Category: plants

Easy Care Plants – Sedums

Years ago when our area was going through a drought, we started researching xeriscaping, and buying drought-tolerant plants. One of the plants we purchased was an ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum. We love these plants for their end-of-summer enthusiasm. In August, just when most other garden flowers are looking a little bedraggled, mounding sedums spring into bloom.

‘Autumn Joy’ sedum

Sedums are non-native perennials, great for hot, sunny rock gardens and dry slopes; they store up water in their succulent type leaves. While they love full sun, they’ll tolerate a little shade. They grow just fine in average to poor soil as long as it is well-drained. Give them sunshine and dry feet and they will be happy.

Plant them in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. Water daily for the first few weeks, then as needed during dry spells. Once established, they truly are low maintenance. Except for cutting armloads of blooms to enjoy in bouquets, there is no need to trim them back at any time. Leave the entire plant for winter interest in the garden. Sedums die back to the ground over the winter. In the spring, simply gather up the dried stems and toss them on the compost pile.

Sedums in spring. I think they look like little Brussels sprouts!

I have three different varieties of sedums in my garden. The Autumn Joy and pale lavender sedums are mounding varieties and grow to about 18 inches tall.

Sedums are an important food source for pollinators, because there are fewer floral options in late summer and into early fall. While they are rabbit resistant, deer will nibble on them from time to time. Free-loaders.

Oh, deer.

The yellow variety was a gift, but I believe it’s a ‘Kamtschaticum‘. This semi-evergreen ground cover blooms in late spring, much earlier than the mounding varieties. Once it’s finished blooming, you’re left with a carpet of glossy, green leaves. Even though it has a spreading habit, it’s easily controlled. Kamtschaticum is tough as nails and thrives in the harshest conditions. I’ve had this variety in a hanging basket on the garage for several years and it rains seeds down into the gravel below. Now I have a nice patch of sedums growing underneath in my hot, dry, gravel driveway!

Sedum is easy to root in water. Simply take a cutting, strip off any leaves below the water line, place in water in a clear container. I like to use small mason jars or good ol’ drinking glasses. Keep an eye on the water level and replenish as needed. It may take several weeks before you see roots. Either transfer to a pot when long roots form, or transplant directly to the garden in early fall.

These purple sedums are pass-along plants from my brother’s wedding; all rooted in water.

Our neighbor, Ronnie propagated sedums by snipping off a stem, dipping the cut end in rooting hormone and planting it directly into the ground. He had a fairly good success rate with this method.

Established sedums should be divided in spring every three to five years. Dig up the plant and slice the root system into sections using a clean, sharp knife. Replant immediately without letting the divisions dry out.

Whether you enjoy them in your flower beds or bring them inside in bouquets of cut flowers, sedums are sure to charm you. Have you planted these beauties in your garden?

To shop the post:
‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum / ‘Brilliant’ Purple Sedum / Yellow ‘Kamtschaticum’ Sedum / Mud Gloves – my favorite gloves for gardening / Kate Spade Larabee Dot Creamer – NLA, but there are some available in other colors on eBay

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Easy Care Plants – Solomon’s Seal

Second only to rhododendrons, Solomon’s Seal is a favorite of Mark’s. I’m not sure where he first learned about them, but suddenly he *had* to find some for the shade garden at our prior house.

Rabbit Trail: After we’d gardened for a few years at that fixer-upper, our property tax assessment increased dramatically. I appealed it with the City, because most of the real improvements were done away from the prying eyes of the assessor. When they returned the final determination, she said the increase was due to the “park-like setting” of our side yard. All that expense and back-breaking labor, just so we could pay higher taxes!
Oh, well. We enjoyed the park.

When we moved to Arthurized Home, we brought about 8 divisions with us. Those transplants have multiplied to become hundreds, and we’ve divided them into several beds throughout our property. Division is best done in spring or fall, leaving several rhizomes on each piece. If you want value for money, these are a sure thing.

There are several different varieties of this native plant. Ours is variegated fragrant Solomon’s Seal and grows to about two feet tall. I love the painterly brush strokes on the leaf tips!

