Monday, June 15, 2009

For the Novice Gardener

Wondering what to plant in sunny spots?
Here are some sun loving plants:

YARROW (Achillea)
Will grow in dry soil, tolerates drought and some salt and likes well-drained, loamy or sandy soils. Plants grown in too rich soil tend to be tall and floppy. Divide every 2 years in spring or fall. This plant is very undemanding. Excellent for cut and dried flowers, fragrant and attracts butterflies.

The wide variety of stone crop is a dependable choice for the late summer and fall garden, offering foliage interest earlier in the season, then a colourful display of flowers in the fall - from August to November."Autumn Joy" is by far the most popular of these, a familiar sight when it begins to produce green broccoli-like buds in mid-summer, which gradually open into enormous dusty-pink flower heads, finally deepening to rich bronzy-red. Even the dead flower heads have good winter effect. In rich soils, plants may be pinched in June to prevent floppiness. A classic perennial!

LAMBS EAR (Stachys)
They are a superb foliage plant that reaches a height of about 1 foot. The gracefully shaped leaves are a woolly and silvery white that is extraordinarily effective in combination with a wide range of colors from fire-engine red to golden yellow to gentian-blue. In late spring or early summer, the plants send up furry, silver stalks of small lilac pink flowers on spikes to about 2 feet high. The somewhat fragrant flowers are not very small. Bees love the flowers.

Clematis enable the gardener to have masses of bloom from late winter to late fall. To accomplish this, varieties with different bloom times can be grown together or planted in complimentary areas of the garden. In colder climates where temperatures drop below 0°F (-20°C) foundation planting and mulch are required to ensure a long life. The old adage of "their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade" must be adhered to at all times. Best plant Clematis behind a low growing shrub that will give shade to the first 2 feet of the plant.

Peonies are long-lived (over 50 years), drought tolerant and low maintenance. Peony flowers come in a range of colours, including yellow, coral, peach and lavender, in addition to white, blush, pink, magenta, and red. Peonies grow two to four feet tall and thrive in sunny flowerbeds and well-drained soils. Although they tolerate a wide range of soil types, you'll have the best success with good soil rich in organic matter. Add compost and blood meal in fall in a circle around the plant.

is famous for its beautifully shaped, very fragrant flowers. The color begins early May, with your tree adorned with 4 inch blossoms that are red purple on the outside and white on the inside. Magnolia trees are a strong, vigorous grower with an upright habit. Place your tree in full sun in soil amended with some organic matter to improve drainage and nutrient holding capacity. Hardy to USDA zone 5 to 6 and all higher zones. Pruning a magnolia tree should be avoided.

Rugosa roses are very hardy and disease resistant, and known for their ability to grow in the most hostile environment, both hot and cold. Rugosa’s survive despite neglect and are popular as a thorny, dense hedge. The fragrance is sweet and pleasant. It will grow in salty conditions, shade, full sun, and poor soil, so long as it's well-drained. Along the East Coast it even grows right in the sandy beaches! There are other reasons to grow this beauty besides the low maintenance. Large blooms cover this plant in early summer, giving way to sporadic blossoms up to the first frost in November.

Weigela are very adaptable shrubs and most are small enough for any size garden, especially with a little pruning in the spring. This beautiful plant / shrub has not only attractive flowers, but also showy leaves, especially the variety "My Monet". The only requirement is full sun to produce copious flowers. The problem with Weigela is deciding which cultivar to grow from over 180 named cultivars. Grow in full sun and protect from winter wind in cold areas. Prune annually after flowering slows down. Many of the newer varieties repeat bloom sporadically during the season.