Garden Tour Favorites
I loved sharing my top five favorite flowers with visitors to my garden on the Mary Lou Heard Garden Tour this past Saturday. As I chatted with dozens of the visitors, many ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ over the same plants which luckily were blooming on cue for the tour. So here’s some more info on the top five favorite flowers of visitors to my garden. I hope you’ll be encouraged to give them a try in your garden!
1. Peony Poppy
This flower grabbed everyone’s attention. It’s a 4 foot tall annual poppy that I sow every year. Sadly, I do not have a commercial source to reference because it is a ‘pass down’ plant. A friend gave me seeds years ago that she had been given from a friend of hers. I continue the tradition, giving seeds to friends, and, during the garden tour, to attendees until I run out. I found a seed source of a poppy that looks similar at Swallow Tail Garden Seeds.
I collect the seed every year by pulling out the entire plant when it begins to yellow/dry out. I cut off the root and place the plant with the seed pods attached in an urn which I leave on an outside counter. They dry out over the summer and then in October I shake the seed into a tray and mix with potting soil. I toss handfuls of the mixture all over the garden in areas which receive full or part sun. The seedlings pop up over the winter and grow slowly until late March when they grow vigorously until they reach their full height of 4 feet in April and bloom in late April/early May in my zone 9 garden. Note that it is a very short bloom season, only about 3 weeks, but they are stunning and fit easily between other plants.
This is my favorite rose! It is a grandiflora type rose, bright pink in color, with huge blooms that last up to two weeks on the bush and over a week in a vase. Unlike many roses, it retains its color as it opens to full bloom, and almost looks fake it is so perfectly formed. It is a tall rose, 5 feet, and about 4 feet wide. It repeat blooms all year in my zone 9 garden, stopping only when I prune it in January. It is also less prone to fungal diseases than my other roses. Note that I do feed it regularly over the growing season.
3. Nicotiana ‘Aztec’
This flowering tobacco blooms non stop from mid spring until late fall. It is absolutely covered in star shaped white blossoms atop its four foot tall stalks. I love tall flowers like this for the impact of color and height they provide in the garden. As an added bonus, it releases a lovely scent at dusk, just in time for dinners on the patio. When it starts looking a little rangy, I cut down the stalks and in a few weeks the plant sends up new blooming stalks. It self sows if not deadheaded, but it’s not invasive. For more info see post ‘Who Else Wants Non Stop Summer Flowers’.
4. Rose ‘Sexy Rexy’
As the photo shows, this floribunda rose just covers itself in blooms. A single stem can contain ten rose blossoms! The shrub grows to about 4 feet tall and about the same width. It is very disease resistant.
5. Airy Bachelor Buttons
Don’t we all love discovering plants that are a little different as well as beautiful? Gomphrena decumbens ‘Airy Bachelor Buttons’ is a great ‘filler’ plant which blooms nonstop, is a beautiful color and best of all is a perennial which comes back year after year unlike other bachelor buttons. The flowers are tiny but are produced by the thousands from spring to fall. I cut it back in the winter and by March it is back to its 2 1/2 foot by 3 foot mound. It’s available at Annie’s Annuals, one of my favorite online nurseries.
Finally, I just want to thank all the folks who came to visit my garden, shared their gratitude, enthusiasm, and gardening experiences. Gardeners are the nicest people!