I came across Shannon’s blog 8FOOT6 while I was out perusing blogs during my weekly Before & After hunt. Her house is incredibly charming and as soon as I saw this before shot I knew the after was going to look like a million bucks.
I did a little plant shopping yesterday. I wanted to get my planters looking pretty but this season I wanted it to be as quick and simple as possible because with all my other projects I just don’t feel like I have the time or creative brain-space to dedicate to the task at my normal more complicated level. My 2013 containers are calling for a little black dress.
I have roughly 8-9 pots that I plant up each year and often I match up a few and then do something different for others as they are moved around the garden. Wanting to get in and out of the nursery as quickly as possible though, I found myself honing in on a simple old standby – red geraniums. All the planters (with the exception of one that is already filled with rosemary) are getting overflowing mounds of red geraniums. They will carry me right through the summer with style and all I have to do is pinch back the blooms every so often.
There are few plants (IMO) that can so simply be put anywhere and be a stylish star. I would argue that boxwood is another little back dress plant as well as a nice plume-y grass like Pennisetum ‘Red head’. I can’t think of too many others at the moment…. I’m curious — what do you think qualifies as a little black dress plant? Here is my definition…easy to grow, easy to maintain, looks good all season and everywhere (including in containers), and can completely standalone if needed.
(images by Rochelle Greayer)
I am going to start out by admitting that I have never been impressed with serviceberry. The first serviceberry or shadblow (Amelanchier spp.) that I encountered was in Pennsylvania in 1996. I was told that it was an impressive, native tree that was being promoted as a replacement for the over-used Bradford pear. When it flowered, well, um, I actually forgot ever seeing it in flower. It was so underwhelming. Since that time, I have seen other serviceberry trees and written them off because of short flowering time or early leaf drop in the summer.
My view has changed this spring in Maine. I am not sure whether it is Maine’s climate or the particular selections we have at CMBG but the flowering this year has been outstanding. Planted along our education center are Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Cole’s Select.’ They started flowering a couple of weeks ago and are still going strong. The form is somewhat upright and the trees are around 20′ in height, making for a remarkable display of white flowers this May. Amelanchier x grandiflora is a naturally occuring hybrid between the two east coast US native species: A. arborea and A. laevis. The result is a small, upright, native, spring flowering, edible fruit producing, and brilliant fall colored tree. Our cultivar, ‘Cole’s Select’ has dark green leaves that turn a brilliant reddish-orange in the fall. The form is perfect for the small landscape, it reminds me of a small crepemyrtle or upright Japanese maple.
There are other cultivars of Amelanchier x grandiflora available including ‘Autumn Brilliance,’ ‘Princess Diana,’ ‘Robin Hill,’ and ‘Cumulus.’ We have ‘Autumn Brilliance’ and ‘Robin Hill’ planted in the gardens here in Boothbay and I would definitely like to add some more in the future based upon the performance this spring of ‘Cole’s Select.’
Do you have serviceberry planted in your garden? How is it growing for you?
Photos: Rodney Eason
I had a belated mothers day well wishing call with my mom yesterday. We missed each other on Sunday. She really enjoyed one of the gifts that I sent to her….which was a copy of Deborah Madison’s new cookbook Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom. I have a copy for myself and love how it was organized (by plant kingdom) so I shared.
My mom particularly mentioned how excited she was to see recipes for shishito peppers in the book. Have you heard of them? Seems that these tasty pepper treats are quite trendy in Denver. I also saw a story about their popularity the restaurants of Dallas. But they haven’t made their way east to DC (where my mom searched for them when she last visited my sister) and they certainly are still unheard of here in the New England culinary hinterlands. Mom found some starts at Tigawa Gardens last year but hasn’t had any luck this year. (if you have seen them in the Colorado Springs or Denver Metro area let us know — she is on the prowl)
Regional scarcity and promised tastiness is just the impetus I need for planting something new! Seeds can be found at Kitazawa seed Company if you care to join in the experiment. There is still time if you act quickly to get these going for this year.
My mom says that these sweet peppers are perfect when grilled and tossed with a little salt and oil just like this recipe at Spoon Fork Bacon. Sounds perfect after a long day in the dirt…washed down with a cold beer.
image Spoon Fork Bacon
I spent a pretty good heap of time out in the yard today and I’m actually feeling quite good about how far I got [not the usual case...]. While I was removing a never ending sea of river rocks I remembered that today is Before and After day on Studio ‘g’ and I started to think about how much easier it will be to find content now that everybody can finally be out in their yard again! Gah, it’s about time. Anyway, this particular transformation has taken place over the last 2 years and it’s come a long way! Heather from Just a Girl with a Hammer is always up to something and I was pretty amped to see that she took a new photo of her front yard progress last week.