Savory Sweetgum

Liquidambar Variegata's medley of colors in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Liquidambar Variegata’s medley of foliage colors (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Once upon a time there was a girl that absolutely adored all things multicolored.  She loved calico cats and tie dye shirts, rainbows and zebra prints.  So, it was a natural transition for this girl to grow into a gardener with the same relish for multicolored foliage.  Luckily, she was born in a century brimming with innovative plant introductions, such as echinacea in unheard of shades like fluorescent orange and eye-popping pink, and dwarf lilacs that were not only intensely fragrant, but bloomed from spring to fall.  But what intrigued this damsel most of all were the many creations complemented with variegated foliage.  She simply could not get enough.  A few years ago, she stumbled upon a variegated sweetgum, and the rest as they say is history . . . [Read more…]

The Variegation Sensation

Knautia 'Thunder & Lightening' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Knautia ‘Thunder & Lightening’ (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

It may not be time to plant yet, but it is the opportune time to start planning.  Are there a few bare spots you’re looking to fill?  Maybe an area that needs a little revamping? Or, perhaps there was a mole/vole party that has created a new vacancy. You can finally start perusing through those piles of plant catalogs with a vengeance, and compile your lists.  You know, the list categorized by the “must haves”, the “wish I could have” and the “if I win the lottery, I can have.” I always have at least a few dreamy wish plants and lottery picks, just in case of a windfall.  In the meantime, let’s narrow down your “must haves” to include some spicy foliaged specimens. [Read more…]

Saving Sweetgum

Variegated Liquidambar creates a focal point in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Variegated Liquidambar creates a vibrant focal point (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Trials and tribulations are many when you lose your home, and sometimes the least little thing can create extreme joy . . . or extreme angst.  Though it may sound silly, I had this sort of situation with a sweetgum tree.  Yes, a sweetgum tree.  Besides the entire house and contents, we also lost a lot of trees and shrubs from the fire and its incredible heat, so finding any plants that survived became cause for great celebration.  When we discovered that another tree would have to be sacrificed to make room for the relocated septic system, I almost had a nervous breakdown.  Not my beautiful sweetgum (American native Liquidambar styraciflua), a tree we had lovingly placed and nurtured for many years.  A tree that had grown and flourished in its happy location.  Yet, it came down to the fact that sweetgum had to be moved, as there was no other “zoning approved” place for the septic fields.

[Read more…]

A Garden for All