Ten for 10

21 05 2009

About a half hour before the Green Spring Gardens plant sale was to close this past Saturday, the Virginia Master Gardeners booth started hawking all of their plants as “ten for $10.” Yep…some of the same plants I had purchased about two hours earlier for $5+, much to my chagrin. Reasonable prices before, yes, but at $1 each—what gardener in their right mind would possibly pass on that offer? Never mind if we’ve run out of space in our gardens—they’re a dollar! Just a dollar! We’ve discovered that some of the vendors do that each year so they don’t have to drag all the unsold items back to wherever they originated…and I am only too happy to help them lighten their load.

My 10-for-10 purchases included:

PrimroseOenothera Lemon Drop, common name ‘Evening Primrose’—a low-maintenance, herbaceous perennial that blooms in full sun from June-September. This perennial is tough, tolerates poor soil, and loves the sun. Bright yellow blooms all summer. Deadheading is not necessary, it’s drought and heat tolerant and grows 8-12″ tall. It can also be grown in containers, where it will trail over the sides. And of course I already have some of these in my front yard garden, courtesy of our friend Micheline, who shared them with us when she downsized houses a few years ago. There was a large bank of these cheery flower blooming profusely in her backyard garden. Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder.

AnemoneOne sorta sad-looking (had to rescue it, though) Japanese Aneomone or Windflower (Anemone hupehensis)–-the tag indicates the flowers will be pinkish/mauve, so this might be the variety ‘September Charm.’ This perennial plant bears poppy-like flowers in September and October. The plants reach a height of four to five feet with each flower having five or more petal-like sepals that enclose the golden stamens. The leaves turn wine-red in autumn. Wish this plant luck—it will need it! Photo © Cindy Dyer.


WhiteWoodAsterTwo White Wood Asters (Aster divaricatus)—also known as ‘Eastern Star’—perennial herbaceous native to the eastern U.S. Grows 1-3 feet high with 3/4 to 1-inch white ray flowers that bloom profusely from August to September. The center of each flat-top flower starts yellow then ages to a reddish purple hue. The leaves are heart-shaped, stalked and sharply-toothed. White Wood Asters grow in part shade to full shade, are low-growing and low maintenance, and attract butterflies. They thrive in dry shade but become lush in moist soil. Cut hard at least once in spring to set the foliage back. Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder.

Viola striata (other common names: Striped cream violet, Common white violet, Pale violet, Striped violet)—native perennial herb blooms white and purple flowers April through June. Requires part shade and moist, loamy soil. This plant spreads through its rhizomes. Flowers attract bee flies, butterflies (particularly caterpillars of Fritillary butterflies and several species of moths) and skippers. Seeds are eaten by mourning doves, wild turkeys, mice, and rabbits.

MaxSunflowerI should be punished for purchasing another Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani). I bought the same plant four years ago because I thought it would be perfect at the bottom of the steps of our front porch. The plant label purported, “cheery little yellow flowers on 4 ft. stems.” Four feet tall—nice size for the front entrance, right? By the end of the summer, visitors were asking us if we were growing corn in the front yard. We measured it and the tallest stalk was about 12 feet high! I just did some research and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center site claims they grow 3-10 ft. high. What kind of wild range is that? (Imagine this scenario: Officer: Ma’am, how tall was the man who stole your wheelbarrow? Me: Ummm…he was three feet tall….then again, he might have been ten feet tall. I can’t be certain!) The plant grows Jack-in-the-Beanstalk high and then very late in the summer it sprays forth masses of miniature (2-3 inches across) yellow sunflowers that are at their most beautiful when they sway against a cornflower blue sky. And if I really want to get some good closeup shots of the blooms, I have to drag out the tall ladder to do so! Did I need another of these plants? No. But it was only a buck! Anyone have room in their garden for it? Photo © Cindy Dyer.

EchinopsRitroGlobe Thistle (Echinops ritro)—Clump-forming herbaceous perennial with coarse, prickly leaves (and how!) with 1-2 ball-shaped silvery-lavender-blue or dark blue flowerheads blooming in early to late summer on rigid branching stems 24-48 inches tall. These beautiful ornamentals grow best in full sun to mostly sunny areas, attract bees and butterflies, are good for cut flowers (and dried bouquets as well), will tolerate the heat and are deer resistant. And yes, I already have one—it’s about three years old and is the size of a small shrub already. I expect a plethora of blooms this season. Photo © Cindy Dyer.

