Sunday, September 15, 2013

Chinese Lanterns

Once you get this plant from seed or seedlings, you have it for life.
Nothing says Fall like Chinese Lanterns,  Physalis alkekengi. The book says: "Plant where they have lots of room to grow." They will wander all over your garden and each year will emerge in a new spot.  It will drive you crazy if you believe in law and order with your plants.  Gardens must really match our personalities or its a battle you can't win.  I have them in a 'wild' section with ferns and don't mind where they emerge.
My trick to make them stand out is to pinch off the leaves that block the lanterns after they develop so that they are seen more easily.
Next year I'm going to put some seedlings in a pot in the Spring and then move them where I want them in the Fall.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Morning glorious

Grown from seed.  Every year I fill this planter with morning glories.
 I tried the new grafter tomato plants this year.  I choose cherry tomatoes one yellow and one red variety.  The grafted tomatoes are grown on heirloom root stock which makes them vigorous but has the superior taste of the newer varietials.  I was apprehensive about the final size of this plant. It is supposed to grow to 8 ft! While the red variety was not as juicy as I would have liked.  The tomatoes matured earlier and started bearing fruit very early in the summer.  Worth growing for that alone! I have a very shady location and the tomatoes probably only get 4 hours a day max. but they managed to produce a fair number of tomatoes.  At between $8. - 12 a plant.  You need a few salads to make it worthwhile!
The red varietal., firm flesh, like small plum tomatoes.

Yellow miniature tomatoes. Delicious!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fabulous Phlox

When people ask me what plant to add to the garden for Fall colour I have to mention phlox as one of the mainstays in the garden.
Don't know the name of this phlox, but  blooms first and furious.  It starts blooming in July and just keeps on going. 
 Not only is phlox a great scrabble word, but it fills in a provides a great background in the garden. The main problem with phlox is mildew. Phlox paniculata cultivars are very susceptible. Various home remedies (1 tsp baking soda to 1 liter of water) help in the early stages, but eventually the leaves just need to be removed. Local climate and soil conditions affect the fungus, but wet summers like this one, help keep the fungus at bay. Some phlox become more susceptible with age, so it is best to pull then out and start anew.
You can also reduce the chance of infection by providing lots of moisture, good air circulation and by thinning the clumps. So, thin mature plants every Spring.
But before the mildew sets in, enjoy the glorious beauty of this garden joy.  My favourite is the phlox above, but I don't know it's name.  It was a division from my sister-in-law and I have watched for it ever since.  It is usually finished blooming by the time mildew sets in, so you can cut it down and let something else take over.
My recommendation is that you plant phlox in spite of the mildew problem.  The plump greenery of this plant is a great backdrop in Spring and Summer to your other garden choices.
This phlox is a very old variety.  I received it from my mother-in-law.  It is probably from the 1940's or 50's. It opens next in my garden.  

Love the colour of this 'Starfire' phlox.  It has the added feature of emerging in Spring with a wonderful red hue to the leaves and then going green as Summer progresses.

This white phlox is has a almost indicernible pink star in the centre.  I gets badly mildewed as the season progresses.  But for now it is beautiful!