How Does Your Garden Grow?

HYDRANGEA WITH CALIBRACHOA WINDOW BOXESTransplanted gardeners from colder climes are consistently frustrated in their attempts to translate their beloved northern gardens to the relatively inhospitable environment of the Lowcountry. But in spite of all evidence and advice to the contrary, they usually persevere in their efforts until experience convinces them that it is not to be. And it is understandable because northern plants are lovely and lush indeed, thriving in the temperate, (at least in spring, summer and early fall), climate of southwestern New York state, particularly Chautauqua, whence these garden thoughts float in late July.

Chautauqua Institution is well known for its up to date lectures on what’s happening now and why, delivered by highly qualified experts from around the globe, on weekly themed subjects. These, combined with symphony concerts, opera, ballet and live theatre, book and discussion groups and much, much more, combine to make it a glorified summer camp for adults. There is also sailing, swimming and even the obligatory golf course.

Following the ABC trail Into deep summer.

PENTASPQ R – Hello! Although P and R are well represented in horticultural circles, Q has fallen off the page. Research reveals that there is only one Q represented on a half page in Alan Armitage’s comprehensive 516-page Manual of Annuals, Biennials and Half Hardy Perennials. Quisqualis, (Latin for who? what?), indica also bears the common names of Rangoon Creeper and Drunken Sailor. It is a tropical vine that can reach 70 feet, fair warning that we should not invite it onto our premises.

Plectranthus is the new “in” plant. Slow to catch on at first, it was planted mainly for its foliage of plushy, silvery gray-green leaves. More recent introductions include the variety on display in almost every garden on the May All Saints garden tour. This is a large, attractive shrub with dark green foliage, purple underneath, and many long spikes of small, tubular lavender to purple blooms. It appears to be very easy to grow and propagate, thriving in sun to shade.

A few beautiful blossoms for a Southern spring

CRINUM LILYWith the advent of spring and the last possible day of frost safely past, we launch confidently into our ongoing alphabetical romp to explore what is out there to enhance our gardens.

“J” is for Jessamine, Carolina Yellow, sometimes confused with Jasmine, but not the same thing. The southeast coastal native Jessamine, (genus Gelsemium), appears in the tops of trees as a sudden sweet surprise in late February-March, ushering in spring with its burst of bright yellow, mildly fragrant blossoms. Jasmine, (genus Trachelospermum), usually Confederate, though there are other types, is a white, four petaled flowering vine of a more formal nature, very fragrant blooms in June and is capable of leaping to the treetops. It is best controlled by strict pruning after the bloom is finished, but is definitely worth having in the garden.