Today, those of us in PA enjoyed an early taste of summer! So, in honor of the beautiful weather, we’re going to talk gardening! Ok, don’t tune out on me yet… there are some cool things about gardening even if you’re not “into it”…
My mother in law has an amazing green thumb, so anything I’ve learned is from her. I don’t have extensive knowledge, but I’ve found plants that work for me and that I can manage… all that translates to “plants that are very hard to kill and can deal with being ignored!” Before I share some of my favorites and some recommendations, we need a little primer on plants. Annuals are plants that don’t come back year after year… you have to buy them annually. Perennials come back year after year (AKA plants that Eric thinks are nice and practical!) Yes, that seems a little basic, but come on, most people confuse the two all the time!
Now for my favorites…
Grasses– these perennials are wonderful as space fillers. They’re inexpensive, indestructible, and grow like crazy. My favorite type is Maidenhair Grass (Miscanthus).
They come in a variety of sizes and are nice and green all spring and summer.
In the fall they get these pretty wispy thingies (again, not very exact with my names!)
They also come in a variety of colors. I’ve bought this deep red before and it looks great in the fall.
Vinca- These annuals are my #1 favorite flower and my go-to flower for most beds and here’s why… These flowers don’t need a thing from me! They love full-sun, and thrive during a drought and heat wave. That’s essential for me because, I spend full-sun, heatwave days by the pool, not watering my flowers!
They totally spread and fill out an area so nicely. Vinca = instant garden!
They’re awesome for hanging baskets and again need little to no water. I rarely, if ever, water ones in the ground, but might water my baskets weekly or every ten days.
Now most people use Impatiens (which btw I thought were impatience until about 2 minutes ago!) but, the reason I prefer vinca is that impatiens need TLC. They need a lot of water throughout a drought and can stand the heat, but only with care. The two look so similar, that the easy peasy flower gets my vote for sure!
These are impatiens- can you tell much of a difference?
Sunflowers- who doesn’t love a sunflower? We go a little crazy with our sunflowers and try out tons of different varieties. My kiddos’ favorite is the Mammoth Sunflower because it’s enormous! Look at this random, adorable couple and their sunflower. They really do get this big!
Sunflowers don’t have a super long bloom time, but if you stager your planting- plant a handful in the same area each week- you’ll have a longer bloom season. This was the border of our backyard at the old house prior to full bloom.
Did you know they come in oodles of colors and so many of them have awesome fall tones? They bloom towards the end of the summer and get me all excited for my favorite season! This little fella was from our 2009 gardening.
Final note on sunflowers- they’re super easy to plant and a great one to have the kids help you with! Can’t mess it up!
New Favorite: Wildflowers- Thanks to Laura from Piggy Toes Photography in Norton, MA I’m hooked on wildflowers. I’m more of a clean lines, symetrical decorator and gardener, but was totally inspired by some of her pictures to enter the world of wildflowers. Who wouldn’t want this amazing backdrop for photos right in their own yard! It was this picture of her son Atticus that made me contact her and find out more about these awesome flowers. Seriously Adorable!
These are super cute and will be making an appearance in our new yard. The company Laura suggested was American Meadows and I’ve already ordered three bags to plant in the next few weeks.
Although I’m partial to the cutie in the diaper, they’re also great for more formal shots like this one from an engagement session. If you’re in the MA area, make sure you check out Laura’s website for great photography at excellent prices.
I can’t wait to share pics of my kiddos in our wildflowers this summer!
Cosmos– While cosmos kind of fall under the “wildflowers” category, I’ve been using them for years. They’re a bit more “wild” looking and unrully than I’d prefer, but they’re awesome for cutting and really are pretty.
They come in so many colors and they also come in a variety of heights (learned the hard way when I had mammoth plants that all needed to be staked and still looked a bit sad.)
They’re just so pretty and make beautiful arrangements that last for a while.
If you think you recognize them from somewhere… it could be from the AC Expressway in New Jersey. They’re planted for miles between the highway and they’re so pretty all summer on our drives to the beach!
So, I don’t have any really amazing gardening tips for you, other than to find something that works for you and that you actually enjoy. If I planted things that needed daily attention it wouldn’t be fun for me and they’d all end up dead!
So in honor of spring weather, and of the fact my husband sent me to Lowes tonight to buy this (my first ever John Deer purchase- I was a fish out of water) enjoy the warm weather and start thinking about what you might create outside this year.
Monica and Jess, I’m really enjoying your blog. I like the variety of topics. Love, Aunt Lynn.
Also, Monica, I recently bought a table at Pier One. It is my work space but doubles as a dining table. It seats 12 and cost $500. It has two leaves. Without the leaves, it seats 8. Might not be as big as what you want, but it’s the same idea as what you described. Might be worth a look at Pier One.