Orbs of Delight

A globe of petrified wood in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A globe of petrified wood celebrates an anniversary (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Some of my favorite ornamental objects are orbs of all dimensions and materials. I have rugged granite balls in three sizes, glass globes that are blown with swirls of color, and mirrored spheres reminiscent of old mercury glass.  Most glass pieces are safe outdoors as long as you keep them up from the ground, so my globes often remain outdoors to be enjoyed as they glisten against the lush foliage of summer or glow with a dusting of winter’s snow. Orb groupings are very attractive; especially when partnered with low growing perennials such as lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) or used to complement other round objects. I use granite balls near my circular bird bath to echo the soothing grey colors and textures of each, and recently celebrated my anniversary with a sphere of petrified wood. But what about living orbs . . . [Read more…]

The Days of Wine & Roses

An heirloom shrub rose in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A fragrant heirloom shrub rose (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

I don’t know when you were last surprised with a bouquet of roses and a bottle of wine, as it sure has been a while for me. But don’t blame my husband; I always request that he give me plants in lieu of cut flowers. Although I adore fresh blooms, I simply can’t justify spending a significant amount of cash on something that needs constant tending, only to shrivel up within days, versus spending the same amount of money (or even less!) on something that can be enjoyed for decades . . . without constantly trimming stems and changing water. Well, you do the math. [Read more…]

Iris Envy

Rich Plum Bearded Iris in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Rich plum bearded iris with fiery throat (photo: Kathy Diemer)

Although this holiday is considered to be of Japanese origin, Iris day is celebrated annually on May 8th here in the United States.  Due to the great popularity of irises, this date was set aside to acknowledge the beauty of these beloved spring bloomers.  Iris are a favorite because of the wide variety of colors and combinations, which is why they were named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow.  Many are sweetly fragrant (like grapes), come in a vast range of sizes (from 6 inches to 4 feet), and have the ability to thrive in wet to dry and sunny or shady locations.  The flowers may be upright, ruffled or drooping, some with fluffy bearded sections.  They are all wonderful garden companions, but many are great naturalizers in meadows or in wetlands as well. Most are deer resistant, yet attractive to bees and butterflies.  I grow many and find them to be one of the most intricately exquisite flowers on earth.  Here are a few options to look for at your local nursery:   [Read more…]

Thriller Fothergilla

Fothergilla gardenii's spring bouquet in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Fothergilla gardenii’s spring bouquet (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

One of my favorite shrubs for sounding the arrival of spring is fothergilla, a southeastern U.S. native that thrives in sunny, moist (but well drained) locations in zones 5-8.  Like a woman with a full head of rollers in preparation for her big date, fothergilla makes a stunning debut in your spring garden as it unfurls dozens of bright, cylindrical blossoms atop its crown.  These white, bottle brush shaped flowers are sparklers at the tips of fothergilla’s branches, and for our winter weary senses, they are a sight to behold.  Did I mention the blooms also possess a delicate fragrance? Ahhhh, how can you resist this cheerful shrub? But wait, there’s more! [Read more…]

Catmint

Nepeta 'Cool Cat' purrs in the garden in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Nepeta ‘Cool Cat’ purrs in the garden (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Nepeta is a plant with cattitude.  That is to say, you can love it to pieces and it can take-you-or-leave-you, thriving wonderfully just the same.  Nepeta is a genus of approximately 250 species of perennials, and is native to a variety of habitats throughout Europe and Asia.  Generally speaking, nepeta species are reliable, long lived perennials requiring little to no maintenance; not bad attributes for a plant with such an indifferent demeanor. [Read more…]

Where There’s Smoke . . .

Smoke Bush (Cotinus coggygria) | A Garden for All by Kathy Diemer

Smoke Bush is rich in color (Photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

. . . there’s fire, and if you’re looking for a plant to ignite your garden setting this year, Cotinus coggygria may be just the plant you’ve been searching for.  Cultivated in Britain since 1656, and formerly known as Rhus cotinus, Cotinus coggygria is a blazing shrub that flaunts itself from early June to frost in my northern garden.  Also known as the smoke bush because of the frothy sprays of ashy grey flowers it bears each summer, I grow the showier Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’.  And, I don’t grow it for the flowers . . . I grow it for the outrageously showy, rich maroon-purple foliage that provides a dependably stunning display in my gardens every year. [Read more…]

Stellar Stellata

Magnolia stellata's luminous flowers in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Magnolia stellata’s luminous flowers (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Magnolia stellata, a most cherished early bloomer, was one of the first small trees we planted on our property over twenty years ago.  Sited in close proximity to our house, we could easily view its beauty through all the seasons, as well as enjoy one of early spring’s most enchanting fragrances. [Read more…]

Magical Moss

Moss and fern adorn rock surface in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Moss and fern adorn rock surface (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Imagine yourself walking in a forest where the only sounds are wind gently blowing through surrounding boughs and leaves rustling with the scurrying of squirrels busily collecting nuts for winter.  The air is filled with an earthy scent of fallen leaves, while high above a chorus of birds celebrate the new day.  While strolling along you realize that your path was made not by man, but by the creatures of this forest.  You imagine raccoons and possums that sifted through the soil beneath your feet in their search for tidbits, and you see evidence of branches nibbled by passing deer.  Looking about a little more cautiously, you wonder if larger predators such as coyote and bear might not be lurking somewhere close by.  And then you come upon a small clearing where the ground, fallen tree trunks and boulders are all cloaked in an emerald blanket of moss.  For a moment you are mesmerized by the wizardry of nature. [Read more…]

Eastern Redbud

Cercis canadensis blooms in early spring in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Cercis canadensis blooms in early spring (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Hardy to zones 4-8, native Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud), is a smaller North American tree, and among the first to flower in my zone 5 Connecticut garden. The leafless branches are liberally twined with profuse ribbons of vibrant cotton candy blossoms from one end to the other, creating one of the most spectacular early spring displays. When you factor in the bright fuchsia flower clusters enveloping the broad limbs, the tree appears to be an enormous pink umbrella that has just opened in your yard. [Read more…]

Pussy Willows

Salix discolor in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Salix discolor (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

There’s one good thing about the month of March . . . well, actually two.  First, it’s only another four weeks (give or take, depending on Punxsutawney) before spring.  And second, irresistible pussy willows!  When Salix discolor‘s playful buds start emerging, it’s a sure sign spring isn’t too far away. [Read more…]

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