24 July 2007


The canna is starting to bloom and take off as seen in this early summer photo. Canna Pretoria was planted three years ago as a result of a purchase from Lowe's home improvement. It was a dud the first year. The roots were dug up and saved over the winter, and planted again the next spring. Now after a very slow start in the spring, the plant always comes back and starts blooming in the height of summer. It is similar to Tropicanna canna, but the leaf stripes are not burgundy and orange but green and Yellow. It ws thought to be Tropicanna when purchased.

The roots spread during the last half of summer, quickly producing several more flower stalks - and there are no pests with this plant. The tropical-looking plant likes sun and hot weather, and lots of water will make it grow faster.

17 July 2007

Summer Heat

Hot summer brings out the lime green nicotiana. This plant came from the landscape architects years ago and was one of the first contributions to the front display flower garden. It is an annual, but easily reseeds itself year after year with the same light green flowers. Last year its usual bed was disturbed in the spring when daffodils were dug out to be divided, resulting in fewer nicotiana plants germinating. Lesson learned.

The flowers stay closed during the day and open at dusk, releasing a sweet fragrance. Each plant produces several stems, and keeps bloming throughout the summer as long as spent flower stems are broken off. Usually this is a hassle because of the large number of stems produced in the many plants that grow. The plants do need some support after reaching a certain height. I let them lean on each other and flop over if they want to - giving a cascading natural look.

15 July 2007


The landscape architects divided and thinned out their dalylilies one year, and the cast-offs were planted in my garden. I will try to find the exact variety later, but these grow on sturdy stems shorter than the standard orange varieties found around the grounds when the house was purchased. Flowers are a peach-yellow color with some slight green in their throat. These bloom mid-season, a bit later than the orange type, and they do not spread much at all.

08 July 2007

Seeing Sunspots

Miniature sunflowers are a great summer flower for the small garden beds found here. A variety called Sunspot was the first dwarf sunflower variety I tried a few years ago. It did great and I always come back to it. The plants are about 4 feet tall (1.2 m) and produce a single flower, but the flowers are fairly large. The stalks do not flop over. It is also fast growing. Slugs like to chow down on the leaves.

I tried 'Pacifico" and a green variety, and both did not do well. The Pacifico was interesteing because the catalog promised multiple blooms in a drawf plant. Well, the plant did produce multiple blooms, but they were not appropriate for cutting which is what I had in mind. Pacifico grew one main stalk like a normal sunflower, then shot out 'mini' stems about 1 or 2 inches long (25 to 50 cm) from the main stalk with mini flowers on them. Some of the flowers were oval shaped, looking like they were malformed.

The green variety had trouble with small anemic looking leaves that attracted a lot of mites during the hot summer months. They also needed help standing up after heavy summer rains. After doing some research, I find that there are no good varieties of green sunflowers, yet...

01 July 2007

Silver Blue

Two types of salvia were planted about three years ago in the front display flower garden. Only one comes back each year after winter, but the exact name was lost. Of the two, the most interesting one survives. Flower stalks and buds are a silver white color, and only the actual petals are colored in an electric blue. It earned the nickname 'silver blue.' This has been a reliable no-problem plant over the years.