Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pale Coneflowers in Their Glory Alongside a Kentucky Road

 Echinacea purpurea hybrid
Just about everyone who has ever picked up a trowel knows what a coneflower looks like and most likely even grows some coneflowers or has grown them. The familiar purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a big butterfly draw and is such a nice drought tolerant plant with tons of blooms in the summer that one simply cannot help but to grow them.
 This post is about coneflowers but not the familiar one we all know that you saw in the first picture; no, this post is about the pale coneflower, Echinacea pallida. All pictures after the first one are of the pale coneflower. There are several differences between the purple and pale coneflowers that include not only their looks but how they grow. 
The pale coneflower is quite different from the normal purple coneflower in that its petals reflex down, it has a rather large taproot, and its foliage is clustered mostly at the base of the plant. The pale coneflower is also quite a hairy coneflower. Also, this coneflower is a protected species in many states due to the fact that many plant collectors have over harvested wild stands of this coneflower for the roots; which are used in herbal medicines. If you look closely at the second picture of this post you might notice someone (most likely the property owner) has installed a blue rope fence to protect the pale coneflowers from would be collectors of this treasure on the side of a Kentucky country road.
I have never seen these growing in the wild but I happen to have an awesomely knowledgeable gardening friend who is quite well acquainted with the local area and this particular stand of pale coneflowers. It was about six years ago Sandy mentioned to me this special place. I am most ashamed to say it has taken me all these years to finally get together with her to go and visit it just this past Wednesday.
I don't personally grow pale coneflowers and honestly don't think they would grow well on my farm but I do have to appreciate these tough coneflowers growing in gravel with no care from a gardeners hand. I have read where these coneflowers, unlike the purple coneflowers, like tough conditions and can be found growing in glades, limestone outcrops, and other gravelly areas that have a high pH. The pH on my farm is very low so right there that tells me there is a red light for them to grow on the farm. I also think these coneflowers would be much harder to transplant than the purple coneflowers due to the very large taproot the pale coneflowers have. That very taproot is what allows this coneflower to be very drought tolerant. Drought tolerance is a trait both pale and purple coneflowers do share.
These are native coneflowers and are very beautiful when found growing in the wild. Just look at how perfectly they photograph with what I believe to be some type of erigeron. I so enjoyed my outing with Sandy and was quite impressed with these lovely native wildflowers....

in the garden...
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The June Garden

The garden season is in full swing now so I thought I'd share some pictures from my current garden. I have been pretty busy getting the new garden to be ready and even have some gardens out there now. It has been fun but very time consuming and slow going. In the meantime I will enjoy this garden that I have come to love so very much. 

Hollyhocks are not a favorite plant of mine but I allow a few of them to grow. They look nice right up until the point they get rust and flea beetles. Fortunately they self seed themselves and grow on their own with little help for me or I would not have any here.
This garden is a very happy garden. The area slopes down so I planted taller plants in the low area. The effect is undulating and pleasing when looking at it from above and even from below since you look up at the plants. In another month or so the garden will be filled with the blooms of 'Limelgiht'. Right now it sports some rose campion, daylilies, astilbe, 'Annabelles', oakleafs, the wine bottles, and Asiatic lilies.
The Sunny Perennial Border is strutting its stuff in the form of knockout roses, grasses, and other various perennials like daylilies, crinums, phlox, and coneflowers.
June also means it is hydrangea time! The one pictured above is 'Bluebird' and I am really liking the bloom because it is quite large. I grow a lot of hydrangeas but have been busy moving them to the new garden. This one will leave after our house is built. So far I have moved about a dozen PG hydrangeas and about eight oakleaf hydrangeas. The PGs are doing wonderfully and I suspect they will bloom this year. They line our long driveway on the edge of the field. I'll post a picture if they bloom. The oakleafs are struggling. I had to raise up their garden bed so Mr. Fix-it helped by using his tractor to scoop soil to surround the oakleaf hedge. I then edged the garden with rocks I moved from here. Oakleafs are one of those hydrangeas that simply will not do well if they are left to grow in standing water. My soil out there does drain well but it is rather heavy so I decided to raise their bed. Moving any shrubs in the spring is iffy business since I have no way to water them in the summer but so far this year has been awesome for rain. The plants will have to hold their own and I'll help as much as I can. I did move several large crepe myrtles. I find it vital to move crepe myrtles in the spring because it seems that if they are planted in the fall they will get lots of cold injury. The crepe myrtles are doing well-four out of the five are anyhow. DSCN7454
This is My Mother's Hydrangea. I got cuttings from Maine in the winter and was able to propagate this one hydrangea. It is getting quite large now after ten years. It will for sure be moving with me after the house is built. I find these kinds of hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) do much better when planted near the house and not out in the garden on their own. 

