Plants for Patient People

October 26th, 2019

This is my new favorite fall plant – Salvia leucantha, or Mexican Bush Sage.

I’ve grown it for a couple years now and it goes like this. Find a smallish plant in the spring at the nursery (I got mine at DeBaggio’s Herbs). Plant it and wait and wait and wait, because for all the rest of the spring and summer it’s a nondescript green blob (which is not bothered by critters, so that’s a plus). And it grows and grows and grows to a bigger blob about 4 feet tall and wide. Then in September it begins to bloom profusely and attract zillions of pollinators. It’s spectacular from the time it begins to bloom until it freezes (which might be as soon as next weekend).

I need to do a better job of finding companions for it, but this pale yellow ‘Rocket’ snapdragon looks OK (even if the photo is blurry).

The species has white flowers and purple calyces, but there’s a cultivar with purple flowers (S. leucantha ‘Midnight’). For me, that one is a little more compact.

It’s not winter hardy in central Virginia, but I think it’s worth planting every year.

Catching Up and a Tip for Dahlias

September 21st, 2019

But we’re still gardening. In fact, we’ve got the kitchen garden back into better shape than it’s been in years. And we’re growing a lot more flowers in it and fewer vegetables. The dahlias are spectacular this year, thanks to a tip I read in the Old House Gardens newsletter.

I started them all in nursery pots and then sunk the pot and all into the garden. Looking at the rather small size of the pots, I thought this could not possibly work, but it does. Previously, when we planted the tubers directly in the garden, we lost about half of them due to rot and underground critters. We did not lose any that way this year. And I thought, well, that’s fine when there’s enough rain but when it gets dry it won’t work. I’m wrong again. We’ve been in a dry spell recently (first one in two? years) and the dahlias droop a little in the afternoon sun but other than that they’re still going strong and blooming like crazy.

Oh by the way, I’ve opened an Etsy shop to have a second way to sell my stuff online. The things there are more craft-related, but I do have some (ok, one as of right now) vintage garden books listed.

Enjoy Your House Plants by Dorothy Jenkins and Helen Van Pelt Wilson, 1944

Selling My Stuff

September 16th, 2019

Ok folks, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here and now I’m going to spam you with stuff I’m selling. That’s probably not a great opening line for a salesman but that is my skill level at it.

The spouse and I are seriously thinking of moving to a warmer climate. I keep telling people that in my 30+ years in Virginia there’s been about 10 once-in-a-hundred-years snowstorms. I’m ready to take my chances with hurricanes or tsunamis or earthquakes or anything but another gigantic snowstorm.

One big thing that’s been holding us back is the volume of stuff we have to sort through to decide whether to pay somebody to move it. Well we still have to sort through a lot of it but now we’ve decided – we really don’t want to pay to move very much of it. So out it goes. Here are a couple of garden-related items I have up for sale on eBay.

December Blooms: Witch Hazel

December 8th, 2018

Along the Saunders-Monticello Trail yesterday, several witch-hazel trees were in full flower and this one in particular was glowing in the late afternoon sunlight. A bit of natural cheer during the shortest days of the year.

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Over My Head

August 1st, 2018

…is Rudbeckia lacinata…

Last year, after planting in the spring, it grew maybe 4 feet tall. But now? I’m guessing about 7 feet. I suppose I could get a ladder and a tape measure and know for sure, but nah.

I was looking for tall deer-resistant perennials for the damp edge of the vegetable garden and so far this is a good one. Only one tiny nibble by the deer early in the season. It did lose some leaves during a dry spell in early July, so may not be good in a drought year. Except for those couple of weeks in early July, we have had a LOT of rain this summer.

Rudbeckia lacinata towering over my head

Deer Destruction

August 2nd, 2017

While the gardener is away, the deer will play. Or while the gardener is playing, the deer are slaying (the cucumber vines).

Luna Moths

August 3rd, 2016

Two huge Luna Moths. Mating? Resting?