There is a hosta with a flower like just about nothiner you've ever seen on a hosta– the Hosta Venus has huge, showy white twice-double blooms that come out late in the summer and in the early fall, after most Hostas have passed.
Hosta blooms are usually a little more subtle, but this giant fragrant flower with definitely catch attention. Hostas are traditionally known more for impressive foliage and being a great shade plant. However, when you see this hosta in bloom you will understand why this is such a popular item.
Plant in light to medium shade in well-drained moisture retentive soil enriched with organics. Mature plant makes a great shade garden plant and the blooms make excellent cut flowers.
Shade plants are often come in a very limited color range because there is not enough sunlight to bring out most of those beautiful bright floral colors, and deep color is usually too dark to stand out. When designing a shade garden, one must rely heavily on textures and light-colored shade plants that will stand out in the low light.
This situation forces the gardener to be creative and shapes the subtle feel of the shade garden. Thankfully, there are some plants out there that have very interesting textures and the light eye-catching colors that are perfect for you shade garden. There are some new colors of fern, brilliant variegated hostas, and my favorite, new hues of heuchera.
Heuchera comes in a wide variety of colors and has a ruffled texture that will add interest to your shade garden. My favorite variety of heuchera is Wayside Gardens' Heuchera 'Ginger Ale' which has a rich amber color that will stand out against any deep green or purple foliage in your shade garden.
Wayside Gardens Voice
Coneflowers are especially hardy, Japanese beetles can be a problem in some areas, but they are resistant to mostly everything. They are beautiful and showy no matter what cultivar you choose. They have large brightly colored flowers with the big cone-like centers that give them their name. They grow to be about three feet tall and have big coarse leaves. They love sunlight and well-drained soil.
Echinacea, the hardy coneflower is a long-time garden favorite. This year’s line-up from Wayside Gardens is perfect for collectors and classic gardeners alike. As soon as you open the Wayside Gardens Spring Gardening 2007 catalog you are hit on pages two and three by the beautiful Big Sky series Echinaceas which you can buy separately or together in the “Cone Crazy” Echinacea collection. On pages 90 and 91 you can see the rest of the the Echinaceas offered this spring, including Rassmatazz, the first ever double Echinacea. There is plenty to choose from at Wayside Gardens if you are looking for coneflowers this spring.
For more information about the care of your Echinacea from GardenerHelp.org
Good Research Makes a Happy Gardener
While probing for ideas that might add a little intrigue to the pitifully uninspiring flora of my backyard, I was told by a fellow Wayside Gardens employee to check out bog gardens. My first thought was of a marsh or swamp, something more appropriate for a wildlife preserve or ghost story than my simple little yard. However, trusting my source, I dove, head-first into that murky swamp of information, the all-knowing internet. Using my favorite search engine, I typed in the obvious “bog gardens” and amassed a king’s feast of information that was all completely useless.
While wading through the many explanations of what a bog garden might be and the varied items that I should purchase to enhance my garden, I realized the one thing I always try to tell myself before starting any home-improvement project: Always start your research with reliable academic resources, and work your way up to the commercial resources. That is one thing I have learned while working at Wayside Gardens. By the time you get there, you should know what it is you need to buy. I had not even thought to ask myself if I even knew what a bog was much, less how to plant anything in one. So, I did my research.
Apparently, if you have a low spot in your yard that never completely dries and you plant some elephant ears there, you have not created a bog garden as some of the sources I found would lead you to believe. It is a clever way to turn a problem into an asset, but not a bog garden. A bog is actually a type of wetland formed from a deposit of dead plant matter, most commonly some type of moss or lichen. Its moisture comes almost completely from precipitation and tends to be slightly acidic. An exotic environment for exotic plants- It’s exactly what I was looking for.
I also found that recreating this environment on the small scale is not very difficult; some people even create indoor bog gardens in terrariums, which would be a perfect way to display those bog-loving carnivorous plants and make an excellent conversation piece. I just needed a place that will hold moisture and that I could fill with peat. I had the perfect place, that gross little pond insert that I installed two seasons ago, or as I like to call it, my “mosquito nursery”. I just cleaned that out and poked a few holes in the bottom for drainage- lined the bottom with coarse sand and filled it with moistened peat. The moss maintains the acidity and I use a soaker hose to keep my bog damp. I planted an Iris “Holden’s Child, this very interesting Juncus effusus Unicorn, and two Pine Hibiscuses. Some of these plants could even be purchased right here at Wayside Gardens. Situated in the center of my garden, accented with two lawn gnomes and a pink flamingo, my bog has definitely added spice to my back yard.
Wayside Gardens Voice