Friday, July 27, 2012

Orange Crush

Gorgeous shade of orange
For years, orange was a color that I often overlooked.  However, these days I've been adding orange to my interiors, my wardrobe and even my Hamptons garden.

A few weeks ago at East Hampton Gardens, a local garden nursery and gift shop, I was intrigued by an orange-blooming Crocosmia. It was named 'Distant Planet'.  Its bright color did make it look like something from Mars.  I was familiar with the red 'Lucifer' cultivar and had even been searching for a bright yellow cultivar, but I really wasn't aware of the orange varieties.  Therefore, I had to have it.

After bringing it home, this "Martian" sat for a day in the side entry shade garden with its dappled sun.  The orange color significantly brightened the mostly green patch.  I wished I could leave it there, but Crocosmia supposedly do best in full to partial sun so I planted it in the bed above the lower dining patio among green Ostrich ferns and pale yellow daylilies.  There it will receive adequate sun and stand out among its green backdrop.

So far, I only bought the one gallon pot with three to four corms but think it may be a plant and color that I add more of down the road.  Since it blooms in July and August, its bright color will definitely add a tropical punch to the warmest days of summer.  Now if I could just find a bright orange-blooming plant for the shade garden.

Looks perfect among the tropical-looking ferns

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Long for a Cutting Garden

Farm-fresh flowers
Just picked up a bouquet of snapdragons from the local farm stand. They reminded me of the ones my grandmother grew in her cottage garden when I was little.  I remember her showing me how pinching the blooms made them snap open and close like a dragon's mouth.

I'd love to be able to cut large, fresh bouquets like this from a cutting garden on my property.  Unfortunately, space and sun are limited unless I clear another significant patch of land.  Sure, I can snip a rose or hydrangea bloom here and there.  And I have plenty of filler material like ferns and shrub stems.  However, I always get stingy when cutting perennials as I want to leave as many blooms in the garden as possible.

In my dream cutting garden, I would plant tall annuals that could be cut without remorse.  And the garden would have spring bulbs, peonies, tea roses and dahlias that supply seasonally appropriate blooms for indoor arrangements.  And when cut or past their prime, these sacrificial plants would be out of sight from the main gardens.

But for now, I'm content to support the local farm stands that consistently produce quite an array of flowers.  After all, I like contributing back to the farms whose fields make the Hamptons so picturesque.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rockets Away

'Little Rocket' blazing in the sun
Brightening up a partially shaded bed next to the upper dining patio, Ligularia 'Little Rocket' is another pleasing yellow perennial I planted a few years ago.  I passed up the more popular larger cultivar, 'The Rocket', which grows to over 4 feet for its dwarf cousin, 'Little Rocket', which only rises to 3 feet.  It's the perfect height for front of the border.  I tucked them right in front of a screen of trees and shrubs so that their bright yellow blooms would stand out against the dark evergreen foliage.

Even without its blooms, Ligularia has interesting shiny green leaves that remind me of a Heuchera.  The leaves stay fresh looking all season a with consistent watering.

Ligularia likes moisture and doesn't mind partial shade. Mine get a few hours of morning sun and some indirect afternoon sun.  This limited sun still fuels them enough for a magnificent explosion of color.  My yellow rockets started launching around the Fourth of July and still had a few yellow blooms this past week.

Launch a few of these brilliant rockets in your garden to extend summer fireworks past Independence Day.

Vegetation low enough for front of border, but flower spikes high enough to be highly visible

Sharp-edged leaves are an added attraction

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Time for the 'Ice Carnival' in the Hamptons

'Ice Carnival' daylily glowing in the morning sun

Pale yellow with a green throat
I think I selected this luscious yellow daylily for its catalog description as much as its color.  In its extensive catalog,  Olallie Daylily Gardens commented that the 'Ice Carnival' daylily had the color of lemon Italian ice. Yum.  I thought this daylily would be a refreshing addition to the summer garden when things heated up.  They bloom for about three to four weeks beginning July.

I have several patches of this daylily cultivar planted all over my Hamptons garden.  I have found that it does pretty well in partial sun (at least half a day) and helps brighten planting beds as they fall into shade.

I bought my first 'Ice Carnival' fans from the mail order company Olallie Daylily Farm, but have since found them locally.  Sometimes I'm lucky and find a few left when the local nurseries have their end-of-summer sales.  This pale yellow daylily with a green throat blends with so many of my color combinations that I can always add a few more somewhere.

During the dog days of summer you can never have too much Italian ice.