Thursday, May 31, 2012

Snow-in-Summer flowers-Cerastium tomentosum photos

This lovely, snow white flower is the Snow-in-Summer - Cerastium tomentosum, another member of the carnation family.

This perennial plant blooms from May into June, providing a mass of tiny, white flowers over a silver-gray foliage. There's
Snow-in-Summer grows 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) tall, though it can grow much taller if it has to compete with other flowers for sunlight.
Like all members of the genera Cerastium and Stellaria, this plant is a chick-weed, spreading very fast, maybe too fast sometimes.

These are the Snow-in-Summer flowers with five waxy petals. In the photo bellow, the similarity with the Stellaria flowers mentioned above, is obvious.
Snow-in-Summer flower closeup - Cerastium tomentosum
It will thrive in full sun, in normal soil and is even drought tolerant, to a certain extent.
Its spreading habit makes this plant a popular ground cover and a lovely addition to rock gardens, edgings and containers.
Snow-in-Summer flowers and silver foliage
A spectacular show can be achieved in the landscape when planted in the company of other colorful, mat forming ground cover plants like Purple Aubrieta, pink creeping phlox and yellow Basket of Gold.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cardinal flower - Lobelia cardinalis photos

Cardinal flower - Lobelia cardinalis, is another showy perennial for swamp gardens, bog garden, along ponds and wet, water gardens.
Its brilliant, scarlet red flowers are produced in long, erect spikes from July to September.

The flowers are 2-lipped tubular flowers, with two lobes of the upper lip and three, more prominent lobes of the lower lip, as seen in the close-up photo of the flower bellow.
Cardinal flower grows about 30-60cm (1-2'), having long leaves with a toothed margin and purplish underside.

They are not often seen in our gardens, so these pictures were taken at one of our garden centers and that's were I have all the info about them, as well.
Cardinal flower close-up photo - Lobelia cardinalis
Mature plants form clumps which can be divided and spread out, for propagation.

Hummingbirds love the nectar of this plant and they do an excellent job pollinating the flowers, in return.
Lobelia cardinalis can grow even underwater, being used as ornamental plants in aquariums.

Lobelia cardinalis flower spikes
Cardinal flowers need no maintenance but moist, reach soil and full sun or part shade in very hot areas.

Blue lobelia, is a showy plant as well, used as a colorful ground cover.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sweet Alyssum - Lobularia maritima

My Sweet Alyssum - Lobularia maritima, is blooming profoundly in my small rock garden.
I have the white and pink variety but cultivated garden varieties in rose-red, violet and lilac colors exist as well.
It is blooming continuously throughout the growing season, from March to September in temperate regions or year-round in areas free of frost.

The sweet scented flowers come in dense clusters of tiny flowers, 5 millimeters (0.20 in) in diameter, having four rounded petals and yellow stamens.

Sweet Alyssum - Lobularia maritima
Sweet Alyssum flower - closeup photo


The stem is very branched with narrow and hairy, lanceolate leaves, about 1-4 cm (0.39-1.57 in) long.

As a low growing plant, not taller than 20 cm (7.87 in), Sweet Alyssum is often used as ground cover, especially showy when combined with pink-purple Creeping Phlox and blue Lobelia.

Sweet Alyssum, also Sweet Alison, is a lovely addition to borders and rock gardens.

Sweet Alyssum inter-planted with pink phlox in rock garden
Filling empty spaces between taller garden flowers with Alyssum, is a good idea to provide partial shade needed by this plant.
Though it is an annual or short-lived perennial, it will self-seed and come back to the garden each year.

This is my pink alyssum; planted in full sun the flowers lose some of the color intensity (and image's highlights are blown out).
Pink Sweet Alyssum in rock garden
This low-maintenance, drought tolerant plant will thrive in partial shade and well drained, calcareous soil.
Though its name "maritima "already describes its habitat, Sweet Alyssum is naturalized at heigher elevations as well. We are here at 360 meters (1181 ft) above sea level and these flowers love it.
In the wild, Sweet alyssum is found in sandy beaches and dunes, on walls, slopes and waste ground.
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Sweet William - Dianthus Barbatus pictures

Sweet William - Dianthus barbatus, is a popular, old-fashioned favorite in flower beds, borders, rock gardens and window boxes.
This biennial Dianthus variety grows to 30–60 cm tall, producing fragrant flowers in dense clusters of white, pink, crimson and bi-colored flower heads at the top of the stems.

Each flower head of this carnation variety consists up to 30 tiny flowers with five serrated petals, sometimes with circular patterns and picoteed petals.
Its flowers are edible and its nectar attracts birds, bees, and butterflies.

Like most dianthus varieties, the foliage of Dianthus Barbatus is blue-green.
Sweet William -  closeup photo of white Dianthus barbatus
Deadheading is recommended, not just to encourage further flowering but to get rid of the brown, spent flowers, that spoil the show.
Though, if allowed to set seeds, the plant will re-seed itself and it will bloom early the following summer.
Sweet William - red white Dianthus Barbatus picture

Growing Sweet William dianthus plants:

  • Plants can be grown from seed or transplants. When sown in spring, after the last frost, it will flower in the second year. Seedlings grown indoors and transplanted after the last frost may flower in the first year.

  • Grows best in sunny spots or partial shade. They are not suitable for hotter climates, in tropical zones.

  • Sweet William plants prefer slightly alkaline soil but any well-drained garden soil which is not acid will do.

  • Flowering period is in midsummer, from June to August.

Sweet William dianthus is native to Europe.
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