Sunday, May 29, 2011

Endless Summer: One Can Hope

Hydrangea "Endless Summer"
This is Hydrangea "Endless Summer"--it's a mophead hydrangea.  I already have a hydrangea but it's an Oakleaf and its shape and bloom is much different.  I planted Endless Summer last year and was disappointed because it didn't come anywhere close to living up to its name.  Well, this year may be the start of something really good.  It's already blooming like crazy and it's three times the size it was last year.  My patience (and a huge container) seem to be paying off.

I did some basic research on hydrangeas--I'll get into more of that in a later post.  Most of it has to do with how and when to prune them so that's not so much a concern this early in the season.  I will also report back on a little experiment I'm doing to try to change the color of the blooms.  Stay tuned for that. 

For now, just know that Endless Summer is supposed to bloom reliably from June to September.  It's hardy to zone 4 and grows 3 to 5 feet high.  It likes part to full sun.  The farther north you are, the more sun exposure you can allow. 

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer--if only it could be endless.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Graham Thomas Turns 3!

Graham Thomas
You may remember Graham Thomas, a climbing rose that I bought three years ago from the Antique Rose Emporium.  I was uncertain at the time whether it would survive winters in a container.  But it's hardy to zone 5 (I'm in zone 7) and I planted it in quite a large pot.  My worries were unfounded--it bounces back every year.  I hardly do anything to it.  This spring, I just cut back any branch that was brown.  I also added more potting soil, some time-release fertilizer, and some Vermont Container Booster.  That's about all the effort I'm willing to expend.  The rest is up to the plant.  I'd say Graham Thomas is faring quite well.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Friday, May 13, 2011

A New Climber

Clematis "Cezanne"
The great thing about climbing plants is they can add vertical interest to help you make maximum use of a small space.  I plant a mandevilla every year.  Three years ago, I planted a climbing rose.  This year, I added to my climbing plant collection:  this is Clematis "Cezanne".  I bought it online from White Flower Farm.  I planted it in the same container as my climbing rose which is yellow.  I think the yellow of the rose and the purple of the clematis will look great together.  The clematis is just getting started so I don't know what I can expect this first season. 

This plant is hardy to zone 4 and it is bred for containers and small spaces.  Its maximum height will be about 5 feet and it is supposed to bloom in May and June, and then again in September.  I'll be sure to report back on its progress.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Pot Scrubbing
Spring is here and it's time to get started.  This isn't the prettiest part of gardening but it is necessary.  I had lots of perennials return this year, but I also had more than a few pots in which I had planted annuals last year that I never got around to cleaning out.  So I emptied them last weekend and started scrubbing.  I don't use anything special, just a sponge, some antibacterial dishwashing liquid, and plenty of elbow grease.  

Now that my pots are clean, I'm ready to start shopping and planting.  Stay tuned.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books