Starved for color! a look back at 2013


Angelonia and Gomphrena
Tony Avent was not amused when he visited last summer: "Friends don't let friends buyAnnuals" he boasted on one of his catalog covers some time ago (and his tee-shirt is still on sale). Those who follow my blog assume that I grow mostly tiny alpines, various xeric shrubs and lots of cacti and mesembryanthemums. So much of my garden (rock gardens, xeriscape) blooms from early spring to early summer--and then becomes a bit too much of a "textural study"...I've found over time that annuals in containers can make a splash of color to liven up this corner or that...And I have become addicted to growing them. This is my confessional...I like and grow everything. And after what seems like the longest winter since the Pleistocene, I am indulging in an orgy of annual worship! Come join me on a stroll around my garden as it was late last summer...

More pots (at least one has basil in it)
As luck would have it, I live a skip and a jump from Sheila Schultz, who can fairly be said to be Denver's container maven whose work is featured perennially in Fine Gardening. Sheila runs Denver Dirty Girls who make a living by designing containers. Since I cannot compete on the level playing field of design, I know I can beat anyone when it comes to Quantity!  I have FAR more pots than they do...especially if you factor in the 2 1/4" pots  that fill my nursery....


Salvia patens (on strike) with Nicotiana
This one would be wonderful if the dang Heavenly blue Salvia would only bloom the same time as the Nicotiana! They seem to alternate bloom times...maybe by this fall... 


I dote on the reds and oranges of the vast array of Pelargonium


Bessera elegans
I have a few pots given over to bulbs--this is the first year I've grown this amazing beauty! The flowering lasts a long time.


Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eiler'
Let's cleanse our palate with this wonderful black eyed Susan I never see in local gardens that much. I find the color easier to live with than the ubiquitous and rapidly becoming clichéd "Goldsturm"



Campanula pyramidalis 'Alba'

Had to sneak in the first blossoming I've had of this wonderful campanula (rather dwarfed in the shade of Orach and my darling Amorphophallus konjac, which I hope you notice in the background...Thanks, Tim Alderton and J.C. Raulston Arboretum!)




More pot madness (with black Millet)
 I've clustered pots willy nilly--if I only had the designers eye! and a staff of a few dozen helpers to do it right...


And MORE...

 
Another cluster--with who knows how many lurking, buried and smothered by the grasses and Cowpen daisy (which I don't have the guts to yank)...
 
And more...

I have no couth: I let these red Amaranths germinate and grow in my Pelly pots. I'm sure Rob and David would have yanked those...
 
Pelargonium sidoides

Robin tells me it's just sidoides, but Ernie insists it's a hybrid between sidoides and reniforme. Since Robin just sent us a box of pellies, we are going with her name.

More pellies...


Pelargonium reniforme
The other putative parent of the hybrid. I know I should have cleaned it up for you...My staff took the day off, alas.

Begonia
 I can look up the cultivar: although I know the name of every subspecies and hybrid in the alpine and perennial realm, I am slovenly and amateur with my annuals: I'm happy to know the generic names. I often get these from a few secret sources when they are destined for the dump, and the names are often missing...so much for my Curatorial credentials...

Salvia guaranitica
  I grow a number of tender Salvias in pots--and why not? This one needs a bit more sun...


Salvia coccinea and Pentas..
 I know pink and red are not supposed to go together. I don't mind the combo myself (as you can see--half my pots have red and pink in them). That's not a thistle on the lower right--it's a Berkheya! But those are Oxalis--I better get after them...


Dry border still chugging...
 Another palate cleanser--our resident analine wild Phlox that was here when we moved here, and some random Rudbeckia hirta self sown...
Tender cacti on summer vacation...
 These qualify as pots, Mr. Proctor! and add to my astronomical count...

Pentas, Ipomoea, Canna, Gomphrena
 This pot needs to be watered every day: it is so pitiful when they all wilt.
 This pot needs to be watered every day: it is so pitiful when they all wilt.


And MORE 
More of the same... ho hum (see all the cactus pots beyond--their numbers add up!)

And More...
 A few more pots...

And even more...
 Another stretch of them--with the Church meadow beyond.

Closer look...
 
Periwinkle is underutilized...
A few troughs to add to the pot count...


I like gomphrena...
Getting repetitive I fear...

More pellies and Millet
 The last in the row...


Pentas and begonias
 I'm fond of this one, not sure why. There are some gomphrenas that didn't show up very well (the "thrillers")...


By the front door...
 To the left of the front door. Love them Periwinkles...


Pentas and Plumbago and begonias too...

Angelonia joins in...



