Monday, September 10, 2007

Early Mum Color

In order to encourage Fall to arrive, I'm spreading the news far and wide about Autumn color. There is lots to look forward to for fall color...I promise.
Today's color is from early mums.






Urano Orange

Phyllis (don't think you can fit another bud on this gal)


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Oh Henry!

This one is going in a corner bed that is begging for more fall action.

'Henry Eilers' Rudbeckia

It gets about 4ft tall, and 2 ft wide.
It loves the sun.
It doesn't mind a bit of neglect (I can provide that).
It also does pretty well as a cut flower.

I have pulled some of the fading summer annuals in anticipation of planting fall pansies, and some hardy plumbago.

This little (big) guy caught my eye and will be good towards the middle of the bed where I need some more height and definitely more fall interest.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Want Fall

Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall!
Fall Magic Million Bells 'Salmon'
If I say it often enough maybe it will come sooner?
I'm still gonna think Fall.
I really can't do is poking its little head out at me at the Stand all day long:
  • I'm ordering and stocking and displaying fall plants of every kind.
  • I'm receiving and displaying Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving merchandise in the gift area.
  • We are starting to see more reddish peppers in the green pepper bushels in the produce area.
  • Concord Grapes are in!

Sneak Peek Mukdenia 'Crimson Curls'

Also I'm getting in a lot of 'Sneak Peaks'. 'What is that?' you say? They are new varieties and new colors of sample plants nurseries start to see if they want to grow them for next year. A few of my growers plant extra to sell, and therefore get reactions from retailers and consumers on how those selections might go over for next year.

Above is one of these 'Sneak Peeks', it is Mukdenia 'Crimson Curls'. It is a shade perennial ground cover. It likes to be kept moist. Its color starts out green and then goes into a bronze red on the edges as summer progresses. It gets a white flower in spring, and grows to a height of 12-16 inches.

Mums. Mums. Mums Mums.

Chrysanthemums, another none mistakable sign of Fall. I know a lot of people gripe about not liking mums. I don't get it. It seems if its a plant readily available, easy to grow, and fairly expensive it gets labeled as commercial and over done and therefore undesirable. Hey, mums are gorgeous, easy to care for, inexpensive, and come in a boatload of colors...whats not to love?

Ahhh...I so want Fall to get here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fall is a Comin'

...and I am so ready!

It's been all over the place temperature-wise here in Delaware for the last few weeks. Early last week we were in the 60'sF for highs, and later in the week we were 98F for a high. What the heck is that all about? It's been dry most of the Summer. Then (not that I mind) 3 days of rain in a row. It's foggy most mornings, with heavy dew dripping off the trees. The dew makes the over night work of the spiders glisten like jewels.

School has started for most of the my kids...high school and college for my kids in my home, and the same for my kids who work at the greenhouse.

The displays start to change greatly at the market as new merchandise comes in...

Mums and Sedum start to line the walkways.
This is what I see when I walk out the front of the greenhouse. Planted behind the pots of sedum and chrysanthemums are 'Blackie' Sweet Potato Vine, 'Confetti' Coleus, and Dwarf Heavenly Bamboo which are part of the summer beds at the Market. The Sweet Potato Vine and Coleus go well with the fall colors, but won't last long once the cold weather starts. Fall Pansies will be in this bed in a few weeks.

I love this combination for Fall.

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' (a good ol' reliable fall plant), Liriope 'Big Blue', and 'Caramel' Heuchera.

Brunnera 'Looking Glass'

This is a gorgeous shade really pops in a garden next to ferns. It's certainly a bright spot in a darker corner of the garden.

Here are some tiny sized Ornamental Purple Kale. They are in 4" pots. They aren't dwarf varieties...just tiny starter plants. As the weather gets colder, the purple color becomes more intense. We also sell pink and white varieties, the color intensifies in these as the cool weather comes as well.

In this picture you can see some of the mixed bushel planters we sell. They are packed with cold tolerant annuals, and showy fall perennials and grasses. Also in the picture you can make out some Ornamental peppers. We sell tons of these for fall, this particular variety is 'Explosive Ember'.

