Gardens

Flower Size and Shape

Here’s a tip for designing the best flower gardens: don’t forget to consider a blossom’s size and shape. Most people focus on color first, and although this is important, it’s equally valuable to put remember to include differing sizes and shapes of flowers.

To show what I mean, here’s a shot of my Annual Alley from a previous year when I neglected to follow this advice.

Here's an example of what NOT to do.

Here’s an example of what NOT to do.

That particular year I wanted to plant Annual Alley with a theme of “Fireworks.” I used the King Tut Papyrus for the green explosions overhead, and Bright Lights Cosmos plus Fireworks Gomphrena because of their names and bright colors. Since I wanted a dash of yellow on plants that would be about the same height as the Cosmos and Gomphrena, I grew Francis Hoffman’s Choice marigolds as the final ingredient for this bed.

In other words, I considered flower color and height of the plants, but I failed to think about the size and shape of the blooms. Big mistake.

Although this bed was pretty, it ended up being kind of a blur. The flowers were all round and pretty much the same size. Unlike fireworks that stand out against a dark sky, these are melded together looking more like a polka dotted green fabric than a dramatic display. If I had this particular theme to do differently, I’d have included some large Zinnias and perhaps some tall red Salvia.

Lesson learned! I’m planning this year’s Annual Alley and I’ll be sure to think about flower color, size and shape as well the ultimate size of the plants when I’m designing this bed.

Love This!

I Love Sansevieria trifasciata

If a Sansevieria trifasciata can look good in O'Hare Airport, imagine how it will thrive in your home!

Name: Sansevieria trifasciata aka snake plant.

Type of Plant: A you-probably-can’t-kill-it houseplant that is sculptural, upright and tolerant of a wide variety of locations and conditions.

Why I love this: Sansevieria, commonly called snake plant, is a striking house plant that can provide an upright, green element indoors. This plant fits right in with any

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Lifestuff

Riley

Riley, 2015

Riley, 2015

We named him Riley but that quickly got changed to Riley Rumple as it became clear that he had a coat that tended toward shaggy. “You have to groom them, you know,” a total stranger remarked when he was walked on the streets of Falmouth. He answered to Riley when he wasn’t

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Gardens

Diversity in the Garden

And doubles, such as this wonderful Hot Papaya. Both this photos were taken at the wonderful Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine.

I was speaking at a garden club meeting recently where the member who gave a conservation or horticulture report reported about the need to plant for pollinators. All gardeners value the critters who pollinate plants and we’ve all heard about how bees, butterflies, bats and others are currently in peril. Plant people understand the value of protecting, and providing

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Love This!

I Love Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’

What I love most about the witch hazel flower is that they look like bunches of ribbons. On warm days these petals unfurl in celebration of the promise of spring.

Type of Plant: A large growing shrub for sun or part-shade that’s hardy in zones 5 to 9.

Why I love this: ‘Arnold Promise’ is a vigorous, easy care shrub that flowers while the snow is still on the ground. The plant naturally grows into a graceful vase-like shape. In mild winters ‘Arnold Promise’ comes

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Lifestuff

Oops I Did it Again - a Plant Geek's Lament

More plants? Oops! I did it again...

A Plant Person’s Parody sung to the tune of Oops!…I Did It Again by Max Martin and Rami Yacoub and recorded by Britney Spears.

Karaoke tune to sing to.

Mmmm Mmmm yeah yeah yeah

Mmmm Mmmm Yeah yeah yeah

I think I did it again Bought seeds and some plants when I felt the yen Oh baby When

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