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…]

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…]

Moon Flower Aspirations

Moon Flower at dawn in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Moon Flower at dawn (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

You have to be brave to try to grow a Moon Flower (Ipomoea alba) in the cold climate of New England. A risk taker. A gambler. Or, you might be the eternal optimist and believe in the impossible. Whichever you are, when you plant a moon flower north of the Mason-Dixon line, there is a pretty good chance that you won’t see a blossom before frost strikes. Not even one. So why would a Northwestern Connecticut gardener continue to try? Perhaps I am a bit of both: the eternal optimist and a risk taker. After all, what true hands-in-the-dirt gardener doesn’t take a few risks? But the reason I keep trying … I once had success, in fact not so long ago my patio was enveloped in fragrant moon flower blossoms (Visit moon flower post from 2012: Moon Flower ). And so my friends, I continue to strive to reach some semblance of that one time in the not too distant past when I glimpsed a little part of heaven on earth … [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…]

Terrariums

Peperomia & Kalanchoe warm the livingroom in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Peperomia & Kalanchoe warm the living room (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

A good portion of the country is still in the icy grip of the polar vortex, confining the most rugged outdoorsmen (and women) to indoor activities. Why, I hear tell that even the Abominable Snowman, illicit paramour of all things cold, has been seen doing a lot more “in cave” activities. So, what’s a nature loving person to do when outdoor temperatures are only conducive to thawing dry ice?  How about grabbing a few glass containers, some plants and dirt, and making a terrarium?  While it’s not quite that simple, sticking your hands in dirt (albeit potting soil) and getting long whiffs of plant matter might be just the ticket for lifting you out of the winter doldrums.  [Read more…]

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