07 July 2010

Just keep planting, just keep planting...

Okay, gardening peeps, I know it's hotter than the hinges of hell in much of North America--even in Nova Scotia--but I want to have a wee chat with y'all about gardening in summer. So go pour yourself a tall ice tea, or coffee, or other fluid (ruby red grapefruit juice for me) and let's converse about a few things.

The plant in the top photo is Geum 'Eos'. It has gold-green foliage as well as those blaze orange flowers, and naturally, I had to have it. I saw it the other day at a nursery, thought about it for a few days, and went back today to get it. And a few other things for good measure.

Now, I realize it's July. And That a lot of the asphalt 'garden centres' have already folded up their tents and scuttled back to being bigbox purveyors of soap, soup, tshirts and tires. But they aren't real garden centres, run by real people who care about plants. They'd like you to think that because they're done for the season, you should be too.

But I like to gently chant, "Just keep planting, just keep planting", much in the same way that Dorrie sang 'Just keep swimming' in the movie Finding Nemo. Yes, it's still one of my favourite movies. I am sometimes twelve. And am all right with that.

Here in Atlantic Canada, (I can't speak for other regions, but I'm sure it's the case) lot of REAL nurseries and garden centres are still very much open, and still very much carrying excellent, interesting, and oh yeah, HEALTHY plants. Like this rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' which insisted it needed to come home with me too.

Going to real garden centres--you know, where the people actually know, like and can talk about plants honestly--gives you a chance to see plants that you're not real likely to see at the bigbogblowout place. Take astrantia. I don't remember where I first saw this plant, probably in a book, but I got my first one from Lloyd Mapplebeck at Hillendale Perennials in Truro. But I've also bought them from Brooklyn Farms in Grafton, Lavender Hill in Jordan Falls (outside of Lockeport), Dayton Red and White in Yarmouth, Lowland Gardens in Masstown/Bass River, and a few other places that I can't remember now because I didn't write them down at the time.

Do you know this cool plant? It's blue star, Amsonia sp, and while I don't remember where I got my first two plants--I think possibly from a mailorder nursery in British Columbia--they've been star performers for a decade--so much so that I added a cool cultivar called 'Blue Ice' when I found it at Briar Patch this spring.

Centaurea dealbata. Persian coneflower. A bee and butterfly magnet. Again, I've had mine for years, and I got it from one local nursery or another.

I KNOW this alpine sea holly came from Baldwin's Nurseries in Falmouth, because I bugged owner Rob Baldwin to get Eryngium for his perennial collection. If you're a pollinator fan, this is an exquisite plant for attracting bees and butterflies, plus it's astonishingly gorgeous.
We all know Maltese Cross, but have you seen this salmon-coloured cultivar before? I also have the common blaze-red one as well as a pure white variety, and am hard-pressed to decide which one I like the best. Of course we all know that I have that problem on a daily basis. All of my plants are my favourite. Except goutweed, of course.

For the first time since I got 'Black Lace' sambucus, it's flowering this summer. I thought I would be unimpressed with the flowers since I'm so much about the foliage of this great shrub, but the flowers are charming me too. And the bees seem happy with them, too.

Here we have a mutant foxglove, to go with the mutant strawberries I wrote about last week. I don't know what caused this weird flower on the top of an ordinary pink foxglove, but with the odd weather we've had this spring, plus the excessive numbers of some bugs, who really knows. Has anyone else seen a foxglove do this before?

Planting new stuff at this time of year just requires that you make sure to water newly planted and not-yet established plants regularly, especially if you're having grilling heat. I keep planting new things all summer and even into autumn (until I switch to planting bulbs, of course). So long as I can find something I want/need at a local nursery, I will drag it home and find a place to plant it. I don't plant in the heat of the day, of course; I have holding areas where shrubs and perennials waiting to be planted just hang out, getting some sunlight, some shade, and regular watering.

This bellflower is as tall as I am (over five feet). I have NO idea where I got it from nor what species or cultivar it is, but I really, really like it a lot. Anyone recognize it?

Despite the fact that some places are well and truly ahead of where they 'normally' would be in growth and blooming this year, my garden seems to be holding on its normal schedule. This honeybells (whether you call it Nectaroscordum siculum or Allium siculum is up to you) is just coming into full, happy flowering this past few days. I wish they multiplied faster than they seem to do, but they are ensconced among many other plants so maybe they just don't like the competition.

Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but there are plants waiting to go into the ground--I hope you'll scoot out in the next few days and visit YOUR local plant nursery. I have some good Nova Scotian ones listed in the sidebar to the right--not everyone has a website, of course, and I don't have everyone's website up, but these are some favourites of mine. And I'll be visiting them more now that the big project is finally almost out of my hair...