Euphorbia millii (Crown of thorns)
I finally broke down and grew one (a gift at a talk). It's bloomed non stop--I may have to get more!
Scarlet Pentas...woooooohooooooooo!
 I love the red color on this Pentas...

Periwinkle and Angelonia
 MORE Vinca and Angelonia--a good combo I think..

By the front door (other side)
 To the right of the front door: I better clean up the mess...

Periwinkle and begonia


White periwinkle, Pentas and Begonia...
 My last pot...I just realize I forgot to photograph the pots below the veggie garden--and the ones out by the meadow! You could have had another twenty or more shots! Oh well...I think this is more than enough...

Closeup of same...
I fear I have confirmed all suspicions you might have had about my mental competence...I know no limits, I'm afraid. Can't wait for a whole new year to overindulge all over again!


Comments

  1. I think it's remarkable that you can have that many pots and manage to keep everything alive. I can't manage if it gets higher than I can count on one hand, it seems.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Many are where they get overspray from the sprinklers, and the rest are near a spigot right by the front or back door: they do need a drink pretty often during hot spells (usually just every other day or so). I do have dappled shade near many--not a big deal..

    Of course I have a few dozen troughs, and no end of pots with cacti and succulents that get ignored. Several hundred altogether I would guess. You must just be obsessive!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah thank you for the great stroll among these lively clusters, it is needed! This wearingly long cold winter still has a long way to go here but the seedlings are growing. Can't wait for all the old favorite or new annuals, tender perennials and tropicals to be scattered outdoors… My friends don't buy annuals, I grow enough for everyone! :-) Happy Spring!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm off in search of more blue glazed pots! Can't have too many.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I must ask, “What you do with all your pots in the winter?” My terracotta pots turn to rubble when left out for a winter. I have been able to leave the tougher glazed pots out when they have a diameter of 16 inches or less. The glazed ceramic pots larger than 16 inches in diameter all crack. I attribute the cracking to the fact that the wall thicknesses of the pots are not made larger in proportion to the size. The thinking is the larger volume holds more water which creates a proportionately larger amount of stress upon freezing.

    It's too bad more people from Colorado are not known for gardening with flower pots. Unfortunately, I have been hearing a lot about Colorado and a different kind of pot lately. I think the last thing our country needs is more people devoid of any motivation towards any useful purpose.

    James

    ReplyDelete
  6. There are pot shops all over my neighborhood--I never see anyone coming or going to them. I do know that tax on pot has generated some ungodly sum of money for the state which they're going to target for substance abuse in large part. And there is now a large Marijuana tourism industry (several tour companies take people to growing greenhouses and processing plants). Nobody locally seems to be any different for it: I'm hoping legalization will cut out the crime and sleaze factor somewhat--and perhaps demystify and de-romanticize it a tad.

    As for gardening in pots--it is very popular locally, largely due to Rob Proctor who increased the pots at Denver Botanic Gardens from a few dozen to a thousand (we've leveled out in the hundreds).

    Now as to the subject of pot durability: I lose some of the lower fired pots every year--not that many. I've had many ceramic pots for years, some hypertufa for decades and glazed pots forever. Every so often a glazed one breaks--rarely though...

    Our climate being dry is probably the reason: many years I have to water the pots several times (not this year). But they are never saturated. In wet climates you can probvably increase pot longevity (and the health of plants in them) if you tilted them at least 45 degrees. What do I do with my pots in the winter? Nothing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would not tilt flower pots at 45 degrees for the winter. Any rain will wash away most of your growing medium. I have a hard enough time keeping the roots of alpine plants covered with a mulch of gravel when pots are on the level. This time of year I am often applying more gravel as a mulch. The gravel sinks into my gritty mix. The gritty mix gets splashed out of the pot by heavy rain. When the thaw occurs there is a gap between the rim and medium of the pot into which all the gravel and mix on the surface moves. The erosion from the surface to the gaps on the sides of the pots further causes cushion plants to look like they are pushing up out of the ground. When they are suspended by their roots it only takes one heavy rain to snap the crown off. This is probably not often a problem you would experience because you get less rain and I am guessing rain drops are smaller and impact with less force at altitude.

      My pots that have marginally hardy plants get moved into an insulated garage for the winter. I have had good luck keeping my pots with hardier plants on the edge of a driveway or path that gets used in winter. When I shovel, I pile the snow on top of the pots. This insulates them from cold and the pile of snow helps keeps them from breaking dormancy too early.

      James

      Delete
  7. Thanks for this post, I feel like I can plant my annuals with pride this summer and even indulge in a few new pelargoniums without that usual sense of apology..... and buy a few new pots!
    I've never seen begonias look better.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts