An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

March 3, 2015

Summer Color III

     There is still much snow on the ground here, but melting has begun, and fingers are crossed that there will be little more to fall. If that wish is granted then I might ask for soil that is not too soggy to work. When I got home today daffodils were pushing up through the snow, just as I left them two weeks ago. Maybe soon I'll be able to see little pops of yellow here and there, a few camellias might open, and my hellebores will pick themselves up. Until then, let's take our last look at this past summer's color.

     Like other designs I've already shown, our Café plantings started with the desire to use one particular plant. In this case it was Euphorbia heterophylla 'Yokoi's White', a variegated form of the often weedy summer poinsettia. To echo its orange center we added Salvia 'Coral Nymph', and Begonia boliviensis 'Santa Cruz Sunset'. The Euphorbia grew very well, and it hurt to have to pull them out in the fall, but we saved one or two for next year.
Cafe Window Planters (2)

Cafe Window Planters (3)

Cafe Window Planters (4)

Cafe Window Planters (5)

     One of the first gardens visitors encounter is the Sensory Garden, so named because it is designed to appeal to all the senses. Most of the garden is planted with trees, shrubs, and perennials, but there are several pockets left where we plant annuals each summer. I was pleased with the color and textures used in this garden last year, but several of the plants fought each other for space. Two that got along were Gomphrena 'QIS Carmine' and beach morning glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae), a ground hugging vine normally found on nearly every tropical beach world-wide.
Sensory Garden (5)

     The taller players included bed-of-nails/naranjilla (Solanum quitoense), 'Wasabi' coleus, Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), 'King Tut' papyrus (Cyperus papyrus), and 'Mojito' elephant's ear (Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito'). They jostled and pushed each other around all summer, and we had to regularly cut them back to keep them all in line.
Sensory Garden (1)

Sensory Garden (3)

Sensory Garden (2)

     One of our must successful efforts, or at least the most exuberant, were the hay rack planters hanging on Rose Garden Bridge. Last year we thought the colors were sort of sophisticated and elegant. This year we went in the other direction, and took our inspiration from a photograph of pink and orange party hats that you might see at a child's birthday party.  Our pink and orange plants included Begonia boliviensis 'Bonfire', Lantana 'Landmark Sunrise Rose' (one of the best!), Gomphrena x 'Pink Zazzle', and a pink Mandevilla. For shock value we added chartreuse sweet potato vine, and Duranta 'Gold Edge', and to bring things down a bit we used Evolvulus 'Blue Daze' and Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost'. Rose Garden Bridge (4)

Rose Garden Bridge (7)

Rose Garden Bridge (8)

Rose Garden Bridge (3)

     The 'Pink Zazzle' Gomphrena was one of the "it" plants ofa 2014, and we were excited to try it. With a prostrate habit, and silvery gray, fuzzy, and slightly fleshy foliage, it is different from any other Gomphrena I have known. The large-for-a-gomphrena flowers bloomed all summer, and reminded me of star-filled, pink pincushions. However, the plant was a bit of a diva performing best where it did not have to share the stage with anyone else, nor where it did not get too much water.
Rose Garden Bridge (10)

Rose Garden Bridge (9)

Rose Garden Bridge (1)

     Last Friday we started preparing the bridge for this coming summer's show. All colors are welcome, except white.

(Just a reminder that Winter Walk-Off 2015 is going on right now, and all bloggers are welcome to join in.)

14 comments:

  1. I think that bridge is spectacular. I guess a few wedding photos have been taken there.

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    1. Yes there have been a few wedding photos taken there, Donna. The entire garden is one of the area's wedding hot spots.

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  2. What a shock to the system, seeing the bridge in striking opposing conditions!
    The extra effort of cutting back more aggressive plants was definitely worth your team's efforts: the border is looking divine. I'll be looking for 'Pink Zazzle' this Spring: it certainly dazzled me.

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    1. Chavliness, we found that 'Pink Zazzle' did really good in containers all by itself, or in very well-drained beds where it had room to spread out.

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  3. Well, it worked. The Sensory Garden has appealed to all my senses via the internet. I'd love to see what a hay rack planter looks like.

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    1. Annie, not to be commercial or to give a free endorsement, but we got ours from Kinsman.
      http://www.kinsmangarden.com/category/Hayrack-Planters

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  4. It's fun to see your photos after finally visiting NBG in person last October. You all do fine work!

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    1. I hope you enjoyed your visit, Sarah.

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  5. I grow gomphrena from seed every year and love that Pink Zazzle! I can't believe I haven't been to the Norfolk Gardens yet. Stunning! I will be there this year!

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    1. Well you simply must pay a visit to NBG. The Gomphrena we really wanted last year was 'Fireworks', but all of the seed had been sold before we had a chance to order any.

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  6. I'd say the 'Pink Zazzle' definitely lives up to its name!

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    1. In the right location, I will agree with you Jason.

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  7. That Euphorbia is spectacular! I'm really enjoying this series where you're showcasing the highlights of your team's efforts.

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    1. Yes, Beth, the Euphorbia lived up to my expectations and did not disappoint. I love that the plain old species is considered a weed.

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