Friday, July 29, 2011

What's Hot at the Nursery

Summer has certainly found us this July, as the temperatures were sweltering for a couple of weeks! The plants in the nursery and in our display beds have been thriving, however, and we'll show off a few of the popular choices in this post.

We keep a vase of cut echinacea flowers on hand every day, to showcase the unusual, wonderful colours that we have available, including some of the 'Big Sky' series (Sunrise, Sunset, Harvest Moon) and doubles Hot Papaya, Marmalade, and Coconut Lime.
For those who love hummingbirds--and who doesn't?--we have the irresistable beebalm in several different shades. We especially like 'Raspberry Wine', which is well named.
Hands down, our favourite echinacea other than the native is 'Hot Papaya'. Photos don't do it absolute justice, as the flowers go through so many colour changes as they mature. Truly a gem among all the new varieties that have emerged in recent years.
Want to cool things down a little in your plantings? How about Russian sage, with its blue-lavender flowers and deer-resistant foliage. This is a plant that likes good drainage over winter, and is drought resistant once established.
We have many different perennial grasses, some for the front of the border, others better suited for back of beds. Grasses are excellent choices for any garden, being easy care and offering fall and winter interest, too.
We carry a few different types of succulents, including sempervivums, also known as houseleeks and hen-and-chicks.
Our roses are grown on their own roots, and are all hardy for our tricky Nova Scotian climate. We are carrying some newer choices this year, including 'Rambling Red', and 'Emily Carr', from the Agriculture Canada Artists series.
In between tending the plants in our nursery, we are establishing more display gardens so that you can visualize what a particular new plant will look like in your garden. It's well worth walking around the nursery, as these beds are located here-and-there...
Pause by the fish pond to admire the waterlilies, and count fish and frogs--there's usually at least one frog basking on those huge leaves.
If you're looking for a dramatic plant, look no further than the Yucca, with its spiky foliage and tall stems of white flowers. Another heat and drought tolerant plant, it's sure to get noticed in your garden.

This is looking to be a fantastic year for hydrangeas, and ours are blooming in their containers at the nursery. Because of our soil mixture, even the blue-flowered ones are pink, but they'll come back around quickly in your garden. This is 'Blue Billows' in a pot...
And here it is, happy in a garden situation. The lacecaps are more reliably hardy for most Nova Scotians as compared to the mopheads, and they're gracefully beautiful.
We hope to see you soon, as high summer continues to shimmer on our gardens!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rich Purple Foliage

This time around, we're going to look at what is pretty much the opposite of gold foliage: burgundy, wine, or red leafed plants. Where the golden gems shout "look at us!" the burgundy plants are more subdued, and need the foliage of lighter coloured plants to really show off their true colours.
One of the favourites for flowering shrubs is Sambucus or elder, 'Black Lace'. This cultivar has highly cut foliage and flat clusters of dainty pink flowers.
We love barberries, and encourage other gardeners to enjoy these deer-resistant, 4-season interest, tolerant shrubs. Baldwin's carries a number of cultivars, from the golden 'Nana Aureum' to the purple-leafed 'Rose Glow', 'Concorde', and others.
Everyone needs at least one tree that has purple foliage, whether it be this handsome birch...
Or this red maple, (a bit past Canada Day, but every day is a good one for a maple tree!)
Or perhaps you'd prefer the more delicate foliage of one of the Japanese maples, like this dainty cutleaf variety.
There are other interesting deciduous shrubs with purple or wine foliage, including several varieties of smoke bush, including 'Grace' and 'Royal Purple.' This is a shrub for the more sheltered site, and isn't hardy everywhere in Nova Scotia.
On the other hand, the elegant and four-season ninebark is a terrific shrub anywhere in our province. Tolerant of most growing conditions, it has deep wine foliage and clusters of white flowers that are beloved of pollinators.
Perhaps the showiest of purple-foliaged trees is the beautiful copper beech, which can have colour varying from bright copper to deep purple. These are European beeches and don't get the disease which affects North American varieties.

We don't carry a lot of purple-foliaged perennials, but we do have Euphorbia 'Chameleon', which boasts a variety of colours as the season unfolds, as well as great fall colour. There are no purple-leafed purple coneflowers yet, but with plant breeders, you never know...

Which reminds us--the coneflowers in our containers are blooming sporadically, so if you're looking for a particular colour, come out and see what we have. We'll tell our favourite next time around!