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Fall Colors

The fall colors have really been kicking in these past weeks. I've made a video with live shots of the most colorful plants in the garden right now.     Or, if you'd rather just see the photos - Burning Bush ( Euonymus alatus 'Rudy Haag' and Sourwood ( Oxydendrum arboreum )   Birch (Betula pendula 'Trost's Dwarf')     Amsonia hubrichtii   Sumac 'Tiger Eyes' (( Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’))   Vine Maple 'Pacific Fire' ( Acer circinatum )   Miscanthus sinensis 'Little Miss'   Persian Ironwood ( Parrotia persica )   Bloodtwig Dogwood ( Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire')     Strawberry Tree ( Arbutus unedo)   Redbud ( Cercis 'Rising Sun')     Dogwood ( Cornus kousa 'Celestial Shadow')   Dogwood ( Cornus kousa 'Wolf's Eyes')   Joe Pye Weed ( Eutrochium purpureum )   Redbud ( Cercis 'Hearts of Gold') and 'Pacific Fire' vine maple in back Pomegranate ( Punica granan

Rainy days and gardening catalogs

We received over 3 inches of rain this week. Despite the fact that I was off work for spring break, I'm not going to complain. Most of the rain actually occurred at night so I was able to get some much needed weeding accomplished. The garden is looking good although I still have lots to do.

The gardening catalogs have been steadily arriving in the mail since January. I don't get as many as I use to because I don't order as much but it is fun to see what new plants are available.

Since our gardening real estate has diminished and more shade also limits what we can grow, I try to refrain from going nuts. Good on the pocketbook if not the spirit!

One plant on my wish list this year is this miniature buddleia called "Blue Chip" - I know this is a sun plant but I can find a spot for it somewhere! It is advertised as growing 24"- 36" tall and would probably do well in containers. I think this plant was on the market last year so if any of my readers are growing it, I would like to hear about your experiences with it.

The "Blue Chip" buddleia comes from Proven Winners, a brand that I have come to trust. Whenever I see this label in a plant, I always give it a second look. The Proven Winners company tests plants in all areas of the country and the ones that are offered in your nurseries are supposed to be geared toward your particular area.

Here is a plant that I actually saw yesterday at Porter's Garden Center in Muscle Shoals. It is Hydrangea paniculata "Quickfire." I almost bought it but decided to give more thought to the spot where I want to put it. I actually practiced restraint - imagine that! We already have tons of hydrangeas - over fifty varieties of the mophead varieties. Only a few paniculatas though and they are so trouble-free to grow.

Here are some more Proven Winners plants that caught my attention. If I come across any of these at the nurseries, I'll certainly be tempted.

Begonia "Mandalay Mandarin" I think begonias are experiencing a popularity boost. Two years ago I found Begonia "Bertini" at Home Depot and was amazed at how well it performed. I looked forward to growing it again this year but wouldn't you know, I couldn't find it anywhere. I won't make that mistake this year and will mail order it if I have to. Or perhaps I will try this variety, which looks similar.

Another plant that I just recently discovered are Abutilons (aka Parlor Maples or Flowering Maple). They are fantastic container plants. This one is called "Fairy Coral Red."

This Weigela "My Monet" has been on the market for several years and I've always wanted it. Anyone growing it?

Thanks to the folks at Proven Winners for giving me permission to use their photos!

Other interesting plant introductions are coming from Terra Nova Nurseries.

Echinaceas have become wildly popular due to the dramatic new colors. This one is called "Mac n' Cheese"

I've never had luck with growing coreopsis as a perennial but aren't these stunning?


"Strawberry Punch"

And finally, a very interesting rudbeckia called "Henry Eilers".

(Thanks to Terra Nova Nurseries for permission to use their photos).

So, what is on your plant wish list this year?


  1. Hi Phillip and hello to Michael...3 inches of rain is a lot for any garden to handle...Mine is muddy and sticky with clay in a few spots!

    I planted Henry Eilers last fall and look forward to seeing its performance this year...not sure if I have seen it yet, but I can't remember exactly where he's planted! I will let you know how he does. The aubutilon's are fascinating flowers. Pam of Digging has a few that always grab my attention...I hope you plant them...they will flourish for you! You have a great green touch! That Blue Chip butterfly bush is wonderful... How perfect to have one that stays a manageable size! Where would it be planted in your garden? I can see it in the Susans Bed here!

    Have a good day...I am hoping the sun returns to dry the gardens out!


  2. Hi Gail, let me know how the Henry Eilers rudbeckia does for you. I'm not sure yet where exactly I will put the butterfly bush (if I even find it) but I agree with you. The contrast between yellow and blue is really nice.

  3. Phillip

    I'm loving that Buddleja! No question it would look very good in a pot.

    I'm growing an annual Rudbeckia this year. It's a new T&M introduction called 'Cherry wine' or similiar (Can't quite recall). It's advertised as the first red Rudbeckia.

    50 varieties of Hydrangea, please blog them!!!


  4. I don't know about your specific buddleia, but the "regular" ones do fine for me in part shade--they just don't get as tall. I do love the Abutilons -- gorgeous color! About whether I grow the weigela "My Monet" -- yes and no. WHich is to say, I got one two years ago and it struggled. I think I may have had it too shady and not wet enough... I don't think it's coming back this year...

