The Clematis Perspective

Clematis jackmanii climbing trellis in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

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

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…]


Peperomia & Kalanchoe warm the livingroom in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

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…]

Sleeping Beauties

Spruce, heather and grasses in Winter Garden in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Birdsnest spruce, heather and ornamental grasses (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

For those of us that are gardeners or caretakers of the land, the end of the growing season signals a time for reflection.  A time for looking back and remembering what our landscapes looked like only a few months ago.  When the leaves of the trees were lush with green foliage and flowers were abundantly sprinkled about, many adorned with bees and butterflies.  Streams were flowing with the gentle melody of water tumbling over moss covered stones, and frogs basked along the banks awaiting an insect snack.  All was peaceful and warm. [Read more…]

Big Foot

Rodgersia in the perennial border in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

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

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

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…]

Living on the Edge

Lady's Mantle is the perfect edger in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

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

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…]