Tag Archives: full sun

Grapes: Delicious and Excellent Plants in the Garden

grapesWe’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!

Happy Gardening!


Pink Cotton Candy or Betony

cottoncandyBetony, or Pink Cotton Candy as it is familiarly known, really stands out in a garden.  Pink Cotton Candy boasts fluffy combination pink and dark pink flowers in the summer. The long flower stalks rise up from a bed of deep green foliage.

Pink Cotton Candy is attractive in flower beds or in containers–and a real show stopper wherever it is planted.

How to Grow

The plant is easily divided in the spring, so ask your friends and neighbors. It is relatively new, so you may need to buy it at the nursery.

  • Pick a sunny spot in your garden.
  • Dig a hole a bit larger than the root ball.
  • Mix fertilizer into the soil.
  • Add the plant and cover it with soil.
  • Water.
  • Remove dead flowers to encourage re-blooming.

Pink Cotton Candy is easy to grow and requires little care. The long, bushy flowers make excellent cut flowers for arrangements. Best yet, it is deer resistant while attracting butterflies and bees into the garden. If you see this at a nursery, snap it up quickly! Cotton Candy seeds are selling out quickly.

Happy Gardening!

The Butterfly Bush: Not Just a Weed

butterflyThe butterfly bush, buddleja davidii,  is a flowering shrub that will fill your garden with a wonderful scent throughout the summer. In my area, it dies back to the ground each winter but returns each summer–it is a vigorous, hardy plant.

It does and will attract butterflies, bees,  and birds to your garden. I have two of these shrubs, and I absolutely love them. The come in a variety of colors– mine are both purple. I would love to have a white and/or a red one as well.

In the language of flowers, the butterfly bush is correlated with transformation and rebirth, which is fitting since it does come back each year from the ground for me. I hear that in the south, these can grow into actual trees! I would love to have that!

How to Grow

  • In the spring or the fall, pick a sunny spot in your garden–the butterfly bush loves the sun.
  • Dig a hole a little wider and deeper than the root ball.
  • Mix a little fertilizer with the soil.
  • Place the plant into the hole, being sure to keep the top of the root ball close to the top of the soil.
  • Add mulch.
  • Water.
  • Once a bloom is finished, cut it off to encourage new blooming.

While some states, such as Washington, classify this shrub as a weed, I simply don’t agree. It is a gorgeous plant that will attract and feed bees, birds, and butterflies throughout the summer.

Happy Gardening!



The Twilight Beauty of Datura

CS 7- 2004Datura, or Devil’s Trumpet,  may be considered a weed in the south, but up here in the frozen north, I love it! Before you fall in love with this plant, please note that all parts of this plant are poisonous. Only work with this plant with gloves on your hands!

Datura blooms at night, and the flower’s fragrance is simply intoxicating.

Because this plant is considered an annual in my area, I usually plant these in containers on the deck. But they can be planted in the ground.

If you are lucky, you may find this plant at a local nursery. In the north, it is not likely. This year, I ordered seeds and expect them to arrive any day.

How to Grow

  • Let the seeds soak overnight in warm water.
  • Place soil in individual small planting containers.
  • Place the seeds into the soil.
  • Water well.
  • Cover with a tight plastic lid to hold in moisture. I use a Burpee seed starter. You can find a few types of these at Target, Walmart, Kmart, Lowes, just about any place.
  • Once the seeds germinate, remove the small plants to small pots.
  • When all chance of frost has passed, plant outdoors in full sun.

Datura plants come in a variety of flower colors–but the heavenly fragrance will remain the same! On a personal note, one spring, I was lucky to find small Datura plants at Vite Greenhouse. I was so excited! I took them home and planted them in containers. The next day, a squirrel decided to try some, and broke one of the plants. I was not happy–it was small comfort knowing that squirrel would be permanently out of commission. I left it in and purchased another–which I planted with it. Both plants ended up flourishing through the summer!

Happy Gardening!



Coneflowers: Bring Healing Properties into the Garden

coneflowerConeflowers, or Echinacea, bring a smile to my face every time I walk into my garden.

In the language of flowers, this perennial plant is associated with beauty and strength. And it is powerful–it is a natural form of an antibiotic. It is commonly used to fight colds and other upper respiratory infections. It might also help chronic fatigue syndrome and migraines.

How to Grow

  • Pick a sunny spot in your garden.
  • Dig a hole as twice as big as the root ball.
  • Mix fertilizer into the dirt.
  • Place the plant into the hole, taking care that the top of the root ball is just beneath the soil.
  • Cover with soil and water.

Benefits of Coneflowers

  • Strong medicinal uses
  • Easy to care for
  • Excellent cut flowers
  • Drought tolerant

Best of all, coneflowers come in a variety of colors and add a touch of beauty to any garden.

Happy Gardening!

Lilacs: A Spring favorite


“Still grows the vivacious lilac a generation after the door and lintel and the sill are gone, unfolding its sweet-scented flowers” ~ Henry David Thoreau
While lilac shrubs provide a good deal of privacy in the garden, they are mostly grown for their enchanting fragrance. Many grow as tall as 15 feet! Lilacs may be purchased at most nurseries, but before you buy one, ask your friends and neighbors if they have any saps from a lilac that they would be willing to give you. Yes, it will be small at first and will take a few years to establish itself, but it will be free.
How to Grow Lilacs
Plant Lilac bushes in the spring or the fall.
  • Pick a sunny spot in your garden.
  • Dig a hole and add fertilizer.
  • Place the plant in the hole, being sure to spread out the roots in the hole.
  • Cover with soil and water.
  • Lilacs bloom on old wood, so prune right after blooming.
Benefits of Lilacs
  • Attract butterflies
  • Easy to grow and care for
  • Heavenly scent
  • Excellent cut flowers
  • Used for treating wounds and fever

Lilacs generally bloom in late spring and early summer, but some varieties will bloom mid-summer and the fall. I have an ever-blooming lilac, and it blooms all summer. If you see one of these at a nursery, grab it! It will be gone the next time you visit the nursery. Ever-blooming lilacs have become immensely popular for their scent and color in the garden throughout the summer.

Happy Gardening!

Ahh, Lavender

lavendarThe lavender herb has an exquisite scent and many other great benefits. If you are looking for an easy to grow herb, you have found it! Lavender is a member of the mint family, so it will grow quickly and spread quite easily.

Lavender is an old herb, grown for years for its versatile qualities.

In the language of flowers, lavender boasts several meanings:

  • love
  • devotion
  • purity
  • caution
  • luck

How to Plant
Lavender may be planted in the ground or in containers.

  • Pick a sunny spot in your garden.
  • Dig a hole deep enough for the plant.
  • Add fertilizer.
  • Place the plant in the hole and cover with soil.
  • Water.

There are several different varieties of lavender. I have English and Sea in my garden and both do well.

Benefits of Lavender

  • great border plant
  • terrific scent
  • repels mosquitos
  • treats insomnia, migraine, stomach issues, nerve pain, joint pain, and toothaches

You may also make your own bath products from lavender, as well as teas and sachets. Whatever you do with your lavender, it is an easy and outstanding addition to any garden!

Happy gardening!