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. The new plants arrive almost daily. The colors just beg to be touched...deep yellows and oranges, plush purples, and oooh russet and browns. Its a nice perk up after a long hot stinky summer...even if it still is a long hot stinky summer. Come on FALL!

Monday, August 20, 2007


The Rain came

and left me

with Crape Myrtle Confetti.

Friday, August 17, 2007

What's for Dinner?

Cranberry Beans!
(*I apologize in advance...blogger just refuses to allow me to make this a pretty post*)

Interesting, huh?

We got them in at the market today. My Uncle knew if he pointed them out to me, I'd have to buy some.

If its different, I'll give it a go. If it's weird, I'll try it. If it doesn't have liver in it, I'll eat it.

They were different, weird, and they didn't have liver in bought me a bag o' beans on my way out of work...and took them on home.

There is a bit of range in the speckley-ness of the pods. The pods go from pink and greenish specklesto increasing pink speckles on white, to almost pure red.

The Cranberry Beans came from a farm in New Jersey, just over the state line.

We got in several bushels this morning to sell. They are so beautiful, they were practically selling themselves (it couldn't have hurt if my Uncle talked to them either, right?).

So pretty, it almost seemed a shame to shell them.

But of course I did...

The beans inside the pods are speckled, too. Light pink to hot pink dots were on each bean. (They look like they would be nice jelly bean colors...)

I couldn't resist, I had to eat some raw. They weren't bad, like a raw Lima Bean. Between my son and I, we ate a handful before they got to the pot.

I don't know if you can make it out, but the inside of the bean's pod is completely white, no speckles at all.

Here they are, beginning to heat on the stove.

Water, salt, pepper, and a bit of butter.

The directions for cooking the beans said it was to take 15 to 25 minutes on the stove top. With plenty of experience cooking fresh beans...that seemed a bit short for the I started then early.

...I am glad I started the beans early. They were on for 45 minutes before we ate them, but maybe could have used another few minutes.

Viola! A steamy pot of Cranberry Beans.

They taste kinda Lima Bean...ish.

The beans lost the pink polka dots soon after I started them cooking. In the middle of cooking they looked mostly green. As they got to the end of cooking they turned a purple-beige color (would that be taupe colored beans?).

They were very good. A different, weird, liver-less kind of good. I'd recommend you try them if you come across some at a market (and especially if a guy who looks like he could be my Uncle, says you should try them).

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I Love the Rain

Raindrops on Roses...

My toes-es on raindrops...

Raindrops any ol' place...

...are my Favorite things.

(along with this song, maybe imagine it playing in the background?)

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-dooDoo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo-doo...

I'm singing in the rain

Just singing in the rain

What a glorious feelin

'I'm happy again

I'm laughing at clouds

So dark up above

The sun's in my heart

And I'm ready for love

Let the stormy clouds chase

Everyone from the place

Come on with the rain

I've a smile on my face

I walk down the lane

With a happy refrain

Just singin',

Singin' in the rain

(Gene Kelly, Singing in the Rain)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Tree of One Hundred Days

Crape Myrtles are wonderful in the garden for summer.
My 'Dynamite' Crape Myrtle started blooming about a week ago. It will continue to bloom for a total of 100 days. It prefers full sun, which it gets. Since it was established 3 years ago, it has required little care. Crape Myrtle can take dry conditions and this year, that is pretty much what this little gal has had.

I think I will give 'Dynamite' a good trim this coming spring to fatten up its shape. I want more branching happening, and that will do the trick. This 'Dynamite' variety is a fantastic dark red. It will be approximately 20-25 feet when it reaches maturity. I want to add maybe 2 more red Crape Myrtle to my yard...I just haven't decided if I want the same red (this is beautiful), or try others. This Dynamite is by far the reddest of the reds, the other 'reds' tend more towards pink or coral. I will more than likely go with more 'Dynamite'.

Wow, I love this tree. I love that the hummingbirds have been visiting it each must be all the red it produces (maybe I should watch out for charging bulls as well?). I love that as other plants are suffering a bit, or slowing in the summer heat, the Crape is just getting started with its show.
I especially love that I get to see all this color, and more to come for 100 days.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Just One-Night Stand?

