Shadow Dancer

Looking lovely today is the amazing Agave x romanii ‘Shadow Dancer’. This fascinating agave is a manmade hybrid between two Mexican species, Agave filifera and Agave mitis. Not only is it a hybrid, but this selection has a fascinating variegation pattern that’s not seen on any other century plant. The new growth emerges ghostly cream with a muted green border. As the leaves age, they green disappears and the leaves become pure parchment white. Despite the seeming lack of chlorophyll, Agave ‘Shadow Dancer’ has amazingly good vigor and doesn’t burn in full sun. This has potential winter hardiness for Zones 8b and south, but needs more trialing to know for sure. In other climates, it’s a great container specimen.

Pinto – A Subcompact Love Lily

One of our favorite love lilies in our 2003 introduction, Amorphophallus konjac ‘Pinto’. This amazing dwarf never has foliage that exceeds 16″ in height. Unfortunately, the ridiculously slow growth rate has kept us from offering it again since, but perhaps one day. Here is our parent plant in the garden this week. Even if you don’t have a home garden, this form is superb in a container. We had a large crop of dwarfs from seed two years ago, and are looking for more unique new compact selections.

Container Gardens for Summer Color

Add summer color to your patio, pool or deck with perennial container gardens. There are many great summer blooming perennials that work well in containers and provide a pop of color even if you have limited garden space to plant. There are many types of containers that can be used and left outside year round. The containers shown here are a resin material that is weather resistant and come in an array of sizes and colors that can fit into any decor. These containers may need to have holes drilled into the bottom for drainage, and many have punch-out holes. They are light-weight and are easily moved even after planting. There are also ceramic and concrete planters that are frost proof and available in every conceivable shape, color and size.

Colocasia, perennial Hibiscus, Sarracenia (pitcher plants) and Bletilla

Some colorful and long blooming summer perennials you may want to consider for your containers include colocasia, perennial hibiscus, cannas, verbena, flowering maple, dahlias, monarda (bee balm), and daylilies. Other evergreen and variegated perennials can be grown in containers as well, such as aspidistra (cast iron plants), agave, mangave, and cacti. Hostas also make great container plants for the shady spot on your patio.

Canna ‘Orange Punch’, Verbena peruviana, perennial hibiscus and abutilon (flowering maple).

It is important to consider plant hardiness when creating your planter. Remember that since the plants roots are above ground and not insulated, they will be subjected to colder air temperatures during the winter. Depending on the length and severity of the winter, some plants may be just fine through the winter, or your container garden may benefit by being brought into the garage, sun room or porch area during the winter, or situated in a micro-climate, like next to a south facing brick or stone foundation.

Pot Envy

Fear not! Life in an apartment, condominium, or rented house does not preclude you from having your own botanical garden. All you need is a little sunlight, proper potting media, and a good pot.
Join Meghan Fidler and Chris Hardison on Saturday, June 29 from 10am-noon for our Container Gardening workshop and learn how to create container plantings that will be the envy of all your friends and family.

Container plantings can liven up any patio, deck, or balcony.

The rules of creating a container garden are dictated by the amount of sun, heat, and cold that your container will experience as well as the plants you choose.

If you are limited on land space for planting, you may choose to plant a mixture of different herbs for culinary use. The combination of leaf textures, leaf color, and herbs of varying heights can create a planting combination that is both delicious and decorative.

Variegated foliage combined with long blooming perennials or annuals adds a splash of color or can create a focal point just where you need it. So, think inside the pot and explore the world of container gardening!

Hardy Cactus…thoughts

We’ve got a thing for hardy cactus in the garden, but haven’t propagated many to offer yet. One of our many favorites is Notocactus apricus.  Above is our 17 year old clump in the garden, which is 4″ tall x 15″ wide.  We’ve grown a few from seed, but are curious how many folks might consider purchasing one?  We’ve only been to 7F since 2000, so we don’t know if it will take colder temperatures or not.  

Visitors to our spring Open Nursery and Garden this year got to see the amazing Trichocereus ‘Irridescent Watermelon’ (bred by local cacti specialist, Mike Papay) in full flower (hardy so far to 7 degrees F).  Offsets are almost non-existent, so we decided to grow some from seed. Each plant will be different, but all should be quite nice.  So, if we offered these as a seed strain, would you purchase some, knowing each will be slightly different?

Container Gardening – Thrillers, Spillers, and Fillers!

Container gardening is continuing to grow in popularity as more people move into urban areas, where there are space limitations, and fewer people owning their own home. There is also the factor of time limitations with people’s busy lives. Container gardening allows you to incorporate the pleasure and beauty of growing plants into your daily life. Containers are great on patios, balconies, window boxes, and rooftops, and the combinations are endless, fitting into any environment, and allowing for expression of your personal taste and style.

image of Mixed Container with Coordinating Color Palette

Mixed Container with Coordinating Color Palette

When planning your container, you want to keep in mind how the container is going to look throughout the season. You should take lighting into consideration and pair plants with similar light requirements, as well as similar water requirements. As far as aesthetics, you should consider color combinations and how they fit your personal taste and the surrounding design, whether using a coordinated color palette, or contrasting colors for a bold dramatic effect. 

Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers design concept

One popular design concept in creating attractive container combinations, is thrillers (focal point of the planting), fillers (to create a fuller, lush appearance), and spillers (to drape over the edge of the planter) to create depth and dimension in your design.

During both Saturdays of our Spring Open Nursery and Garden Days, April 29 and May 6, we will have a container potting station. 

  • Bring in your own planter/container.
  • Select plants from our sales houses to create your desired combination, or
  • Our knowledgeable staff can help select plants for your specific conditions.
  • For a charge $15.00 we will provide potting mix and aid in planting your container, along with slow release fertilizer.
  • You can then take your newly planted container home and enjoy all season long.