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Plants

Close Up of Fatal Attraction EchinaceaI thought I would introduce you to some of the more interesting plants in my garden. Now while I love many of the tried-and-true plants, I love to pick up some more unique varieties every now and then.

One plant I love is Echinacea or Purple Coneflower. Now today this plant comes in so many more colors than just purple and in heights from a foot tall to tall enough to hide a small child behind. The names are bizarre enough to remind you of a diner menu (Tomato Soup and Mac and Cheese) to some R-Rated movies, which is where we find one of my favorite varieties in bloom right now.

Fatal Attraction Coneflower is a nice dark pink blooming variety, (almost maroon in color). The blooms are large in size with a flat center (eye) which the petals stick straight out of much like a Daisy rather than droop down like their cousins the ‘Magnus’ Coneflower. The blooms start in mid-summer and will bloom for weeks, especially if deadheaded!

Echinacea in my garden!

Fatal Attraction Coneflower grows to a height of 2′ and a width of 1-1/2 to 2′ making it a perfect addition to the perennial border or for use in planters (remember it will likely not overwinter in the planter unless the planter is larger enough to withstand the constant freeze-thaw cycle). I have partnered my Fatal Attraction Coneflower with Autumn Joy Sedum and the dark blooms of the coneflower coupled with the green “blooms” of the sedum are an excellent contrast!

These Coneflowers are not only drought tolerant but also deer tolerant too! Butterflies love them and the dried seedheads make for excellent decoration but in the garden throughout the winter months or in dried flower arrangements. Very easy to grow in almost any soil condition provided you have a good half day of sun!

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Walking out my front door right now I am greeted with a wonderful color display in the most vibrant pink EVER! Now you may be thinking I overdid it with the Impatiens or perhaps I have a few too many potted Geraniums, but no…these are Hydrangeas!

Now I know when I talk to my clients about Hydrangeas their minds immediately flash back to their mother’s and their grandmother’s gardens and bushes over run with white flowers that would flop over the minute a drop of rain fell on them.

Well I am here to say, that Hydrangeas have come a long way baby!

Cityline Hydrangea in Bloom

My current Hydrangea obsession is the Cityline Hydrangeas from Proven Winners. Now I had been warned that planting them “this far north” probably was a “bad idea” but I did it anyways! These compact little Hydrangeas (about 2’x2′) make for a great show in the front bed of the house and are just covered with lipstick pink blooms! The foliage is nice and lush and has an almost waxy appearance. Cutting off the dead blooms encourages reblooming and the blooms make a great cut flower! I have paired the Hydrangeas up with ornamental grasses under a Dawyck Beech and have included a miniture Hosta and the effect is quite nice. I love the color blocked appearance the Hydrangeas give to the garden! Not to mention I am not freaking out with each heavy rainstorm!

Cityline Hydrangeas in garden

Yes, there are other Hydrangeas throughout the garden – QuickFire with its early white blooms turning a nice pink-red, Limelight Hydrangeas with their limegreen blooms in late August as well as a gigantic Standard PeeGee Hydrangea. Its almost like there is a new Hydrangea bloom every month!

And here is a tip – did you know the pink or blue color of a Hydrangea is determined by the acidity of your soil? Blue flowers appears when your soil is acidic and pink blooms appear when your soil is alkaline. You can alter your soil pH and therefore change the color of your flowers. To change your Hydrangeas to blue add ‘Aluminum Sulphate’, to make your Hydrangeas pink try adding ‘Dolomitic Lime’.

Okay, I admit it…I get excited about plants.

Last year it was the Cappuccino Petunia that had me running from garden center to garden center searching out enough to do my friends planters and hanging

baskets. Not an easy find, but I was thrilled with the results!

This year though…I am giddy about another Petunia. Now, those who know me know I HATE Petunias. The mere image of those white and purple striped tubular, sticky annuals my grandmother had used to make my skin crawl, but now, well I am a changed woman! This years latest Petunia – BLACK! The only real BLACK out there! Oh, I am already making my list of places to drive to the minute the weather is warm enough to start planting…the combinations are coming to mind!

We often think of our annual diisplays of being shades of reds, pinks and yellows but why not a nice display in black and white? Wouldn’t that be a show stopper on your patio table in a nice lime green containerĀ or in a planter at the front door? Layered with the right ornamental grass this could be a striking combination! Using this type of combination is an easy way to bring your indoor decorating style outdoors!

So yes, while there is still snow on the ground, my mind is definately thinking about spring!