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…]

Sleeping Beauties

Spruce, heather and grasses in Winter Garden in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

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 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…]

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…]

Plants for Seasons of Fragrance

Casa Blanca Lily in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Fragrant Casa Blanca Lily (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Ornamental gardens are traditionally designed for visual impact; vivacious blossoms are chosen to display a bold array of colors while shapely shrubs and grasses enhance the landscape with complementary hues and textures. But there is an unseen aspect to the garden that can be as alluring as the view itself, like the enchanting song of a siren luring you closer to the source. In a word: fragrance.

A luscious bourbon rose in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A luscious heirloom rose (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

In 40BC, Cleopatra used sweetly scented rose petals to lure Mark Anthony to her bedchamber, and today our 21st century markets have followed suit with fragrant hygiene products and unique perfumes, all created to give us our own signature scent. People identify with fragrance, it has the power to soothe, entice or invigorate (think Aromatherapy) yet, it can also transport you in time. Think back to the fresh baked aroma of your grandmother’s apple pie or the first whiff of lilac blossoms in spring. Helen Keller said it best: “Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived”. [Read more…]

Darling Daffodils

Daffodils at Laurel Ridge in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Daffodils at Laurel Ridge (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Growing bulbs can sometimes be a disheartening process.  We’ve all been there to witness the barren ground after painstakingly planting dozens of bulbs, finding them consumed before they even had a chance to greet the sun.  Or when our treasured tulips suddenly become remnants of the grand display they once were; a tattered mass of stems and leaves torn asunder.  But, don’t give up yet!  Coming to the rescue is a dependable, durable, deer resistant dynamo: the daffodil; a hardy bulb that will provide you with years of joy and pleasure. [Read more…]