Made in the shade

I convinced the honey that the front flower bed does indeed receive 2-4 hours of sunlight every morning…I suspect we will be reviewing our bedding plans and determine what shrubs might be suitable for the location. So far I’m convinced that at least 2 Encore azaleas, 2 nandinas and at least one green-leaved fringeflower will be represented. I’ve found a good list of shade-loving shrubs that I’ll also be using as reference.

I’m still deliberating on the placement of the kalmia. I’m not convinced that Minuet won’t overgrow its position by the door, but being a dwarf mountain laurel means it won’t reach the normal size of the species, right?

I will also have to look at the hydrangea section again…it seems there may be a subgroup of the shrub whose leaves don’t offend me. I’m not fond of the giant oak-leaved hydrangeas…I’d prefer a finer texture and smaller form.

More plant orders and a weekend chill

My Forestfarm order came in, a very nicely packed Kalmia and sprouting Hosta. The dining room table is filling up with plants and bulbs. However a sudden freeze has stalled our landscaping efforts this weekend. By midday Saturday, temperatures plummeted, and we saw snow around 8pm. Truly bizarre Texas weather…even our city Farmer’s Market was delayed for another weekend. I’m banking that this will be the last freeze of the season; the coming week temps look to be in the 70s.

I’ve put in an order with Stokes Seeds for the Xtreme Hot! Impatiens mix (250 seeds), 1 packet of Super Parfait Red Peppermint, Thai Basil, Red Rubin Basil, and Garlic Chives. It took me a long time to whittle down the Impatiens varieties, but given the recent introduction and success of the Xtreme series, it seemed logical to choose it over the Super Elfins, Accents and New Guineas. Maybe later, I will go back and pick up more color blends as well as explore other varieties such as the Athena Doubles, Orange Flash and Red Flash, and the Super Elfin XP Stellar Mix Impatiens.

A word about the dianthus: I’ve been looking to see if a “hot” blend of colors are available in the Ideal mix. It appears that the 4 surviving specimens that I transplanted to the courtyard bed may have been Telstar varieties, likely scarlet or carmine reds, and possibly a white. I have my eye on Dianthus Valentine, but I’d like to find a supplier that offers it for reasonable prices.

Orders on the way

My Brent and Becky’s order is on its way via Fedex, scheduled delivery Thursday, which includes 15 lily bulbs, 3 calla lilies, 1 astilbe. Forestfarm’s order ships via UPS, arriving Friday, includes 1 Minuet Mountain Laurel and 1 Hosta Eternal Flame. With the front flower beds laid out, I am certain that the astilbe and the hosta will find new homes there. I am banking that the kalmia Minuet will find a place of honor next to the front door.

Meanwhile, I discovered yesterday morning that 1 of the first lilies of the valley has began sending up shoots. This particular rhizome gets barely an hour or two of morning sun, in the front door bed. I have not detected any life from the second rhizome which was planted next to the fence door, where it gets no sun at all.

My Asahi zuru has begun unfurling its leaves. It is a magnificent sight and I can’t wait to see it in its full greenery. I believe it is in a good position next to the patio door which receives about 4-5 hours of morning sun every day. When the summer sun gets too harsh, I will probably relocate it under the canopy of the 2 crepe myrtles next to the fence.


I’m still debating growing dianthus, coleus and impatiens from seed. With the impatiens and dianthus, a light lamp would be necessary, whereas the coleus simply needs heat to germinate. Much to ponder.

Hosta and Kalmia

Daunted by the Musser Farm disappointment, back to Forestfarm I went. As much as I desired that lovely Kalmia latifolia Olympic Fire, I instead opted for the Minuet Mountain Laurel, which I hope will thrive in the full shade garden next to the front door. Here’s to hoping they supply us with a large healthy specimen. I also couldn’t resist picking up a Hosta Eternal Flame (at an irresistible tube price of $7.95), which so reminded me of the Fire & Ice that I purchased from Sooner Plant Farm about 2-3 years ago. I plan on locating it in the front fence bed, once it’s been weeded, amended and framed.