All together now..."Just keep planting, just keep planting..."


  1. This seems to go against the traditional wisdom I have been told, meaning it is quite stressful for the plant to be planted when we hit triple digits, which the so-called experts keep saying is imminent. Do you see any adverse effects? Short of death, of course.

  2. Just Keep Planting...i can go for that! I was outside at 7:30 A.M. and it was already hot :/. I'm sure I can find time to plant a few. Also, all of your photos are beautiful and I love all the blooms.

  3. Good question, Turling. I wouldn't plant something in the heat of the day right now, and I can only go on my experiences here in Nova Scotia. It's quite a bit hotter consistently where you live (we're zones 5-6 here in most of Atlantic Canada--we do get a few real hot days each summer, but normally not above 80 degrees F for more than a few days. Certainly not triple digits.

    My point is that people get the idea that now that it's July, we're done with gardening, or at least with planting. I think that comes from the old school veggie gardeners who did all their planting all at once, and once it was in, it was in. Then we have the bigbox bullies all eagerly closing up shop now that they've scooped the cream of business; so people think that means it's time to stop planting. But it's not.

    I'm planting things tonight--it has cooled down nicely, we had a good rain yesterday, and I'm not seeing any signs of stress in anything I have planted in the past week or so. Personally, I think it's better to get em in the ground, even into a holding bed, than to leave them outside to have their roots bake in small containers that dry out quickly.

  4. I just got 4 more bushes to plant. I still need another 5 yds of sweet peet and I have baby hostas that need transplanting. The pumpkin that's taking over the yard has rolled over a bunch of flowers that need to be rescued. I'm with you, beside, there are always flowers that are calling my name. jim

  5. I have kept on planting, but mostly plants in the shade bed or plants that love the sun. Your plants are beautiful. One of the best things about reading blogs is learning about plants I'd never heard of! Ahh, and the pictures, I could look all day. Too bad I have to work.

  6. I would love to be planting now but the soil here is hard as a brick since it hasn't rained yet this month. I am ever hopeful that the air will be cleaned and everything will be well watered the next couple of days. I wouldlove to find one of those rudibeckias. It is so different.

  7. We plant all year Jodi, but right now, with no rain for two months and very high temps, it is a strain on the plant and the gardener to keep it watered enough. We are losing the battle, thank goodness daylilies are so tough and will return next year even if they go dormant from the weather right now. The nurseries still need us, as you say, and as soon as the rain returns along with us from Buffa10 we will follow your advice. :-)

  8. Jodi:
    I am totally with you..... I always say to people, 'If you can water, you can plant.' Its really not rocket science. I think the Campanula may be C. latifolius 'Macrantha'..... I have two clumps that looks suspiciously similar. Keep planting and spreading the word!

  9. With the temperatures so high here in Southern Ontario, keeping the new plant watered would be a challenge. So I will wait until in cools down a bit and we have rain. I find container plants transplant better then bare root this time of the year. Yes, keep planting:)

  10. Hi Jodi~~ I've missed you. We're finally in the throes of a heatwave here, just like everyone else in the northern hemisphere so I've got more indoor hours to catch up with my blogging buddies.

    Love your post. You are such a kindred spirit. Just yesterday a friend and I trekked to two out of the way nurseries, owned by PLANT PEOPLE, to peruse and ogle and get inspired and bring a few goodies home. Such a joy.

    I am not at all fond of the jarring Maltese Cross so to see this lovely peachy/salmon specimen forced me to wipe drool from my chin. Sweet. I haven't seen it in commerce here, but I'm going to be on the lookout. That Foxglove mutant is to die for. It's like a firecracker that completely opened up. Wouldn't that be something if it became stable this way? You could name it 'Jodi' and earn a million dollars. No doubt everyone would want it. ... I have two Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' but still awaiting the first blooms.

    About all I can remember from Finding Nemo is "Katie Current." So whenever I see the real one on TV I say, "Oh there's Katie Current." I'm 12 too.

    Love your new blog digs! Stay cool. Yes, I'll take that iced tea now.

  11. HAH! Grace, my favourite characters in the movie, other than Dory, were the seagulls ("Mine! Mine? Mine?! Mine...") and the surfer dude turtle. I'd forgotten about Katie Current.
    The salmon lychnis doesn't selfseed, alas, but it seems to me it's available from seed at one of the seedhouses like Thompson and Morgan. I've had it for years and don't remember where I got it.

