Enchanting Hummingbirds

A Hummingbird visits the globe thistle in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A Hummingbird visits the globe thistle (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been mesmerized by hummingbirds. From their ability to fly almost at the speed of light in one moment and perch quietly on a limb the next, to their brilliantly colored bodies illuminated by the sunlight in a prism of shades, from emerald green to royal blue and ruby red. (Impossible to truly capture on film, although I continue to try). Yes, there is something special about hummingbirds – the tiniest of birds, yet in many ways the most amazing. Almost otherworldly or mystical, they are indeed magical.

Named for the humming sound produced by their fast moving wings (up to 80 times per second), some believe that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying hopes for love, joy, beauty and limitless opportunities. Native Americans thought of hummingbirds as sacred and associated them with beauty, harmony, industriousness and integrity. Hummingbirds were often portrayed as healers or spirit beings that helped people in need. But for most of us, hummingbirds are enchanted beings that flit about our yards bringing a sense of wonder whenever they pass by. [Read more…]

Savory Sweetgum

Liquidambar Variegata's medley of colors in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Liquidambar Variegata’s medley of foliage colors (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Once upon a time there was a girl that absolutely adored all things multicolored.  She loved calico cats and tie dye shirts, rainbows and zebra prints.  So, it was a natural transition for this girl to grow into a gardener with the same relish for multicolored foliage.  Luckily, she was born in a century brimming with innovative plant introductions, such as echinacea in unheard of shades like fluorescent orange and eye-popping pink, and dwarf lilacs that were not only intensely fragrant, but bloomed from spring to fall.  But what intrigued this damsel most of all were the many creations complemented with variegated foliage.  She simply could not get enough.  A few years ago, she stumbled upon a variegated sweetgum, and the rest as they say is history . . . [Read more…]

A Rosy Picture

So close you can almost smell 'Don Juan' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

So close you can almost smell ‘Don Juan’ (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Roses can be temperamental little buggers, but if you have the right conditions; sun, good air flow and moist but well drained soil, a shrub rose can be one of the best garden companions you ever had, providing seasons of bloom, intoxicating fragrance and plump hips for fall interest.  All it takes is a little research to find a rose to meet your requirements, the commitment to perform a few maintenance procedures throughout the growing season, and the results will be well worth your efforts.  [Read more…]

The Great Whites

Three White Plants in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Veronicastrum, eupatorium and parthenium (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

As far as color in the garden goes, white gets a bad rap.  It’s too bland.  It’s ho hum.  It’s just plain boring.  Yet white is also the color associated with awakening, growth and creativity.  The color translation of white is inherently a positive one as well, signifying illumination, brilliance, spirituality, humility, even assisting in happier thought processing. Sometimes a dash of white can hit the spot.  In fact, ivory flowers ignite the shadiest gardens (think Cimicifuga racemosa, with its soaring white spires) while simply sparkling in sunny locales. White, like the opposing black, goes with everything, and any garden combination could benefit from a shot of it.  Whether used to brighten a space, to add a little pizzazz, or to cool down a mass of sizzling blossoms, white may be the ticket you’re craving . . . you just didn’t know it.  Here’s a few of the favorite pearls I’ve grown to love over the years:   [Read more…]

Bonny Verbena

Verbena with Hummingbird Moth in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Verbena with Hummingbird Moth (photo: Kathy Diemer)

I’m not much of an annual lover.  Don’t get me wrong, I always make up a few containers and window boxes every year (even though I find the daily watering and fertilizing quite tedious).  Annuals are also great for filling in those open spots that mysteriously appear (after what I suspect were major vole fests).  And I have the utmost respect for those dedicated folks that plant dahlias and cannas annually, carefully digging them up and storing them through the winter.  But that’s just not me.  I want a relationship with my plants and shrubs, where we can grow up together, mature over time and learn to accept each other’s idiosyncrasies.  My needs are simple; I want plants that thrive without a lot of fussing, and come back faithfully year after year.  That’s not a lot to ask, is it? [Read more…]

The Clematis Perspective

Clematis jackmanii climbing trellis in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Clematis jackmanii climbing rose trellis (photo: Kathy Diemer)

The word perspective has several translations, one meaning the way objects appear visually.  And clematis is a perspective changer, it’s as simple as that.  When a clematis vine is added to the landscape it adds height, dimension, and drama, all of which help to create a different perspective.  A visual feast for the eye, so to speak.  With ambitious cultivars that climb to twenty feet and modest types that stay around six, available in an unbelievable array of colors and bloom sizes, there is sure to be a vine that will stimulate your landscape design. [Read more…]

Low Growing Lady

Alchemilla mollis with morning dew in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Alchemilla mollis with morning dew (photo: Kathy Diemer)

Low growing plants are a necessary garden commodity for those of us that don’t want to be slaves to formal edging, and many can be used to add contrast and texture to the overall design.  One perennial that has an accommodating personality without being bully-ish is the charming Lady’s Mantle, otherwise known as Alchemilla mollis.  Content in a sunny locale (with adequate moisture), and equally happy with some shade, most gardens could find a spot or two for this desirable companion.   [Read more…]

Herbs for Ornamentation and more…

Herb Garden | A Garden for All by Kathy Diemer

Herbs in the border (Photo Credit: Kathy Diemer)

Some say “erbs”, others say “herbs,” but no matter how you pronounce it, there’s nothing silent about the presence of herbs in the garden. Herbs not only provide an ornamental and edible aspect to the garden, they’re useful as a critter repellant as well. Since I grow them mainly for their ornamental attributes, I can’t share their many medicinal and culinary benefits from a personal perspective. I can, however, entice you with their visual characteristics. And, if you want to try them for other purposes, all the better!  Here are a few of my favorite hardy herbs for adding visual interest to your garden: [Read more…]

Enduring Lilacs

Common Syringa vulgaris in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Common Syringa vulgaris (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

The fragrant lavender blooms of heirloom lilacs are opening in abundance; a sure sign of spring and a promise of many wonderful events to come. Nothing compares to the beauty and perfume of the syringa family, and there are so many sizes and colors to choose from that no one needs to miss the opportunity to have at least one delicious specimen nearby.  [Read more…]

Singlefile for Doublefile

Doublefile Viburnum Ignites the Landscape in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Doublefile Viburnum Ignites the Landscape (photo: Kathy Diemer)

We plant trees for a variety of reasons, one being to provide privacy or camouflage of an obstacle that might otherwise be quite unsightly.  The trick is finding a specimen that will thrive under the conditions of that spot as well as fitting the bill for coverage.  For a gorgeous shrub that will grow to 10′ tall by 15′ wide, in sun or part shade within zones 5-8, it’s ‘Mission accomplished’ with a doublefile viburnum. [Read more…]

A Garden for All