Dianthus, Super Bloomer

There’s nothing more satisfying than dianthus crowned in blooms during spring. My Stargazer plants burst into bloom early April, and unlike the chinensis varieties, this perennial hybrid has reliably returned despite some harsh summers.

I’ve had Coconut Punch on my plant wishlist for sometime, but I’m thinking of adding more such as striped Pinball Wizard and green eyed Mojito.

If a longer-lived Super Parfait-type dianthus ever came on to market, I’d be a happy gardener.

Yard crash progress as of 3/28

It was a back-breaking, sore-all-over labor to work the north-side shade bed and start the task of planting groundcovers and creepers in the stone pathway. But we accomplished a lot over the weekend, including our final tree selections @ Chambersville: a shantung maple and a Viridis japanese maple, both 30 gallon specimens. Due to the wet weather so far, Chambersville won’t be able to deliver our new trees until sometime mid-April.

Before pictures:

20150627_North Bed Pre-fence 20150702_North Bed Pre-sod 20160220_Yard Crash Groundbreaking

After pictures:

20160314_North Bed and Path Development 20160322_North Bed and Path 20160330_North Bed 6p 20160331_North Bed 9a

We mulled over the idea of adding blue glass to the marble rock river winding down to the path from the gutter. The man also wanted to add a marble rock feature to the front bed, but I’m not as open to the idea.

Plantings in the north bed: Carex Everillo, Hosta Fire and Ice, Astilbe (x5), Lime Marmalade heuchera, Foxtail fern, Cedar Sage, White Star caladiums (x3), White Splash geranium, green oxalis (white-flowered), Hort Couture Glitterati Ice Queen, wild red columbine, Sugar Plum heuchera, Japanese painted fern, Hort Couture Plum Crazy oxalis, Contessa Burgundy geranium, black mondo grass.

Plantings in the north path: Platt’s Black brass buttons, scotch moss, irish moss, variegated oregano, roman chamomile, Grace Ward lithiodora, Archer’s gold lemon thyme.

Victoria Salvia and dianthus

This weekend the hunny framed out the herb garden. We took off to Strong’s to pick up a flat of Victoria Salvia and then over to Christina’s for a pot of Imperial Blue Plumbago and a flat of dianthus in purple shades. Mixed in with the picotees were Super Parfaits Strawberry and Raspberry, at least two pots of each. I have to remember to collect the seeds from these. They seem to be shorter than the vigorous Ideal-type dianthus that I purchased with them, no more than 8-10 inches tall, and darker in leaf.

The Victoria Blue salvias were installed in the front flower beds for a splash of blue color and some vertical lift. They contrasted quite well against the golden Japanese grass, the last of which we planted on the far end of the bed. I’m almost convinced we should install the remainder of the salvia in the front bed just for the added blue color. Not to mention the extra visits from bees and butterflies. While digging in the front flower bed, we checked on the status of the astilbes and hostas. Apparently only one of the Minutemen hostas thrived–the other root was a dessicated ball. I’ve transplanted the hosta into a pot and put it in a sunnier location along with the potted Gold Standards, in hopes they will thrive. We also dug up the 2 remaining astilbes that haven’t made a showing, Fanal and Amerika. I potted the Fanal to place in shade, while we replanted the Amerika which seemed to be slowly developing. Hopefully these will catch up soon.

The third Lollypop bloomed this past weekend. The next lilies burgeoning with buds are the Red Alerts, with their super-huge tubes ready to burst. I have to also mention that the rest of the Gumpo Azaleas have started blooming their heads off this week, single-flowered whites and pinks. I’m almost tempted to purchase more calla lilies to cover the bare spot in the lily garden. There is a difference between the callas blooming in full sun versus partial shade. But the callas now have reached remarkable heights of 2-3 feet and show no sign of stopping.

Other notes: transferred the chocolate chip ajuga to the spot vacated by a picoteed dianthus in the courtyard flower bed. Many of the salvia cuttings have taken off, rooted well and are thriving. The last Picasso calla lily, one that I had potted on the patio, has sent up a shoot. I emptied the cosmos seeds I had in the tree bed along with the last of the baby’s breath and forget-me-not seeds. I put in another order for seeds yesterday, for cosmos, impatiens and sweet bell peppers.