  12. I am buying and planting, Jodi! Although, I remember saying "I am done with new plants for this season!" somewhen in spring! Thanks for showing all the pretty blooms. I see several unfamiliar faces. I like that foxglove. You might want to collect its seeds and try to grow it next year.What if it'll be a new variety?!
    Stay cool, and happy planting to you!

  13. Hello Jodi, glad you still get to buy what you wanted. Sometimes you might not have the chance ;-D

    Your maroon rudbeckia is stunning! I have a chocolate sunflower growing and a bud is opening. The petals have the same colour as your cherry brandy.

    That foxglove is lovely. Enjoy the summer and all your beautiful blooms!

  14. I am with you girl on real garden centers. One near my house has lots of native plants so is fun to visit. These are lovely plants in your photos.

  15. I planted some passalongs just this past weekend. They have been in black plastic pots on my patio for too long and I decided I'd better get them in the ground if I was ever going to do it. It's really hot down here, but we are also seeing plenty of clouds and rain right now, so I think they'll have a decent chance of making it. I love your photos. You can grow many plants that I cannot, but they remind me of plants in my parents garden in England. I've never seen a foxglove do that!

  16. Don't you just have some fantastic finds! I love the rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy'! I'm going to have to hunt that down! I recently picked up a white astrantia at a plant sale recently. It is a great performer!

  17. That big dark red "Cherry Brandy" thing is stunning. Much as I refuse to grow stuff I can't eat, I would have bought that!

    We have a whole load of nurseries around here, but most people head for the sheds instead. I just can't get inspired when a garden centre has hidden the garden stuff away behind the home furnishings.

  18. Morning Jodi
    I am ashamed to say that I have rather given up planting for the moment: even in England it has not rained for ages and I draw a line at watering things.
    Like your Geum; there is an even better one called Prinses Juliana that you should look out for.
    I have seen foxgloves like that and they rather give me the creeps, it is the same with fasciation (when stems grow together). It feels as if there is a vengeful elf wandering up my spine.

  19. Jodi, a timely post, Frances (Fairegarden) tells me I should plant my plants rather than leave them in pots until Autumn (or spring!). I have lost a few plants in the past to dry weather and wind in my previous garden so I don't plant during the summer but I still buy plants. I think I may just try to get some plants into the ground at the weekend!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  20. Until we have rain I don't think I'll be buying any new plants. We've had a mini-drought and haven't had rain in nearly three weeks. Everything looks awful except what I can reach with the hoses. Rain is expected tomorrow but I have my doubts! Weeks of 90+ degree (F) and no rain don't help the garden much!

  21. Missed your blog entries)).

    I'm with you..just keep planting if your weather cooperates and the ground isn't baked hard. It has been dry though, and I notice my lilac and paper bark maple are losing leaves which I am assuming are related to having no rain to speak of here on Nova Scotia's south shore.

    Your photos are great Jodi, and you have shown some lovely, unusual and dependable plants. The salmon lychnis looks to be on the catalog at Village Nursery in Pleasantville if anyone is our area is interested.

    Anyway, it's foggy here and a good day to get outside planting!

  22. Our garden is so far behind, I have to keep planting just to catch up! I have taken though to mostly planting toward the end of the day, as the temperatures cool down. Soaking the plants in well, along with the coastal fog in the mornings, seems to help them get over the worst of their shock before the temperatures soar into the 90s the following afternoon. It is a challenge to keep planting in the heat, but I'm determined enough to try :P

  23. Great advice, Jodi! I always say to support your local nurserymen first anyway. Around here there were two nurseries when we moved in -- and one of them closed up shop shortly thereafter. I hate to see that happen. They need our business! I don't want the only ones left to turn to the teenagers that work at Lowe's and look at you blankly if you ask a question. No, no, no!

    Here we are planting more veggie seedlings and even seeds of things that will get tired and wear out by midsummer, like bush beans and basil, so we have a second flush of produce. Also, I'm wanting to put in some more nasturtiums because I like how they perk up in the fall after struggling through the summer. :)

  24. Jodi girl I am with you, just keep planting and maybe a whole lot of watering LOL!
    Who can resist those plants on sale or that one that just catches your eye. You have to bring it home and plant it because you may never find another one like it. That's my story and I am sticking with it .

  25. Jodi..
    thank you for your visit and comment!
    No, I am not going to buy & plant anything right now for our garden:)
    It is toooooo hot and dry!!
    - Cheers Gisela.

