Friday, September 19, 2008

Cabbage White on Verbena Bonariensis

The garden is all a-flutter this time of year with many small moths and butterflies, including the Cabbage White Butterfly which seems to have a definite preference for Verbena Bonariensis.

And who wouldn't? It is a lovely plant, with it's stiff, widely branched stems and open, airy look. This native of Brazil and Argentina grows to 3-6 ft., flowers all summer until frost, and re-seeds readily. The 'see-through' quality of Verbena Bonariensis makes it a great weaver in the Cottage garden, and a good choice for the front or middle mixed border. Although it is said to be a Zone 7 perennial, it came back for me this year in my Zone 6 garden....where it was heartily welcomed. It also winter sows very well.


Tip: Pinch out the first few shoots of Verbena Bonariensis in spring to encourage branching. The more you cut it back, the more shrub like it will become.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Glorious Daisy

Black-eyed Susans are one of my favorite garden flowers...especially so in late Summer, when they bloom their hearts out while other flowers languish in the heat. They also go by the names Rudbeckia or Gloriosa Daisy, which literally means Glorious Daisy, which I think decribes them best. I grew several varieties from seed this year, with the winter sowing method. This is one of my favorites so far....

It looks rather like a burst of sun, doesn't it? I love the sunny yellow ring around the brown center cone, along with the splashes of orange. I obtained the seed from a GardenWeb trade, labeled as 'Cherokee Sunset'..... but descriptions and images of that variety show them to be either double or semi-double, so I'm not sure if the seed was mis-labeled or perhaps just crossed with another type of Rudbeckia. In any case, it is very pretty!

Rudbeckias can be either annuals or perennials, so since I don't know yet what this will be, I'll save some seed to re-plant next year.... and hope to get the same results.


Some Trivia.....

The name Black-Eyed Susan is likely derived from the poem composed by English poet John Gay, titled, “Black-Eyed Susan,” which was written in the early 18th century.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Baby Belle Peppers

In the past, we have purchased bags of multi-colored mini-bell Peppers from Costco, and really liked I was delighted to see seeds for these Baby Belle Tricolor Peppers in the Nichols Garden Nursery Catalog last year.

Aren't they just the cutest things? I grew them successfully in the ground last year, but this year I decided to try 4 plants in a half whiskey barrel planter. They grew very nicely and produced many peppers per plant. Two plants turned out to be red, one orange, and one yellow. In the above photo, the largest pepper (bottom center) is beginning to turn yellow...a bit behind the others for coloring up. The flavor is mild and sweet....a garden treat!

Oh, and did I mention how cute they are? :-)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cosmos in Vintage Vases

I enjoy collecting old glass bottles to use as flower vases. I thought it would be fun to share a couple of my latest finds.

I purchased this old bottle for 50 cents at a yard sale this summer. I love it's heavy glass feel, top lip, and rather unusual shape. It stands a little over 3 inches tall, so is perfect for a few selected flowers. Featured here with a few 'Picotee' Cosmos flowers. (Cosmos bipinnatus) The large blooms are white with a rose/pink picotee edge, and some blooms are also splashed or striped with crimson highlights.

This green bottle came from a recent flea market, where there was a huge selection of old glass. I didn't have any in this color, so I bought several in different shapes and sizes. In my mind's eye, I pictured a collection of them sitting on a tray with a few casual flowers in each. I like how the green color compliments this handful of Orange Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus). Both photos were taken with the vases placed on my ironing board (cover by Martha Stewart), with natural light from a nearby window.


"Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of color before me, who could ask for more?"

- Bev Adams, Mountain Gardening