Archive for annuals

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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Handy Boat Dinghy 12012

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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.

Row Your Way to Color with Annuals Revisited

Posted in annuals, annuals, container gardening, container gardening, landscape design with tags , , , , , on July 10, 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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Last July I featured a very creative use of annuals by Handy Boat Marina in Falmouth Foreside, Maine. They used a dinghy as a container and filled it to the brim, accenting the whole arrangement with a cleverly placed pair of oars. To read my previous post and see last year’s planting, click Row Your Way to Color with Annuals. When I arrived this year, I was happy to see that the dinghy was once again planted but with totally different plants.

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What I like so much about this design is the creative use of the boat as a container. If you read my miniature hosta posts, you know that I am always advocating thinking outside the box when it comes to receptacles for plants. As Handy Boat demonstrates, there is no need to buy expensive pots when an old dinghy is available. And containers that fit the surrounding area, like a boat at a marina, always contribute to the sophistication of the design.

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Another container design principle that this planting illustrates is the importance of stuffing your pots full of plants. Annuals are, well, annual. You have a short season to enjoy them so you don’t want to wait for them to fill out like you would a perennial. If you are on a budget, grow the plants from seed or do less pots but don’t skimp on the plants.

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Finally, as I pointed out last year, the designer has used the spiller-filler-thriller method of choosing plants, and the color combination is gorgeous. Spilling out the front (or about to spill when they get bigger) are white lobelia and purple-leafed sweet potato vine. Filling the middle of the boat are red geraniums, purple petunias, and red compact New Guinea impatiens. Providing the thrill (otherwise known as the height) are purple angelonia, white cleome, and purple fountain grass. Here are some close up photos.
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Enjoy, 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.

Row Your Way to Color with Annuals

Posted in annuals, container gardening with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2012 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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When considering containers for colorful annuals, you have an ocean of choices. Sure elegantly glazed ceramic bowls or terra cotta pots straight from Crete are wonderful, but the palette available is much, much wider as the photo shows. Any vessel that will hold soil and provide adequate drainage is fair game. Although I am not fond of used bathroom fixtures, I have been known to grab other people’s trash off the side of the road. Two of my favorites for use at my family’s house in Maine are discarded granite ware clam steamers and old wooden lobster traps.

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I found this very creative planting in a dinghy at Handy Boat Marina in Falmouth Foreside, Maine. Everything about it shows careful thought by a skilled designer: the plant selection, the container, the plant arrangement, and the setting. The window color is carefully incorporated, and the wall color, oars, and gravel all add to the charm.

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One design trick that really makes this planting work is cramming a lot of annuals into the available space. The season for annuals in the northeast is short, especially in Maine. You don’t want to waste time looking at a half-filled container while the planting “fills in”. Spending the extra money on additional annuals to make the container ornamental from the start is worth it. Or better yet, grow your own from seed.

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The designer has also used the classic “spillers, fillers, and thrillers” method of filling containers. Spilling out the front are purple, chartreuse, and tricolor sweet potato vines and silvery licorice plant. Filling out the body of the boat are orange million bells, purple and white petunias, annual begonias, angelonia, and white daisies. In the back are purple fountain grass and papyrus.

You can get great ideas by keeping your eyes open for creative containers whenever you are out cruising around. You may not have a spare dinghy available, but I am sure there is something suitable in your attic.

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This post is another experiment with my recently acquired “new” iPad, this time attempting to post on my blog directly from the iPad. I discovered that you can’t upload photos to a post using the WordPress site like you would when using a computer. The only way to do it is to download the WordPress app and use it to post from the iPad. However, so far, I have found that this app is not very user friendly. Since there are supposedly six new blogs being started every five minutes, I suggest that WordPress and Apple get on the ball to make blogging easier from an iPad. In the meantime, I won’t know what this post will look like until I hit the publish button.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until the fall. Thanks for a great spring season!

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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