So what do you think of these selections that I'm planning to plant in 2013?
1) Lobularia maritima, Sweet Alyssum - Planning to heavily wintersow actually by buying seeds in bulk.
|Sweet Alyssum, photo by Anita363|
2) Cosmos bipinnatus, Sensation mix from Southern Exposure
|Cosmos 'Sensation', photo by Yoko Nekonomania|
3) Helianthus debilis Cucumerifolius, Cucumber-Leaf Sunflower - I love growing sunflowers for their cheery late-summer blooms. Last year's Autumn Beauty sunflowers not only looked great, they also did a wonderful job of attracting bees, birds and squirrels. This year, the puffy Tiger's Eye sunflowers were attractive, but the birds, bees and squirrels all ignored them. Since I prefer plants with wildlife value, I'll be trying a new variety next year - the wild Cucumber-Leaf Sunflower from Southern Exposure. The flowers on this variety of sunflower are supposed to be much smaller, but it looks like there are a lot of them and the seeds are supposed to be very attractive to birds. I can't find a Creative Commons-licensed photo online, but you can get a good look of a spectacular specimen at the Dave's Garden site. Southern Exposure also has good general advice on the benefits and the nuts-and-bolts of growing sunflowers. (Helianthus debilis is actually a perennial sunflower, but is only hardy through zone 8, so I'll be growing it as an annual. Floridata notes that there is a prostrate form as well as the erect Cucumber-Leaf variety. Since this is native to sandy Florida beaches, I'm a little worried about how it will do in clay soil, but I'm going to give it a shot. If it fails to grow, my backup plan is to grow the Lemon Queen version of Helianthus annuus from Seed Savers.)
4) Zinnia elegans, "State Fair" variety from Southern Exposure. (Note - I don't have any commercial relationship with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, I just think they carry a great variety of seeds!)
|Geranium sanguineum, "Max Frei", photo by Michael Kappel|
5) Geraniums - I'm probably going to go a little overboard with the perennial geraniums next year. I've enjoyed having Rozanne in my garden for two years now and I'm eager to experiment with some other varieties -- hopefully ones that will spread into groundcovers. Rozanne bloomed beautifully in full sun during the springtime, but it quickly faded and baked during the summer, so I moved it to the front foundation bed where it will get afternoon shade. That's where I plan to put the others - Karmina (G. cantabrigiense) and Max Frei (G. sanguineum) from Romence Gardens; Biokovo (another G. cantabrigiense), Bevan's Variety (G. macrorrhizum) and Claridge Druce (G. oxonianum) from Gardens in the Wood of Grassy Creek.
7) Aquilegia, Columbine - Yes, I just wrote that I was "on the fence" about aquilegia (or at least the "Winky" ones I've got, which I believe may be sterile). Part of the fun of Aquilegia, it seems to me, is that it should self sow! So I think I'll try the Aquilegia canadensis and vulgaris from Gardens in the Wood of Grassy Creek next year and then hope for lots of volunteers the year after that!
8) Amorpha fruticosa, False Indigo, Indigo Bush - Supposed to be a tough sun-loving native that fixes its own nitrogen and can tolerate windy sites. Sign me up! Oh and did I mention it is supposed to attract butterflies too? This will be my first attempt at bare root planting, via Prairie Moon Nursery.
|Amorpha fruticosa, False Indigo, photo by Dendroica cerulea|
9) Forestiera neomexicana, Desert Olive - Reportedly tolerates drought, heat and clay soil while growing anywhere from 6 to 18-feet tall and 12-feet wide. As a bonus, it is also supposed to have nice fall color. I'm planning to get mine from Woodlanders. (I have to admit I'm a little concerned about whether the soil drainage here is good enough for this plant, since it's really native to SW deserts, but I'll probably give it a shot regardless. High Country Gardens seems to think it can handle clay.) There are sources on the Internet that suggest the berries - which you need both male and female plants to produce - may be edible to people, but not very palatable.
10) Agastache foeniculum, Anise Hyssop - Supposed to attract bees and butterflies, supposed to self-sow too. I didn't have any luck growing this from seed this past spring, so I eventually bought a golden anise hyssop cultivar at a local nursery and planted it in partial sun a couple of months ago. But I think anise hyssop really needs full sun. Maybe I'll try transplanting the golden one and then buying a new species plant from Almost Eden. Again, I'm a little worried about drainage with this plant, but I think I'll give it a shot. Even if it does not overwinter, hopefully I'll get lots of volunteers!
|Agastache foeniculum, Anise Hyssop, photo by mmwm|
11) Borago officinalis, Borage - This annual flower is supposed to be very attractive to bees. Other selling points - drought tolerance and an ability to repel some pest insects. I plan on buying my seeds from Seed Savers.
12) Chrysogonum virginianum, Allen Bush, Golden Star, Green and Gold - I continue to look for groundcovers that are vigorous, but not exotic invasives. Allen Bush is supposedly a good ground cover for shady spots in the South. I plan to buy a couple specimens from a local nursery or Almost Eden.
|Chrysogonum virginianum, Allen Bush, photo by Chris Kreussling|
13) Helianthus microcephalus, Small-headed Sunflower - Yes, it's another sunflower! This one is a perennial that is hardy to zone TK, and thus should survive in my Middle TN garden. Should make a statement if it reaches its projected size (5 to 8-feet tall by 3-feet wide). I plan to buy the "Lemon Queen" variety from Gardens in the Wood of Grassy Creek. Should hopefully attract bees and butterflies!
|Helianthus microcephalus, Small-headed Sunflower, "Lemon Queen" (next to a very thorny rosa rugosa), photo by KiG|
14) Kniphofia uvaria, Red Hot Poker, Torch Lily - Highly recommended by an accomplished gardener in Tennessee, I'm looking forward to trying my hand at growing Torch Lily. I'm a little worried about drainage issues here too, but I'll try amending the hole at planting time and hope for the best. I'm planning to order an "Earliest of All" Kniphofia from Edelweiss Perennials in the spring.
|Kniphofia 'Amsterdam', photo collage by Manuel Martin Vicente|
15) Muhlenbergia capillaris, Pink Muhley Grass - I've seen some of these around in the neighborhood and I like the floating-pink-cloud look and the fluffy texture. My plan is to order 2 or 4 of the "Lenca" variety from a local nursery and use them to frame the entrance from our back to patio to the yard.
|Muhlenbergia capillaris, Pink Muhley Grass, photo by Jenny Evans / SCCF Nursery|
16) Ratibida pinnata, Grey-Headed Coneflower - Another North American native that supposedly tolerates heat and drought, self sows, and attracts butterflies, bees and birds! Once again, drainage could be an issue here, but I'll try amending the soil at planting time and hoping for the best. I anticipate purchasing Ratibida from Romence Gardens.
17) Vernonia noveboracensis, Ironweed - Yep, the name says 'weed', but I still think it's beautiful. Supposed to tolerate drought, heat and humidity, while attracting butterflies. I plan to purchase this plant from Gardens in the Wood of Grassy Creek.
|Vernonia noveboracensis, Ironweed, photo by dogtooth77|
So...what do y'all think of my (incredibly overambitious) plans?? :)
UPDATE 11/13 - Thanks to Casa Mariposa's comment below, I have added Malva sylvestris "Zebrina" to my 2013 planting plans! I anticipate ordering this from Romence Gardens. Supposedly, this plant tolerates heat and drought while attracting butterflies. And it self sows!! Some reviewers at Dave's Garden say that it self sows too much, but I'm willing to take that risk for such a beautiful plant :)
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