Category: Ginny Rosenkranz

Purple cone flowers love summer sun

Echinacea purpurea, or Purple Cone Flower, is a wonderful sun-loving native herbaceous perennial that grows from 1 1/2 feet tall to 5 feet tall, depending on the variety. They bloom the whole month of June and into August, brightening the garden with their large, fragrant daisy shaped flowers in many shades of purple, red, yellow and rose-pink with domed orange center. They love full sun and tolerate dry sandy soil, clay soil, high humidity and drought. They seem to be made to thrive on our Eastern Shore! They are also listed as being deer and bunny tolerant too. Coneflowers bloom more than once a season but that is improved if the dead flowers are trimmed of. Leave a few to mature to seed for the goldfinches in the fall and the new seedlings for next spring. “Pow Wow Wild Berry” is a compact coneflower growing 2-3 feet tall that has lots of branches which means lots and lots of bright rose purple flowers with orange centers. This variety starts to bloom in last spring and continues to bloom through late summer and even into autumn. The flowers grow 3-4 inches across with deep rose purple overlapping petals. “Hot Papaya” is a bright, hot orange-red double coneflower that doesn’t fade with the heat of summer. This variety can grow 2-3 feet tall and wide, attracting many butterflies into the garden....

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May is prime time for candytuft

May is when the evergreen Iberis sempervirens or Candytuft are in full flower on the Eastern Shore, some starting as early as March or April and continuing to bloom for up to 10 weeks. The evergreen foliage provides a dark rich shiny green to the edges of sunny gardens all year long, especially nice in the deep cold of winter. The plants are very drought tolerant, growing well in drained soils. They only grow about six to 12 inches tall and can spread slowly to form a mound about 18 inches wide. The small four-petaled pure white flowers are arranged in a dense cluster forming a domed umbrella shape. When in bloom, the flowers almost blanket the plant totally and are extremely fragrant, living up to their common name of Candytuft. When in bloom they attract many pollinators including many early butterflies, but neither deer nor rabbits will nibble on the foliage. “Alexander’s White” is an excellent cultivar, growing a bit taller with lots of long lasting flowers. Candytuft is perfect as an edging plant for a garden or along a path, but it also looks great cascading over a low wall or as a sunny groundcover and even in containers. (Editor’s Note: Ginny Rosenkranz is a commercial horticulture specialist with the University of Maryland...

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Early bloomers get the party started

April is when spring really starts to bloom! Spring, to me, is always a treasure hunt — walking around the gardens and seeing what is up and blooming as well. A few of the plants that bloom include Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox), Aurinia saxatilis (Basket of Gold), Bergenia cordifolia (Heart Leaf Bergengia), Iberis semperviens (Candytuft), Iris cristata (Crested Iris). Some plants like the Moss Phlox and Crested Iris are natives to North America while the Basket of Gold, Heart leaf Bergengia and Candytuft arrived from other continents. I always try to include the botanical names of the plants I talk about so if anyone falls in love with them, they will be easy to find. Common names are fun and picturesque, but often they reflect a region or a portion of a state, or just because someone thought it sounded good, but that doesn’t make it easy to find in a garden center. The native Phlox subulata or Moss Phlox comes in so many pastel spring colors — blues, pinks, blush and pure white. The plant is an evergreen groundcover that needs full sun and excellent drainage which is perfect for our sandy soils on the Eastern Shore. I love the fact that it starts to bloom sporadically in February and March, but comes into its full glory in April. Many perennials bloom only for two weeks, but the...

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Bulbs are ready to flower

March is a time for spring bulbs to spike out of the soil and unfurl into bloom. After months of cold, dark winter weather, seeing color in the garden is always a guarantee that spring is close. The bulbs that were planted in the fall have had time to go through their chilling period and are now ready to flower. The first to bloom of the early bulbs are the smallest of crocuses. Tiny cups of petals poke out about an inch high in lawns, deciduous woods and flower beds as soon as the temperatures in the soils warm up. The colors of crocus include pure white, pale- to bright-yellow and soft- to bright-purple. The earliest crocuses are often a soft shade of yellow and purple while the later, larger crocuses are colored more boldly and brightly. The grass — like leaves — can blend into the lawns and flower beds and last about a month after the crocuses bloom. Crocuses are long-lived bulbs if they are planted in well-drained soils with winter sunshine. Many areas in the country have gardens full of crocuses that have naturalized and have created a mass of color in the early spring. Chionodoxa or Glory of the Snow are either blue or a pure white, tiny flower bells that arch up out of the soil 2 to 3 inches tall. Snow Drops are...

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