18 Jun

Lovely, Hardy, Musky and Delightful: Muscari armeniacum

Muscari is a genus of bulbous plants from Europe and the Mediterranean regions and are known for their spectacular flowers and delightful musky fragrance. These lovely bloomers do not require much care, in fact, they would do well even when neglected, and grow in almost anywhere in a garden. Most species can be grown in beds, containers, rock gardens, borders or even in mass plantation schemes where they would grow in clusters and produce prolific flowers of purple-blue or white color.

Muscari armeniacum

Muscari armeniacum, Image by Kai Yan, Joseph Wong

Small Muscari flowers grow in clusters on short stalks (up to 10 inches) in spring and emit musky fragrance thus justifying its name – Muscari (derived from Greek word moschos, meaning ‘musk’). These thick clusters of purple flowers often look like bunches of grapes, that is why, these plants are commonly described as Grape Hycinths. The lovely flowers of Muscari are often seen in the background of dark-green foliage that only dies in summer followed by new growth of fresh-green leaves.

Muscari are very easy to grow – they only need full to partial sun, and a rich, moist but well-drained soil. The bulbs can be planted in containers or beds in late summer. For best results, bulbs should be sown in groups or clusters. These clustered plants would produce abundance of flowers that emit delightful fragrance and attract bees and butterflies. For added effects, companion plants like Alyssum, Forsythia, Iris or Narcissus can be grown with Muscari.

Popular species of Muscari include Muscari armeniacum and M. botryoides.

05 Jun

5 Easy to Grow Plants for Cold Climate Gardens

1. Centaurea cineraria is an evergreen and cold hardy plant for outdoor gardens. Commonly described as Dusty Miller, the plan grows up to 1 foot and produces beautiful silvery foliage. Inconspicuous flowers of white or yellow colors appear in summer. Centaurea cineraria prefers full sun but can be grown under light shade. The plant is usually used in borders and flower beds as filler plant. Propagation is done from seeds or cuttings.

Centaurea cineraria

Centaurea cineraria, Image by Kim (flickr)

 

2. Cordyline ssp.: Cordyline is a genus of beautiful foliage plants grown widely in beds, containers or in coastal as well as urban landscapes. Young plants can be used in bedding or as ornamental container displays. Most species would grow as woody, cold hardy, and evergreen shrubs producing attractive foliage of green, bronze or purple colors. Though cold and frost hardy, Cordylines prefer sunny spot or lightly sheltered positions in a well-drained soil. Propagation is done from divisions.

Cordyline terminalis

Cordyline terminalis, Image by Megan Hansen

 

3. Matthiola incana is one of the most popular annuals grown in almost all parts of the world. The plant is known for its tall stocks of colorful and fragrant flowers. In cold climates, Matthiola incana is sown in summer for flowering in the following spring (when temperature is under 75º F). Commonly known as Stock, Matthiola incana grows easily from seeds and is used in flower beds for profuse flowering. The plant required sunny exposure and well-drained soil.

Matthiola incana

Matthiola Incana, Image by douneika (flickr)

 

4. Rudbeckia hirta is a profuse bloomer with daisy like flowers that comes in all shades of yellow, orange and red. The plant usually grows up to 1 meter; flowers appear from mid-summer to early fall. These cold and frost hardy plants are suitable for flower beds, containers, and mixed borders. Rudbeckia hirta prefers a regular but well-drained soil mix under in full sun or partial shade in moderate and cold climates. Seeds can be sown in spring.

Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia hirta, Image by Joshua Mayer

 

5. Lavatera trimestris is commonly known as Rose Mallow. It grows as a bushy plant in produces cup-shaped flowers from summer to fall in cold climates. Originally belonging to the Mediterranean region, Lavatera trimestris can easily tolerate cold and frost. The plant prefers lightly sandy and loamy but well-drained soil mix. In cold climates, it prefers dry or lightly moist soil.

Lavatera trimestris makes a good choice in mixed borders, flower beds or as patio/container plants. In cold climates, seeds are sown in spring for a prolific flowering period from June to September.

Lavatera trimestris

Lavatera trimestris, Image by Andreas Kriz