Category Archives: full sun

Mystery Plant

mystery plant

Here is a puzzler for all of you! I purchased this plant many, many years ago.

I have no idea what it is! I vaguely recall something about an annual, but I don’t think that can be right because it comes back every year. Granted, it is planted near a hot tub, and the heat from that might protect it.

And this year it is doing something new! It made a flower! This plant has never done this. I vaguely remember thinking it didn’t like water so much, so I held off on the watering. But with all of the rain we’ve had this year, it blossomed. It is kind of hard to see in the picture, but it almost looks like a tiny pineapple.

Isn’t it amazing that plants we’ve had forever can still surprise us?

Any thoughts on what this might be?

Happy Gardening!


Gorgeous Hollyhock Bush

Hollyhock BushI planted this perennial Hollyhock bush years ago–and it just keeps amazing me! When most people think of the hollyhock, they think of the flower, and I have those, too, but the bush is my favorite.

It’s a beautiful plant, and the flowers are huge all over the bush, with many flower buds still preparing themselves.

The Hollyhock bush really doesn’t need that much care. Once it’s planted in a sunny spot, all I do it cut back the dead in the fall–to the ground.  Each year, it comes back and grows even larger than the last year.

hhbush2Sadly, the only characteristic I don’t like about this plant is the fact that the flowers do not do well once they are cut. They will die very quickly.

But, if the blooms are left alone on the bush, they will last quite a while.

These will attract bees and butterflies, but not deer, so they are a wonderful addition to your garden.  Hollyhocks are associated with fruitfulness, and with the size of these blooms, no interpretation of that meaning is needed!

Happy Gardening!


King Tut Grass

tutKing Tut grass is an annual up here in zone 5, but I buy it every year because I love this plant! It is an evergreen, so it’s not really a grass, but it certainly looks like a graceful grass.

It can be planted in the ground or in a pot. My father plants his in the yard each year near his front porch. This year, I placed it in a pot with a slight roof overhang above to protect it a bit–I’m so glad I did! With all of the thunderstorms we’ve been having, it could have been damaged this year.

King Tut prefers a sunny to partially sunny area, and it loves water. It does have to be watered every day, unless rain handles it for you.

It can grow quite tall, so it can work to hide unsightly areas around the house.

I have mine planted with a canna, petunias, trailing petunias, and geraniums.  Sadly, it won’t winter over in the house, either, but it’s worth the five dollars I spend each summer!

Happy Gardening!

Lily of the Nile

lilyofthenileI love this plant! Lily of the Nile, or Agapanthus, is a perennial in some zones, but an annual in my zone.  While it is an annual, I cannot resist it!

This plant can be grown from bulbs or seeds, and I think the fragrant flowers are worth planting the bulbs and digging them up for the winter. Alternatively, you could plant your them in pots and bring the pots in during the winter.

About mid-summer to the fall, Lily of the Valley puts on an extravagant show of large blooms!

This plant likes the sun, so be sure to pick a sunny spot for your African Lily!

They do require a bit of work–they need to be fed monthly. But the gorgeous blooms and the scent will pay you back for your hard work!

Lily of the Valley is also attractive to bees and butterflies, who enjoy the nectar.

Happy Gardening!



Witch Hazel: Create Beauty in a Barren Landscape

witch hazel
Witch hazel in bloom

I admit it: I wanted a Witch Hazel tree just because the name is so cool! Really, though, I couldn’t stand the thought of another bleak, barren winter landscape after last winter’s brutal harshness. I decided to do something about it.

I already have a Holly bush, and it does produce bright red berries in the winter. But I needed more.

I went with the Witch Hazel bush named Arnold Promise because it will produce bright yellow flowers in late winter. Yes, it blooms in the winter! While it is considered a shrub, it can grow quite tall if left unpruned, so I really think of this as more of a tree.

I am so happy to have this in my yard now! When the shrub is not flowering, it provides beauty to the landscape with the vase like structure of the shrub.

If a dead landscape is not a worry for you, the Witch Hazel blooming shrub comes in a variety of colors with different blooming times, so this is really a versatile shrub that can work with any landscape.

Witch Hazel is fairly easy to establish and grow. It does like a sunny to partially sunny spot with acidic soil, but other than that, no other issues.

In addition to a beautiful spray of color in the winter landscape, Witch Hazel has numerous medicinal uses, and of course, the branches of the Witch Hazel tree have long been used in dowsing.

Think back and remember last winter. Ok, now, think about what you can do to avoid that barren look and keep Witch Hazel in mind!

Happy Gardening!




Ah, The Sweet Scent of Heliotrope

heliotropeHeliotrope is an excellent plan to add to your garden or in containers. This annual plant loves the sun, and as it warms, it produces a wonderful fragrance!

Heliotrope flowers are either purple or white, the big masses of flowers add beauty as well as the fabulous scent.

However, heliotrope is toxic to humans and animals who eat it, so if you have a pet who will eat anything, this plant is not for you. But the added hidden bonus here is that deer hate them!

Heliotrope is easy to grow, but it does require a bit of care. It likes morning sun best, and it does need to be fertilized about every two weeks for best performance.  When the flowers are spent, deadhead to keep the plant producing flowers all summer.

If handled appropriately, i.e., not eaten, heliotrope is a wonderful addition to your garden that will provide beautiful blooms and scent all summer!

Happy Gardening!

A Little Frost Coming: I’ve Got You Covered!

Everyone’s worried about their plants and the frost coming this week. First, don’t panic. This can easily be handled, given the size of your garden.

First, cold hardy plants, such as peas, are going to be just fine. You may cover them if you wish, but peas can even withstand a light snow, so they will be fine.

Spring hardy plants, such as Bleeding Heart, will also be just fine. Again, you may cover them if you wish, but I’m not going to do that. They will be fine, and mine are under trees, so I’m not really worried about them.

For everything else:

If you went ahead with the heat wave and planted pretty flowers, you have to cover them.

  • Before you cover them, make sure the plants are watered in well. This will actually protect roots from freezing, even though it goes against instinct.
  • Now, you may cover them. Do NOT use any type of plastic. Plants have to breathe, too! I’m going to use flannel sheets. Any sheet will work, but the flannel will give it just a little bit more warmth and protection.
  • Uncover the plants during the day, so they can have air and sunlight. Even on a cloudy day, they are still getting some sun.

And that’s all you have to do to keep your plants warm, comfy, and beautiful during the frost. Not so bad, really!

Sadly, if you own a large fruit orchard, this isn’t going to be enough–but if you own a large fruit orchard, you’ll know what to do!

Happy Gardening!