  5. What's on my wish list? That's a loaded question. We just came back from a nursery run today and now some of the "wants" are "haves". Good subject for a meme...

  6. I've had great luck with "Blue Chip," which I picked up last year at the SNA show, so it didn't get into the ground until a little late. They promote it en masse, but the downside to that is having a whole bed that isn't attractive for the winter/spring. I have just one, and it's great!

    I've only been able to keep "My Monet" looking consistently good but giving it a MAJOR pruning after it blooms, then it's great all year!

    Enjoy the new things!

  7. I must say you have given me a bad case of "I Wants". I am growing the Monet Wiegla and it is tough. I have only had it for 2 years. It was planted when it was a real drought year and it is holding up.

  8. I'm trying out abutilons for the first time this year, and so far so good. Summer will be the real test.

    I'm also trialing some plants for Proven Winners right now. None of the ones you mentioned though.

  9. I grew the Blue Chip this year and it is fantastic. It does stay that small. It does bloom non-stop the most beautiful blueish/purple. I have a lot of pics on my site of mine. I am going to get 4 more which tells you I love it.

    I also grew the Mandaly Begonias and did not like them. It was the awful hot we had early Spring. It didn't want to do anything. It needs a pretty loose soil and does not like to be overwatered or be in any kind of sunlight. It likes bright indirect light. P Allen Smith loves it.

    My Monet dried up on me twice and I've heard others say that as well but bright filtered light such as you have may work just perfect. It likes moist but well drained soil. I think my soil was just too dry.

    I love Quick Fire. I am growing one in the new garden and grew it in my former garden as well. It blooms early and last a really long time. Limelight is another favorite.

  10. Looks like I will have to put 'Blue Chip' on my wish list too.The only other thing I can think of that I want right now is the Yellow Butterfly vine. I'm pretty pacified for the time being. :-)

  11. Rainy nights in 'bama and I remember going to sleep with the sound of raindrops playing music on our tin roof. I hope that this season will bring you plenty of rain to make up for the drought.

    Gotta have that Strawberry Coreopsis, Phillip. I have the yellow which I really love and that red color would go great in my color scheme.

    We just had a Spring snow fall of several inches but it melted almost as fast as it came.

    50 varieties of hydrangeas, wow! I love them myself but the mopheads don't do well here. My favorite is the 'Limelight', a paniculata that blooms from early to very late summer.

  12. Ah yes...rainy days and Mondays always get me thumbing through the garden catalogs! I'm certainly not afraid of gardening in the rain, but with so many bare spots and containers to fill I've been busy with the dogearring, circling, highlighting, and spreadsheeting!

    Vis-a-vis Rob's comment, if it's the Cherry Brandy rudbeckia you're referring's been dogeared, double circled, triple highlighted and spreadsheeted. Quite a pretty little plant, if only I could find the right set of roses to put it between.

  13. You've showcased some wonderful plants. Like you I want to buy the weigela but am not certain if it will do well here. The buddleia would definitely be on my list if it wasn't for the Japanese beetles.

  14. Beautiful garden and great blog!

  15. ooooh I love the flowering maple! I hate the rain messed up your vacation...sord of. Atleast it rained at night. I am glad to see the sun for a change

  16. Embrace shade - there are so many wonderful shade garden plants, I wish I could grow them all. I'm not sure how I feel about the fancy new Coneflowers and Rudbeckia. I'll stay on the fence for a while. I do admire those new Coreopsises (Coreopsii?). Any thing bright fuschia draws my eye. On my wish list is Eryngium 'Jade Frost,' which has variegated foliage that isn't spiny. I had it in my hand last year & I put it back. I've been kicking myself ever since.

  17. Beautiful and interesting photos Phillip, thanks for posting them! We had six inches of rain during this last wave and looks like we will have more tomorrow night. The new roses love it but I think they have just about had enough for a while. I keep watching for mildew or some other undesirable wet weather virus. The bushes you and Michael brought down look like they are growing already! Either that or they are trying to stretch above the water level.. LOL! We started our earthboxes today and planted LOTS of veggies in addition to a couple of rows in the ground. I like picking them almost as much as cutting the beautiful roses.

  18. Hi Phillip, those are all wonderful. I would have bought that Quickfire on the spot! The macrophyllas are not reliable bloomers here but the paniculatas never let us down. I have decided to replace the non bloomers with ones that always bloom and that is the best one I have seen. I planted seeds of the yellow echinacea paradoxa, we have germination. Hope they look similar to Henry.

  19. Hi Phillip,
    For the first time in a zillion years I ordered some plants. Unfortunately, one of the ones I was most looking forward to was not big enough to ship - Amsonia ludoviciana. But seeing you mention Blue Chip, I'm thinking that would be a great substitute if it would take kindly to my less than stellar spot. I also nabbed an abutilon in February ("Patrick's") and am anxious to see how it does.
    Love the rain but not the mud! :-)

  20. This is a wonderful entry. I had to tell you that I saw that "Mandalay Mandarin" at the Annual show last fall. I have it on my wish list as well. It is in the same family as the 'bonefire' begonia. LOVED IT... Check out my blog :

    WONDERFUL CARE FREE plant - loves to get hot and little watering.

    Happy Spring!


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