Here is the 'morning after' picture of the Moonflower. The blooms only last one evening, and then its all over.

This is the bloom from the smaller of my two vines. Behind this bloom you can see another bloom that will probably open tomorrow night.

Something you can see in this picture (even though it's 'done did' its thing), is the long tube on which the flower blooms.

With such a long wait for the first bloom, it seems once it gets going the Moonflower just keeps on going. There are buds starting to crop up all over my two plants.

Here is a bloom for tomorrow from the bigger of my 2 vines. I might even have two blooms on this plant...see the bloom just behind?

I wish my camera took better up close pictures (or maybe just that I was a better photographer).

The flower buds themselves are very interesting with their ice cream cone kind of twist. A lot of flower and fragrance is gonna come out of this bloom tomorrow night. Maybe the bloom has to get a bit of a spring action going to make a 6inch power flower pop open...

Of the flowers I planted for the white garden this year, this might end up being one of my favorites...

Though it's a sort of one night stand with the flowers themselves, I might have a long term romance with the Moonflower Vine.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Finally, A Bloom!

A Moonflower Vine Flower,
actually two!

It's been a long time coming. Here is a picture of the first bloom. It was just opening when I came home from work tody at 7pm. This picture was taken at 9pm, and it was almost all the way open. What a nice fragrance, I was surprised at that.
The flowers are quite large. At first I had my husband hold the bloom for me, but the big bear paws he calls hands gave no sense of how big the flowers are. My hands are a normal size for a human I used my hand in the picture instead.

Since Mother Nature has poured on the hot weather, the Moonflower Vine has gone crazy. It seems to grow 6 inches every day. I'm forever directing and twining vines around the poles and posts. The Moonflower likes to twine around itself especially. I'm also forever un-twining the Moonflower from other plants it seemingy wants to strangle.

These are the start of more Moonflower blooms. I corralled these vines today, and got them going on the posts in the right direction, and not all over the Carpet Rose in front of the fence.

This is the smaller of my two vines. It is not in as sunny a location, though only a few feet from the first, and has not gotten near as large. It is not 1/3 the size, yet it's first bloom opened today as well. Can you see tomorrow's bloom just above the white? I can't wait.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Please, Sir. May I have some more?

This is 'White Swan' Echinacea. This gal is new to the garden. She is part of some of the new plantings this year that have been all white.

These beauties have been blooming all Summer. I've cut them and brought them in for bouquets several times.

The bugs haven't bothered this plant. I gave it a bit of Plant-tone when I first planted it, other than that, no fertilizer. Although its a new addition to the garden, and the weather has been relatively dry, it is still thriving.

I'd say this will be a perennial I will plant more of next year. If it is like any of the other Echinacea, I might not need to buy them, there may be babies a plenty in the spring. Bring 'em on! More. More. MORE!

Can you see the 'Knock Out' Rose in the back? It's been blooming like that all summer as well.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Lets just say they are friendly...

I have a friendly bunch of spiders...yes?

When my hubby found these guys, it got me wondering about Daddy Long Legs. First off I have to tell you that these guys are not actually spiders. They are in the arachnid family, but are only related to spiders like scorpions and ticks are. (I had no idea!)

In investigating why Daddy Long legs aggregate in large numbers...the answer one knows why for sure. None of the reasons listed were for mating, which was what I thought when I saw this outside my front door. (There are 5 pictured, 2 skeedaddled while I went to get the camera)

There are over 7,000 kinds of Daddy long legs around the world!

I don't usually shoo these guys away from the door, because they don't make messy webs. I did find out, that in fact they don't make webs at all. The Daddys will eat almost anything, but prefer animal matter. Some species prey on small insects, snails, and worms.

Daddy Long Legs 'legs' can twitch for up to an hour after becoming detached. There are pacemakers in the ends of their legs. The twitching is used as a get away tactic, keeping the predator busy, while the Daddy hopefully gets away. (I won't be doing any field testing of my own)

Lastly, I found out that they stink when you smell them up close. Really? (I think I'll just take the experts word on that as well)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lil Chitweed in the Big City

I'm back from my visit to the big beautiful city of Chicago, Illinois.

