15 Jun

Lovely Lilac

Syringa is a genus of deciduous and woody shrubs known for their beautiful fragrant flowers and ability to survive cold and temperate climates. Native to Asia, Europe and South Africa, many varieties and hybrids of Syringa are grown worldwide as ornamental plants in gardens and landscapes.

The most common of all species is Syringa vulgaris which grows as a woody shrub up to 5 meters and produces fragrant lilac flowers in spring or early summer. However, a number of other cultivars and hybrids are grown commercially and described generally as Lilac. Some popular hybrids are Charles Joy Lilac, Sensation Lilac, Miss Kim, and Angel White Lilac.

Lilac, Flowering Shrub

Syringa / Lilac Flowers, Image by Nick Wolfe

Most of these verities grow into large bushes reaching 5 meters or more and require regular pruning after every flowering season. These bushy plants can be propagated easily from cuttings. Though the genus is known for lilac flowers, however, new verities produce flowers in all shades of lavender, dark purple, blue, pink and white.

Lilacs can be grown under full or partial sun in a fertile, slightly alkaline, and well-drained soil. Avoid over watering and feed them with some lime and well-rotted manure when flowering ends. Start each flowering season with application of a fresh layer of compost (in early spring) under the plant to controls weeds and retain moisture.

11 Jun

Lovely Ground Cover for Coastal Climates: Armeria maritima

Armeria maritima is a compact, low-growing plant, which is known for its prolific and long-lasting spring flowers. The plant is commonly known as Thrift or Sea Pink – the latter is perhaps the more appropriate name for this lovely plant because of its ability to produce large clumps of grassy growth which is topped with vigorous pink flowering – thus making a ‘sea’ of pink flowers in its native habitat.

Armeria maritima, Sea Pink, Thrift

Armeria maritima, Image by Randi Hausken

Though the plant belongs to the coast lines of Northern Hemisphere, especially Europe but it has been grown successfully in many parts of the world as an excellent ground cover. The plant can grow in almost all types of soils with good drainage and under bright sunny exposure. In fact, Armeria maritime can grow quite easily in poor soil conditions and spots where very few plants would survive.

As a compact and low-growing plant, Armeria maritime is a good choice for edging, border fronts, rock gardens or wall pockets. The plant requires moderate watering and can be grown easily from seeds. Flowers are useful for both ornamental as well as cut-flower arrangements.

12 Apr

Cantaurea montana, the Bachelor’s Button

Mountain Cornflower, Bachelor’s Button or Mountain Bluet, as it is known commonly, are popular names of Cantaurea montana, which is an evergreen plant for cold climates of Europe British Isles and parts of North America. It is fairly easy growing plant that requires a regular but well drained soil mix and some exposure to the sun.

Centaurea montana

Centaurea montana, Image by Irma Kallio

Cantaurea montana is better known for its blue flowers that appear in abundance in flowering season that usually starts in spring and lasts till early summer. When the plant is in bloom, it produces a thick mound of attractive blue flowers. These lovely flowers provide a very nice show against the background of bright and velvety foliage.

Cantaurea Montana can be propagated from divisions as well as seeds. Other popular species from this genus are Cantaurea cineraria and C. cyanus. The latter is known for its flowers of many different colors including blue, pink, mauve, crimson, white and pink.

22 Mar

Lychnis coronaria, the Rose Campion

Rose campion or Campion (Lychnis coronaria) is an excellent border plant for its beautiful silvery leaves that make a nice background for prominent scarlet or magenta flowers that appear in summer. Native to temperate regions of Asia and Europe, Campion grows in a well-drained soil under sunny exposure and moderate watering.

Lychnis coronaria, Image by M. Fletcher

Lychnis coronaria, the rose campion

Like most species of Lychnis, Rose Campion grows as clump-forming and hardy perennial. It can grow is almost any soil and spread quickly to cover empty spaces; this makes it a good border plant for beginners. It is a self-seeding plant and blooms until late summer.

Other popular species from this genus are Lychnis chalcedonica. and L. viscaria.

13 Mar

Hardy Ornamental Plant for Sunny Spots: Potentilla Fruticosa

Potentilla is a large genus of flowering shrubs from the family of rose. Most of the plants from this genus are small leafy shrubs that make good choice for mixed borders or as hardy ornamentals. Native to the northern hemisphere, Potentilla can be found in Asia, North America and Europe where they grow as prolific bloomers.

Potentilla Fructicosa, 'Gold Finger'

Potentilla Fructicosa, 'Gold Finger', Image by Manuel Martín Vicente

Potentillas are generally grown as hardy ornamentals for their colorful and showy summer flowers of white, yellow, pink, red and golden colors. A number of cultivars are also grown commercially. Some of these grow quite well in cooler climates.

Among popular species of Potentilla, P. fruticosa is grown widely for its flowers and described as ‘Golden Finger’. It is characterized by dense growth of foliage, and showy yellow flowers. Like other species in the genus, Potentilla fruticosa can be propagated easily from seeds. It prefers a regular soil mix, moderate watering and a sunny spot.

If you are looking for a hardy ornamental for filling empty spaces and some nice flowering, Potentilla fruticosa should be in your list.