Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Can You Tame This Goose?

Ah, what a pretty gaggle of garden geese..

  I am, of course, referring to Gooseneck Loosestrife, that plant whose flowers are named for.. well, you can see for yourself!

Does it resemble a goose's neck?
This plant has a long bloom time, is easy to grow, and has received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.  Not to mention, the bees seem to like it.

Sounds like the perfect plant, right?

Except for one teensy, itty-bitty problem...

Gooseneck Loosestrife - a lot of it
Scratch that, make that an expansively BIG problem!
Gooseneck Loosestrife is so easy to grow, that it tends to take over!

Good thing that wall is there to stop this goose invasion!
Native to China and Japan and hardy from zones 3 - 8, this perennial is vigorous to the point of invasiveness.  Spreading both by seeds and by underground runners, Gooseneck Loosestrife is most invasive in loves sunny, moist soil, but it's not picky, tolerating a good number of growing conditions.  (Hey, maybe I should have planted this when I lived in North Carolina!  It can even tolerate heavy clay!)

Here Gooseneck Loosestrife is duking it out with pink-flowered Rose Campion, also known to be an enthusiastic grower.  I think you can see which one is winning..
If you are thinking about planting this beautiful flower, just beware - you might want to place it in a more challenging site to slow it down.  Like a dry, shady spot or heavy clay.  
Or in a container.

I think here in Massachusetts, I will just enjoy it in the neighbor's yard.  
I don't want even these gorgeous geese running amok!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Dark Cousin

Many gardeners know about Rose Campion, with its screaming-bright magenta flowers that are dotted atop beautiful silver colored foliage.

Rose Campion
 Rose Campion, meet your cousin - Arkwright's Campion.

Arkwright's Campion 'Vesuvius'
Also a short-lived perennial, this Campion makes an equally impressive, if different, statement in the garden.

The flowers are a molten-orange color, only made brighter by the dark foliage that acts as the perfect foil.

There's a reason that the cultivar 'Vesuvius' was named after a volcano!
Like Rose Campion, Arkwright's Campion likes sun or partial shade. It first flowers in late spring or early summer, with deadheading encouraging more flowers.  This hybrid perennial is supposed to be quite short lived, but it should self-seed with plants that are similar to the parent flower.

According to some sources, Arkwright's Campion is more temperamental and not as hardy as some of its other relatives (which might actually be a good thing, since others in this family can become invasive due to their prolific self-seeding).  This is the first year my mother-in-law has had it in her garden, so we shall see!  

So far, we're loving it.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

an Independence Day planter outside a little nursery/market in Massachusetts

A Happy Fourth of July long weekend to you all!   

Also, a special thank you to all the military and their families that make so many sacrifices every day on behalf of our country.  And thank you to all the emergency responders and civil servants out there, many who risk their lives to help others.  Stay safe out there.

Monday, July 1, 2013

In Three Years - Part 2

During the three years we lived in the Red House, I think the back yard has changed the most.  When we moved in there was nothing but a few trees.  We put in a fence and added lots of plants!

Backyard Fence Garden
This part of the garden, which is along the side of my backyard, went through the most changes throughout the three years, probably because this was where the largest majority of my plants died!  Plants here had to contend with a hot, dry slope, bad drainage from the clay soil, and deadly root-eating voles.





Sunny Side Garden
There used to be large oak trees on one side of the yard.  Sadly, they all became diseased and we had to have them removed.  With the new amount of sun, this eventually became the spot to squeeze in a veggie garden and blueberry bushes.

This is the only pic I have of the side yard back when.  My youngest was so little!

Blueberry bushes and a Yoshino Cherry Tree are on the left, my veggie garden is on the right.

Closeup of my horseshoe-shaped veggie garden:

Shade Garden
The shade garden was my favorite garden to make.  In North Carolina, a cool, shady place to garden is a wonderful thing.  I wanted to surround all the plants here with moss - a goal I mostly achieved by the time I left. 



And yes, I did keep this bench!

I hope you all enjoyed the tour of part of my previous garden!  Hopefully this time we'll stay put for quite awhile, and for the next house I'll be able to put up before and after pics 10 or even 20 years down the line.  
(Right, dearest Mr. Red House?)

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