The Gardener's Apprentice

New This Month

Spider form flowers bring drama and boldness to garden beds.

Tips

Fill garden “holes” with pots of annuals purchased on sale from local garden centers.



July 24, 2017
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Spiders Everywhere

Not long ago I went to Grace Gardens, in Geneva, NY, a magical daylily garden and nursery.  It was early July, just before peak daylily bloom, but thousands of blossoms were already open for business.  The array of colors and forms was breathtaking.  I found it impossible to leave without a handful of new daylily plants and the owners were generous enough to include a “surprise” plant in my package.  The “surprise” was a yellow-peach, spider-form daylily. I have lots of daylilies, but this particular “spider” was the first in that form.  It has turned out to be the best kind of surprise—something that I wouldn’t have chosen on my own, but now find irresistible. Most flowers labeled “spider form” feature relatively ...

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July 17, 2017
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Landscaped by Others

The great American garden writer, Elizabeth Lawrence, famously said, “No one gardens alone.”  The truth of those words shows in my garden every day.  Ninety percent of the landscape and tending falls to me; the rest is done by others.  Fortunately, given the state of my bank accounts, I don’t have to pay them anything.  They are enthusiastic—sometimes over-enthusiastic--volunteers. The largest of the “others” is the well-known Mr. Antlers and his crew of mostly female hangers-on.  Their collective specialty is pruning.  They have pruned all my asters, especially the taller ones, for years.  Fortunately the asters appreciate this pruning, branch out as the result of it and eventually produce more blooms than unpruned plants.  ...

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July 10, 2017
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Moth Mullein

I am not an orchid person, but from time to time I fall madly in love with plants that bear orchid-like flowers.  Sweet peas beguile me, though I have never had success growing them in the garden.  I blame that on climate, though inattention might also play a role. Every year in early summer I renew my love affair with a beautiful, but somewhat dangerous orchid imposter—moth mullein or Verbascum blattaria.  If you drive on country roads in July, you have probably breezed right by stands of moth mullein growing just off the highway shoulder.  Sightings are especially likely along the sides of county roads where mowing is infrequent.  Most of us do not have occasion to frequent the edges of farm fields, but moth mullein also like ...

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July 10, 2017
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Vick’s Caprice

After four years of waiting, at least one go-around with Mr. Antlers and a presumption of plant death, ‘Vick’s Caprice’ has finally bloomed in my garden.  And even though the tough little rose put out only one flower, it was worth the time and anxiety.  The cupped and quartered bloom is lovely--rose pink, accented with barely discernible stripes of lighter pink.  I took its picture immediately, just to capture the moment when patience paid off. ‘Vick’s Caprice’ is classified as an “old rose” because it came on the scene between 1800 and 1920.  Unlike many famous old varieties, it is an American original.  Discovered around 1885 in Rochester, NY, ‘Vick’s Caprice’ is classed as a hybrid perpetual, a type of reblooming ...

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