Solomon’s Seal is a relative of lily-of-the-valley; and in the spring, has similar white bell-shaped blooms along the stem. There is no need to deadhead the blooms. They dry and fall off the plant on their own.

Once established, this woodland plant is practically maintenance free. Solomon’s Seal likes rich soil in moist shade, but will tolerate a little sun in cooler climes. Planted in full sun, they will burn, like hosta. You can amend poor soil with compost, and use mulch or leaf litter to insulate the plants while they take root. These plants are drought tolerant once established, and as an added bonus, deer resistant. *insert Madea shouting Hallelujer!*

They’re very hardy and don’t seem to be susceptible to pests or fungal disease. We’ve heard that slug like ’em, but haven’t seen any evidence of that in our garden. Solomon’s Seal will even grow at the base of our oak tree where little else will.

See the brown leaves below?

Those mean that summer is winding down and cooler temps are on the way. Sad, I know.

Over the winter, Solomon’s Seal dies back all the way to the ground. But don’t you worry your pretty little head about that. He’ll be back in the spring, poking his pointy noggin out of the ground before you know it!

Solomon’s Seal make attractive container plants on shady porches and patios.

For more reading on Solomon’s Seal:
https://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/perennial/solomons-seal/

Shop the post: Solomon’s Seal
My favorite gardening gloves: Mud Gloves

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Drying Coriander Seeds

I mentioned in the mid-summer garden update that I turned my head for a minute and the cilantro bolted. Yep. That happened.

Did you know that the herb cilantro refers to the leaves of the plant, and coriander, the seed, is a spice? Cool, huh? She’s one hardworking plant.

I’m harvesting and drying the coriander seeds this week. Once the plant has started to turn brown, snip off the seed heads. Since I’ve never done this before, I’m not sure how brown is brown enough. Half of the plants are still green.

Allow the seed heads to dry fully. I’ve read that you can harvest the seed heads directly into a paper bag for drying, but I’m experimenting with drying them on the window screens that I used to dehydrate the basil. Which worked beautifully, by the way.

We run our dehumidifier in the basement constantly, so that area should work well for drying any plant. Once dry, the seeds will fall, and can be collected and stored in a sealed container.

I’m not sure if I can get one more crop of cilantro out of the herb bed before frost, but I’m going to try. Regardless, I’ll save this seed to plant in the spring.

For more reading on cilantro/coriander:
https://www.almanac.com/plant/coriander-and-cilantro

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Easy Care Plants – Black-Eyed Susan

Nope, I have no idea how she got her name. But, dang. I sincerely hope that Susan fought back and did a little damage of her own.
Kidding.
Sort of.
Let there be peace on earth, and all that.

In 2009, when my Grandma turned 90, we traveled to Indiana for her birthday party. She had recently moved into a nursing home and her house was being sold. We went over to her property to dig up a few plants to bring home with us. We dug up her pink peonies, which transplanted beautifully, and her lilacs, which sadly didn’t thrive here. In the corner of her yard, we found one small black-eyed Susan blooming underneath a tall, evergreen tree.

Grandma’s peony

We brought her back to Virginia and transplanted her into one of the few sunny spots in the yard. As with all of my plants, I fuss over them for a few weeks with daily watering, monitoring for wilting leaves and other signs of stress. If they look good at that point, I mulch them well and cut back on watering except for the hottest/driest times of the year.

Black-eyed Susans are members of the sunflower family and come in both annual and perennial varieties. If you have an annual variety, don’t worry because they are prolific self-seeders and you shouldn’t have to re-plant each year. They’re native prairie flowers in the U.S. and are fantastic for attracting pollinators.

If you don’t cut them back at the end of the growing season, the seed heads provide food for the birds over the winter. While most growing guides say that deer avoid eating black-eyed Susans, we’ve had a few years when the deer have mowed them down. Punks.

This bed is about 8′ x 10′ and grew from Grandma’s one, tiny flower. We mow around it to prevent it taking over the entire yard. We’ve divided it several times, transplanting to other locations on our property and we’ve given loads of them away to family and friends. I love to hear updates on how these “Hoosiers” are doing in our friend’s yards!

