Only the Good Die Young…

The charm of annuals is their light gaiety, as though they must make the most of their brief lives to be frivolous and pleasure-giving.  They have no time to be austere or glum.  They must be youthful because they have no time to be old.  And so their colours are bright, and their foliage airy, and their only morality is to be as cheerful as possible, and to leave as much seed as they can behind them for their progeny to continue in  the same tradition.  This, of course is the one thing you must not let them do: all seeding heads must ruthlessly be snipped off if you want to prolong the exuberance of flowers.

-Vita Sackville-West
April 16, 1950

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I love seeing the annuals arrive at our local greenhouse (Bordine’s Nursery).  Proof that we survived another winter and the warm comfort of summer will arrive soon. Every year I plant annuals in my pots and along my front yard.  So around Mother’s day I venture to the nursery and plan out my color combinations for the summer.

 

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I use to hate the look of geraniums.  But lately, I’ve grown to appreciate the nostalgic vibe they possess.  I think I began to like them when I saw an old picture of my Great Grandma’s house in the 1950’s or perhaps 1960’s.  She had a brilliant red geranium planted in an old basket on her yard.  Also, the giving of geraniums on Mother’s Day is a tradition in my family, so you almost have to like them (or at least pretend to).

The red ones are my favorite. There’s something very old fashioned about that red and green Christmassy combination.  I have planted them in my front pots and they have done well.  However, they like sun and won’t flower unless they get a touch of it.  In my opinion, they look best in pots low to the ground so you can watch them lift their colorful heads to you.  Also, the spent stalks must be disposed of to keep them looking their best.

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In the past I’ve been frustrated with my pots on the porch.  In the past I’ve done begonias. They look great if one is sitting on the porch staring down at them, but from the road you can barely see the flowers.  Last year I actually tilted the plants in the dirt so they could be seen better.  However, this year I might try some spiky plants, like Salvia, and perhaps ivy – something that drapes over.  I would like a colorful show for the neighbors and frequent passersby.  Any suggestions would be helpful!

Thanks for stopping!

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ROMANCING THE CLEMATIS

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An unusual way of treating clematis is to grow it horizontally instead of vertically…but do this as gingerly as you can, for clematis seems to resent the touch of the human hand.
…the reward will be great.  For one thing you will be able to gaze right down into the upturned face of the flower instead of having to crane your neck to observe the tangle of colour hanging perhaps ten or twenty feet above your head.  And another thing, the clematis itself will get the benefit of shade on its roots, in this case its own shade, with its head in the sun, which is what all clematis enjoy.

-Vita Sackville-West
May 15, 1949

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I bought one White Clematis (pictured above) at Bordine’s Nursery the other day.  It was beautiful and perfect.  Compliments rolled from surrounding tongues as I crossed the store to pay for it while snapping these lovely shots.  My plan is to allow it to climb up my lilac bush.   This way I will practically have blooms all summer long, and they will look so romantic glowing in the dark at night.  My own little “white garden” like Vita had at Sissinghurst Castle!

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I resented having to transplant my other clematis.  I know how delicate they can be, and I hope it will survive.  It did not like the spot I put it last year and it was looking pathetic.  I thought it might do better under the other lilac bush (I have two side by side). So, now I will have two clematis of two different colors climbing, and hopefully one day connecting; climbing through each other to make one large colorful hedge.  We shall see.
Anyone have luck doing this in the past?
If you have anything to add or further advice about clematis please leave a comment. I’d love to here from you!