Today’s lesson

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Here are the new brand additions to the garden at Chez Ingram. 
A few of these plants were purchased intentionally for the garden, some were gathered for programs I did this spring and others were sent to me to trial:
Snowball viburnum. I originally purchased this one to replace another that died, but changed my mind about where to plant it. Instead of the back garden, I’ve put it in the front where it will take center stage when it blooms.
Boxwood and Compacta holly. These evergreens were part of a program I gave this spring and now both fit right into my plans to add winter color to the courtyard. It’s a riot out there most of the year and we enjoy watching hummingbirds come right up to the flowering maple and giant spiky aloe. The huge pot of rosemary and variegated sage looks lonely in winter even when the other big pots are full of pansies and snapdragons. The space needs more and these evergreens potted in black clay pots (at great sale prices at Lakeland Yard and Garden, I might add) are just right. Since the shrubs are small, I surrounded them with ‘Superbena’ and ‘Superbells’ calibrachoa from Proven Winners.
Sweet olive. With one outside the office window and one in the courtyard out back, I almost gave this one away. But then Harry the Cat passed peacefully from this earth and the sweet olive will mark his place in the garden, next to a possum haw planted for Sassie Cat.  
3 quince. I bloomed these in pots, holding them over the winter since PW sent them last summer. They are spectacular and I’m adding them along the border with the neighbor who thinks eleagnus is a good choice. The quince will top out at about 3 feet tall and offer a buffer between the big E’s and our bulb collection.
Hellebores. These 4 plants came home with me from the G&P Show this spring and just looked so cute in their pots that I left them. The blooms just recently dried up after 2 months! In the garden, shaded by the magnolia tree, they’ll bloom in winter. These are investment perennials, but they multiply fairly rapidly once established.
Hosta. I haven’t had any hostas for years for 2 reasons. Soon after I moved here in the 90’s, an ice storm took out pine trees that had provided shade for a bed of hostas. I kept meaning to move them, but it never happened and they died a slow, painful death. Not exactly a symbol for how my life was going at the time, but I did not replace them. A few years later, my neighbor planted two huge clumps of hostas in an entirely wrong spot and they thrived. Outdone with his blissful ignorance, I enjoy the plentiful flowers on his plants every year. But I’ve been gifted with a lovely one so it’s added to the perennial bed on the shady side of gerbera daisies. They have been spectacular this year, and worth the wait. Planted two years ago, they languished for awhile but never died back completely. This February, they took off.

Sometimes it pays to follow garden ‘rules’. Do prune flowering shrubs within a month after they bloom. Do mow the grass often enough that you never cut off more than half the blade’s length at one time. But when you get a cool spell, take advantage and plant shrubs, even if it’s May.

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