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Saturday, May 02, 2009

A mystery solved...

Last year a woman brought me a large pot with green growth coming out of it. She said that she didn't know the name of the plant but that it grew very well in her garden. She went on to tell me that if I planted it in my garden I'd always have LOTS of it to sell at my plant sales.

Hmmm, with a description like that I was afraid to plant it in the garden until I knew what it was. I decided to leave it in the pot, it looked perfectly happy there. Later, in August, it bloomed and I knew then that it was Physostegia virginia which I had grown many years ago in my first house. I don't remember it being invasive, I just remember being a bit unhappy that it flopped around and that by the time I realized it was going to flop it was covered with bees and I couldn't stake it.

This spring the pot was still on top of the ground and full of green growth. I slid the plant out of the pot and could not believe the mass of roots inside.

Check this out! Wow, it divided wonderfully well and I potted up a half dozen divisions. Then I took three divisions for myself and put them back in that big pot. I dug a hole in the garden and sunk the pot and all in the hole. It did so well in the pot and I don't remember it flopping very much at all so I think I'll keep growing it this way.

Does Physostegia run or flop for you?


P.S. Even though it rained most of the morning we had a wonderfully successful sales day. Right now I'm locked into my chair here, there's not too many parts of my body that don't hurt :-)

Tomorrow we are going to try for a potting marathon. My goal is a ridiculous 200 pots but you have to aim high. Think we'll get it done?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Plant Sale!

Whew! Thanks to a wonderful, repeat customer who stopped by today I realized that I haven't been writing about our up coming plant sale. I just didn't realize that if people missed certain posts on my new blog Melanie's Perennials, they would never know that there's a second blog with plant sale information.

Well, it's here!!! The plant sales begin tomorrow (a preview has already happened) and will continue for a number of Saturdays. Mother's Day weekend we hope to hold a selling marathon and we'll be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday that weekend.

Now if only I could figure out how to divide that amazing yellow Baptisia in the opening photo. I only tried to move a Baptisia once, I'd read it was almost impossible. Even though I had the new hole ready and dug as huge a piece as possible, that plant just limps along. I'm so afraid to try it again. Any hints?

We do have lots of yellow Euphorbia polychroma (cushion spurge) and different Nepetas available.

I've even potted up lots of the annual Silene armeria that self sows around here.

Stachys monierri is in pots too, not the purple variety 'Hummelo' but a lovely pink variety that I've had for at least 10 years here.

Hosta 'Janet' was dug up yesterday and made some beautiful full pots.

Hosta 'Stetson' was potted up today too, tomorrow I'd like to get one or two more Hosta out of the ground along with more Astilbe.

If I have any time tomorrow morning the first thing I'll dig is some of these Epimedium and get them potted up as they are in full bloom right now.

Of course it wouldn't be a plant sale without lots and lots of daylilies. This is 'Summer Star' and it truly is a star in my garden. It's only one of the great daylilies potted up.

The good thing is that since I'll be selling through mid July, there'll be lots of time to keep on digging :-)

Today was a damp, drizzly, muddy day. I dug from 8:00am until 7:30pm. Now it's time to go to sleep so tomorrow I can begin all over again :-)

Wonder what I'll dream about...


Thursday, April 30, 2009

More birdbath planters

Here's a few more photos of those bird bath bases I wrote about in my last post. For some reason, I don't have many photos of the three in my herb garden. Probably because I haven't found the right herb to grow in them.

I don't even know what was planted in the one you see in this photo, it's something I should try to remedy this year.

The other successful planting is the birdbath base in my front perennial border. This one has been filled with Sedum 'Matrona', sempervivum and one more Sedum. This year the only plant still surviving is the 'Matrona' but since this pot's been planted for five years, I'm not complaining. 'Matrona has filled the whole thing!

When I first brought these home I had to cut pieces of tomato stakes to sink in the ground first. I hammered them in well, at least a foot deep and then slid the birdbath base over the stake.

Once it was set I could fill the container and then plant away.

Here's one more close up look at this container. I think tomorrow I have to pull out that 'Matrona' and recreate this planting!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hosta roots

In the spring of 2006 a local nursery received a number of birdbaths that had broken tops. They had an employee with a great idea, she put those bases upside down in the sales yard and planted them. I was the first person to ask if they had more of these bases and would they sell them to me. The price was a ridiculous $5 a piece and I got all 5 that they had available.

One base went in my shade garden and was planted with Hosta 'Halcyon', Hosta 'Green Lance' and Oxalis atropurpurea (the purple clover) which I adore but is not hardy here on Long Island.

For three years these containers all were fine, they even survived winter heave and an occasional fall. Sadly, the one container in the shade did not survive having a tree limb fall on it and knock it over. The broken pieces are two large pieces though and I hope to be able to glue them back together.

We've just had a heat wave here and I could not dig and divide perennials so yesterday I decided to address the problem of the broken container. Even though it had been broken for months and laying on it's side, the Hosta were still growing. Imagine my surprise when I tried to pull them out of the container and the roots just kept coming out.

Those roots were so long that my arm wasn't long enough to hold them for the camera and take a photo at the same time. In fact, those roots went all the way down to the base of the container. I had originally filled the container with compost, not potting soil and it was still nice and rich looking.
Once I had the massive root system on my work table I had to chop off those beautiful roots to make them more manageable.

Finally, the Hosta have been potted up and are ready for their next adventure. I do want to use a piece of both and recreate the planting that I had before.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ka-Ching! I heard the bell ring...

Today we shattered our heat record. Although I haven't seen the official temperature, we had thermometers around here read 89 degrees. It was just too hot to dig and divide anything, so many plants were fully wilted.

I decided to play around a bit and do some perennial pots. If you have pots that will over-winter without cracking, perennials are ideal to plant in them. I've learned that it's worth it to spend the $$$ and purchase concrete planters when I can get them. We've had one set for 25 years now and a few more for 10 years or so.

I have a number of plain green hosta that are hard to sell. I really don't understand why people shy away from them, they have a lovely light green foliage and flower like crazy. The name tag was faded when I divided them so I don't know their name but they are still lovely. I've learned that you need plain hosta to make the variegated ones show off better.

Two nice sized divisions were added to the two planters.

Next I went way back by our shed and mercilessly hacked out a chunk of fern that is native to our area (at least it popped up here on it's own).

The ferns are just starting to come up although with this heat I expect them to come on full force now.

There were a few pansies left over from another planting so I stuck them in to fill a spot until the Hosta foliage and the fern grows. The last plant though was the big surprise, it's the one that is terribly wilted on the right.

Not 10 feet away from these containers begins a wooded lot. There is a massive spot in the woods filled with Lamiastrum, another plant that arrived on it's own. I was wishing I had a variegated perennial to add to the pot when suddenly it happened, the bell began to ring.

The garden centers around here sell "specialty annuals" in 4 inch pots to make extra special, sophisticated planter arrangements. I'm positive I saw pots of Lamiastrum last year selling for $3.49 and here it is running rampent through the wooded lot next to us. So I carefully pulled out a few pieces. I say carefully because the woods is also filled with poison ivy. Rather than take a chance that I was taking more than the Lamiastrum, I did not dig it up with soil but instead just wiggled out the roots, that's why it's wilting so much but I'm sure it will perk up in a few days.

I bet in two weeks when I photograph those pots you won't believe how nice and full they look. Best of all, I know from past experience that those pots will be fine for three years before I need to take the plants out and divide them.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings :-)