Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Plant of the Month-June 2010-Reds, Whites and Blues

From In the Garden

This month's Plant of the Month sees three plants as all stars-and appropriately enough their colors are: red, white and blue. The red, white, and blue theme colors not only showcase my patriotism (a favorite color scheme) but allow me to highlight three top plants for the past month and continuing this month. The three plants are: hardy amaryllis (Hippeastrum x johnsonii), oak leaf hydrangea, and mophead hydrangeas.

The hardy amaryllis pictured above was given to me a very experienced gardener here in my small town of Woodlawn. Each time I look at it I think of her and her generosity. It is to these experienced and generous gardeners that I owe a big thanks to for a good many of my most special plants; plants that may be hard to find in nurseries and plant catalogs. Most know these hardy amaryllis as passalong plants so you almost have to know someone to get some. If you ever acquire a hardy amaryllis you might ask "Is it hardy?" Yes indeed! I grow mine in partial shade in a couple of spots. There is a fabulous stand of them near the road that is paired with Verbena 'Homestead'. This soil is fairly poor but those flowers shine for more than a month in the tough conditions. I don't do anything special for them-although I do try not to plant over them! Each year these bulbs multiply and the flowers just shine even more in their bright red colors. Hardy amaryllis come in other colors too and I think I like them all.

From In the Garden
My white plant can be no other than the oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia). This year has been an excellent year for all hydrangeas in my garden. We did not have that typical late freeze to come and kill all the flower buds. To say the show is stunning is an understatement. My mother's blue hydrangea in the first picture is simply a taste of what is to come. We'll save the other hydrangeas for a later post because today's post belongs to the oakleafs. There are several cultivars you might chose from when choosing an oakleaf hydrangea; which makes them even more interesting. I grow 'Alice', 'Snow Queen', and 'Vaughn's Lillie'. All of the oakleafs make a stunning white when in full in bloom. They need acid soil that is well drained, can take sun or shade, and are drought tolerant once established. This is a super hydrangea-er-white plant of the month.

From In the Garden

Following along with my patriotic theme my blue plant is the hydrangea. The hydrangea pictured above is my mother's hydrangea and a miracle plant if ever there was one. This hydrangea started life as one of three cuttings I took in December 2003 when I visited my mother in Maine. I left her home and forgot the cuttings in her refrigerator. My mother then mailed them to me in Tennessee. One of the three cuttings was rotten but I tried to start the other two and was successful with this lovely. It is now a ripe old age of 6.5 years and has finally reached a glorious stage. It is a beautiful blue that goes right along with my red white and blue these for this month's Plant of the Month. Or should I say Plants of the Month?

Okay, now that I have highlighted my three Plants of the Month I bet you are thinking I'm cheating a bit-huh? Yes, just a bit, but blogging is like that-we set our own rules. The true top Plant of the Month for June is, appropriately enough since it comes first in the patriotic colors, the hardy amaryllis-the reds!

What is your choice for Plant of the Month in your garden?

in the garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden


  1. I don't have as extensive variety as you in your garden...I have done indoor amaryllis at Christmas time, but was unaware of "hardy" ones! It is striking.

    Right now, in our yard, it is the clematis that are taking over the spotlight, competing with the prolific white roses.

  2. Gee, I should get a cutting of mom's hydranga.
    Let me think....we have more and more showing up but I'm partial to the peonies.

  3. How appropriate since we just celebrated Memorial Day! I love your choices, Hydrangeas are always a favorite plant in my garden at this time of the year. Those hardy Amaryllis are striking, my neighbor has some in a curb side planting that gets full sun and they are glorious. Have to put those on my list. Wonder if there is another color besides red? That's a hard one to fit into my color palette.

  4. Hi Tina, love your color combos. My favorite plant int he garden right now is Jupiter's beard. It is awesome. Happy June!

  5. All three great choices. It looks as if this will be a baner year for hydrangeas in many areas. Have a great day!

  6. I love the blue hydrangea so much--nothing says summer to me as much as those big, blue snowball blooms. An old-fashioned favorite.

  7. Love your red, white and blue Tina! My one amaryllis just finished blooming. It is such an ignored plant, but never fails to show it's color each spring.
    My plant is the month would have to be Plains Coreopsis. They are tall and beautiful!

  8. Rebecca, Those hardy amaryllis are easy. Such a long bloom time too. I think they are known as crinums. Clematis is a wonderful choice.

