Tag Archive: dianthus

Working the Hosta Bed

Hosta plants are valued because they live in the shade.


But if you only have one variety, they can be boring. This is my hosta garden before I started playing with it. It had one type of hosta and nothing else.

I hated it.

So one year I tried planting snapdragons at the edges and the scalloped spaces between plants in an effort to add color. I also added a second hosta variety.  That was okay but not enough. Last year, I took leftover impatiens and planted them against the cement block wall of the house. I liked the look and wanted to explore the idea further.

The hosta garden now

So this year I went farther with the idea of planting shade friendly flowering plants. Can you see the openings? Instead of a wall of hosta, I now have pockets filled with coleus in a pink and green.

Coleus, snapdragon and impatiens mixed with hostas

In the back there are various colors of impatiens, snapdragons and dianthus. These are my three go-to plants that do well in shade on a consistent basis.

What I like is how the garden looks from different angles. I like how the colors mix and play. Now this picture does show a need for some weeding and that will happen – soon.

I would like to place some taller plants in the back for next year. During the K3 Kultivators’ garden walk this year I saw hosta gardens with red Gerbera daisies mixed in. And I can’t wait to try that out.

But I have to admit, I am happy with the results of this garden bed re-do.

Have you re-worked a garden bed?





Moving from Winter to Spring

Blizzard of 2011

 Just  a few weeks ago we were under piles of snow. The blizzard of February 2011 actually kept me home from work for one day. Back then it seemed as if there would always be nothing but snow. Even my bouncing dog seems dwarfed by the snow. However, it is a month later and look at what I found in my front garden that receives full sun.

Tiger Lilies Sprouting

That is the start of my Tiger Lilies. I did some shifting of  plants in an effort to create a more rounded formation last fall. After I finished digging and moving plants and replaced the dirt, I had the husband cover the entire bed with compost and leaves from the yard.  And then came the cold and snow and more covering till the warm weather has melted most of the snow away.

Mums starting to sprout

I started looking around the rest of the garden, hoping that something else might be coming up, that signs of spring were being repeated. That is when I noticed the tiny mum sprouts hidden in the dead branches of last year’s plant.  This sighting got my very excited but I need to let the compost rest for another two weeks at least. I need to await the crocus that have not yet started sprouting.

The Shade garden in the morning

 My shade garden in the back looks bare right now. The only green is vegetation of the dianthus. I did lift compost here and there to see if there would be any crocus popping out. But the answer to that is “no, not yet.” Patience, we gardeners must practice patience. We know change is on the horizon.

Shade garden, May 2010

In only two months that same garden will look like this. Pansies, impatiens, snapdragons, star of Bethlehem, columbine, dianthus and peonies will all abound in beautiful blooms. I just have to remember to leave the compost for two more weeks, let the final frosts pass and then I can remove the old compost, put in the new plants and enjoy for the rest of the warm months.

What does your garden look like?

Time Moving On In The Garden

In the day-to-day, everything moves slowly till one day you notice the spiderwort is blooming and the peonies are slowly opening up.

So I took these pictures today to show how quickly it can all go.

Spider wort in bloom

I like spider wort for the fuchsia colored flowers and medium green leaves. They work well together and fill a big area in my front sun and perennial garden.

Trouble will start in a few weeks when we get really hot weather. The grass will die back and leave the area bare. I am always at a loss what to do to fill the area. This year I am going to try putting Cosmo seeds in the area and see how it works. Gardening, after all, is about experimentation.


This is my columbine in the shade garden. I bought it last year at the Farmer’s Market from a local greenhouse and was delighted to see how it came back this year for an encore presentation. It is currently surrounded by white Dianthus, allowing this darker rose to show up well.

How quickly can things change in the garden? This first picture is from two weeks ago when I was getting snap dragons and the first Impatiens in the ground. There was plenty of Star of Bethlehem but not much was in bloom.

Picture take two weeks ago

You can see the remains of late-blooming daffodils and a few pansies. The green is starting to mound but there is nothing splashy going on.

Since then I have taken the time to weed and place a few bedding plants in as well as straighten up those stones.

picture taken today

What a difference a few weeks and plenty of rain can make. We have had rain every other day for the last two weeks, making everything jump out and burst into color.

The Dianthus seems to be in every color. I do need to weed this garden and put in more Impatiens, which will happen this week. If you look towards the back wall you can see that columbine.

Lastly, I wanted to show a picture of what has been my favorite flower this spring. If you think this picture is nice, you should see the plant in person because it even more outstanding in the blue coloration.  The yellow and red varieties I have are just as wonderful.  All came from plantings I put in last fall, proving that pansies do come back, if you take care of them.