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…]

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…]

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…]

A Garden for All