    Dawn, This one has been here 7 years and finally coming into its glory. A banner year for the south with hydrangeas since we had all that rain last summer and NO late freeze to kill the buds this spring. Yahoo! Love the peonies. Mine are almost gone now.

    Racquel, Lucky you to enjoy your neighbor's planting. Go ask your neighbor to dig one up for you then you'll have your own? This is about the only way I know to get them. I have seen them at a lawn and garden show too. They do come in other colors. I have white here, but there are also pinks. They are very neat.

    Monica, I too like Jupiter's beard but do you know it does not do well for me here? I keep trying. I think it is one of those plants that northerners grow best:)

    Les, You are so right. All that rain last summer and no late frost has really made the hydrangeas shine. Such a good thing! They are my favorite shrub but with them rarely blooming here I was about to shift that. Lucky ole hydrangeas:)

    Cameron, I love those big blue snowballs too for sure. They are so romantic in the garden and old fashioned. I remember visiting Normandy in France and they really know how to use them for romance over there in their courtyards.

    Linda, Don't you just love those hardy amaryllis? They are so reliable. Coreopsis rocks too. Guess what? I had one Texas bluebonnet bloom! Yahoo! I can imagine them in a big bunch.

  9. So beautiful...right now I am loving the Dahlias and Lacecap Hydrangea..

  10. Great post Tina. I have a white crinum blooming now. The Pink is about to bloom. Now I have a pink & white stripped one. Another gift from brother.
    Coropsis, wind flower, white agapantha are blooming now. Lantana is starting. So hard to choose.
    Hope all have a very lovely day.

  11. Hi Tina, you know me, I couldn't pick just one. Peonies and lilacs are two things I wait 50 weeks each year for and they both bloomed in May.

    I only have one hydrangea, Annebelle, but it is a particular favorite of mine. I wish the others did well in my area.

  12. Too many cool plants to pick just one right? I like all three that you picked. Oak leaf hydrangea especially. I'm more fond of the lacecap hydrangeas than the mopheads but they all are very neat!

  13. Great choices -I love looking at the hydrangea in my neighborhood -I don't have any by my house but enjoy the beauty in other peoples yards:)We're enjoying all kinds of lilies -they don't last long but they sure are pretty.
    Hi Tina, Jean, Lola, Skeeter and Nina -hope you all are enjoying all this beautiful weather. Getting ready for a visit from family this weekend -busy cleaning and organizing. Ciao!

  14. Three great plants of the month, except Amaryllis and Oakleafs are May plants of the month here. I can never choose just one plant -- unless we were naming 'Plant of the Moment.'

  15. Good Morning all, another overcast day in GA and I have yet more errands to run then off to do last minute things in the garden....

    Tina, how ironic you post on your Amaryllis today! I have tomorrows post ready except for adding a pic of an amaryllis I have blooming! I took it out of the planter where the Voles munched on the tulip bulbs and then put her into a pot. She is now blooming for me! How funny when I have not seen a bloom on her in 2 years! I guess this one prefers the pot to the ground so maybe I should just leave her in the pot this time. lol....

    My black-eyed Susan’s are in full bloom and the Lilies taking off as well so I would have to say a toss up with those two for my plants of the month. I like Nelljeans idea of “Plant of the moment” :-)

    Hi Anonymous, enjoy your family. I too will be at a family gathering this weekend as well :-)

    My animal of the month would be the spotted fawns we keep seeing in the yard! They are so darn cute....

  16. That Amaryllis is just stunning!!!

    Only thing blooming here is Johnny Jump Ups and, a few Day Lilies and 3 rows of peas, haha. Does a veggie count? There are mega buds on the Peonies and I do love them but they do not last very long.

    Dawn I have several new Hydrangers started around the mother bush so if I get to I will dig and pot one up for you. If I don't get to it you can get it when you come down next, the 4th?

    Hi Anonymous, have a good weekend!!

  17. I like your story of hydrangea survival, it makes the plant even more fantastic.

    My plant of the month in my garden, I think is the enormous Aruncus, which is now in full bloom. White is just about the only flower color I have, so that's the only part of the theme I can cover.

