Friday, October 30, 2009

New for 2010 --' flirtation orange' diascia

one of the other proven winner's standouts were these 'flirtation orange' diascia. you can't beat the orange and blue combo. diascia is a cool season annual. this looked great for me in the spring but looked good all summer. the orange color works well in the fall.

'snow princess' alyssum for 2010

one of the best perks of being a garden writer is the opportunity to trial plants a year before they are placed on the market. of this year's plants the stand out by far was alyssum 'Snow Princess' from proven winners. it is basically sweet alyssum on steroids. i had four plants which overwhelmed everything else in my window boxes. if 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia is the ultimate filler then 'snow princess' will become the ultimate spiller

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Teal Flower @

add some bling with spray paint

another truly original piece of thinking from Fallscaping is using spray paint to enhance the fall garden. how? add just a little gold to dried seed heads and bare branches. examples would include sea holly and honesty. you coud also use the paint for gourds and pumpkins.

'sweet caroline bronze' potato vine

i recently saw an example of this variety in a fall container and the effect with a bronze carex was a big winner. i'll talk to my contacts at family tree about growing it for the spring.

hakone grass 'aureola'

there really is a grass for shady locations. the varigation of 'aureola' can lighten up any shady corner. its performance across the country by it's designation as a recent perennial of the year. this photograph is the best example i've seen that shows of its graceful effect.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

featured plant: sedum 'angelina' in fall

i'm a big fan of groundcover sedum 'angelina' since it was nominated as a Patrick Pick last year. the chautruse foilage turns to a beautiful orange this time of year. it looks great paired with the gaillardia shown here at left

featured plant: amsonia

i've been readingh a book titled "Fallscaping". on it's cover it featured the fall foliage of amsonia, a perennial i'm not familiar with. when it was paired with pink muhly grass the effect was stunning. check the book out of the library for one final blast of fall.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

whitehouse garden plan

there has been a lot of hoopla regarding the WH garden but few details. so from out of the blogosphrere comes the first lady's plan. fascinating stuff.


"autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower"
Albert Camus

Monday, October 26, 2009

JOCO Master Gardener Channel 1943

Lee Brenum, one of my fellow JOCO Extension Master, produced some beautiful short documenteries about the Overland Park Arboreteum's Monet Garden and the display garden at the JOCO extension building in Olathe. they are artfully done and i hope they will be enjoyed by more than the master gardeners.

pass them on

got squirrels? get bulb cages!

if you have a problem with squirrels or other pesky critters digging up your bulbs, then bulb cages from Gardenerrr's Supply could be your answer. unlike others on the market these are epoxy coated to prevent rusting. i really like this company. let me know if you have had experience with these products.

beautiful pots

from time to time. i have to share a beautiful image and this is one of those from a weekly newsletter courtesy of . if you haven't been to this site, check it out and enjoy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

floating jack-o-lanterns

to create a feeling your jack-o-lanterns are floating in mid air use these steps -
1. carve at least three small sized jack-o-lantern.
2. insert small dowel rod in both sides of j-o-l about half of the way down. dowel rod should overhang the pumpkin by 3" on both sides
3. tie picture wire on each protruding down to create a wire hanger effect
4. add votives and enjoy.

Flower magazine

my wife recently bought me a magazine i had never seen before simply titled flower from . it's tagline is - enriching life through flowers it's a gkossy mag with a subscription under $15. recent issues have included an in-deph story of an organic dahlia farm, a florist using local growers to avoid central american suppliers to reduce her carbon footprint and a georgia o'keefe story.(see Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur 1930 at left)

