Tag Archive: snapdragons

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?





Summertime Flowers

Cream colored Hollyhocks

There are days that I believe I will never get this computing thing down. Guess that is why I am a gardener and not a computer expert. So today I present the latest beauties to appear in the garden. Mine is a three season garden that has blooms going from early spring through late fall. Which means a surprise every now and again.

 This year the holly hocks have spread farther out although they contain the same color range of last year in the marron family. Once again I have a beautiful cream colored flower as well. My neighbor has a beautiful pure pink in a lighter hue that may lead me to steal seeds.

Snapdragons and Petunias

 My porch steps have their usual pots filled with snap dragon volunteers and petunias from the store. The only successful herb from seed planting I had was the cilantro with the small white flowers. I told my husband not to move them as I had wanted some potted herbs up front. That way the chives that are sharing a pot with geraniums will not be all that lonely.


Here is the current showstopper – The Jackmani Clematis. I made sure the string was set in so the vine would go even higher this year. This is the big bloom and later in the season I will get a smaller gang of flowers.


Purple Cone Flower

This cone flower glows, it has been so wonderful. But that is not even the best part of the garden. Now for the surprise.


Evening PrimroseThe closeup.

This evening primrose was a volunteer and a complete surprise once it started blooming. I thought this might be a Joe Pie Weed when it first arrived, which I wanted in order to attract butterflies. This blooms in the evening once the sun goes down and I am enjoying it.
What surpirse volunteers have come to your garden?

The Answer Lady Strikes Back

Picture by Seemann

The Answer Lady was off on a little holiday somewhere delightful. Now she is back and ready to answer the latest set of questions found in the search engine log.

So pour a cup of tea and a plate of something sweet. We are going with Darjeeling and homemade apricot bread.

Q. Can snapdragons grow in the shade?

A. Now this is a very interesting question and the Answer Lady has experience enough to answer it without looking in a silly reference book. At one point the Answer lady worked with a garden that received limited sunlight but would get very hot.

The snapdragons in question withered away and seemed dead – that is until September’s cooler temperatures rolled in. Suddenly, they snapped back and said hello with a resurgence of blooms. In my present garden areas, I do put them in a shaded area that gets 4-6 hours of sun daily. They are annuals bought at the grocery store or local floral store. If I am lucky, I get volunteers the following year.

So the short of the long is yes, snapdragons can be wonderful shade garden flowers as long as they are not totally submersed in shade.

Q. How do I look elegant drinking red wine?

A. Darling, really, what you are going to have to do is pretend you are either Audrey Hepburn or Kiera Knightly or a girl with a really long neck. Your posture must be perfect at all times. A black dress or turtleneck should figure into the picture as well.

It is also good to be able to laugh easily at jokes, tell funny but not long-winded tales and never let your fellow party-goers know you are bored out of your mind. Be disdainful only when truly necessary because the line between elegance and snobbery is very fine. No one wants to be around a snob but they love a person with grace and elegance.

Q. How do I know if my Black-Eyes Susans will come back the following year?

A. This is a tricky question. Those who love flowers of the perennial sort know that some years it just doesn’t happen. You follow all the directives when bedding down the garden in the fall. You have banked your daisies and cone flowers and chrysanthemums with compost of at least 3 inches deep.

In the spring you remove that compost and hope. Maybe pray a little. You check each day while enjoying the daffodils and then the tulips. You stay inside for a few days because of pouring down rain. You look in the garden again because you know that wood chip mulch must go in and there are the sprouts.

My Blacked-Eyed Susans only began sprouting a day or two. The same with the purple cone flower. I seeded tons of white cone flower along with more purple come flower in that bed. Perhaps it will come, perhaps not.

One must wait it out. Perennials do as they please but lets hope the result is pleasing to you. If they do not come, plan on buying more flowers at the garden center.

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?

The Start of the Fall Garden

My volunteer snapdragons


Now that fall has arrived, my garden is looking different again. 

Once the weather gets cooler my snapdragons find life again. They work in shade or full sun. Both places have worked for me in the past. They are great in the spring, hibernate in the summer and come back in the fall to give it one more try. 

Since we are no longer in 90+ degree weather, these babies decided they could bloom again, profusely. All I can say is “Welcome Back.” 

Sedum Close-up


The Sedum, or Hen & Chicken as my mother called them, has been around the whole season. In the past month, the flower heads have been building. Finally now, they are opening, adding a mauve-y tone to the garden. They will be more visable once I get rid of the sunflowers. I need to do it because their time is really up but I love watching the birds perch on and around them. 

Basil on our porch.


I am not sure this plant is really a fall plant. We have had the Basil growing all summer. But that heat wave took something out of it. Plus we have been grabbing leaves for recipes. Fresh basil on your pizza with thinly sliced tomatoes is wonderful. 

Hot weather left, some rains came and the basil made a comeback. I am not sure what it is about rain. I can keep things watered but a good rain makes plants shake up and get bigger almost instantaneously. I also make sure to pinch off the flowers to keep leaf growth at the fore front. What I need now is a good pesto recipe…

Blog at WordPress.com.
[ Back to top ]