leafed sweet potato vine ‘Midnight Lace’ and orange million bells ‘Aloha Orange’.

The window boxes are a few feet away from the front door so I use many of the same plants and colors.  However, my choices are limited to lower growing plants because I  don’t want to block the kitchen windows.  I  also like to choose plants, like the coleus, that look beautiful from the back when viewed from inside the house.  In addition to the purple sweet potato vine, million bells, coleus, and begonia found in the pot, I  have added the chartreuse sweet potato vine ‘Emerald Lace’.

We enjoy this planting from inside and out.

Carolyn

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my website’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until it cools off in the fall around the middle of September.  If you are on my customer email list, look for an email.  If not, sign up by sending an email to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net with your name and phone number.

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