Black-eyed Susan make beautiful cut flowers as well! Easy peasy! Just snip them, remove any leaves below the water line and plunk them into a vase.

If you are #soextra like me, (just ask my niece) and believe that more is more, jazz up your black-eyed Susan bouquet with other garden flowers. Have some fun with them!

For more reading on the care of black-eyed Susans:
https://www.almanac.com/plant/black-eyed-susans

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Easy Care Plants – Coleus

In an effort to stretch my gardening dollar as far as possible, I like to plant easy care perennials; those garden work-horses that will return year after year.

Also, I hate planting annuals. I have no patience for a plant that will grow for one year and then die off. Kiss it goodbye. I’d rather save the time and effort, plant the $50 bill and be done with it. (Our porch is in deep shade and I make an exception for annuals there.) However….

Coleus are tender perennials so they behave like annuals in Virginia. After one summer in the sunshine, they are done. Sadly, I can’t overwinter them because our house has few sunny windows in which to grow plants. (And I need those windows for blog photography!) These plants are showy and worth every penny. They are ridiculously simple to care for. Plunk them in the ground in a sunny spot, water regularly and admire them.
It’s just that easy!

While my taste in flowers tends toward ‘cottage garden’; these beauties are a punch of abstract art. The Andy Warhol of perennials, if you will. They provide edgy contrast to my restrained daisies and lavender. Give them a try! I think you’ll like them!

For more reading on coleus, go here:
https://www.finegardening.com/article/sizing-up-coleus
I’ll have to hunt down that ‘Candy Store’ variety. Those colors are amazing!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Rescuing Clearance Rack Perennials

While shopping for deer fence T-posts, I happened upon several racks of clearance perennials marked down to $1 each. Of course I loaded up my cart! Some of the blooms were ready for deadheading, but the leaves looked fresh and healthy. I figured these underdogs were worth a chance.

Perennial flowers are fantastic because you do the work of planting once, and are rewarded with year after year of blooms. Given the right growing conditions, most perennials are easy care, requiring only deadheading and occasional dividing.

We purchased these for the herb garden, because that is the sunniest area of our property. They range in height from 6″ to just over 2′ tall, so they shouldn’t shade other sun loving plants nearby.

Thinking about their mature size, bloom time and relation to neighboring plants, I placed them around the garden. I like to arrange them in irregular shaped, odd numbered groupings of 3, 5 or 7 of the same plant. This gives the garden visual ‘flow’ and is more appealing than planting in straight rows, as you would in a vegetable garden.

Here’s what we planted:

Balloon Flowers – one blue, one white
I’ve wanted to try balloon flowers forever. These deer resistant plants are whimsical and fun. They both had tags showing blue flowers, so the white one was a surprise!

Poppy
This one is a mystery plant only because I misplaced the tag. Oops! I seem to recall that it is an orange variety.

Darling Daisy™ Shasta Daisy
Daisies were my husband’s great aunt Ruth’s favorite flower, so I remember her fondly when I see these. This variety is fairly compact, growing to just 12″ tall. I deadhead these about once a week, and they are blooming their little hearts out.

Dwarf Coreopsis
We picked up nine of these, and I’m hoping they will provide a sea of golden blooms. They grow to 12″ tall, and bloom from spring through fall.

Giles Van Hees Speedwell – These tiny flowers bloom in summer. They seem a little finicky and we’ve already lost two of the five that we purchased. (R.I.P., little guys) I’m holding my breath that the remaining three will settle into the garden nicely.

Little Women Daylily – I’m not sure where we are in the bloom cycle, but I suspect that we’re done for the year. I bought three of these for their unusual, peach color which will pair nicely with the nearby lavender.

Hopefully our plants will be happy here, and provide some interest to the garden. They’ve already drawn the attention of neighborhood butterflies, so we think the bees will find them soon as well.

How about you? Do you take pity on the clearance rack plants, and take them home?

