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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The Healing Power of Coneflowers

The Healing Power of Coneflowers


Posted on Jun 17, 2014 | 0 comments

Echinacea (Coneflower)

Echinacea (Coneflower)

You may already love Coneflowers for their impressive tolerance of high heat, humidity, drought and other environmental stresses, but those aren’t the only tricks this perennial has up its sleeve. Did you know that the root of Echinacea angustifolia was originally used to treat toothache, tonsillitis, and pain in the bowels? The story goes that Native Americans discovered the healing powers of this flower when they noticed that sick Elk would seek out and eat the plant. Ever since then, Echinacea has been a popular natural remedy in America, revered for its immune-boosting effect. It has been used to treat everything from the common cold all the way up to rattlesnake bites! 

Scientific analysis of Echinacea has found that the  fat-soluble alkylamides in the plant have an immunomodulatory effect, increasing our immune system’s ability to fight antigens. The chemical basis for this is complex, and the exact chain of cause-and-effect has not been determined yet, but the prevailing wisdom is that Echinacea can temporarily boost your immune system, which makes it a great thing to take when you first feel a tickle in your throat, or when someone in your household comes down with a cold. I personally wouldn’t rely on Echinacea to save me from a snake bite, but I have found it effective so far at keeping the cold and flu at bay.

The potent medicinal value of this timeless perennial  is one of many reasons that back in 2014 the National Garden Bureau named it the “Year of the Echinacea”!

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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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