Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Seeing Green and Other New Things

I meant to do a post on my hostas for Pam's Foliage Follow-up (always on the 16th of the month) but this and that conspired to keep me from it (and from reading everyone's posts; seems I can't keep up this time of the year!). Then Gardening Gone Wild reminded everyone of the deadline for their latest Picture This contest featuring the color green so I decided to expand my original idea for the Foliage Follow-up post to include the other green things I'm seeing this month. (And to show you a few special little flowers.)

So what is green besides a great shade that compliments most flower colors? Strolling about my back yard I see several different shades of yellowish green in my lettuces (top and below).

There's also that cooling blue color the iris leaves have.

Here's another shade of blue green with some red and cream thrown in.

Lady in Red Hydrangea

Speaking of red, does this sorrel even count as a green?

Red Veined Sorrel

But let's get to my hostas. I'm not a collector of them but I do enjoy them. They provide a lot of variety to my shady areas and a few even do well with sun. Most of the hostas I grow are on the small side on purpose. I guess I'm not ready to commit to the big blowsy ones yet. I've got five hostas, none of which should get larger than 2 by 2 feet (I hope). Back to blue green, here's one with a great name, 'Elvis Lives'. Not only does it come back to life every year like its namesake, it even takes about two hours of intense summer sun each day.

'Elvis Lives' Hosta

Another very blue hosta is 'Blue Wedgwood', my newest purchase just this spring (so it's still rather a baby).

'Blue Wedgwood' Hosta

My entry for the PT contest really isn't that great when it comes to the color green. But I love the texture of this mystery hosta, my first hosta purchase and unfortunately, not named.

Anyone know the name of this hosta?

Here's a hosta of the lime green variety with an appropriate name.

'Frozen Margarita' Hosta

And lastly, a hosta I purchased last year which almost bit the dust when the "graveyard grasshoppers" discovered it. It has a darker green leaf with cream colored edging.

'Patriot' Hosta

So that's it for my focus on green. Now I'd like to show a few new blooms that have me excited. Last year I planted one Dame's Rocket plant, Hesperis matronalis. It never flowered but this year, after moving it to my so-called rose bed (which contains a lot more than just roses), it's putting on a nice show.

Dame's Rocket

This is an old-fashioned plant that I wish we would see more of. Mine is about 2 feet tall and it has a very sweet delicate scent. They say it self-seeds. I hope so for I'd like a few more of these.

Here's another newbie for me that I wish you could see in person.

'Electric Blue' Penstemon

This is Penstemon heterophyllus and again, was planted last year with no resultant blooms. It's kind of a short scraggly plant but the intensity of the blue color, combined with the lilac at the base of the blooms is heady. My camera can't really capture that blue color very well so you'll have to take my word for it.

Since I'm on the topic of colors once again, I thought I'd share this so-called yellow iris (variety unknown).

I say so-called yellow because around town there are yellow irises blooming with much greater intensity than mine. After I downloaded this image I realized that when the blooms get a little old they start showing some rather pretty brownish veins.

And lastly, I've already shown you this pretty mystery nasturtium in another post.

Unknown variety of Nasturtium

But I wanted to highlight it again because now that it has quite a few blooms, my nose has picked up on its fragrance. It reminds me of the smell of a grandmotherly perfume!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2009. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.


  1. I have an unknown variety of Nasturtiums sprouting in plastic cups, just waiting to be planted outside. Hope mine grows up to look like the one in your photo.

    You've made me see iris leaves in a whole new light. Such a pretty cool blue.

    I'm also finding it difficult to fit blogging into my life this time of year.


  2. Those lettuce pictures with the dark background are so cool! They look like something at the bottom of the ocean!

  3. What are graveyard grasshoppers? Clearly I missed a post somewhere along the way.

    I like your hostas and LOVE the name 'Elvis Lives.' I'd buy it for the name alone if I lived in hosta-friendly country. Actually, a small hosta I inherited with the garden still survives, even though I planted a bamboo muhly on top of it one winter. Maybe they're more adaptable than I think.

  4. Pam, I tried a hosta when I lived in Austin and failed as well. I assumed it was just the heat but since we have that here too, I'm now thinking it's consistent moisture in the summer (they're near a sprinkler system) and decent soil. No limestone rocks in my yard, just juiced up soil over clay.

  5. I think your timing is perfect, Jean--what better way to celebrate Earth Day than with the color green! The lettuce is a great choice for this contest; yum, now I'm hankering for a salad:)I'm a big hosta fan, probably because they do well for me with very little care. Yours are lovely and look so healthy.

    While green is good, I still like color in the garden, and you have such an array of choices. Love that blue penstemon!

  6. Big Wow, first time here- I love the photos- so clear and enjoyable.
    Sure will visit more.

    Thank you

  7. Love all the greens and that Electric blue is to die for. I do wish I could see it in person. Oh and who could not love something called 'Wedgewood Blue'?

  8. We're not that far apart on a north-south scale, but what a difference in terrain! Hostas would shrivel here before June. So it was a treat to see yours. And the blue Penstemon!!!

    Your yellow iris looks a lot like a pass along I have from my mother, which she got from her mother in the 1970's. Isn't it fun to see history bloom?

  9. I might call that an "ivory iris." My mother used to grow bronze irises--they were very peculiar, but beautiful.

  10. Hi Jean, Thanks for asking about my springtime and the hummingbirds. I have posted about spring (winter) just for you!

    I love all your green pictures, and especially your red veined sorrel. Your hosta are lovely, I have patriot and several others here. They are very hardy, just not hail safe, so in my yard they are in a protected area under the eaves. Hardly any water though.


  11. Your lettuce looks very healthy. I'm growing lettuce (2 varieties) and some mesclen...for the first time ever. Love your hostas, too. I have several varities, but tons of plants, simply because I divide them every year and they just multiply. I even planted several nasturtiums this year, & have seen a couple of sprouts lately. Lovely 'green' photos;-)

  12. I love all the shades of green in your garden. The red veined sorrel grows very well for me also. Is it edible, I wonder?

  13. Jan - I'm thinking one of my hostas is probably going to need dividing soon. And I meant to mention Earth Day/Week in my post since I was seeing green but forgot!!

    Linda - yes, the red sorrel is edible but I haven't tried it yet. Mine is starting to get kind of big. I think I'll try the newer leaves first.

    Pam - I forgot to explain the term "graveyard" grasshoppers. That's what the locals call these ginormous grasshoppers that live around here. In the spring they hatch out and you'll see hundreds of tiny grasshoppers at once. They're easy to smoosh fortunately. But the few that get away turn really big. It's always a challenge to get them all before they destroy your plants.

  14. Penstemon is such a wonderful genus--I've never met one I didn't like. And, no, red doesn't make green any less green--in fact I think it accents it wonderfully--that sorrel foliage is my favorite photo! Here, dame's rocket is exceedingly invasive and squelches out spring ephemerals -- glad that isn't the case everyhwere!

  15. Wonderful collection of greens Jean! I could take a bite out of the first two! There are so many varying shades of green... spring greens especially.

  16. Just lovely Jean. Green isn't boring at all is it? :) ~~Dee

  17. That penstemon is calling my name!


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