And yet more plants

We can’t seem to not find anything we like at Strong’s Nursery: 1 basil lime, 1 lemon balm (melissa officinalis), 1 pineapple mint, one Spanish Lavender and another Hakonechloa Aureola (Golden Japanese Forest Grass looking a little burnt). At Home Depot, we finally got our paws on 2 catmints, Nepeta faassenii, though they didn’t look at all too happy sitting out in full sun, plus a larger rosemary specimen, Tuscan Blue. From there I also picked up a cheap 6-pack of marigolds (Durango or Safari series mix, Bolero being the choicest color), 2 more bicolor salvia coccinea, 2 Calico and 2 Purple Flash Ornamental Peppers, and a Tropical Breeze verbena (for my blue-themed planter). My man also picked up some sale items at Calloways, 2 Oertel’s Rose Common Yarrow and 2 Golden Fleece (Dahlberg Daisies).

I planted my yellow-themed box with marigolds and coleus, with the old Salsa Jasmines as bookends to the box. I still have plenty of coleus to spare as I consider setting up another planter box in the same theme.

The first lily bloom is not surprisingly the shortest lilies in the flower beds: Lollypop. It made a showing last Saturday with 2 flowers. An even younger bulb boasts 3 pink-edged blooms on a 18″ trunk. Another surprise bloomer is the Red Peppermint Super Parfait dianthus. One of the seedlings hatched yesterday, and it appears several more seedlings are budding. I’m not sure that I should pinch them back to stimulate more foliage. Other bloomers include Macrantha orange and white gumpo azaleas. The orange actually looks more like what Crimson should have looked like, and the white gumpo is a pretty single-flowered form.

The first purple garden is in place, with the Lorapetalum as centerpiece, and rosemary Tuscan Blue close to the patio door, next to the house wall. It is currently populated with 2 Compact Ballerina white gauras, one Calico and one Purple Flash ornamental pepper, one Spanish Lavender, 2 violet salvia greggiis and 3 bicolor salvia coccinea. I also transplanted the purple picoteed dianthus from the lily bed to this one, since the colors worked well.

The 2 golden fleece and the Cherry Brandy gaura have been planted in the front flower bed, in front of the shorter azaleas.

Plants currently making an entrance in the flower beds: 1 Fanal Astilbe (in corner bed), 1 Picasso calla lily

More seeds are in. I get to experiment with the seed sower I purchased and give the Burpees pellets another shot.

3 bulbs to go, garden under siege

Something is eating the coleus.

They’ve been in their flower beds for almost 2 weeks…and almost every plant is riddled with holes. The holes are small, circular but do not display any browning. I’m concerned that if this siege continues, the coleus will be thoroughly consumed and killed. I’ve been looking into a systemic solution such as Bayer Advanced. I’ve used it in previous years with some success, but it may take time before it goes into effect. I may have to get an insecticidal soap to get faster results.

The most current tally of lily bulbs: 12. Which means only 3 more lilies (mostly Lollypops) have yet to make a showing. I’ve discovered that the Devil’s Wine calla has sent up a tiny spire. The Snowdrift Astilbe is making slow progress, fanning its leaves. With the recent rains, the azalea blooms on Delaware Valley White and Hot Shot are getting washed away, forming something of a papery mess. The other red azalea is finally showing buds, but the Macrantha and the Gumpos have yet to show off any potentials. With the crape myrtles finally fully leafed, the courtyard bed is nearly in part/full shade for most of the day.

In the front yard, the Encore blooms are sparse. Embers has about wrapped up their show, while the Monarch has not made a profuse showing, teasing us with a handful of coral red blooms. However, Twist is about to make a grand showing. The shrub is smothered with buds about to burst. If it doesn’t bloom in the 24 hours, I will be surprised. The rest of the front bed is settling in–the Firehouse nandinas are shedding the last of their winter coats. The 2 Dallas Stars have put out new straps. Still no signs of life from the Hosta Minutemen or the astilbe Fanal and Amerika.

Seed starting kits can dry up, so it’s always important to check the water level to make sure seedlings are getting the necessary moisture. Last night, I discovered that the water reservoir had been emptied, and the dianthus seedlings were the first to show any stress. I had intended to transplant them to their new homes, but it will have to wait until they are revitalized.