Archive for June, 2012

Carol K (mgmgaclk1) wins the mystery plant challenge this week! It is indeed Iris spuria “Shelfold Giant”. Carol, if you want to choose the next mystery (plant or bug) email me individually with your choice!

Thanks for your replies, everyone! This is such a fun way to learn.

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I feel kind of guilty posting these photos. They are nodding thistle (aka musk thistle) and they are highly invasive, but, OH, they are so pretty, and they smell wonderful! If you are cleaning out your ditches or pastures, you can enjoy them for awhile in a bouquet, just be sure to burn them or bag them tightly in your garbage so no seeds get into your environment. (If you single click on a photo, they will enlarge on your screen and you can scroll through them.)


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Carol Koesel uses Genista lydia in her garden and provided our readers some great images and information about this little used shrub. For people with sandy soil, this could be a great choice for adding an interesting, colorful spring specimen. Here’s what Carol has to say:

I am not a big fan of “hot” colors in my yard.  I lean toward the cool blues and purples, pale pinks and multiple shades of green, but in the spring and early summer I appreciate pops of yellow to light up darker corners.

I’m also a big fan of woody ornamentals, natives as well as the more unusual genuses.

I think I first encountered Genista in the “High Country Gardens” catalog, or maybe it was in Dirr’s illustrated Hardy Trees and Shrubs, but it was the perfect plant for the shrub border screen in the back yard.  I did find it container grown locally, but have not seen it since.  Perhaps it can be ordered.

Genista lydia is a low growing groundcover that matures to about 1 foot tall and up to 5 feet across, and can be easily shaped or pruned if necessary.  Said to be hardy in zones 6-8 (9), it has done well in my yard for the past 8 years.  It prefers dry, sandy soil and full sun; it detests wet feet.  For two to three weeks in late May to early June it literally vibrates with chrome yellow color.  Otherwise it is a prostrate, small-leaved, dark olive green.

It under plants a Blackhaw viburnum trained to a standard and a Cornelian Cherry dogwood in this border and is backed by ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitae, ‘Black Lace’ elderberry and ‘Tiger Eye’ sumac.

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