Monday, January 19, 2009

Happiness is... Spring Plant Catalogues

I love to garden. I really, really love to garden. I have a lot of gardens if seven qualifies as a lot. This is the time of year that the plant and seed catalogues start arriving. So while it’s frigid outside and my gardens are buried under snow, I get to peruse my favorite catalogues, review pictures of my gardens, decide which plants to replace (if any) and which new plants to order. If there is a new variety of Echinacea it’s a must order for me.

Echinacea, as I mentioned here, are more commonly known as Coneflowers. Some Rudbeckia (most commonly known as Black-Eyed Susans) are also referred to as Coneflowers so I prefer the Latin names of plants to cut down on confusion.

These are some of the Echinacea in my gardens:

In addition to Echinacea, I seem to 'collect' Centaurea and Dianthus. There are several species of Centaurea. The most common is Centaurea montana which is commonly known as Bachelor's Buttons. Presently I grow 3 types of Centaurea - montana, dealbata, and macrocephala. I am also a huge fan of Dianthus. While I like large carnations, I prefer the smaller Pinks and similar small Dianthus. Bath’s Pinks are a particularly lovely and easy to grow Dianthus. More about Centaurea and Dianthus in a future posts. But here's a photo of some Bath's Pinks to tide you over:

It’s good that the catalogues (all 20 or so) start showing up now because it also reminds me of my favorite plant suppliers who don’t have catalogues. I usually order my plants from Big Dipper Farm (Grown on the Third Planet from the Sun), Bluestone Perennials and Garden Crossings. Big Dipper Farm and Garden Crossings don't have print catalogues, but do have excellent websites. I also buy locally from one plant grower in town and two in the next town.

So far I’ve managed to read the Bluestone Perennials catalogue. I’ve picked out a few plants that will be finding a new home in my gardens.

Echinacea purpurea Green Jewel. I love green Echinacea and have a few already.

Clematis Rebecca. I have to replace one of my Clematis and liked this bright red one that shares its name with my daughter.

Centaurea Amethyst Dream and Centaurea Amethyst in Snow.

I've also taken a quick look at Garden Crossings' website. I'll more than likely order the two new Echinacea I saw there - Tomato Soup (a beautiful red) and Mac 'n' Cheese. I can't resist a new Echinacea!

Now off to view the Big Dipper Farm’s website.

Qwill’s Qwestion: What is your favorite flower or plant? Do you garden? Do you have a favorite place to buy plants?


  1. I am not really good at the whole gardening thing, but I do ok. I should have you come to my house and help me figure out what I should plant and when. What a great idea. I love the pictures of your gardens. I love roses, but don't have any. Just love the smell and carnations.

    I will have to pick your brain really soon.


  2. I have a small garden spot but usually only end up with a few things tossed in it to grow. Every time I plan to have a garden I end up doing something over the summer and my garden that starts out so pretty and well taken over becomes overrun by weeds and dying of thirst.
    I have a small flower bed in front of my house that I like to grown morning glories in. Last year I had a sunflower weed that succeeded in growing. It is one of the wild ones with lots of small heads but it looked really cool with the morning glories as the background and a few even twirled their way up the stalk.
    My favorite plant from childhood is the lemon cucumber. I love the shape and the light crisp taste of it.
    I'm thinking of trying my hand at loofa's someday too.

  3. Lynda, I'd love to help with your gardens. I have only 2 roses. They are really beautiful, but such a pain to plant properly.

  4. Hi Eva. Gardens take a lot of work. I was a smidgen on the lax side with them towards the end of the season so will have some extra work to do in the Spring. I may use part of the Herb Garden for sunflowers this year since they are such a beautiful plant. I'll have to look up both lemon cucumber and loofa!

  5. I have committed plant homicide so many times, I've given up on gardening. Dakota has promised to come over and show me how to create something pretty, but ... I dunno. I don't think I want any more victims added to the toll. LOL.

  6. Thanks for stopping, Michele. You need some plants that require little care! They exist. I'm sure Dakota can help. If not, there are always pretty silk flowers!

  7. I use to garden all the time until my allergies made it impossible. However, I was able to maintain a nice landscape with low maintenance plants. Some of my favorites are camillas, sweet olives, and mminiature gardenias. Your gardens always look so inviting.

  8. Qwill, love all your cone flowers. I need to add the green, red and orange to our garden. We have flowers in the front, back and side of our house. I love lily of the valley. I would like to add bearded iris to our gardens in the spring. We useally buy from local green houses.


  9. Qwill I love your pictures of your gardens! I would love to have one but like Jim says I need to have plants that grow in water... Im no good. I do have some Narcisus and paper whites that I transplanted as bulbs from side of house to front of house. They doubled in size!!! Love it. Only had 2 of each now there are 8 total.But I dont have to do anything to keep them growing. They smell so good.
    Love sunflowers too.


  10. Thank you, Bonita. So sorry about your allergies. I was allergic to bees, but still carry a couple of epipens when I garden because they don't know how long desensitization lasts. But the bees and I work together to make nice gardens so they don't bother me (I don't bother them either). I'm going to look up some of the plants that you mentioned!

  11. Hi, Lisa. I don't have any red coneflowers yet. But I noticed Tomato Soup at Garden Crossings and will definitely get one or two.

    I have many many Tall Bearded Iris. I order my iris from Blue Jay Iris
    They have a lot of historical iris and amazing prices. Every iris that I've received from them has grown beautifully. I have to separate all of my iris this coming July/August. I've no idea where I am going to put another 100 iris!

  12. Hi, Amy. Thank you! I love Narcissus and Daffodils. They are low maintenance and beautiful. I'll have to blog about them. My gardens have plants that bloom at a bunch of different times so there is always something going on. And always work for me! :)

  13. Oh all your pics are just beautiful. I love flowers but am not good at keeping them alive, much better at keeping pets alive lol.

  14. Hey Q
    I have to say I love love love Rudbeckia 'Toto Dwarf Black-eyed Susans. The bloom all summer adn I get so many gold finches when they come to head.

  15. Hi, Rottie_mom! We're keeping things in balance. I've to the plants, and you've got the pets!! Works for me. :)

  16. Hey Linda. I'm going to have to check into that particular Rudbeckia. It sounds nice. I have a couple in the main garden, but there's always room for more!

  17. I am a seed scatter, If you want some seeds let me know. I cut off quite a few heads (LOL sounds brutal doesn't it)