A year ago, I swore I would not go through another winter without some hope of spring….and it came late (the last week of winter), but it came! The baby Witch Hazel bush is blooming! I’m so excited! It’s the first real splash of color in a drab world with spots of snow still hanging around the yard.
While this one is still a baby, I expect it will grow from a bush into the shape of fine tree as the years pass. Seeing this bloom, I’m convinced I need a few more–maybe in more colors.
The color of the Witch Hazel bush depends upon the time of year it blooms, but I’d take a late spring and a fall just to get a gorgeous red in there!
Some varieties have a strong perfume, but mine does not unless it is cut, and then the smell is slightly medicinal. Not a surprise really, because Witch Hazel is listed as a class 1 drug in the U.S.
So if this winter is getting you down, this spring, try planting a Witch Hazel bush for next winter–the blooms will take your breath away next year!
Fall begins tonight! I am sad to see the summer go, especially because it seems we didn’t really have a summer. It was too wet, too rainy, and too cool to count as summer. I feel cheated!
Nevertheless, it is time to prep for fall and winter if you have not already begun! Fall does offer an abundance of color with mums, hardy asters, pansies, and pumpkins.
How to Prep for Fall and Winter
- Cut back summer perennials
- Remove summer annuals
- Mulch plants in well (I suggest really well! Given the winter forecast from the Farmer’s Almanac, I’m even going to buy some hay bales for fall decoration, and when it gets a bit cooler, I’m going to break apart the bales and place the hay over the more tender plants in my yard. Our roses barely survived last winter.)
- Add some fall and early winter color: plant mums, hardy asters, and hardy pansies.
- Rake up the leaves (when they fall!)
That’s pretty much all we are doing around here for fall and winter prep. I know some people do keep vegetable gardens outside during the winter, but the amount of snow we get makes that a bit untenable for us. I did move in some of my herbs, and I hope they will last the winter. We will see!
I still have no idea what this plant is, but now it is opening with white flowers.
It looks like a type of hyacinth (my absolute favorite)!
I was pretty close to the plant, and I did not notice any smell.
So, it remains a mystery–but a wonderful one at that! It has never bloomed for me before this year. Now, however, I know the secret–water, and a great deal of it!
I 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.
Sadly, 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!
We purchased the perennial Tickseed because it is a good companion plant for the Black Sprite we planted.
Our version is Sunfire, but there are many different types of Tickseed out there!
It is a wild flower, and to me, it really looks like a daisy in the shape of the flower and the plant.
The tickseed moniker comes from the seeds of this plant–they look like black ticks. Not a winning quality, but don’t let the name put you off of the plant!
Tickseed thrives in a sunny or partially sunny spot. Ours is next to the Bachelor’s Button in a partially sunny spot.
The plant will reward you year after year–it requires little work on your part and will bloom throughout the summer.
Added to its easy care, Tickseed makes excellent cut flowers and can tolerate drought. The plant also spreads quickly, so it is a great plant to purchase when you are just starting out in your garden.
We’re enjoying our tickseed, and it does match well with the Black Sprite flowers. Next year, though, I might like to try a different color as well.
We are trying a new perennial this year–a Bachelor’s Button called Black Sprite. Bachelor’s Buttons are also known as Cornflowers. And Cornflowers are excellent for muscle pain!
Throughout history, Cornflowers have been tossed into baths to help reduce muscle pain; they have also been brewed in teas.
I really like this plant. It has a sort of tropical appearance, but it is excellent for zone 5. The flowers are silky, sort of spiky, and really stand out. It does have a bit of green foliage at the bottom, which spills over, sort of like a weeping willow, but the leaves are solid and taper to a pointed end.
How to Grow
Bachelor’s Buttons are easy to grow–you can plant from seed or buy a small plant from a local greenhouse. I purchased a small plant this year–and it is already growing quite a bit!
These flowers do like a sunny or partially sunny spot. Mine is in a partially sunny area and seems to be doing well! You will want to deadhead the spent flowers to encourage reblooming.
The top benefits of Bachelor’s Buttons:
- They are deer resistant.
- They are rabbit resistant.
- They are drought tolerant!
- They make excellent cut flowers.
If you love the tropical flowers but live in a colder zone, Black Sprite would be perfect for your garden! If you suffer from muscle pain, what are you waiting for? Throw these in the tub and ease that ache!
We’ve been busy! My husband kindly built a new cedar arbor for our grapes. They are just starting to send out green buds, but I’m looking forward to some tasty black grapes this summer!
We have the Glencora seedless grapes, but I was really worried about them after the last brutal winter. Honestly, it’s still not really warm here–today was around 50 degrees. Glencoras do grow in zone 5, and they usually winter over just fine.
These vines produce medium sized juicy blue/black grapes, and once the foliage turns green, they are an excellent garden feature. Glencora grape vines are self pollinating, so no worries there, either!
Don’t be afraid to branch out to grapes–these are hardy, easy to grow, and require little care. In August, you’ll have a wonderful harvest!