My flower gardens were at their peak. They had plenty of spring rain to push lush growth and the warmth of consistent sunny days is producing bloom after bloom. My hibiscus blossoms were as big as dinner plates, my bright red pentas the delight of the local hummingbirds and butterflies flocked to my zinnias. It was the fleeting time of year gardeners celebrate.
In all of the research I have been doing over the last few weeks, I keep coming back to the same conclusion: the key to a successful urban cutting garden is thoughtful planning before planting. I know that in most cases we talk about careful planning, but for this project the decisions we make before we begin, guide how we proceed.
As much as I appreciate the precision of the classification system for research, there are only a few soil types that we really need to know and understand in order to be successful in our own yards. Those four main soil types are sand, silt and clay which, when the previous three are mixed together, form the fourth type, loam. Each has a different texture, different characteristics and often different colors.
One of my neighbors stopped by a few weeks ago to comment on our yard. “Seeing all the flowers in bloom,” she said, “made her feel like spring was right around the corner.” I have to admit that as much as I appreciated and understood her intent, her compliment made me cringe inside. You see, she was seeing my snowdrops, daffodils and crocus all in bloom at the same time. Yes, it made for a color-filled late February bed, but they should have been blooming in succession; that’s what Mother Nature intended.
This roller coaster of a winter has been a nightmare for gardeners here in mid-Missouri. One day, the thermometer reads 16 below zero and you are spreading ice melt so that the mail carrier can make it up the driveway to the mail slot. Then, a mere four days later, it is a balmy 58 degrees and you’re in the yard seriously thinking about getting a jump on your spring gardening chores. Before you begin pulling weeds, spading the garden, doing some trimming or raking up those piles of dead leaves, I have a piece of advice for you. DON’T. Just don’t. The urge to get in some early gardening chores can backfire on you. At its worst, jumping the landscaping gun can cause real harm to your landscape, or at the very least, you could wind up having to repeat what you’ve already done. Neither is a particularly pleasant outcome.
When we were first married, my husband would either send or bring me a beautiful bouquet of long stemmed red roses for Valentine’s Day. As much as I loved them, I always felt just a little guilty to have them. We didn’t have a whole lot of money back then,the flowers were expensive and I knew that they wouldn’t last long. Throughout the years, his gifts changed from roses to cards and chocolate. I love chocolate, but this year I am strongly hinting that we go back to long stemmed roses. Instead of a bouquet though, I would love to have a rose garden installed right next to our bedroom window. Imagine waking each day to watch dew glistening on the rose petals and drifting off to sleep every night wrapped in the sweet, subtle fragrance of roses. Lovely.
January is the month of trends. Just for fun, I googled Trends 2023 and came up with 4,330, 000,000 responses in 58 seconds. There were trends in fashion, in hairstyles, in make-up, in business, technology,real estate, housing design, interior design, food, wine, entertainment…the list went on and on. Twelve clicks later, I found what I was initially looking for, trends in Horticulture. Since there were still 6 million individual pages to peruse, I decided to pick just the top five and see what they had to say.
This year, I’ve decided to get some expert advice on Seasonal Color plantings. Jo Ann Prieto, Embassy’s Horticulturist and Seasonal Color Manager, took time to walk me through some of the basics of planning and planting sensational seasonal color beds. I especially wanted to spend time talking with Jo Ann because in the 6 ½ years she has been with Embassy Landscape Group, she has transformed their seasonal color department from a “yes, we can add a few annuals” operation to one of the most creative and well respected in the Kansas City area. Whether she’s designing for one of Kansas City’s premier commercial properties or for a private residence, Jo Ann strives for excellence.