SnowonthemountainSnow-on-the-Mountain (Euphorbia marginata)—I photographed this beautiful annual plant at Green Spring Gardens last year and posted the images on my blog here. A member of the spurge family, it flowers in the summer. Reaching 18-24 inches high, it requires sun to partial shade, and will attracts a plethora of butterflies, moths, bees, wasps and other insects—a veritable photographic smorgasbord! Now I’ll have one of my very own…once I find a place to plant it, that is. Folks, it was just a dollar, remember? Photo © Cindy Dyer.


Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)—This tough native is deer-resistant and provides food for larval butterflies. Clusters of sweet-scented white flowers appear on 1-2 foot stalks in June and July. Whorled milkweed can be found in prairies, pastures, open woods and by the roadside. Learn more about attracting Monarch butterflies to your garden (and purchase milkweed seeds, too) at www.happytonics.org.

Salvia

‘Ostfriesland’ Salvia (Salvia nemorosa)—also known as Violet Sage, Ornamental Meadow Sage, Perennial Woodland Sage—this sun-loving herbaceous perennial grows 12-18 inches high with fragrant violet-blue flowers blooming from summer to autumn. Attractive to bees, butterflies and birds, and deer resistant. I couldn’t find this version in my files or a suitable one to reprint, so I’m showing a similar salvia I photographed at Butchart Gardens. Photo © Cindy Dyer



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Love-in-a-mist

16 05 2009

I photographed this beautiful Love-in-a-mist at Green Spring Gardens this afternoon. Michael and I got up bright and early this morning to check out the annual plant sale at Green Springs. We got back about noon-ish and then left again with my friend Regina back to the park. The morning excursion was reserved for plant-buying for me (recap to come) and this afternoon jaunt was simply to photograph the latest flowers in bloom. I wrote a post about Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) last May here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Loveinamist





Glorious poppies

18 05 2008

This morning, Debbi and Regina and I went to the annual Green Spring Gardens Plant Sale. Since I have almost no spare room in my garden, my intent was not to buy plants. I did, of course, succumb to my obsession. I didn’t go too crazy with purchases, though. If you live in the D.C. area, this annual plant sale each May is a must for plantaholics. Be sure to bring a granny cart to carry your loot!

I did pick up the following:

Swamp milkweed: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ASIN

Mina lobata (Firecracker vine or Spanish flag)

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/09/03/mina-lobata/)

Two hyacinth bean vines: http://www.dirtdoctor.com/view_question.php?id=1236

I also bought an unusual hybrid of black-eyed susan (with skinnier petals than the usual black-eyed susan), a two-tone pink and yellow coneflower, a deep sunset orange coneflower, and two different liatris plants. See there? I can control myself! Put it this way, everything I bought fit into the car (with room for plants that Debbi and Regina bought, too). I spent most of my time flitting off to photograph one of the many hundreds of things flowering in the gardens.

Between the trip with Debbi and Regina this morning and the return trip later this afternoon with Michael, I shot almost 1000 images today! I shot exclusively with my new Nikon D300 and my 105 and 150 macro lenses. I’m loving the D300’s really bright viewfinder, huge screen, speed, tons of features, and the way it feels in my hands. Read Thom Hogan’s review here: http://www.bythom.com/nikond300review.htm

This is a series of poppy images I shot today. As beautiful as the crepe-paper-like unfurled flowers are, the curvy seed pod heads are just as lovely. I believe the red poppy is the Red Shirley Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) shown here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_popp

Here’s a great site for ordering poppy seeds (and for identifying the ones I haven’t yet!):

http://www.onestoppoppyshoppe.com/servlet/StoreFront

Learn more about growing poppies here: http://www.poppies.org/faq/growing/

The Green Spring Gardens website has a great list of “Plant Information Sheets” in pdf format available for download here: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/gsgp/gardening.htm

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.