Do you want a tip to help keep your hydrangeas looking blue? My husband loves pickles and can sometimes eat a lot of them. Being a recycler I hate to just throw away the leftover pickle juice so I decided to pour the leftover juice on this hydrangea. I only poured it on the hydrangea when rain was imminent in order to dilute the vinegar (the base for most pickle juices) a bit. You all do know that blue hydrangeas come from an acid soil right? And vinegar  is an acid so it helps to make the hydrangeas blue. Well, there's my secret to blue hydrangeas--pickle juice--it really helps! You heard it here first!
You are actually looking at four gardens in this view. It looks kind of like one large one doesn't it? The Asiatic lilies grace a small garden next to an arbor, behind it is my Sidewalk garden with all sorts of frilly things, then the Front Center Garden shows its stuff with the tall bearded irises, and finally the Roadside Garden brings up the rear with its backbone of shrubs. Directly on the other side of the Roadside Garden is the road. The trick to making gardens look so full and front and center is to layer them. Between each of these gardens are wide grass pathways. If I were to post a winter picture you'd understand better but I just wanted you to know this is not one large garden.This is the view visitors get as they approach my front sidewalk. I never tire of it when I park my car either.
These hydrangeas are of two different varieties. In the front with the round fluffly balls are the 'Annabelle' (Hydrangeas arborescens) and behind the Annabelles are the oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangeas quercifolia). Some Hydrangea paniculatas are blooming but the big show with the paniculatas (PG and Limelight and a few others) will be in another month or so.
'Raspberry Profusion' abelia is a bee magnet. I like the abelias because they are native, easy to grow, and bloom for a very long time....

in the June garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Thursday, June 13, 2013


 In May, I spotted this beautiful Peony in Greenwood Cemetery while visiting my hometown in Tennessee.
 A beautiful peony that has been in this spot for many years.
Near by this beautiful Peony, one will also find the grave of Frank Sutton, AKA:  Gunnery Sergeant Carter of Gomer Pyle USMC. Both of these sightings bring back fond memories of my childhood. Sgt. Carter, Gomer Pyle and PEONY, In the Garden...
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lady Bug

 I found this Safety Hat (Hard Hat) at the thrift shop. I decided it had to find a place in my GEORGIA GARDENS.
 I purchased a can of red paint that bonds to Plastic.
 A nice coat of red paint.
 A few dots with Patio Paints and we now have a LADY BUG, In the Garden...
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Monday, June 10, 2013

So THIS Is Why It Is Called Butterfly Weed!

The butterflies FLOCK to this butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa! After watching about two dozen butterflies of all different types dance around some wild butterfly weed growing--conveniently enough--in one of my new gardens on the land I get it!
Butterflies LOVE this butterfly weed. We also have the common butterfly weed and I grow the swamp milkweed in my current garden but none of those butterfly weeds sees as much action as these clumps out in the wild.
Just look at them all! Swallowtails (Zebra, Yellow, Black), and frittilaries love this butterfly weed.


All types of butterflies played quite well together. They did not have to jockey for position as these four clumps of butterfly weed get so much sun they are quite full and ready for butterflies to land on it.
Frittilaries kind of blend in with the colors of the butterfly weed. They were most in abundance.
I did not film these guys dancing around the butterfly weed but I tell you it was magical. If you'd like to see a film of them dancing check Skeeter's post found here.

I leave you with this picture of all the butterflies I could photograph at one time. There are at least one dozen butterflies pictured. Can you find them all?

And lastly here I am just on the other side of the butterfly weed--driving my husband's tractor. What fun--there's nothing better than a garden full of butterflies and a tractor....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jasmine (a re-visit)

 I am really happy the Confederate Jasmine is climbing high in my GEORGIA GARDENS.
 It has taken ahold of a low branch of a heavily pruned tree and is climbing up it just as I had planned. I hope it finds its way to the tree trunk as that is the next plan I have for it. I also plan to heavily prune the other sweet gum trees as well. 
The scent of thousands of sweet Jasmine blooms in the air is so intoxicating! It fills the house when the windows are open. But lately, the humidity in the air keeps the windows closed. Sigh, Oh well, I can enjoy the view through the window of JASMINE, In the Garden... 
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


 I have started to add Dianthus to my GEORGIA GARDENS.
 They really seem to like my soil conditions and I like their pretty spring blooms.
 Their blooms are small but pack a big punch such as with this Raspberry Swirl.
 This one was a bargain find last fall.
 Passion is the name of this red beauty.
 Tickled Pink was my first Dianthus.
I must say I am Tickled Pink with DIANTHUS, In the Garden...
Note: I have been lacking in Garden Blogging lately. I have found blogging to be more of a diary for me now than anything else. Therefore, I may not have a Post in place every Tuesday and Thursday as in the past. I shall just pop "In and Out" with my postings. Nothing is wrong, I am just changing directions in my life...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden