Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday's Fav's: Rudbeckia 'Indian Summer'

Such a cheery face! How could you not love this bright as sunshine flower? The blossoms of Rudbeckia 'Indian Summer' have just started blooming in my garden!


This sun-loving plant sports bright blooms 3-5" in size, and each blossom lasts for many weeks. They keep on blooming and brightening up the garden all summer long!

The centers start out smooth and reddish, and become softer and dark brown after the stamens open.

Bumblebees love to perch and drink nectar from these happy plants, and they help to spread the pollen.

This variety is known to move about the garden, but doesn't form dense colonies like other Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia species). 

'Indian Summer' may be considered a biennial, or a short-lived perennial. The plants may last for a a year or two, but they reseed freely and I'm glad to see I have some blooming in my garden again this year.

In my garden, my plants stayed in the same place for a couple of years, but they didn't make it through this last winter.

However they have reseeded and relocated themselves elsewhere in my garden, and where they are blooming now works beautifully! I couldn't have done a better job myself!

I enjoy seeing their bright faces when I walk by my garden. Their bright color, large flower size and each flower's longevity in the garden make this a perennial not to be without!

 Here are the facts:

Scientific name: Rudbeckia hirta 'Indian Summer'

Common name: Black-eyed Susan

Family: Asteraceae

Zone: 3-7

Light requirements: Full Sun

Height: 2-3'

Spread: 1-2'

Bloom time: June thru frost

Tolerant: Deer, drought and clay soil

Here's a picture of 'Indian Summer' in my garden last year, blooming with my Star-gazer lilies and Summer Phlox. Isn't this a lovely palette of color?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday's Fav's: Weigela 'Red Prince'

Today's spotlight is on my Weigela 'Red Prince' which is in its full-blooming glory. This gorgeous deciduous shrub is one of my fav's, and is often used in my landscape designs.

Red Prince is a showy plant when in bloom, and rather quiet during the rest of the season. Its tubular flowers attract hummingbirds and bees, and for brief time in the spring, it is an absolute stand out in the garden.


Red Prince has a form that is irregular, and I like it that way. I have seen some specimens pruned into a perfect mounding shape, but it's not natural for the plant, so therefore it's not my preference. Some minor pruning of long, overgrown canes is the only shaping I perform.

The delicate flowers appear in abundance, and this year the show is spectacular! Each tiny flower is dressed in crimson, with white anthers and pistils. Absolutely gorgeous!

Clusters of flowers appear on every branch, from top to bottom. This plant is quite floriferous, and the abundance of flowers this season is causing the branches to bend just a little. The display is jaw-dropping!

Red Prince pairs well with other flowering shrubs. Behind and to the left, my very tall 'President Grevy' lilac has finished blooming, and directly behind the weigela is my 'Blue Muffin' Viburnum in full bloom.

To the side are spirea for early summer bloom, and on the other side of the bed I have summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) for mid-summer color and a wonderful fragrance. So you see, in a bed approximately 14' square, I have something blooming nearly all season long!

I knew everyone would wonder what was blooming behind the Weigela, so today is a two-fer because the Blue Muffin Viburnum is another of my fav's, also used in my landscape designs. Are you seeing a pattern here? Indeed, I like to grow the plants that I offer to my customers for their gardens. That way, I have an idea of how they grow and how well they thrive in our area.

Viburnums in general are one of my favorites, and Blue Muffin is a sweet, smaller specimen. Those adorable white flowers are followed by bright blue berries. I wouldn't bake with them, but the birds love 'em!

I find great delight in the delicate beauty of the blooms of my Red Prince Weigela. The shrub can be a bit ungainly, but certainly deserves a place in the deciduous shrub border.

Here are the facts:

Botanical name: Weigela florida 'Red Prince'

Common name: Red Prince Weigela *

Hardiness: Zone 4 - 8

Height: 5' - 6' tall

Spread: 5' - 6' wide

Flowering time: late spring/early summer with another, less abundant bloom late in summer

Location: Full sun is recommended, but my plant is situated in full morning sun with deep shade all afternoon and still flowers profusely.

* Weigela is pronounced Wy gee la; with a soft 'g' sound (like a 'j'). Some people pronounce it with a hard 'g' sound. Some add an extra 'i' and say wy gelia. However you wish to pronounce it, this stunning shrub deserves a place in the landscape as a specimen plant. When in bloom, it is drop-dead gorgeous!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday's Fav's: Brunnera 'Jack Frost'

This little gem of a plant has been my favorite for a couple of years. I love it! 

Early Spring as the Blossoms begin to show

Beginning early in the spring with new growth followed by delightful, delicate little blue flowers, the plant continues on throughout the summer offering gorgeous foliage in its shady location.

The heart-shaped leaves are filigreed with dainty paintings of frosty silvery-white with green venation. 

As the plant matures through the season, the foliage becomes the star.

An herbaceous perennial, it pairs well with other shade-loving plants, including hostas and heucheras.

Jack Frost will grow into a nice, loose mound shape, spreading slowly by rhizomes to form a nice clump.

This plant prefers moist, organically rich soil. The edges of the plant will brown slightly if watering is inconsistent in hot summers.  No diseases or pests. Deer and rabbits leave this plant alone!

My plants are about 3 years old now. I delight in the patterns on the leaves, and its hardiness to summer storms that keeps the foliage looking great all season.

I love this pretty little marvel in my shade garden!

Here are the facts:

Botanical name: Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost'

Common name: Siberian bugloss (really?)*

Family: Boraginaceae

Hardiness: Zone 3-8

Height: 12"-15"

Spread: 12"- 20"

Flowering time: April-May

Location: Shade to part-shade

* Bugloss comes from Greek and means ox tongue... so perhaps it was thus named due to the shape of the leaves and their texture.