August 1, 2012

Beat the Heat with a White Garden


CALADIUM 'AARON'  - I'M NOT THAT FOND OF CALADIUM, BUT DO LIKE THIS ONE, SO I BOUGHT 50. I LOVE HOW IT BRIGHTENS UP THE DARK, SHADY AREAS UNDER TREES NEAR THE END OF THE WHITE BORDER.
If you remember, I decided to convert our long perennial border into a white border, which will take a couple of years. This first year, I have used mostly annuals, as many of the perennials I wanted were hard to find, or they are too small to bloom this year. Even with using temporary plants, annuals and some containers, the border is beginning to look better - especially now in mid summer. I purchased far too many caladium from Caladium World, the bulbs were massive, but difficult to get started, even in the greenhouse. Caldium insist of warm soil in which to sprout, I had to use a heating mat, even in June. Once they begin growing, they quickly fill a pot. Caladium World ( stupid name - awesome nursery) ships giant bulbs. When ordering, you can request even larger bulbs if you want - they sell 5 different sizes. I ordered the largest bulbs that they sell - some were 7 inches in diameter!

CALADIUM, IMPATIENS AND JAPANESE DWARF CLIVIA ( SOME VERY RARE ONES) SHARE  A CHOICE SPOT IN THE SHADE UNDER A JAPANESE MAPLE ALONG THE WALK AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WHITE BORDER.



LAVATERA 'MONT BLANC', A SLIGHTLY FUSSY ANNUAL RARELY SEEN IN GARDENS TODAY. IT DOESN'T EVEN THINK OF BLOOMING UNTIL THE WEATHER TURNS SULTRY IN MID SUMMER.


LAVATERA 'MONT BLANC', SEED RAISED AND CAREFULLY TRANSPLANTED AND STAKED ADDS  A DOSE OF BRILLIANT WHITE IN THE WHITE BORDER.

THE CHOICE ANNUAL - LAVATERA - STARTS BLOOMING AFTER MID-JULY. THESE PLANTS WHICH I STARTED IN THE GREENHOUSE IN APRIL, WERE SET OUT INTO THE GARDEN IN JUNE. BY MID AUGUST, THE PLANTS ARE AS LARGE AS SHRUBS AND COVERED IN WHITE FLOWERS THAT ARE NOT UNLIKE ROSE OF SHARON.

MANY OF THE ANNUALS THAT I BOUGHT IN LATE MAY FROM A LOCAL GARDEN CENTER ARE NOT DOING WELL. ZINNIA, CLEOME, SNAPDRAGON AND THESE NICOTIANA ARE ALL FAR TOO DWARF. YOU MAY THINK THEY WERE ALL DISEASED AS THEY LOOKED SO HEALTHY AND IN BLOOM WHEN I PLANTED THEM, BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT THEY WERE ALL TREATED WITH HORMONES TO PUSH THEM INTO BLOOM EARLY. NOW THEY ARE MUTATED AND FAILING IN THE HEAT.

A DETAIL LOOK AT THE SHADY PART OF THE BORDER. I DID NOT ALLOW ANY YELLOW FOLIAGE,  EXCEPT THIS ONE TOAD LILY. BLACK OR WHITE FOLIAGE IS ALLOWED.



WHITE ECHINACEA JUST STARTING TO BLOOM. NEXT YEAR, THESE PLANTS WILL BE FAR MORE SHOWY.

THE PALMATE FOLIAGE OF RODGERSIA, SOME TRICYRTIS, WHITE IMPATIENS, AND A LOAD OF WHITE CALADIUM FILL IN DULL SPOTS IN THE SHADE.

9 comments :

  1. Hi Matt,

    I have a new found respect for Caladium, seeing them coming up in the lawn (rather like dandelions) at a friends place in St. Lucia.

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  2. Yup, that is a nice caladium. I like white flowers as well. Are you going to plant Nicotania alata?

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  3. Mary Beth11:16 PM

    The caladiums are lovely. So, are you actually going to dig them all up at the end of the summer and save them? For me, it seems tedious to save bulbs and tubers. I don't have a good system for that, I guess. Got any advice? My white nicotiane self seeds pretty well in my crappy sandy soil, as does datura. They only popped up about three weeks ago, and they're 3 ft tall and blooming like crazy now.

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  4. Just Can't understand why you are buying annual plants from the garden center when you have a talent to grow your own? Please tell me why that is???

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  5. I really am taken with your Lavatera 'MONT BLANC'. I have some pink Lavatera this year for the first time. My Mom always had it in her garden and I think it is an underused, but beautiful annual.

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  6. Lisa, I would love to grow all of my annual plants from seed, but as any greenhouse owner knows, space is always limited. Although, with each year, I think I need to save space to grow all of my annuals at home. Typically, I only grow those annuals that I cannot find at the local garden center, or, if I can grow them better. There are still many plants ( such as those that are cloned or micro-propagated like Proven Winners) that I cannot grow, so those varieties, I will still buy commercially, as home growers cannot obtain these genetically altered varieties such as calibrachoa.

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  7. Mary Beth - I know, isn't it amazing how fast Nicotiana can grow in just a few weeks? I just pulled a self-seeded single plant that was nearly 2 feet tall in a citrus plant, that I swear, was not there a few weeks ago. That said, the Nicotiana seeds that I sowed far too thickly in a 4 inch pot in June, are only 1 inch tall. We all can take a lesson from nature here.

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  8. Matt
    I understand what you are saying about the trailing petunia, Million Bells. I am learning so much from your blog,really wonderful to hear from you.

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  9. Hello Matt,
    I saw here, in your blog the Lavatera Mont Blan. Thank you. I planted this too, it is beautiful, really, it is blossom in my garden, in Budapest (Hungary). :)

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