July 25, 2011

Flowers and Joint Compound....What?

Posted by Kristin

To start things off you must know a few things about me and my dad:

We have a pretty rad relationship if I do say so myself. He taught me all he knows and more about landscape design and construction. Check out some of his handywork here:

He also taught me to have a good, sharp sense of humor. Its the only way I survived working with him and 3 other guys landscaping for 5 years. Quick comebacks saved me from being eaten alive with sarcasm. Plus, any guy who can wear overalls and not be driving a tractor has got to have a good sense of humor...

Here's the whole clan: up top my sister Catie, me, and my mom Lynn.
Down below my dad Walt (Wally to some) and my brother Jon.

He also introduced me countless good beers and taught me all about what makes it good beer (appearance, aroma, mouth feel, taste, finish.....we're not obsessed or anything, I swear). It's even more entertaining sharing a beer while playing Catchphrase at family holidays (note the two pint glasses in the right hand corner). Leeeeeeeeet's just say he doesn't always understand the rules...

This is a common occurrence where he is saying the word instead of describing it.....
other than this he's a pretty sharp guy.

And finally we also share this major hobby (him on skis, me on my board):

photo courtesy of www.sugarbush.com

I mean seriously....the views, the snow, the terrain...

photo courtesy of www.sugarbush.com

Who wouldn't love this?

So if you're getting bored of hearing about me and my dad....never fear, the reason for all of this (and the mention of joint compound) is coming...

Yesterday, after a trip to my parents house to work on our subaru, Mike brought me these from my dad:

I guess my Dad really likes the motto go big or go home, cause this is about the biggest bouquet of flowers I've ever gotten!  And to give them to me in a joint compound bucket.....ahh if you only knew my dad, that's such a Wally thing to do (his reasoning was so that I could make lots of little bouquets throughout my house. Good thinking Dad).

So because this bouquet is from my parents house, it contains some of my most favorite and reliable perennial flowers (I learned many of them from doing landscaping with my dad).  Now the real reason of this post is emerging...you see?

Let's start out with Echinacea also known as Coneflower.

Echinacea is a tough, reliable and long blooming perennial in a slew of shades that range from purple-ish-pink to bright orange to white. They're tough as nails in poor soil and heat, are native to the U.S., bloom heavily from July to August, and make great cut flowers.

Next up is Heliopsis or False Sunflower.

These tall ladies get up to 4' and also bloom steadily from July to August. They're low maintenance, aside from occasionally needing staking, and look great in the back border of a cutting garden.

Another great flower is Monarda aka Bee Balm.

These are another native perennial and look just faaaabulous planted in large drifts.  They join the others in blooming in July and August and get up to 3 feet tall.

Joining the gang is one of the cheeriest flowers on God's green earth...Daisies! These ones in particular are more formally known as the Shasta Daisy or Leucanthemum.

They put on their show all summer long, especially with faithful deadheading (e.g. cutting off spent flowers). They are also tough ladies who can withstand hot, dry gardens, don't need much care, and come in a number of varieties ranging from 18"-36" high. Their bright white color also makes them stand out in the evening so they're great next to a patio or porch where you'll see them while you do some chillaxing.

This one may fool some of you. Its actually the flower from a Hosta. Now I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that you know what a Hosta is but you just don't know you know...

This my friends is a Hosta. You see them everywhere....you're front yard, Walmart, gas stations and even schmaaancy people's gardens.They come in all sorts of colors and some are even variegated (a technical term for foliage with lighter stripes or spotting on it).

photo courtesy of http://www.gardening-tips-perennials.com/hosta.html

And here's what they look like in flower.

photo courtesy of http://drzewaikrzewyozdobne.home.pl/Hosta.php
Hostas are really reliable perennials that work well in shade and some sun (just read the tags) and provide interest all season even when they're not flowering. They're super low maintenance, don't have many pest problems, and they're a good back drop for their more showy friends seen above.

And last but not least, I have to include one of the best smelling perennials out there: Fairy Candles, or Cimicifuga (for those non-Latin speaking people out there say it like "sim-mit-cha-fu-ga"), or Bugbane..so many names. I couldn't get a good close up but its the white spikes of flowers in the picture below.

Here's a better shot of the flowers and foliage.

photo courtesy of http://www.homeopathyandmore.com

photo courtesy of http://www.henriettesherbal.com

There's even burgundy varieties which really pop with the contrast of the white flowers and darker foliage.

photo courtesy of http://www.bgperennials.com
Cimicifuga prefers shade to dappled sun and looks stellar in the back of a border. The foliage gets up to 2' tall and the flowers reach up to 4' tall. The fragrance is what sets them apart for me though....really sweet almost like Queen Anne's Lace (another native perennial). These guys also look great next to plants with variegated foliage.

So there you have it...a few of my favorite perennials, all of them fairly low maintenance and quite the show stoppers. What are some of your favorite garden additions?

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