NEIGHBORHOOD GARDEN FOR JULY 19, 2008
BY GLADYS JEURINK
because of their size, some because of different blooms, some because of
their perfume, and some because of their color, grab your eye
immediately. I call them “SHOW STOPPERS”.
A large SHOW
STOPPER, both the bush and the flower, is the HIBISCUS.
For years we were told they would not survive in Nebraska.
One plant may be 5 to 6 feet tall and just as wide with blooms 8
inches across. About the last plant to start in the spring, it is easy
to destroy when doing early spring cleanup. Therefore, when I cut it
back in the fall I always leave about 6 to 8 inches of stump in place
for spring protection. The blooms usually last only one day unless it is
cloudy when they may open a second day. They like moisture and good
drainage. Those big leaves
need water. Mine have been very vigorous for 3-4 years and then
gradually decline. They are
easy to start from seed and come in reds, pinks, whites, and some with
different color centers.
think of CLEMATIS as a vine
but there are a number of bush ones. My largest (Clematis heracleifolia) is 4x4 feet and sends out root runners so it
can spread. The blooms are in clusters around the stem in several layers
up and down the stem. Smaller
ones, only about 2 to 2 ˝ high, are also blue, with single flowers and
white centers. They have fluffy seed heads later.
The blooms look like bells hanging down, with the edges of the
petals curved upwards.
You need to
know the pruning group of your CLEMATIS
when you get it. The very early (Group #1) bloom on last year’s
wood and any pruning must be done immediately after blooming.
Group #2 (mid-season) are large flowered blooms on side shoots
from last years growth. Remove
dead and damaged stems before growth begins in the spring.
Group #3 (last flowering) need to be trimmed to 6 to 12 inches
from the ground in late fall after frost has killed the leaves. I like
to leave just enough stem so I can help it start climbing in the spring. The Autumn
recta) is a good example of Group #3. Autumn Clematis is covered with star shaped white flowers
that are very heavily scented. In some areas it is considered a weed as
its many seeds from the fluffy heads are blown into many places. RAMONA,
a gorgeous blue, is probably my favorite of Group #2.
is a vigorous perennial about 5 to 6 feet tall. Several years ago I
found this little plant coming up bright pink with variegated leaves and
planted it in front. Its common name is MILE-A-MINUTE
and is in the same genus as SILVER
LACE VINE to give you an idea of what happened. It is now back
against the wooden fence, over 6 feet tall and almost as wide, with
gorgeous, variegated leaves. It
goes well in flower bouquets. The
blooms are small, pinkish white. It certainly looks like a shrub in
summer but dies to the ground after frost.
ago, I saw a different looking plant in High Country Gardens catalog
called INDIAN PAINT BRUSH. It
said “only for experienced gardeners” and that it is a parasite that
taps into the roots of other plants. They send BLUE
GRAMA GRASS along with it to feed it.
I bought three to see what I could do! After the first winter I
had only one but it was about 2 feet tall, slender stems, topped with
the brightest orange blooms in clusters.
It lives with GRAPE HYACINTHS and near a tall HELIOPSIS. As yet I don’t know which plant is “feeding” it.
It said to use clean, well drained soil so I have it planted on a
slight slope. It is now 3 years old and has widened out to about 18
I see flowering
TOBACCO around the gardens in Lincoln but never the big tall one, Nicotiana
sylvestris. The blooms are white and produce perfume in the evening.
Mine grows to about 6 feet tall and comes up very late so it is
good for a fall bloom. It
is a native of Argentina with densely packed trumpets hanging down from
the top. These flowers close in full sun so it is good for a background
plant in light to medium shade. The
seed is dust fine but there is lots of it.
The original seed was given to me by Steve Nosal from the Lincoln
very easy to grow plant I don’t see very much is CLEOME,
usually called SPIDER FLOWER.
Some people say the petals look like spiders but I think the long seed
pods look like spider legs hanging down with stem.
It produces thousands of seeds which may account for its lack of
popularity. It also needs a
good amount of space. There
are lavender, white, pink, and pink and white blooms that bloom up the
stem for a number of weeks. I
have measured 2 feet of “legs” on one stem.
A number of
years ago I saw a FRINGE TREE (Chionanthus)
in a yard on a garden tour and finally three years ago I found one.
It is a small tree or a shrub.
Mine wants to be a shrub. Trees
are either male or female but both have fringes but only the females
have black berries in the fall. Books
say the male blooms are more dramatic.
They bloom before the leaves appear making a solid white mass of
fringes hanging down. It
needs fertile, well drained soil. Also,
it is sometimes called OLD
MAN’S BEARD and usually is never over 10 feet tall.