  26. Ah yes! Real Garden Centres, wonderful places. Yes its only July! Even I am still sowing seed. The thing is as long as I get twelve weeks of growth before the first snow! Thats all that matters!
    Now the Foxglove flower, now that was done by the garden fairies, you see what is needed at this time of year is some lovely fabric to make those ball gowns for the Fairy Balls. The Fairy Tailor fairy came along and she needed a couple of lengths of that particular dappled cloth, so snip snip snip she opens up the petal fabric and takes what she needs.
    Well, thats what I heard anyway!!!
    The Gardener x

  27. I'm sorry to hear so many of you are having dry, hot weather, but yes, of course you don't want to plant in that! But it'll cool off and start raining again for many of you, I'm sure. My zone 5 garden doesn't get too dry although there are many parts of the province--some as little as a few miles away--that are very dry, whether due to weather or low wells or other challenges.

    James, that Prinses Juliana looks lovely--is it sort of like an older Mango Lassy (which I also have?) I love geums, now that I have mastered growing them. Good drainage wins the day with mine.

    And I finally figured out that my giant campanula is C. latifolia. It isn't quite as tall as I thought it was, but it's about 4 and a half feet tall. It might be the seaweed fertilizer or the mushroom compost that gave it that extra boost. It sure is a showy plant. Hope it sticks around but doesn't get too rowdy.

    Nancy I might have bought that salmon Lychnis at Village, though I haven't been there for several years. I also think I got the campanula there, but I didn't use to write down where I got everything. Trying to be more organized.

  28. Hi Jodi, those plants are so beautiful most especially because they are not tropical, meaning i only see them in photos. It is so disappointing that after a while they will again succumb to winter in your climes. But Dory and Nemo are very common here in the tropics in the natural habitat, hehe.

  29. Hello Jodi, I was spellbound by some of those flowers. We don't see them in Australia. So delicate!
    Here we have to water all year round and only get a lot of rain when the temperature is up around 90-100F in summer so it's so different.

  30. Your blog is a delight, with the great photos of the flowers you;re growing. As I always try to look on the bright the hot weather has made it impossible to work in my clients' garden so I have been giving my own garden a bit more attention, and loving it more. When working I can only walk around watering everything in pots with a flashlight but still having fun.
    I wrote down the campanula variety, as these are among my passion. I have one-variety unknown-that has taken over one corner so I've been tearing it out and moving it. Surprisingly, it does much better with more sun and I'm actually starting to appreciate it. In gardening, there are always surprises which adds to the fun.

  31. I read and hear all the time that you shouldn't plant when it gets hot, so I have been a secret planter. I just keep buying plants and setting them out and don't tell the "real gardeners" - lol. I try to wait until it rains and is cloudy. But if the urge hits me, I'll plant anyway. I ahve been restraining myself the last couple of weeks though - the temps have been hitting the triple digits here in North Florida - the plants might can stand it but I can't.

  32. Hi Jodi, I love your mutant foxglove! I have seen them before in a garden in Cotswolds called Mill Dene Garden a couple of years ago when I visited. I was really taken with them.

    Graham Rice has also mentioned them on his blog http://transatlanticplantsman.typepad.com/transatlantic_plantsman/2008/05/a-spectacular-newold-foxglove-1.html

    I do hope you keep the seed and try and grow some more.

    RO xxx

  33. Jodi, you had me at the rudbeckia!! How unusual and beautifully chocolate!! Admittedly, I like the bright, obnoxiously outrageous colors of the garden so I typically don't appreciate the various darker chocolates...but this one grabbed me and wouldn't let go!! You have so many uncommon varieties. FANTASTIC post!!! I'll bookmark this post to reference back to when my budget permits new and different plants.

  34. Hi Jodi. I am pretty sure I have seen that foxglove variety offered for sale before from T&M or some other flower catalogue. It was a long time ago, in the '90's when I saw it. I don't remember the name, but I never forget a face! :D

  35. I am still planting a few things and watering lots too, except even the nurseries around here, have only straggly, wilted, overgrown plants for sale and not a lot of choice. I had had to search every shelf to find something that is healthy and that I want :) Happy planting Jodi.

  36. Jodi we are taking our winter break here in S Florida, but the urge to plant is there even in 100-degree hot and humid weather.
    PS the Persian coneflower “WOW”

  37. Thanks for the reminder - I get all hexited in the spring and then taper off - I was just in my vegie garden and I want to get stuff ready to go in there too. I planted these weird russian radishes and they are 'all hat and no cattle' as they say. Maybe this is them at a bolt! I don't want to buy anymore bushes etc...but I move things and save things and find things in lots and well -as you say still lots to be done! I'm mad for Finding Nemo - the surfer dudes are my favorite! And on my writing site many of us invoke Dorey with a 'just keep writing, just keep writing' chant!

  38. The mutant foxglove is fascinating. Beautiful photos. I can see why each of those were a "had to have".


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