29 Jul

Primula vulgaris: Lovely Plant for Early-Spring Flowers

Primula is a large genus of perennials known for their early-spring flowers. These lovely bloomers are usually grown in flower borders and beds under shade where traditional flowering plants cannot thrive. These shade loving plants grow nicely in shady spots and produce flowers in almost all hues of red, orange, yellow, blue and violet.

In the recent years, the genus of Primula has been extensively hybridized resulting in a large number of low-maintenance varieties. In general, all species of Primula require partial shade, fertile loamy soil, regular watering and cooler temperatures. Therefore, they make good plants to grow for early-spring when they produce a lot of flowers and continue to bloom until early summer.

Primula vulgaris

Primula vulgaris /Image via Flickr

If you have not grown a Primula before, you can start with Primula vulgaris which is a low-maintenance and versatile plant. It is characterized by tongue-shaped leaves and scented flowers of cream color. The plant tends to form small clumps each producing erect flower stems. When grown under shade and provided with sufficiently moist soil, Primula vulgaris does not require much maintenance and spreads 3 to 4 cm across. Usually grown for bedding, Primula vulgaris can be easily grown in containers and placed indoors under humid and slightly cool conditions.

Primula vulgaris is also known as Primula grandiflora.

25 Jul

Liatris spicata: Lovely Summer Bloomer for Garden Borders

Liatris is a small genus of flowering plants from the North America where they grow natively in ravines and grasslands where they can sufficiently moist soil. Gardeners and horticulturists grow Liatris for its beautiful flowers.

Most species of Liatris are characterised by narrow, grass-like foliage and long spikes of flowers that appear in later summer. The fuzzy pink or purple flowers of Liatris grow along erect spike that reminds of bottlebrush. These flowers usually bloom from top to bottom and stay fresh for quite a long time.

From a number of popular species, Liatris spicata is the one that is grown widely in gardens and landscapes. It is commonly known as Blazing Star or Button Snakewort. Liatris spicata has linear growth as it can grow up to 1 meter in height. The plant prefers full to partial sun and moist but well-drained soil. Overwatering, especially in winter, can kill these plants therefore good drainage is essential for growing these lovely perennials. Therefore, a sandy loam is the best media to grow Liatris spicata.

Liatris spicata

Liatris spicata / Image by Drew Avery

Most species of Liatris can be grown in containers too. So if you are looking for a low-maintenance summer-blooming perennial for your balcony or small garden Liatris spicata should be on your list.

14 Jul

Garden Dispatch # 1

The Garden Dispatch is a weekly compilation of useful and interesting resources for gardeners and landscape designers.

How to turn empty spaces into a beautiful meadow

With a little planning and selection of the right species, it is not difficult to transform woodland into a beautiful meadow. Read more on making a beautiful meadow out of an empty landscape.

Meadow Design

Geranium palmatum

Looking for something new to try in your perennial garden? Try Geranium palmatum; it is not fussy about growing conditions and produces lovely flowers in later spring or early summer. Read: How to grow Geranium palmatum.
Geranium palmatum

A Garden Makeover

Follow this link to see how a nondescript front yard can be transformed into a remarkable garden.

Frontyard Design

How to grow Safrron

Corcus sativus, is a beautiful autumn-flowering perennial known primarily for the production of precious Saffron. Saffron is widely used in Indian, Persian, European, Arab, and Turkish cuisines and is sold for $4.00 and $17.00 per gram. Besides its commercial and culinary usage, Corcus sativus has its horticultural value too. The plant produces brilliantly hued flowers of pastel shade that range from lilac to mauve. These lovely flowers have a sweet aroma that is reminiscent of honey and grassy or hay-like notes. Read more about growing Saffron in your own garden. Read more on growing Saffron in your garden.

Saffron

How to prune groundcovers and grasses

Read these useful tips on pruning groundcovers and grasses to keep your garden neat and attractive.

Prunning tips

DIY: Grow a small herb garden in your apartment

Living in apartments and high-rise buildings should not subdue your passion for gardening. There is a lot that you can grow under limited light, humidity and temperature conditions. Here is an interesting article on growing a small herb garden in your apartment by Erin Boyle

Herbs garden

10 Jul

15 Beautiful Landscape Designs using Succulent Plants

I am a big fan of succulent plants – they are versatile, offer a great variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and are easy to group with their cousins. Traditionally, succulents have been grown in pots as display or accent plants. In recent years, they have become popular landscape plants. Modern landscape designers are now appreciating succulent plants for their architectural forms and using them in traditional as well as experimental landscape designs.

Most succulent plants grow solitary or form small groups. They rarely outgrow their environment and thus make good plants for grouping with their cousins. You can find succulent plants in all sizes – we ranging from mat-forming ground covers to low-growing foliage plants and from large globe-forming succulents to tall and cylindrical plants. Most succulent plants have similar requirements which makes it easier to group succulents plant from different genera in a landscape design. They require well-drained soil, less frequent watering, and occasional cutting or division.

Some common succulent plants that do very well in landscapes include several varieties of cacti and a large selection of plants from the genus of Aeonium, Agave, Aloe, Crassula, Echeveria, Euphorbia, Sedum, and Sempervivum.

The following gallery provides 15 good examples of landscape designs that use succulent plants.

[Do not forget to see 15 tips to help you create a beautiful succulent garden by Debra Lee Baldwin]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

07 Jun

Toronto Cactus & Succulent Plant Show & Sale, 2014

The Toronto Cactus & Succulent Club’s Annual Plant Show & Sale was held at Allan Gardens Conservatory on June 1, 2014. There were more than 90 classes for cacti and other succulents including Euphorbias, Agaves, Haworthias, and some caudiciforms on display. The plants were not great in number but they were all healthy and well-kept plants that represented major species of cacti and other succulents.

The sale counters attracted both novice and seasoned collectors. For those who missed the show, here are a few pictures from the event.

There were a few nice specimens of Mammillaria, Gymnocalycium and Notocactus.

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I also spotted a nice specimen of Uebelmannia pectinifera.

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A Leuchtenbergia principis and a really nice Lophophora williamsii.

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A small but comprehensive collection of Stenocactus.
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A nice collection of Euphoria and other succulents.
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Other notables included Ariocarpus, Aztekium and Copiapoa
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and some nice plants on sale.
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