Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hardworking Plants For The Garden

Over the years I've used the following plants throughout my garden to add some color and long lived blooms most of the year. They may be common flowers, but lobelia, alyssum, and nasturtiums are hardworking plants perfect for baskets, containers, to line pathways, and to fill in under plants in flower beds.

Lobelia is a great addition to flowerbeds, billowing up and out wide, depending on the type of lobelia purchased. Most containers of lobelia available at garden centers are in the blue tones, some in electric blue, light blue and deep blue tones. There are varieties that cascade, ideal for hanging baskets and container gardening. There are also pastel shades of lobelia in whites and pinks, although I find the blue lobelia a little better for growing and reseeding. Ah reseeding, lobelia does like to reseed, a perfect way to expand your garden plants naturally. Beyond how well they flower, how long they flower and how easy care they are, lobelia are really lovely, fitting right in and making a small statement along pathways and mixed with other plants. Annual lobelia are a good addition to any garden.

Alyssum has a wonderful smell and virtually blooms year long in the right climate. I have had alyssum planted in my Petaluma garden, where it got to be in the 90's to 100 degrees and beyond, and in my coastal Eureka garden where the average temperature is between 55 and 65 degrees all year long. In both places my alyssum has grown with easy abandon, lighting up areas with its white fluffy flower heads. I've found the white alyssum is very dependable when planted, once in place it is in the garden for years to come. I bought some white and purple tinged alyssum to plant in my half moon shaped planter with three terra cotta pots. Nothing has worked well in these pots and I decided if alyssum can't grow happily there, nothing will. I will also plant some alyssum in the top of my metal planter that houses red lilies. The alyssum will help fill the top of the container until summer weather brings up the lily bulbs. Alyssum is always a good choice for underplanting and pathways, and great for edging in hanging baskets and containers, while sharing its sweet smell for lucky passerbys.

Nasturtiums may be considered a common garden vine, but they are one of my favorite all time plants. When I think of gardens and bed and breakfasts I've been to, nasturtiums have been one of the most beautiful parts of the gardens I visited. When nasturtiums really take hold in part of the garden they are lush and full of flowers. I have a few spare vines here and there that are in too shady an area to really get growing. I'm looking forward to the nasturtium seeds I planted back in the corner below my climbing roses to start sprouting and growing. Nasturtiums are colorful and prolific creators of seed. Once established nasturtiums will grow contentedly in your garden where they will fill areas with bright colors and green leaves. Beyond nasturtium vines, there are a number of dwarf nasturtium varieties in colors other than the traditional oranges and yellows. Varieties with varigated leaves, red and burgundy flowers and pastel cream colors are among the many choices for nasturtium lovers

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