All my zinnias came from seed this year. Remember my tips for planting seeds? Well they worked! My seed crop for both veggies and flowers was a huge success. Purple is not my favorite color but they still look great in the front edging of the landscaping. Zinnias are loaded in intense color. And yet as they are only blooming now, patience is critical. It took all summer for the magnificent stems to get nice and tall and form buds to bloom. And maybe that's what I like best about zinnias.....they make great picking flowers. With those tall stems and huge blooms, they look fantastic in a vase alongside roses, lilies and daisies.
Marvelously colored foliage, coleus comes is just about any color you'd wish from green, yellow, pink, red and maroon. It has a wide variety of leaf sizes and shapes. It's great for adding color to container pots, borders and the landscaping edging. Really, it works well just about anywhere. It combines well with flowers, herbs or even plug in your veggie bed. But I love it because even now, it's still shining. I particularly like the maroon/red coleus in the second picture. Really packs a punch in that window box!
From the beginning of the season right down to the end geraniums look fabulous anywhere in their brightly colored hues. They rarely complain when you forget to water if you're just as neglectful as I am! They are easy to overwinter if you choose to do so. In fact, I threw some geranium hanging baskets in my basement and they refused to die. And I live in Buffalo. Imagine how cold it gets, not to mention the very little sun streaming in the basement during winter.
My basil is turning to seed. My cilantro died. Tom weedwhacked all the dill. My rosemary is doing stupendous. I plan on bringing it in this winter. It is a perennial evergreen plant. Using it fresh is easier because you can either strip off the leaves from the woodier stems or use the entire sprig to flavor your food and then remove them later. Rosemary is strong so a little goes a long way. Even a dish that will simmer for hours only needs a sprig or two. And oh so versatile, rosemary pairs equally well with meats and roasted vegetables making it my go-to herb. Then I think about how much rosemary loves both savory and sweet. No soup or stew is complete without it and don't even get me started on potatoes. Chicken, pork, fish, lamb, veal, goose, duck, the possibilities are endless. Try in vinegars, marinades and even tomato sauces.
Nothing perks up a yard and makes it look more exotic than ornamental grasses. Sure to stun, I love planting mine towards the back of the perennial bed because many varieties grow tall. They are generally tolerant of harsh weather, disease and pests. Once established, they need little fertilizer or water to grow. Aside from a yearly pruning, they are low-mainenance plants that are hardy so let them grow wild. Best of all, they come in a variety of textures, colors, height and forms giving you lots to choose from. I love how they form mounds so if I don't like my initial spot, I just dig and move. Many are perennials that make great borders, ground cover and fill in those empty spaces in the garden where you have a gap. Mine always look great no matter how badly I neglect them!
What can be better? You can eat these buds. Nasturtiums are easy-to-grow annuals that look fantastic in containers, ground cover, or climbing up your trellis and mailbox. I like sprinkling a few flowers on top of my green and fruit salads to make them pretty. They give a slight peppery taste. Do you agree? And with that peppery taste in mind, they are ideal on top of soup. Coming in a hue of colors from a pinkish salmon to red, orange and even a splash of yellow, they always stand of out of the crowd. Where I live, they are starting to emerge their pretty little heads and are popping up everywhere.
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of hostas. What impresses me most is that even after their little purple and white spiky flowers have blossomed and died, they still look stellar in the garden (that is if your deer population hasn't devoured them yet!) Now hostas have a reputation of being a strictly shade-loving plant, however, the latest I've read indicates that is untrue! In fact, hostas seem to equally tolerate both sun and shade. So plant away in your borders and fill in your unsightly gaps with a plant with texture, character and unique leaves. I even like them planted around trees, they give your yard that park-like setting feel. Naturally, I love them them because they are low-maintenance and hardy and rarely complain about neglect. They divide nicely and and are great to exchange with gardening friends.
Okay, begonias do like a little attention. So be sure to deadhead and avoid frost. But they are versatile looking sharp in hanging baskets, flowerbeds, borders and containers. And since they tolerate shade well, can be brought inside and grown as an indoor houseplant. Treat them right and you will get an endless supply of blooms even late in the season.
From Spring to Fall, marigolds keep blooming away with their copper, yellow, orange and brass hues. They are reputed to be great organic pest control and therefore are used as borders in vegetable gardens. They look great in pots and thrive in sun and full-drained soil. Overall, I find these annuals are easy-to-grow from seed. Mine are still blooming their hearts out!
Don't you love seeing a huge mound of impatiens with all that eye-popping color? With a little water and a little sun, they build and build all summer finally hitting their crescendo. You can plant them close together and do not need to be deadheaded as they self-clean. But do fertilize as they love it and it's what helps you create a huge bank of impatiens. They won't thank you for lack of water but do make the most stunning borders possible.
Sure, you'll wait a long time for these tall plants to grow, but when they do....pure magic. So easy to grow, they have few requirements. Give them 6 hours of sunlight a day and well-drained soil and they are happy. Organic matter is a huge plus. And what can cheer you up more than a sunflower?
What plants/flowers cheer you up? If someone were to give you a bouquet today, what flowers would you like to see in it? What colors?