The Arch City Gardener

Journeys In St. Louis Gardening and Beyond


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Wordless Wednesday: Summer Go-Togethers

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Joe Pye and BESDSCN1973 (1280x960)DSCN3227 DSCN3236 DSCN3319


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Upside/Downside in the Garden This Week

DSCN3054 (480x640)I don’t need my new rain gauge to tell me we’ve had a lot of rain in St. Louis. The “tap” has been running since last Sunday, and this morning the rain gauge was filled to the brim, indicating we’ve had nearly six inches of rain. Needless to say, all this moisture has had upsides and some downsides. Without further adieu, here’s a quick recap of my Arch City garden:

I was gone for the first part of the week so the upside is I did not need to water; the downside is ponding in parts of the yard, plants soaked to the bone and weeds, weeds, weeds. It finally stopped raining today and I spent an enjoyable few hours this morning tidying things up. You can translate that to mean trimming back spent blooms from the penstemon, lilies, lady’s mantle and roses, as well as the annuals. I have noticed lots of spots and white stuff on some of the plants, including the penstemon, echinacea and rudbeckia, so I cut back quite a bit. The roses have been food for some insect and now are displaying lacy leaves. Not a good sign.

By noon the sun was out in full force, the humidity unbearable and yours truly headed back inside.

DSCN3089 (1024x768)DSCN3058 (1024x768) (2) There are some bright spots to the garden as well. The daylilies my neighbor generously gave me last summer are starting to bloom and they are lovely, although the liriope nearby have been heartily munched upon (I suspect rabbits) and the more than one dozen tomatoes on my patio plant are g-o-n-e. That would be squirrels. In fact, they left half-eaten tomatoes scattered upon the lawn. Ingrates.

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DSCN3073 (1024x768) DSCN3087 (1280x960)The “Berry Chiffon” tickseed I planted before I left for the Fling has begun to bloom and is quite showy with deep pink petals whose tips appear to be painted white. Yet some of the liatris nearby has been trampled just as it is beginning to bloom. It is now cut back and in a vase in the family room.DSCN3060 (1024x768)

The astilbe in the newly installed south bed were stunning and I could not be happier with the plants in this shady part of the yard–fern, Japanese forest grass, hosta, Solomon seal, coral bells. As the raspberry plumes on the astilbe begin to fade, the caladium are starting to emerge, although some critter seems to have had a nibble or two on them as well. Rabbits? I suspect so but am not sure. I’ve never grown caladium in the ground. Readers, any tips for critter control?

The true test of the garden will be when the heat really kicks up. I guess that test will be tomorrow, as we expect temperatures in the mid 90s.DSCN3063 (1280x960)


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A Closer Look at What’s Coming Up in the Garden

Here’s a close up of what’s blooming and coming up in my yard. I took these photos over the weekend, before we were hit with high winds and lots of rain.

A newcomer to the garden, I love the "freckles" on this guy.

A newcomer to the garden, I love the “freckles” on this guy.

Bloodgood Japanese Maple was the centerpiece of my gardens and the first specimen I planted in 2012. In fact, it was the first tree I had ever planted. During spring the leaves seem to change color daily.

Bloodgood Japanese Maple was the centerpiece of my gardens and the first specimen I planted in 2012. In fact, it was the first tree I had ever planted. During spring the leaves seem to change color daily.

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I can’t wait to watch one of the new additions to the garden–lady’s mantle. This is one of the plants I am obsessed with this year.

 

I am glad to see this shrub blooming. I see azaleas all over St. Louis and really like them, but have a hard time growing them. I plan to move my azaleas to a new location this fall in the hopes that a new spot will be better

I am glad to see this shrub blooming. I see azaleas all over St. Louis and really like them, but have a hard time growing them. I plan to move my azaleas to a new location this fall in the hopes that a new spot will be better

I moved my Frances William hostas because they were getting too much sun. The new spot has morning sun and afternoon shade. I love  the way this plant unfolds as it comes out of the ground

I moved my Frances William hostas because they were getting too much sun. The new spot has morning sun and afternoon shade. I love the way this plant unfolds as it comes out of the ground

The rhododendron got the worst of the winter and suffered lots of leaf scorch. It's blooms are beautiful though.

The rhododendron got the worst of the winter and suffered lots of leaf scorch. It’s blooms are beautiful though.

This silver mound is vigorous and hardy and is a wonderful groundcover at the edge of the patio bed.

This silver mound is vigorous and hardy and is a wonderful ground cover at the edge of the patio bed. Notice how the water droplets magnify on artemisia’s feathery leaves.


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5 Plants I’m Obsessed With

Stealing a line from Bravo TV host and hometown son Andy Cohen, I am obsessed with these five plants for the garden:

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1. Tall garden phlox. The color range available and the lovely “eyes” of  tall garden phlox make my heart skip a beat. These tall wonders are first on my list for an after-work garden stroll. They are fragrant and mingle delightfully among the Russian sage, bee balm and Stella de Oro daylily. While I enjoy them most in the garden, they hold up well in a cut arrangement gracing the dining table.

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2. Hosta, “Dorothy Benedict”. This beauty seems to have it all. It looks like a painting with streaks of bright green-yellow, blue-green and green-green interspersed with white. Leaves are textured, edges are smooth. Pop it into the shade garden and gaze away. What’s not to love? Oh yeah, the price (I’ve seen Dorothy Benedict quoted at $200-$500).

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3. Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis). Chartreuse-hued plants work well in a wide range of applications in the garden. Contrast this plant with cool blue-tinged foliage or the deep purples of “Mainacht” salvia. Or complement lady’s mantle with bursting colors such as bright pink Knockout roses. The old-fashioned girl will make its way into the garden this year.

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4. Kobold Gayfeather (Liatris spicata). I like spikes, and this plant delivers. Commonly known as blazing star, it pushes forth a stalk that really is a bunch of rounded flower heads that are fun to watch unfold from the top down. It attracts butterflies and works well in clay soil. Kobold is a compact version of liatris, and I am told this plant does not need staking, another bonus.

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5. Foxglove (Digitalis). The tubular bells on this biennual are nothing short of amazing. The freckles on the inside if the bloom spill forward on these charming flower spikes will be the perfect addition to my cottage garden. I grew them years ago in my backyard garden in Palatine, IL. Why I haven’t introduced them to my St. Louis landscapes escapes me. But that’s about to change.