Saturday, September 26, 2015

Reliable Sedum "Autumn Joy"

If I had to choose just two plants for my garden forever, I would pick Lavender and Sedum "Autumn Joy".
Practically indestructible, this perennial is perfect for the haphazard attention I pay to my garden.

Here's a few reasons I love this plant:

  • Cold hardy 
  • Deer Resistant 
  • Highly drought tolerant
  • Easy to grow
  • Full to sun to part shade
  • Easily propagated by rooting cuttings
  • Bugs and slugs don't seem to bother it

  • Attractive green to blue green foliage 
  • Slow to mature flower heads have interest even when immature, gradually deepening in color through the summer into fall.
  • Good cut flower
  • Attracts bees and butterflies
  • Dried flower stalks may be of some interest in winter
  • Combines well with other plants in the border.

  • May get spindly if grown in deep shade
  • Needs division every 2-3 years
  • Large clumps may need some support. I often tuck a few large rocks around the edges, or use farm artifacts like the end of an old pitchfork.
  • Spent stalks may become unsightly after a freeze and need removal. New growth will appear at the base soon.
Spring into fall photos below.

Spring into Early Summer

Flower Heads Form Mid Summer

First Blush of Color, August

September Color Varies from Pale Pink to Red
Sedum, Hydrangea, Purple Perennial Aster, Anemone, Bay Laurel
Sedum, Lavender, Thai Basil, Fennel (flowers and leaves) Bay Laurel
I put a few stems in one year and they rooted. It's been happy in this copper bowl for years.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

"Whirling Butterflies" Gaura

I have been told that nicknames are often a sign of affection.
This playful meadow flower has several, including Wandflower, Bee Blossom or Whirling Butterflies.

Here are some reasons to plant this easy perennial in your garden:
Gaura with zinnias and Limelight Hydrangea
  • Long lasting blooming season starting in spring or mid summer, going into fall (trimming may encourage longer blooming)
  • Drought hardy once established
  • Cold hardy 
  • Self Sewing
  • Many blossoms
  • Attracts bees, butterflies and humming birds
  • May be evergreen in some climates
  • Lovely cut flower
  • Deer Resistant
  • Easy to grow
And here are a few cautions:
  • A long taproot makes this very difficult to transplant. New seedlings should be moved while small. 
  • May tend to take up much more room than you planned on, especially if you let the new seedlings spread out.
  • Needs adequate drainage

 I bought one gallon of white Gaura two years ago, and was so enchanted I bought a pink variety the following year. 

The first two years my white Gaura kept its neat habit, sending sprays of dancing blossoms from its mound of foliage. The third year however, the original clump was overwhelmed by another plant and it was just kept too wet.

Gaura does not like to be soggy.

Fortunately the parent plant had put out at least a dozen volunteers.  By mid summer they more than doubled the space originally inhabited by the first plant,
and by late August they were a happy sprawl.

Just more pictures...

Pink variety with burgundy tipped foliage, second year plant, before blooming.