A Garden’s Evolution

The monarda and grass have since been replaced in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The monarda and grass have since been replaced (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

After decades of gardening there is one thing I can tell you with certainty; nothing stays the same. Gardens evolve in a number of ways for a number of reasons. Plants die, creating a vacancy for something new. Some plants outgrow their space while others simply don’t please us any more, ultimately forcing us to make changes. It is during the editing process that we can explore fresh ideas and experiment with different plant materials, which is part of what makes gardening so interesting and challenging. Evolution equals change, something that everything and everyone does every day, hopefully resulting in a more desirable outcome. In other words, when your garden is overrun with mint . . . make mojitos! As a self-taught gardener, I learned a lot from the evolution of my gardens and following are a few of my observations that may help you as you delve into the unpredictable world of gardening. [Read more…]

Living on the Edge

Lady's Mantle is the perfect edger in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Lady’s Mantle is a beautiful edger (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Living on the edge of the garden, up front and exposed, can sometimes be a scary place for a plant. All that pressure to perform and look good … after all, they’re front and center for all to see! But being center stage doesn’t have to be so risky, if you choose the right plants for your site and conditions. Here are a few of my long time durables that never fail to dazzle, despite the foul weather that Mother Nature dishes out. [Read more…]

Reliable Favorites

An inviting walkway in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

An inviting walkway (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Each spring brings opportunities-and a little inspiration-to take on chores we put off over the winter. Perhaps it’s the sun’s warmth that inspires us after the long winter, or possibly just the change of seasons that makes us want to shed old “stuff” and reinvent ourselves in some small way. We might do a thorough house cleaning to refresh our spirits, paint one of our rooms a bright, cheerful color, or simply update some curtains. And for those of us whose spirits are longing to be outdoors, we may pick a few new plants to lift our spirits and celebrate the coming summer. If plant inspiration is something you’re thinking about this spring, here are a few of the long lived (in Zone 5 New England) beauties that give me great joy each year that they return. [Read more…]

Creative Containers

Lantana 'Samantha' with Coleus 'Dark Star' in A Garden For All by kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Dramatic contrast: Lantana ‘Samantha’ with Coleus ‘Dark Star’ and variegated plectranthus (photo: Kathy Diemer)

Depending on your climate, container time is nigh!  Dust off those pots, compost last year’s potting soil and round up some gorgeous new plants to adorn your doorstep, deck or driveway.  As always, plant growers have been working overtime to provide many enticing introductions, as well as improving upon the old reliables.  Let’s think outside the box and kick it up a notch with some dazzling flowers and fluorescent foliage.  Here’s a few tips and plant suggestions to do just that: [Read more…]

Fringe Benefits

Chionanthus virginicus in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Chionanthus virginicus’ fragrant tassels (Photo: Kathy Diemer)

Each spring is filled with great anticipation for the fragrant clusters of shredded coconut-like flowers that will soon adorn every branch of my fringe trees.  Sweetly honeysuckle scented, the delicate white tassels remind me of the streamers at the end of my first bicycle’s handle bars as they fluttered in the breeze. (I’m dating myself, but those of you that remember the streamers may also remember banana seats, sissy bars and playing cards attached to the spokes with clothes line pins). [Read more…]

Plants for Seasons of Fragrance

Casa Blanca Lily in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Fragrant Casa Blanca Lily (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Ornamental gardens are traditionally designed for visual impact; vivacious blossoms are chosen to display a bold array of colors while shapely shrubs and grasses enhance the landscape with complementary hues and textures. But there is an unseen aspect to the garden that can be as alluring as the view itself, like the enchanting song of a siren luring you closer to the source. In a word: fragrance.

A luscious bourbon rose in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A luscious heirloom rose (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

In 40BC, Cleopatra used sweetly scented rose petals to lure Mark Anthony to her bedchamber, and today our 21st century markets have followed suit with fragrant hygiene products and unique perfumes, all created to give us our own signature scent. People identify with fragrance, it has the power to soothe, entice or invigorate (think Aromatherapy) yet, it can also transport you in time. Think back to the fresh baked aroma of your grandmother’s apple pie or the first whiff of lilac blossoms in spring. Helen Keller said it best: “Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived”. [Read more…]

Darling Daffodils

Daffodils at Laurel Ridge in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Daffodils at Laurel Ridge (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Growing bulbs can sometimes be a disheartening process.  We’ve all been there to witness the barren ground after painstakingly planting dozens of bulbs, finding them consumed before they even had a chance to greet the sun.  Or when our treasured tulips suddenly become remnants of the grand display they once were; a tattered mass of stems and leaves torn asunder.  But, don’t give up yet!  Coming to the rescue is a dependable, durable, deer resistant dynamo: the daffodil; a hardy bulb that will provide you with years of joy and pleasure. [Read more…]

Golden Opportunities

Golden Oriental Spruce in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Golden Oriental Spruce (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

The buds of our deciduous trees are starting to swell and the leaves are gently unwinding after a long winter’s slumber.  Yes, spring has arrived and our trees and shrubs are starting to awaken.  But, they won’t be fully displayed until sometime in May, which leaves us with a landscape that still seems a bit colorless.  Enter, stage right, a few golden needled conifers and “Shazam“, problem solved! [Read more…]

Tropical Punch

Yucca with snow in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Yucca in the snow (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

If, like me, you crave a touch of adventure in your garden, then yucca could be the plant for you.  For those of us in colder zones, we can’t grow many of the desert dwellers such as agaves or cactus. But yucca is a different story. Quite cold hardy, not only do they add a spiky, prickly character to an otherwise oval leafed garden, they look good all year long.  Yes, that’s right. When other cold climate plants have gone below for the winter, yucca happily stands up to whatever mother nature can dish out. [Read more…]

Bayberry

Bayberry's Bronzed Foliage in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Bayberry’s Bronzed Foliage (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

This is the time of year when we start taking stock of what looks good, what held up through the winter, and plants we might be composting come spring.  I tend to favor shrubs with the ability to add structure and interest in the border during the winter months, and bayberry is a shrub that easily fits the bill as a dependable native shrub that shines in the New England winter landscape. [Read more…]