pixie perennials

gardening with perennials


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Every spring I look forward to our magnolia blooming. A former owner strategically planted it to be viewed from the kitchen sink window, perhaps to cheer you as you wash dishes. An early flowering variety, the buds often get claimed by frost. Two years ago, the beautiful white with pink blossoms were opening when the temperature dipped below freezing. You guessed it, next morning the entire tree looked like someone had blown his nose into tissues and left them hanging on the tree. What promised to be a splendid showing of flowers, turned into a tan slimy eyesore that we had to look at for weeks. Almost as sad looking as a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Fortunately, this year we were able to enjoy the flowers for several weeks.

Recently, I toured Hollister House, owned by George Schoellkoph, with the Redding Garden Club. This wonderful garden is located in Washington, CT, in Litchfield County. I fell in love with his magnolia, a gorgeous pale yellow color. It blooms mid to late May. No frozen flowers, what could be better. Given that we live further south, it should be perfect for our yard. My understanding is he purchased the magnolia from Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, CT. A road trip to Broken Arrow Nursery is a must. If you are looking for rare or unusual plants and shrubs, check them out; they have more choices then you probably have areas to plant. I haven’t been there in years, but am looking forward to visiting soon.

http://www.hollisterhousegarden.org

http://www.brokenarrownursery.com

Orange/Gold/Peach Narcissus

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Orange daffodils have the “wow” factor going for them. Even from a distance, it is easy to see their beauty.

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Narcissus 2014 – pixieperennials.com

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Bright yellow daffodils herald the arrival of spring. There are several names used to describe this genus: daffodil, narcissus, and jonquil just to name a few. They have trumpets surrounded by a ring of petals. The most common color for this bulb is yellow, but they range in color from white, to orange, to peach, to pink, to green. Many are fragrant, and used in flower arrangements. They prefer well-drained soil with plenty of sunlight. Plant the bulbs in the fall, up to two weeks before frost for wonderful spring blooms. Great for naturalizing a woodland area. Deer avoid daffodils; they are poisonous.

Many people braid the foliage of the narcissus after the flower has passed to “tidy” it up, but it is best to let nature take its course. After flowering, bulbs rely on their leaves for photosynthesis. During the 5-6 weeks after the flower has faded, the bulb gathers and stores food for the following year. Remove faded blooms if they bother you, but leave the foliage to ensure a beautiful display of flowers the following spring. Once the leaves shrivel and brown, remove them with a slight tug. If not diseased, add to your compost pile.

Trivia: The Greek myth of Narcissus lends its name to the daffodil. Narcissus was so obsessed with the beauty of his own reflection that when he knelt to gaze into a pool of water, he fell in and drowned. The narcissus plant sprang from where he died.


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Hellebores usually bloom here in March, if not slightly earlier, putting on a show for close to 8 weeks. What more could you want!

Hellebores are one of the easiest long blooming perennials you can grow.

Helleborus – pixieperennials.com

I fell in love with Hellebores 20 years ago while visiting Sissinghurst. Struck by their beauty, I planned on growing them back in the States. Easier said then done. At that time they were difficult to find, with very little variety. Today’s market boasts an array of colors in a palette sure to please.

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Helleborus – pixieperennials.com

Unfortunately most of my labels have disappeared over the years except for Helleborus x hybridus ‘Snow Bunting’.

Hellebores have beautiful showy flowers and interesting leaves. They are great for shade or part shade and are easy to grow. Once established, they form colonies. An added bonus, hellebores are deer proof! Pick up a few to grow this year.

Hellebores prefer a humus rich soil and like to be protected from biting winds which can damage the foliage.

If you like green, check out the hellebore below.

Helleborus

Helleborus – pixieperennials.com


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Bodacious Blooms

Terraces at pixieperennials@gmail.com

Terraces at pixieperennials@gmail.com


Looking for the names of the perennials in the photographs? The botanical names are listed below this note in the section titled “tags”.


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Late Summer Color

Anemone

Anemone japonica September 2013

A long blooming fall perennial whose flowers wave hello in the wind, the anemone japonica is a must have for the garden.  Unless you have a deer fence, you will need to spray with Bobbex to keep the marauders at bay, but  it is well worth the trouble.