I did not have an internet signal strong enough to allow me to post to the blog with any ease (I lugged my laptop along for just this purpose), but I did have my camera with me to share the sights of the city when I got home.

I went to Chicago for work (poor me), to the Chicago Gift Show at the Merchandise Mart. I finished up the shopping for our Market's Fall and Christmas seasons, and started a bit on Spring '08. This show is always easy to navigate, the displays are wonderful, and the reps who work it are among the nicest people you'll meet anywhere (this goes for the people of Chicago as well...such nice people in general).

I will say the show was not the busiest I've ever seen it. It was almost too easy to navigate...there weren't any buyers I had to wait in line behind at any showroom.

Hmmm... Was it the weather that was, shall I say 'perfect' mid 70's that kept people from the showrooms? Were they busy reading their copies of Harry Potter? (I was so jealous of Hubby sitting in the hallways reading one of our 2 copies as I worked each showroom) Or were they out enjoying the gardens?

Along with the Gift Show, I love going to the City of Chicago in the Summer for a multitude of reasons:

  • The food is fantastic, I've never had a bad meal. (Greek town is always a must, and sushi, and deli, and Tai, and steak, and Italian, and Brazilian, and, and, and...). I gained 4 pounds in the 6 days we were gone...and I walked almost non-stop everyday (in the hotel 'til midnight reading Harry Potter doesn't count).
  • My good friend Steve lives there (Holla! Steve G...)
  • The Magnificent Mile is the place to shop (even if it's only of the window shopping variety).
  • Navy Pier is a nighttime treat (although a hairdo whipped up by the the famous Windy City out on the Pier is a fright to behold).
  • The gardens. (?) Yes, the beautiful gardens.

This purple is a plant I didn't recognize...anyone know it? It's not a reminded me of a non-vining sweet potato plant...sort of)

The gardens are everywhere. They are in front of hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, churches, and city buildings. There are private rooftop gardens we could only see from our hotel windows. Gardens are on top of buildings, along edges of buildings, and filling balconies where people live.

These Hydrangea flowers must have been 10-12 inches across, and were the most beautiful shade of green. They were part of a flower bed we passed while walking to the 'Brazzaz' restaurant.

Gardens line the streets, and are in the middle of streets. There are even gardens in places where people couldn't possibly enter, the gardens are there just because people can see them from other very public places.

There are gardens all along the river. This was a shot I took from a across Wacker Avenue. The people on the tour boat are looking back a a couple getting married on a bridge over the river (I hope the happy couple's photographer had better luck better than me in getting their picture).

Here is the surprise I had this year:

'Allegory', by Theresa North, International Academy of Design and Technology

I just love them!

In the middle of beautiful gardens along Michigan Ave. were these torso dress mannequins.

These gardens were along the Magnificent Mile a.k.a. Michigan Avenue., the shopping Mecca of the City.

A close up of caladiums in another bed along Michigan Ave.

It is a public art installation created by fashion design students from the The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, and the International Academy of Design and Technology, and well known designers located along the Magnificent Mile. Each torso dressers mannequin is 'planted' in a garden bed and is sponsored by an organization or business in The Magnificent Mile District.

This one is called 'Cultivating Knowledge', by Stanley Smith, Oak Street Design, Loyola University Chicago

There are 30-some torsos all told, I saw about 12 in our evening walks. They are so unexpected, and interesting. The gardens they are set into are colorful, thoughtfully designed to look good from all angles, and well maintained.

For more and much better pictures than mine, check out this website.


  • I go to the big city and get great ideas for my garden? Yep.
  • I go to the big city and find new plants I need to get my into yard, and for the the Market to sell? Yessiree.
  • I go to the big city and decide I need to add a dressers torso mannequin to my garden? Well, no. But it does make me think the unexpected should be a part of every garden...and what I want that unexpected 'something' to be is totally up to me. A lil' bit of the big city, in my lil' garden.