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Ground Cover for Steeply Sloped Banks

We’ve got two driveways and the banks next to the first one are steeply sloped, shaded and have horrible, clay soil. When we moved in 15 years ago, we planted several flats of variegated ivy on one bank hoping that it would scramble up the bank and cover it quickly. The ivy proved to be slow growing and while it has spread, it’s not doing the job.

Ivy going nowhere.

We’ve planted vinca minor on a third bank and discovered vinca major growing wild at the other end of that same bank. It has mostly filled in, and is beautiful when covered in periwinkle blooms. Vinca has glossy, evergreen leaves and looks great year round. It is on the Virginia invasive plants list, but we haven’t found it difficult to control.

Bank covered in vinca minor. This is such an easy care plant and forms a good weed barrier.
Vinca major in bloom.

In an effort to cover the other two banks, I’ve been researching evergreen ground covers. The banks are steep enough that withstanding foot traffic is not a concern. This will likely be a multi-year project because both banks are large. The first one is 52′ x 10′ and is under an ancient, oak tree. We’ve successfully grown Solomon’s Seal there, but it dies back in the winter. The second bank is 125′ x 22′ (yes, that’s 2,750 square feet!) and has the slow-growing ivy on it.

Solomon’s Seal is perennial and gorgeous during the spring and summer.

With such a large area to cover, we need a plant that is inexpensive and will quickly spread to fill in. Last fall, we transplanted about a dozen plugs of liriope as a test to see if it would tolerate the deep shade, extremely poor soil and root competition from the oak tree. Surprisingly, they survived and are thriving this spring.

Test liriope.

This spring, we’re transplanting liriope from two other areas in our yard; an unruly border and the bed of black-eyed Susans. Aside from lots of sweat equity, this project is free. My favorite price!

Liriope marching out into the lawn from a border planting.

Because the test plants grew well in our poor soil, we’re not amending the planting holes with garden soil or compost. With thousands of holes to dig, it would only increase the time needed to complete this project. And I don’t think the extra expense is necessary.

We’re transplanting the liriope bare root so that we do not have to move a lot of soil. This enables us to dig smaller planting holes, and to tuck the liriope in next to the tree roots without damaging them. We started by using a trowel, but switched to a hand weeder to dig the holes.

Until they are settled in to their new home, we’re watering the transplants daily. We’ll mulch the banks once the transplants are established. This project is slow-going, but we’re hopeful that this is the tough-as-nails ground cover these banks need.

New transplants!

To read more on vinca:
https://www.thespruce.com/vinca-minor-vines-2132217

For more information on liriope:
https://www.thespruce.com/liriope-plants-popular-varieties-of-border-grass-2132483

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Grow Free Hydrangeas Through Layering

We have five large Nikko Blue hydrangeas, and I’d love to create a long sweep of them in our yard. They’re planted just opposite my kitchen window and bloom from June through the first frost. Last fall, I layered them in the hopes of gaining loads of baby plants (layers) for free. I layered 20 branches and 16 of them have taken root.

The layering process is super simple and I hope you will give it a try. A note about timing: I do this at the end of summer, while the branches are flexible enough to bend to the ground without breaking. In Virginia, this means mid-late October. I’ve read that you can layer plants in the spring, but I haven’t tried it.

You will need:

  • An established, healthy “mother” hydrangea – ask a friend if you can layer theirs if you don’t have one
  • Rocks, bricks, small children or other heavy object(s) for weight
  • Shovel or trowel
  • Wintertime and patience

Find a healthy, lower branch of the plant. I select branches that are leafy, with no flowers. Without disturbing the leaves at the tip, break off the next lower set of leaves down to the branch. The place where you removed the leaves is the node.

Gently lower the node to the ground, loosen the soil under it and then pile at least an inch of soil on top of the node. Place a rock or brick on top to weight it down securely. Water the mother plant occasionally if needed.

Wait until Spring and check on your plants. New growth at the tip of the branch indicates that your baby plant has taken root.

Leaving the rock or brick in place, snip the branch between the weight and the mother plant as below and give the baby a few weeks of living on its own before transplanting. Be sure to water the layer baby daily until it is established, more often in hot weather. If the baby is very small, you might wish to delay transplanting for an entire growing season.

