Thursday, July 16, 2009

Garden Talks July 16--Moonbeam Coreopsis, Stokes Aster, Autumn Joy Stonecrop, Butterfly Bush, Annuals!

Hello again,

It has been a few days so I thought I would check in. Thanks to my son now being retired from his baseball career at age 19 I have a little more gardening time on my hands and have been revisiting and rehabbing a couple of my old perennial gardens.

First there was much weeding done (see Garden Talks June 22--Weeds! (and rain) ). Then after applying some corn gluten to keep some of those pesky weeds from returning I had open spaces to plant (see Garden Talks June 29--Messenger, Weed Pulling, Corn Gluten and My Perennial Hibuscus and Garden Talks July 9--Hydrangea blue, Clematis Paniculata, Rudbeckia Prairie Sun)

After all this I see some more open spaces so let me list out a few more favorites of mine that I have introduced to my yard. These are all tried and true (MUST HAVE PLANTS) plants that I really like

Coreopsis Threadleaf Moonbeam

One of my absolute favorites. Low lying and creeping; not a big spreader but a good grower in my garden. Creamy yellow flowers that with some cutting back of older flowers in late August will bring new growth and more new flowers out of August and into early September. Although they flower at the same time I do like to "pair up" this plant with the Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea) that grows upright. At full bloom both of these flowers have an "electric" character about them (aka "a glow") that still makes my head turn after all these years. Kind of nice, don't you think?

Stokesia (Stokes Aster)

This is a new addition to my garden but I like the low growing habit and the dark purple on the tag looks spectacular. I will not yet add it to the Mike Must Have List (coming soon to the Skillin's Garden Log) but the plant has promise. It is due to flower in the next few weeks, I will let you know what I think but any tips to this plant would be appreciated.

Speaking of dark purple did I tell you I planted my first Buddleia Dark Knight (Butterfly Bush) last week. This is planted in a southeast facing bed with my rose bushes and perennial hibuscus. All of these characters are only somewhat hardy and will get decent doses of Messenger soon to naturally toughen them up. The flowers on the Black Knight are spectacular and with plenty of encouragement I look forward to a great performance by him.

I have augmented these plants with one of my all time favorites, the annual Yellow Marigold (Yellow Boy and Little Hero). Hey! I love marigolds. Yes, many fellow gardeners look down on them. Why I say? All they do is perform all season long and look cute, cute, cute. The only problem I have had with my marigolds are the slugs and snails who love to devour marigolds (and many other plants) but healthy doses twice weekly of all natural Slug Magic by Bonide keeps the slimy enemy away and marigold flowers on the way.

Got weeds? Plant Daylillies (hemerocallis) in your garden. Their awesome canopy style growth shades out many weeds from growing. Plus daylillies are very hardy.Also daylilies have a long flowering season--most are just kicking in now. I just planted a fun variety called Candy Cane--I crowded it next to a Daylilly Rosy Return; we will see how they get along. We have an awesome selection of daylillies here at Skillin's and the prices are great--come and see!

My peonies are going by and I am already trimming growth to make sunlight and air for some annual cleome that is starting to flower. I planted some Sonata Mix cosmos in between the cleome (also mixed colors) as that end of my bed needs to be in color after peonies and astilbe go by. Folks annuals are a perfect way to add colors to areas of perennial gardens that have gone by or are "about to flower". I love annuals for this purpose.

Lastly I also threw in a Sedum Autumn Joy Stonecrop this morning. Brilliant red color in the fall. Definitely a member of Mike's Must Have in the garden. If you don't have it, you need it.

Total cost of all these plants at Skillin's that I have mentioned in this post? Under $30. Come on! For full season color, how can you go wrong?

Of course, all my fresh plantings received a fresh dose of Plant Booster Plus by Organica (sold right here at Skillin's) in the planting hole and then around the plants. We love Plant Tone by Espoma as an all natural long lasting quality plant food as well.

I will be away from the keyboard for a few days as I am about to go on special assignment BUT I look forward to touching base with you next week. Please feel free to leave any comments for us or your gardening friends here or drop any questions or comments to

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
July 16, 2009

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