Friday, October 23, 2009

new book -- black plants

my wife will shoot me if i buy a new book, but during the halloween season, this is very tempting. i know of black hollyhocks, tulips and voilas, so i'm very interested in the other 72. i don't know if i can wait until Christmas money to check this out. at under $11 at Amazon...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

spider gate

in honor of the season, comes this wonderful piece of garden art. reminds me of charlotte's web. enjoy

don't mulch too early

mulches applied too early can be dangerous to the health of the plant. it will keep the ground warm when the plant should be shutting down. wait a month before applying.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gardening 101 - "The Garden Primer"

now it its newly revised edition, coming in at over 650 pages is the best tool the new gardener can buy. it really is the gardeners bible.
would make an excellent gift for our new vegetable growers. try it, you'll like it. enough said.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Color Blend Tulips at Nursing Home

i recently volunteered my advice to a nursing home where a family member is staying. the home was recently landscaped with sun plants. problem is it under two huge pin oaks and two crabs and the landscaper isn't returning calls. they have asked me to redo the job in the spring.

i'm starting right away with 50 color blended tulips from white flower farm in a seasonal part of the garden. the hope is these tulip varieties that bloom together. of course, that's a high bar to meet across the whole country. so we'll see how it works in kansas. kansas is a long way from amsterdam.

combo at left is 'stretch 'with all that color up on top, i'll underplant with white pansies.

Monday, October 12, 2009

now that's a mum: exhibition mums

one of my best gardening recollections from my childhood in Australia is of a man in our neighborhood who sent these types of large mums approx 8" wide to the Chelsea Flower Show in England and won ribbons. i can't imagine the logistics of such a trip never mind customs. in this country, i have seen them referred to as football mums. my favorite are the spider mums pictured at right.

with memories of that gentlemen's efforts, i tried growing these type of mums in ks. my experience was the spiders needed a longer growing season to pull off a specimen bloom. but i did win a best mum in show at a local show. i still have the trophy.
i know nearly all of you are more than content with our mums, but take a cool trip to the vendor i used at

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Orchids to cure post killing frost blues

well we should have a killer frost in the next day or two. p allen smith (when i grow up i want to be almost just like him) recommends indoor orchids to help you adjust to life without your precious annuals. i strongly concur with him that moth orchids (phalaenopsis) are the best place to start. once in flower, they can continue for months. i was given the best advice from a hobbiest years ago. hopefully you have a spray fitting on your faucet, either way, each week let the water flow under the sink for five minutes. when i was working i made it part of my saturday morning routine.
photo courtesy pas

Friday, October 9, 2009

how late can i plant trees safely?

According to Ken Wood of Family Tree in Shawnee, you can safely plant until the ground freezes and he's not exaggerating. he said late planted tree can still send out roots through December. so take advantage of those 50% off sales like at Suburban or Earl May's free planting offer. your trees will also be developing roots way before you can get a tree in next spring.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bald Cypress - no leaf raking (almost)

it is this time of year when gathering leaves is added to your chore list. however, if you had a yard full of bald cypress it would be greatly reduced. notice the small leaflets (my word). each individual piece drops to the ground and most are blown away unless you have fences or other obstacles. and then they are a little bother.
but the biggest asset is the graceful effect these delicate leaves create unlike any tree we have in our landscaping pallette. i can't imagine the impact of 3 grouped together. i'm planning to in a clients backyard next year.
this is the same tree found in florida's everglades. because of this attribute i have been told they sop up water in poor drainage areas. this one i have to verify with KSU extension. i'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Old House Gardens -- Heirloom Bulbs

When you want to get serious about your bulbs, you must check out
and by serious i mean willing to pay $5.00 for a rare tulip which has been documented as introduced to commerce in 1857. there are cheaper bulbs but for rest of us hungry gardeners its just a trip.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Missouri Botanical Garden Clock

there is a long history to the floral clock. it was invented by Carl Linnaeus, the same man who created the botanical name system. i have seen examples at Disneyland and Edinburgh, Scotland,the land of my forebearers. i'm eager to see the example at right in the Missouri Botanical Garden at St. Louis. few people are aware that MOBOT is one of the best in the world. check it out!

Best Garden Plants For Kansas Book

my wife purchased this nifty little book for me last year. the pages are nicely color coded and one page is dedicated to each plant. it's an excellent 101 tool for beginners and a great brainstorming tool foe the more accomplished gardener. it is co-written by a wichita master gardener so you can trust the information in oor area.