Bouquets from my gardens…
Being one of the most popular flowering shrubs in the world, Hydrangeas are available in a wide range of colors, from blue, purple, pink, white, and even multi-colored on one shrub. Easy care and few pests lend this to most any gardener. They love the shade but will tolerate a few hours of morning sun if they have plenty of water. Don’t prune after July and you won’t be disappointed in blooms. They set next years’ bud after this years’ bloom, so don’t prune off the blooms next spring. You can leave the dry flowers on all winter and trim them off in spring. If the plants get a bit leggy and old, you can prune a few canes down to the ground each year to refresh this lovely plant. I love to dry them, but pick when the flowers start to feel ‘papery’ then put in a dry vase (no water) or hang upside down to fully dry. Give them plenty of room to grow and remember they are bare sticks all winter so put them in the back of the bed. The soil (pH) they are grown in dictates the color; under 6 .0 pH will give shades of blue and lavender, while above 7.0 will result in pink and red shades. You can actually change the color by adding the correct amendment to the soil, garden centers now sell color-change products for hydrangeas. Every garden needs at least one hydrangea. I lost count of how many I have but I think it’s over 10 and I don’t have a real good pink so that count will be going up soon.
I can’t get enough colors of CALLA LILIES in my gardens. They are truly beautiful.
Calla lilies are easy to grow and add a classy look to perennial gardens, cutting gardens, and container plantings. Their distinctive flowers come in many beautiful colors, including classic white (a favorite for weddings), yellow, orange, pink, rose, lavender, and dark maroon. They grow in zones 8-10, so if you’re in a borderline zone, grow against the foundation where they have protection.
The plants have smooth, sword-like foliage that’s often decorated with white freckles. This foliage looks neat and attractive all season long, both before and after the flowers bloom. In the garden or in a vase, calla lilies are elegant and always impressive.
Calla lilies are easy to grow. Here’s how to get them off to a great start.
SHADE AND SUN: In warm climates, calla lilies grow well in full sun or partial shade. In cooler areas they grow best in full sun.
ZONE: Calla lilies are winter hardy in zones 8-10. In colder areas they can either be grown as annuals or can be dug up in the fall and stored indoors for replanting the next spring. Reference the USDA Hardiness zone map here.
WHEN TO PLANT: Calla lilies should be planted in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. In cold climates, it’s best to wait until the soil has warmed to at least 65°F. For a head start, you can plant the rhizomes in pots indoors about a month before planting them into the garden.
Albizia Tree: Silk Mimosa Tree
My all time favorite tree, ALBIZIA julibrissin.
This tree is actually in my yard, growing by my pond. It has survived some pretty hard winters in our zone 8, with extreme winds. This tree is about 15 years old. So it doesn’t outgrow space, but leave room for canopy growth.
The shape, smell, everything about it is grand. It grows in a vase shape so it lends itself to sitting under its dappled shade with a cold beverage enjoying the shade on a hot day. This tree starts blooming in August when all other trees are finished. And it blooms for a long period of time. I live in zone 8 but the micro-zone is closer to a 7, strong NE winds blow in the winter and it gets cold. This tree is 15 years old and going strong. If you have room for a tree this size (15 feet tall and wide); you should really consider one. No real bugs or diseases plague this tree, the only negative would be a few spent flowers, leaves, and seed pods, but it’s so worth the beauty. I love it so much I bought a ‘chocolate’ Albizia and had to make room for it. Pictures of it will show up here in a few years, it’s still very small as they are very hard to find trees.
It should have full sun, good drainage to do its best. I have not had any problems with bugs or diseases on mine. The only negative thing about this tree is that it can be a bit messy when the pods fall, but it’s so worth it.
One of my Favorite Trees: STYRAX JAPONICA
I have a white Styrax tree and wish for a pink one too.
It’s a truly lovely, slightly fragrant, white,(comes in pink too but not as hardy) bell-shaped flowers drip from strongly horizontal side branches with dark green foliage in early summer. A splendid small tree for use adjacent to a patio or near a pathway. Foliage turns yellow to red in the fall. Deciduous, which means the leaves fall in the fall and the branches are bare all winter.
USDA Zones 5-8.
Light Needs: Full sun, Partial
Water Needs: Water regularly to keep soil surface moist, but not soggy.
Robinia pseudoacacia Tree
I have another absolute favorite tree; Robinia.
This attractive deciduous tree provides soft filtered shade with its open habit and pinnate leaf shape. It is a moderate grower with striking lime green foliage which intensifies into a vibrant, golden color in autumn. Long pink, pea-like flowers are fragrant and appear in early summer, followed by smooth brown seed pods. Suitable for hot dry climates and coastal conditions, however, it does need shelter from strong winds as the branches may tend towards being brittle.
I live in zone 8 and mine survives some pretty strong winds but I have branches break off every year. I keep the branches pruned short to keep strong as possible since I love the blossoms on this tree.
And, of course, More to come, be sure to check back later.