Friday, March 15, 2013

The First Sun Returns

The first garden art project was brought back today and can be seen above.  Barb T. and Gail H. did a nice job on this sun and we hope to see other finished projects coming back over the coming weeks.  This same sun was featured in the Janesville Gazette recently to promote our 2013 Garden Art event.  As these are returned, they get a clear coat sealant from Utzig's Carstar here in Janesville and we'll get them mounted out in the gardens prior to Mother's Day.  

My talk in Shawano went well last night and we had a crowd of about 100 or so gardeners.  I talked about Vertical Gardens but had plenty of questions on other topics.  It was a fun group and all but two had never been to the gardens (road trip!!!).  I traveled back this morning and missed some of the earlier work at the Horticulture Center.  I heard that Dr. Gredler was in painting and I ultimately ran in to Rose, Urban and Maury.  Rose continues to put sealant on benches with Vern and Urban has been accomplishing more pruning out in the arboretum.  Maury was running some errands and we later had Janice in for plant sale preparations (see info on the Spring Plant Sale on our website).  We also saw Rose, Werner and Denise.  

'Rocket Golden'

With spring on the way, consider the value of early annuals that can take the cooler portions of spring (and early fall).  The garden centers will soon be carrying "cool season" annuals like pansies (Viola), stocks (Matthiola), nemesia (Nemesia sp.) and snapdragons (Antirrhinum sp.) for early planting as they will take the cooler nights in April and May and flower well until the heat of summer becomes prominent.  I thought I'd feature snapdragons (Antirrhinum) in the spring landscape where they do so well.  I remember as a child being shown the "snapping dragon heads" of the flowers by a neighbor and my brothers and I thought it was so neat, we were a bit overzealous and plucked every blossom!  There are many species, hybrids and varieties of snapdragons available to the home gardener as options from seed or established plants.  There are many double blooming varieties (i.e. 'Madame Butterfly' below) and a few varieties even with variegated foliage.  Running the gamut in heights from 8" to over 36" tall, many snapdragons will withstand summer heat and continue to bloom throughout the growing season.  Deadheading or cutting off aging blooms will help encourage new flowers and staking might be need for taller varieties like 'Rocket Golden' above.  There are now many selections that have a cascading form (i.e. Candy Showers series further below) that are nice in containers or hanging baskets.  Fertilization may be beneficial as well and placement in full sun (preferable) or part shade is ideal.  Many years ago, we planted a snapdragon collection along our front entrance garden slope.  We featured about 200 varieties and it was quite amazing to see the variability in colors and heights.  Consider the possibility of snapdragons in your landscape.  

'Madame Butterfly' (mix)
'Madame Butterfly' (one color)
'Eternal' (variegated foliage)
'Solstice Orange Tricolor'
'Solstice Yellow'
'Solstice BiColor'
'Twinny Peach'
'Night & Day'
'Princess White w/ Purple Eye'
'Rocket Bronze'
'Florini Amalia Yellow'
'Florini Amalia Purple-Yellow'
'Florini Amalia Bright Red'
'Candy Showers Yellow'
'Candy Showers Rose'
'Candy Showers Orange'

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