Adding Some Color

June 10, 2013 3 Comments

Mother Nature is NOT cooperating.  It doesn’t feel like June and, therefore, our garden doesn’t have all of our flowerpots filled yet.  I took care of most of them over the weekend.


We have a planter that doesn’t have a drainage hole, so that was used as our “pond”.  However, the grassy pond plant took over and it looked terrible, so it was changed this year.  I picked plants that like it a little moist.  And since the pot can be seen when I pull into the garage, I can see if extra water needs to be poured out.

Canna lillies and Elephant Ear

I planted a variegated canna lily (Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’), a red-leafed canna lily (Canna ‘Australia’) and an Elephant Ear (Colocasia ‘Sangria’).  I have always liked them, but I don’t have a good place to store them in the winter.  So they will be spending the winter in the planter, wrapped up in a blanket, sitting in our garage.  We will see what happens next Spring.  For now, they look pretty good next to the house.


A couple of years ago, I got one of those upside down planter things for the tomato.  I put a tomato in it and the winds created girdling, where the outside of the stem gets “eaten” away and the plant essentially starves. It died.   I tried a green pepper next.  Same thing.  I gave up.

Apparently, at the same time I purchased the tomato planter, I got one for hummingbird plants.  So… I bought some petunias at the Urbana Farmers’ Market on Saturday and plopped them in.  Well, not exactly “plopped”.

The instructions called for putting one plant in the bottom and then three in the top.

Hummingbird planter

The bottom is Supertunia ‘Bordeaux’ and the three on the top are Supertunia ‘Citrus’, Suncatcher (which may be the company name) Vintage Rose and Super Cal Blushing Pink.  They were a little larger than the plans called for, but they seem to be doing okay.  And, I only ended up with one extra piece to the planter!  The instructions didn’t even mention it, so I won’t worry about it.


Over the Winter I took a class that created a vertical garden.  It involves making a frame with wood, putting hardware cloth on the back (attached with staples), filling it with potting mix and top with chicken wire (attached with staples).  Notice I didn’t say anything about putting the plants in.  We didn’t have to make the frame since the class included the finished box, along with an assortment of small succulents.  We used wire cutters to cut openings in the chicken wire large enough to place one of the plants and then created a design.  When we were finished, we put the finished garden in a bag and got to take it home at the end of the day.  The only problem was that this was in February.  It sat in my garage for the rest of the winter.  And got too wet.  Most of the plants didn’t make it.  I have one hen and chick that survived and a couple of other stonecrops that look like they want to live.  I decided they looked lonely, so I bought more.

Vertical garden

There was one Hen & Chicks ‘Red Rubin’ and I put that in the container (it is on the top center).  I also got some four-inch pots with other hen & chicks and stonecrops.  They were too big to fit in my 8″x12″ box, so I just took some of each plant and put it the existing holes.  I added Stonecrop sedum ‘Chocolate Ball’, ‘Oracle’, ‘Angelina’ and hen & chicks ‘Cobweb’.  And I had an extra moss rose (portulaca) from a different project, so I tucked it in!


Speaking of the portulaca, we have a strawberry pot that was getting a bunch of cobwebs on it, so we stuffed it with moss roses.  We haven’t had much luck with them, but I think it is because we pay too much attention to them.  The best moss roses we ever had were blown in on the derecho in 2010.  They just appeared and got big and beautiful and looked better than I have ever seen.  They didn’t come back the following year, so either they didn’t seed or Dwayne pulled the babies without knowing what they were.

New Flowers June 7 002

The shorter pot was used for herbs last year.  I put the rest of the hen & chicks and stonecrop in it.  They should set off the red nicely.  One of the hen & chicks came from one of my vendors at the Urbana Farmers’ Market.  I hope to prove that I am worthy of owning one of his plants!


One of the planters that I wintered over had verbena in it last year.  They are annuals in this zone, but I thought I would try it.  The plants from last year didn’t come up, but there were certainly a lot of babies!  They weren’t growing fast enough, so I added a few more for some instant color.


I just got a mix, so I don’t know the names for the individual colors.


While perusing the nursery for my annuals, I found a couple of perennials I just had to have!  One was a butterfly flower (what I call butterfly weed) to add to our “hill”.  The hill is only about two feet high, but it is higher than the rest of the yard, so it is “the hill”.  We have a butterfly weed already on the hill and it  is a favorite for the monarch caterpillar, but I wanted to get another one for even MORE caterpillars.

Butterfly Flower

The other one is an orange coreopsis.  It looks great now and I hope it will continue to look as nice.

'Sienna Sunset' coreopsis

This one is ‘Sienna Sunset’ coreopsis.  I think the butterflies will love it.

A couple of weeks ago, we bought a couple of clematis for the back fence.  They weren’t climbing fast enough for Dwayne.  So, we helped them out this weekend.



One other plant came from the Farmer’s Market on Saturday.  A chinese lantern from our friend Betty from around the corner.  It doesn’t have any flowers on it yet… as a matter of fact, it is only a couple of inches tall right now and sitting in a clay pot.  Once again, thanks, Betty, for the dirt!


Dig it!

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  1. Lorry Evans says:

    Glad to know I’ m not the only one having plant and color issues. Yanked the weeds from my perennial bed, added a few more along with annuals. Trying container gardening for herbs and veggies. Started a few pots of strawberries in two old washtubs. Watered them liberally, hoping for a little rain tomorrow. Added a few annuals in pots. Always enjoy your posts,.especially about the community garden in Vinton.

  2. Mike Weinard says:

    Our “old” clematis that is many years old is doing fine. However, the new one that our oldest son got my wife for Mothers Day isn’t growing. I had taken it out of the pot, it was several inches high,& planted it in favorable soil a few feet from the original clematis. It appears healthy & has had a few blooms, but it doesn’t appear to be growing & there don’t seem to be any shoots wanting to train up a small trellis. Guess we’ll just keep giving it TLC & see what happens. Thanks again for all of your info & hard work on this blog, Eileen.

    • Eileen Loan says:

      Mike, try adding some blood meal and bone meal. They are natural fertilizers that will help the greens and the roots of the plants. And, rabbits stay away from the blood meal!

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