August 14, 2014


My love affair with the Dahlia is growing. So many dahlias are giant, dinner plate monstrosities, with blossoms larger than 10 inches in diameter, or in difficult colors with which to work with such as sulfur yellow or brilliant red with gold, but with so many to choose from, many in delightful tints and colors, forms like pom poms and spiders, others with such formal symmetry that cake decorators copy their petal formations for cup cake toppers, that I thought I would delve into the dahlia world a little deeper, and see if I could scout out some of the best cut flower varieties. Here are my discoveries and recommendations based on what I grew this year:

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August 12, 2014


This summer I have been assembling and training a collection of about 25 upright fuchsia selections, some historical, others just curious, which I am training to be either standards ( topiary) or bush uprights, a method of growing fuchsias once popular in conservatory displays at botanic gardens and private estates were gardeners trained fuchsias for summer displays in greenhouses or on the porches of grand, summer cottages in Newport and Connecticut. If you are looking for true coral colored flowers, long, delicate clouds of bee-sized blossoms in shades of lavender-grey or peachy pink, with little skirts or magenta and raspberry looking more like those engravings from a nineteenth century fairy tale book than a floral display, than maybe these old-timey fuchsias are for you.

Upright fuchsia varieties have all types of blossoms. Some are very small, others quite large, but they all hang.

There are many reasons why good plants can't become commercial, and certainly, height is one of them - just try to find a perennial taller than 16 inches at a home center or big box store nursery - the reasons are more practical than one might think - they just don't fit on the shelves, so merchandising is out of the question. One is most likely to find small fuchsias, in bloom and in 4 inch pots for window boxes (treated with growth regulators) than any interesting species or selections known for their amazing floral color or display.  All this aside from those horrid hanging basket fuchsias (nothing wrong with them, ecxept that I find them revolting).

August 5, 2014


I thought that I would walk around the garden and pick a few hand-tied bouquets for the house. Here is what I found: rather random, but still botanically interesting. A blue palette with China aster, brachycome daisy, tweedia, purple basil, dill, Nicotiana langsdorfii, echinops and Salvia 'black and Blue'

Mid Summer, those last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August marks the high point of the summer. It's when many iconic summer flowers reach their peak - zinnia's, China asters, snapdragons, Cosmos, and it marks the time when some of the late summer flowers are just beginning to bloom, like Dahlias and Gladiolus. Here is what I picked today for the house and for neighbors!

Click below: