Category Archives: flowers

Don’t Forget to Order Bulbs for Summer Blooms!

Many gardeners focus on obtaining seed now to start their garden in the spring. But given the increased interest in gardening it may be best for gardeners to also focus on ordering summer-blooming bulbs as soon as possible. It will be too cold to plant them now in the DC metro area and some nurseries do not even ship them until later when it is warmer. But given the high demand for seeds, gardeners may want to select and order their summer blooming bulbs now to make sure they have them when it is time to plant in May. Continue reading

Spring-Blooming Crocus

crocus

crocus at Brookside Gardens

February brings the spring crocus. These ephemeral beauties are actually perennials. After blooming in February and March, they go dormant in the summer and reappear next spring. Crocus are grown from corms, which are relatively small and cheap compared to other spring blooming bulbs. Continue reading

Winter Blooming Witch Hazel

Early Bird

Early Bird

One of my favorite winter bloomers is witch hazel, a small shrub like tree.  The flowers themselves are only a few inches, but their unique shape and ability to cover dark, bare stems with flashes of color add quite a bit of excitement in winter gardens. The flowers are really clusters of four petals shaped like thin ribbons emanating from a dark, leathery base called a calyx. Depending on the cultivar, these inch to two inch long ribbons are translucent yellow or mustard yellow, red/orange or brown/orange, or scarlet red or rust red. On warm winter days, the ribbons unfurl but as temperatures drop, the ribbons curl back as a protective mechanism against the cold. Continue reading

Flowering Tobacco Plants for Deer-Resistant Flowers

flowerThis past weekend I visited Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA. There was plenty to see – quite a lot of plants were blooming but there were also plants with red berries, or beautiful foliage, or bright stems. One plant that stood out for me was the flowering tobacco. The large leaves were vibrant green and some plants still had flowers. Continue reading

Post-Fall Chrysanthemum Care

chrysanthemums are perennial plants

As chrysanthemum season winds down and the flowers change from beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds to dull, dark brown, gardeners need to trim these plants. In my view, when a plant has become unsightly, it is time to make changes for the greater good of the landscape. Continue reading

Amaryllis: A Holiday Tradition

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Charisma is an early blooming amaryllis, just in time for Christmas. Photo courtesy of Longfield Gardens.

Growing an amaryllis is easy, just plant and water. Unlike the spring blooming bulbs, an amaryllis does not need a chilling period. It is a tropical plant, hardy to Zones 9-12. Once planted, these large bulbs can bloom in time for the holidays, depending on the bulb. Although they may seem like an investment, you can coax the bulb to re-bloom the following year. Continue reading

Save Your Geraniums for Next Year

Red geraniums in a large container in May

When my mother lived in Vienna, Virginia, she grew red geraniums in large containers by the front door. Every fall she would pull the plants out of the containers, knock off the excess soil, and place the plants on a shelf in the basement. There was one small window allowing very little light. Every summer, these plants would come back to life and she never had to purchase more plants. Continue reading

A Fall-Blooming Culinary Herb: Pineapple Sage

Currently, my pineapple sage plants (Salvia elegans) are blooming in my garden, their bright scarlet flowers are attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Members of the salvia or sage family, pineapple sage plants are herbaceous, tender perennial herbs. I have two pineapple sage plants, which I bought last year as tiny babies, and I often use their leaves and flowers in the kitchen. Continue reading

Deer-Proof Bulbs for Spring Flowers

snowdrop blossoms in the woodsFall is the time to purchase spring-blooming bulbs in the Washington DC metro area. There is a wide variety of choices but if you have a severe deer problem, you may want to plant deer-proof bulbs. I know, you say, there is no such thing as “deer-proof” but with bulbs there are a few that are actually poisonous. I spoke with Brent Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester, VA, who explained the difference between deer-proof and deer-resistant. Continue reading

Heirloom Flowers: Four O’Clocks

yellow four o’clocks in my garden, 8:30 pm

A few years ago my family visited Monticello in the summer. I was struck by how large Thomas Jefferson’s four o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) were compared to mine. I also liked the fact that it was a plant he grew and could still be grown today as an heirloom. Continue reading