American Cranberry

American Cranberry brightens the spring landscape in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

American Cranberry brightens the spring landscape (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

If my back yard birds got to vote on which trees they favor most for habitat and berries, I know the American Cranberry, Viburnum trilobum, would be at the top of their list (it is certainly on the top of mine). American Cranberry is a large shrub capable of reaching over 15 feet tall-and it grows quickly-in my garden it grew over 10 feet within eight years. It has a rounded, dense form which is perfect for birds to nest, while providing a fabulous natural hedge. [Read more…]

Big Foot

Rodgersia in the perennial border in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Rodgersia adds drama to the perennial border (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Imagine Sasquatch thundering across your yard and feeling the earth move beneath you as he (she?) stomps off into the distance. That’s a close comparison to the thrill of having gargantuan feet in your landscape. In sun or shade, nothing makes more of an impact in the border than bold foliage. Just as the gigantic Godzilla made his unforgettable mark on the movie screen, big leaves will make an indelible foot print in your garden setting. And that’s an encounter worth considering. [Read more…]

Cone Heads

Echinacea purpurea and friend in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Echinacea purpurea and friend (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

For beauty and durability, you couldn’t find an easier going, easier to grow perennial than the beloved purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea. Native to the prairies of central and southeastern United States, this comely trooper thrives in average soil and lots of sun from zones 4-8. It has a long bloom period, from June through August, and sometimes longer if spent flowers are removed promptly. The purplish-pink daisy like flowers can reach 4-5 inches in diameter, and stand tall atop sturdy 3-4 foot stems that are lined with coarse green leaves. Plants will self sow and spread gently if seed heads are left, however local fauna also find the seeds to be quite tasty come winter. [Read more…]

The Other Stachys

Stachys and Friend in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Stachys and Friend (photo: Kathy Diemer)

We’re all familiar with the popular lamb’s ears or Stachys byzantina, but not as many know about its distant cousin, purple betony (or bishop’s wort) or Stachys officinalis.  Actually, other than the name, they look nothing alike.  Where byzantina has soft, frosty grey leaves (especially attractive with ‘Helen Von Stein’) officinalis has smaller, dark green oval shaped leaves with scalloped edges.  And it’s those interesting leaves, with rounded edges like an embroidered collar, that I find so attractive at the front of the border.  Of course, the rich pinkish purple spikes (in some ways similar to salvia) are an added bonus. [Read more…]

Sweet Clethra

Hummingbird Clethra & Smokebush in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Hummingbird Clethra & Smokebush (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Clethra alnifolia is a popular garden shrub for so many reasons.  You can grow this versatile shrub in sun or part-shade, and it will bloom beautifully either way.  There are tall cultivars, like the rosy pink spired ‘Ruby Spice’ that can reach 6′ in optimal conditions.  And there are shorter versions, like ‘Hummingbird’ and ‘Sixteen Candles’ that produce white blossoms and top out around 3′, just perfect for the smaller garden setting. By no means are these the only selections, but these are the clethras that I personally grow and have had great success with. [Read more…]

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…]