Coneflower


35278_5For the average gardener, there would be no garden without full sun perennials. They provide most of the colors, textures, and fragrances that serve to give a garden its basic structure. From spring to fall, these are your staples– just fill in along the way with a few annuals, tropicals, and short bloomers.

That being said, full sun perennials will also require the bulk of your attention. Full sun perennials will respond positively to regular maintenance. You will need to prune in late winter and spring, deadhead your blooms, and divide your plants when the growth becomes to dense. They also love soils with high organic matter content and good mulch.

Caring for full sun perennials may be taxing, but you will appreciate your garden when the work is done. Check out all the sun perennials from Wayside!

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(Note: This is Part 3 in a series. For more info on this topic be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2).

If your problem is not too much rain, but too little, again we can look to nature for solutions. In nature you don’t see lush tropical plants trying to grow in the desert. Rather, the flora follows the climate, with plants growing only as full and lush as the local water sources allow. We can learn from nature’s wisdom by adapting our gardens to suit our climate and by making good use of every raindrop the sky gives us! We can mimic the water cycle by carefully conserving and re-using our water supplies. We can mimic deserts and prairies by landscaping with drought-tolerant native species rather than “thirsty” turfgrass and ornamentals. And for those of us that are really ambitious, we can mimic the way that forest landscapes hold onto rain by utilizing techniques like Hugelkultur and swales.

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An orange-inspired garden design with purple accents.

Click here to see the Pinterest board of the best orange varieties!

We’ve all got our favorite color, that one that just seems to “pop” for us more than all the others. For me, that color is orange; nothing seems quite so vibrant as a bright orange bloom on a sunny day. Whenever I come across a particularly beautiful orange specimen, I just think about how good it would look in a whole orange arrangement. That’s why I put together this garden design to serve as a planner for myself and the other orange-aholics out there.

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Epimedium Ogisui
I was browsing through our catalog, as I sometimes do when I can't think of anything else to write about. I just find a pretty plant and then talk about how pretty it is. I know it's boring, and I apologize, but they really are very pretty.

This time was different. It wasn't the picture that caught my attention, but the description. Epimedium Osigui was "named for Mikinori Ogisu, the famed Japanese plant hunter…In the native it is found among limestone deposits near waterfalls." It was discovered in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Plant Hunter! Browsing the InterWebs, I found Mr. Mikinori was connected with the discoveries of many popular plants. One blogger called him the "most important man in Epimediums." He has trekked though thick forest, up high mountains, and deep into dense river gorges to find some of the rarest and most exciting new plant varieties. One of the most interesting articles was from the Historic Roses Group written by another famed botanist and plant hunter, Martyn Rix. He described Mr. Mikinori's discoveries of exotic Chinese Roses. He spent ten years combing the Chinese wilderness, and has provided us with cultivated varieties of plants that, before him, very few people had even seen.

I guess it was naive of me, but I just had never thought of botanists as adventurers. I guess somebody had to go out and discover all of these things. As gardeners, we often fill our gardens with exotic plants from all over the world, provided either by our local nursery or ordered from a catalog like Wayside Gardens. Rarely, if ever, do we think about how that plant came to be cultivated. Who took the first sample of seeds or the first cutting. Some of the species that Mikinori Ogisu discovered only grow natively at very high altitudes or in deep gorges where there are no trails. The man is a modern pioneer, forging paths for knowledge and future discovery.

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The Science of Plant Color

The Science of Plant Color


Posted on Feb 7, 2007 | 0 comments

We have been shown the importance of color from the artistic point of view, your garden as a masterpiece, colorful and pretty. But what do those colors mean? Why do plants have color and what causes plants to be different colors? Almost everyone has heard of chlorophyll, but have you heard of the other two type of plant pigment? Do you know what their functions are?

It is not exactly simple, and most gardeners might not even care. However, I think it would be safe to make the assumption that for just about every person who sees their garden as a medium for artistic expression there is another who could only describe a flower in terms of its morphology and functional benefits for the particular plant. From my experiences here at Wayside Gardens, I can also promise you that neither will do so with more or less passion.

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Patriot Hosta has beautifully intricate foliage

American kids officially learn about chlorophyll in seventh grade life science, though they may be introduced to it a little earlier. So we’ve all heard of it. We know what photosynthesis is- the method by which plants turn light into usable energy. Plants store this energy, animals eat the plants, animals eat animals that ate the plants, and humans eat plants and animals. Ultimately, almost all energy for growth and movement on Earth comes from the Sun via photosynthesis. Yay! Everyone give a round of applause to plants for shouldering such a huge responsibility for the rest of us.

Chlorophyll is the pigment responsible for absorbing most of the light during photosynthesis. There are two different kinds: a, green to blue-green and b, red. Chlorophyll a is the most common. Thus, most leaves are usually green. You’ll notice, in the summer that trees are completely covered with leaves because this is when they are doing the bulk of their growth.

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Butterfly™Rainbow Marcella Echinacea shows off its pink and orange tones

Carotenoids are the pigment that give plants, carrots for example, colors ranging from yellow to orange. They have many functions in nature, and though they are important to many animals, they cannot be synthesized and must be ingested. In plants they also have functions in photosynthesis. During Autumn, the leaves of deciduous trees change color because they no longer need to collect sunlight and the green chlorophyll thins out revealing the colors of the carotenoids and another reddish chlorophyll before the leaves fall.

Flavonoids are the third kind of pigment and provide the largest variety of color to flowers, ranging from red to blue. When combined with the first two, the overall combination determines the look of a particular plant.

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