When transplanting small plants like these, I dig a hole about 12″ deep and 12″ across. Make sure the roots have plenty of loose soil to grow into. I like to mix in a little garden soil to lighten up our heavy clay soil. Once you’ve transplanted the babies, they will need some TLC. Water them each morning for a few weeks and then as needed until they are established.

I’ve only done this with hydrangeas, but I understand this works for other plants such as forsythia, rhododendron, azalea. I would love to know if you try it and how the process works for you.

Happy gardening!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

PJM Rhododendrons – A tale of massacre and despair

My husband is crazy about rhododendrons. He loves them because they are showy, easy care and grow well in deep shade; which we’ve got in spades. I suspect he also loves them because in order to really see them in their splendor, you must be in the woods; his happy place. Last fall, we planted four PJMs and carefully tended them while they were settling in to their new home.

A few months later, we noticed the leaves turning yellow and falling off. It was an extremely rainy fall; did they get too much water? Maybe we planted them in the wrong area? Were they getting too much sun? We had no idea.

Shortly after that, we saw to our horror, that the neighborhood thugs (also known as deer) had come through and eaten the ends off every single branch of all four plants! They’d shown no mercy. It looked like we had wandered through the yard picking up sticks after a wind storm and decided to shove them into the ground instead of the burn pile.

Deerscouraged – Yes, it’s a word. I just invented it.
deers·cour·aged/dirˈskərijd/adjective
having lost confidence or enthusiasm for gardening in deer country; disheartened. “she must be feeling pretty deerscouraged”

Dejected, we paid a visit to the nursery where we purchased the rhododendrons, looking for a glimmer of hope for these little guys. The owner guessed that the wet weather had contributed to the leaves falling off. She encouraged us to leave them alone and wait until spring to see if they came back.

Well, this story has a happy ending (or middle?) because the plants have budded out and are blooming today. We’re hopeful that healthy leaves will return this year.

UPDATE:
A few weeks later, the leaves have returned to the PJMs, they’re growing like crazy and seem to be very healthy!

If you’d like to try PJMs in your landscape, you can read more about them here:
https://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/280/pjm-rhododendron/

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Window Boxes on the Garage – An Upcycling Project

The garage at Arthurized Home once serviced our small neighborhood.
The previous owners supported themselves and their 14 children with income from this garage. (As much as I love a good exaggeration, that’s not one. They really raised 14 children in our 950 square foot cottage! But that’s a story for another day.) The garage has a pit for changing oil and a beam for hoisting engines. There’s a fireplace out there; you can see where someone closed up a 4′ x 8′ window (yet another story) and blocked up a bay door. We’ve got some future goals for fixing it up, but for now it’s a utilitarian eyesore.

Why yes, that is a leaf blower hanging in the window!

A few years ago while my sister was visiting, we stumbled upon the Funky Junk Interiors website. She made the brilliant suggestion that I should “junk up” the garage. I started with some upcycled window boxes made from discarded metal sawhorses.

Here’s how: Wearing safety glasses and heavy leather gloves, my husband cut the legs off of the saw horses, leaving the attachment and folding the cut edge down into the box. (You could file the sharp edges if you like. We didn’t bother.) He then drilled holes for hanging along the back of the window boxes using a drill bit for metal. Next he positioned the boxes and marked on the wall where the screws would go. Then he drilled pilot holes into the cinder block using a masonry drill bit. He aligned the boxes with the pilot holes, placed a large washer over the holes and secured each one with a masonry screw.

Using my coffee filter trick, I blocked the gaps on the corners and filled the planters with soil and flowers. Because the planters are shallow, I use a moisture retaining potting mix. I feed and water these on the same schedule as my other outdoor container plants. When it’s hot outside they get a drink twice a day.

While I wouldn’t recommend installing them on a playhouse, (hello, potential sharp metal edges) these window boxes would be great on a deck, a potting shed or other outbuilding. A she-shed? A chicken coop?
I could go on all day.

If you make this project, I’d love to see it! Email your pictures to arthurized dot home at gmail dot com.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.