Rick has some tips on keeping our Perennials looking good
all summer long. Heading back extends the life of blooms
on our plants. Cut a fraction of an inch above a node, then
take one third of the plants and cut them back two thirds
of the way. Take one third of the plants and cut them back
one third of the way. Then leave the remaining third alone.
You will have blooms 6-8 weeks longer than if the plants
were left alone and you'll have healthier plants.
people associate Azaleas with the plants from Asia. There
are native deciduous species as well and they come in a
variety of colors as well as yellow and they are fragrant.
Azaleas are in the species Thegenus Rhododendron. Hank Bruno,
Trails Manager at The Gardens of Callaway, tells us Azaleas
in the Gardens of Callaway bloom from the beginning of the
season in March through fall and September. Azaleas need
well drained, acid soil, a little bit of shade in the afternoon
and plenty of room. They are tall plants and like to spread
out. We look at several different Native Azaleas such as
Alabama Azalea, Rhododendron Alabamense. It is particularly
fragrant and is white with a yellow blotch.
Hank Bruno at the Gardens of Callaway reviews several ground
covers and companion plants for the Azalea. Be careful about
putting vines around Azaleas they can choke the plant and
its branches. Allen Lacy, one of our finest garden writers,
has several ideas on this topic. Lady Fern or Japanese Painted
Fern with Variegated Solomon's seal is up early in the spring,
has a nice flower and lasts throughout summer and fall.
Foam Flower and Heucheras are both good ground covers for
Azaleas. Native Ginger will spread and the blooms become
a dense mass, combined with the mottling in the foliage
it makes for an intriguing plant. Salaginella, Peacock Moss,
has a fern like foliage, it doesn't flower and spreads by
spores. It has a multi hued leaf and spreads rapidly. Adisia
Japonica or Marlberry will flower several weeks early in
the season. It has wonderful foliage and the flowers will
ultimately turn into bright red berries in the fall and
winter. It is marginally cold hardy, some years it will
die back to its' roots, but always comes back in zone 8.
There are almost as many ferns as there are Azaleas. And
a wide variety of textures, colors and sizes. One example
is the Cinnamon Fern. Astilbes come in a variety of colors,
they come up early in the spring and have a flower display
after your Azaleas bloom.
Mountain Laurels bloom after Azaleas. They have a floral
display that rivals the Azalea. It is a large, evergreen
leafed plant and grows in zone 8. Getting the plant established
is tricky, but once they're in they're a permanent fixture.
To complete the picture of the Azalea garden one needs to
explore Understory Trees. Everyone knows about Dogwood.
Another native, Forest Pansy Redbud, is distinguished by
Maroon foliage in the spring and early summer and also has
a decorative seed pod. There are a number of varieties,
Hank, likes Forest Pansy Isone.
Helen Phillips, Curator of Mr. Casons Garden at Callaway
teaches us about Medicinal herbs. The bark of the Dogwood
tree was a one time boiled, then used for Quinine and the
treatment of Malaria. Ginko Biloba is thought to help with
memory. The leaf is unique and used in jewelry. The Willow
Tree has the same chemical as aspirin and has been used
as a boiled concoction to cure headaches. Paprika Yarrow
was used as a shampoo and thought by some to treat baldness.
As well it has an attractive white blossom. Lambs Ear is
another of Helen's favorites. It has a soft, velvety, absorbent
leaf that feels like a Lamb's ear. It is an attractive edging
plant at the front of the border but has an interesting
history. Before bandages its' leaves would be wrapped around
a wound, something would bind it together and hold it to
your body and it made an excellent bandage. For centuries
people have made a concoction from Poppies that make people
happy. Another use, after they flower a pod is left, once
it dries the pod will open and it will resemble a pepper
shaker. Turn it upside down, shake it and poppy seeds like
those on rolls, muffins or cakes appear. Although we consider
it a culinary herb today long ago it was a medicinal herb.
One of the newest gardens at Callaway is the Alphabet Garden.
They harvest grape vines every year and weave them into
letters from A to Z. Under the letter "A" are all the plants
that begin with A - Aloe, Achillea, Asparagus, etc. The
theme is repeated through the letter Z. Some are harder
than others to find plants but everyone had a great time
making the garden and you should find it interesting and
great fun for the family, children, grandchildren, etc.
A Conifer garden is for the more discriminating, possibly
lazier gardener. Plant it in the fall and include any shrub
or tree. You'll love the combinations ranging from yellow-green
to blue-green. From creeping varieties to upright to billowing.
The softness and the spiciness makes an unusual garden.
Several shown are the Juniper Blue Star, Juniper Silver
Mist, Fusia Rhine Gold. Whether it's a ground cover or tree,
winter, spring or summer it makes an interesting garden.
Helen tours the outdoors butterfly garden. The plants are
shaped like a Butterfly. It has Petunias, Pansies, Marigolds
and more. Included in the garden are host plants and nectar
plants. Host plants are where Butterflies lay their eggs.
Nectar plants are plants they eat. Do a little research
and find what Butterflies in your area like.
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