  18. Wow do your Hydrangeas look great! Mine have small buds, but that's it so far. I just love that Amaryllis!

  19. I just loved this post, Tina! And your choices for 'plant' (s)!!! of the month were perfect! They are just glorious! I'm not sure if I could grown hardy amaryllis here or not, but I will now be doing some investigating. Why would one NOT want to grow them if it were possible! I sure do hope so! My neighbor has some lovely oakleaf hydrangea and yes, they are just beautiful! Your blue hydrangea are just so gorgeous, too! My 2 hydrangeas are VERY small, still, after having just put them in last year. One is hardly doing anything at all. I am planning to move them to my side yard and hope they will survive the transition. Maybe one day mine will be 1/3 as lovely as yours;-)

  20. Perfect post right after Memorial Day! I just planted 3 Endless Summer hydrangeas. I love the story of the cutting from Maine thriving down south, just like you!

  21. That's a hardy hydrangea but I like the amaryllis the best. What a bright red!!!

  22. The hardy amaryllis is such a stunning color.

  23. What a perfect patriotic grouping, Tina! Did you plan this, or was this a happy accident? I ask only because in my garden the best combinations are usually unplanned. Lucky you to have blue hydrangeas! I remembered to add some acid fertilizer two weeks ago to my hydrangeas, but I notice the buds are still turning pink.

    It's still a little early in the month for me to pick my favorite--I'm looking forward to both my daylilies and the hydrangeas to bloom here.

  24. Darla, Perfect choices!

    Lola, Those crimums sure are special indeed. My agapanthus are about to bloom. Love those blues too.

    Marnie, Peonies and lilacs are surely worth waiting for. I adore those Annabelles too. Such flashy gals they are.

    Dave, Yup, I sure love those oakleafs. The lacecaps are nice too but you know they just don't perform so well here:( Maybe next year?

    Anonymous, When you get done with your house can you come do mine?:) Just kidding! With all the kiddos you have your hands full. Hard to believe those boys are juniors now.

    NellJean, Now Plant of the Moment would be a great idea for a post. We'd all have tons of ideas huh? I love them all and it is indeed hard to choose.

    Skeeter, You know how we gardeners are. The same thing going on here would be going in someone else's garden. That is a part of blogging I really like. Looking forward to seeing your amaryllis. My animal of the month would have to be my new girl Lady. I'll post on her later.

    Mom, I was getting ready to call you yesterday. The holiday was most slow as so many were enjoying it. Yes, peas surely count! We picked our only crop of ours-a small crop it was too. Here's hoping the rest of the veggies do better.

    Megan, Yes, that hydrangea is a special piece of home. I love the aruncus! Mine has almost gone by. The white flowers are wonderful and I think a garden full of white would be most interesting when compared to other colors. Yours must be awesome.

    Catherine, Thanks! I'm looking forward to seeing your Preziosa in bloom again.

    Jan, You can surely grow hardy amaryllis (crinum). They are a cool southern plant. Don't worry about your hydrangeas. They grow fast in the right spot and soon yours will pass mine in that awesome Virginia weather.

    Sarah, Yes indeed. I do love the south I tell you but had to bring a bit of the north with me:)

    GSS, It is a true red too and really shows up. I think a common variety and easy to find. Glad you like it as it can be a bit too much for some.

    Keewee, It is certainly a look at me plant for sure.

    Rose, Most of my combination are unplanned as much as I hate to say so. I've gotten better at pairing plants for foliage and blooms but still when it comes down to designing I am the gal walking around the yard looking for a spot to fit that plant in. Not a good way to garden at all but small surprises make it nice as you know. Daylilies and hydrangeas should be coming soon.

  25. This must have been the yr for Amaryllis as some of mine bloomed for the first time in several yrs.I really need to move them into a bed of their own. I have some that are tall & some that are short.
    My hydrangeas are still very short even tho they have been in the ground for several yrs. They are not ready to bloom yet.
    I hope all had a wonderful day.

  26. What a great blog!! I'm new to blogging and was wondering how you were able to stretch out your layout. Mine is all scrunched up in the middle. I like yours a lot more!

    TS from Casa Mariposa

  27. I have those passalong hardy Amaryllis too, and Oakleaf Hydrangea. It's hard not to love those two! I've never had any luck with the mopheads, sadly.

  28. Tina I meant to ask what kind of camera do you use. The pics are so clear. You can almost count the blades of grass. My kind of camera.

  29. Lola, My Kodak Easyshare is a six plus year old camera. I think it has like 4 megapixel if that since it is so old. It works for me and I absolutely love it. We did a lot of research when we purchased it once hubby got back from Iraq the first time. It has done the job for me. Sometimes it has great shots but not too many close ups due to its zoom is not so great.