Garden Plants

Clematis Offers A Variety Of Vines

Clematis: A Flowering Vine

One of my all time favorite flowering vines is the clematis. They just add a lovely color to any garden area that will take your breath away when they are in full bloom. What I did not realize is that there are a variety of colors and shapes to this lovely flower that will bloom at different seasons of the year.

Some varieties of the popular flowering vine will bloom in the early spring while many bloom in the summer months and still others offer color in the fall garden.

Blooms Begin In The Spring

A very pretty variety of clematis that begins to bloom in the spring and continues through to the fall is the Dr. Ruppel. Large 8 inch flowers in deep rose pink with a center of carmine red make this a lovely choice for an area in full sun. It will grow in zones 4 through 8 which makes it good for Indiana landscapes. It likes moist soil and will grow as tall as 8 feet under the right conditions. You can train it to grow on a trellis or any sturdy area that will support the vine.

Compact Size Clematis Blooms All Summer

I love the Bourbon Clematis for areas that need a more compact vine like around a mailbox. It grows to about 6 feet and offers the most gorgeous red wine blooms. This variety works well in a large pot on the patio as well, you just need to give it some kind of support structure for it to vine around that can hold the weight of the plant when it is full of blooms. It grows with a moderate amount of moisture in zones 4-9 in full to partial sun.

Late Summer And Fall Blooms

What a pretty little clematis the Sweet Autumn is! The first time that I saw one, I did not recognize that it was even a clematis. The flowers are not as broad as most clematis but don’t let that scare you because these showy little flowers that bloom in late summer and into fall are worth the effort. We don’t see many of these here in Indiana because we are about as north as you can grow to grow them successfully. Zones 5 through 10 works well with this citrus fragrant beauty.

Trellis Or No Trellis?

That is a matter of taste with most clematis vines. All work well on a trellis but you do not have to limit yourself to one. If a surface has something for the vines to climb around or attach to, most will grow on just about anything. Stone walls, standing mailboxes, fences, and the smaller varieties can be staked in a large pot and grow on the porch or patio. The lower growing varieties work best in the pots.

Be sure to read the directions for whatever variety of clematis you plan to use in your garden area. Most prefer full sun but some will tolerate partial and even some shade. The different species also have different watering needs. Some like moist soil, some moderate and some want well drained soil for their growing needs.

Also, make sure you understand the best time of the year for pruning your clematis. The best time to prune is dictated by when the plant blooms. Pruning is a necessity for any clematis as the blooms are formed on new growth. So, if you flowering vine is a spring bloomer, you can prune it after the blooms have stopped and give the plant plenty of time for new growth for pretty blooms the next season. That is the basic formula, after it is finished blooming for the year, prune it then for the best results for the next year.

Consider A Rose Groundcover

Groundcovers Do Not Have To Be Just Green

There are so many types of groundcovers available to plant in our landscaping. Many come in different shades of green and some will produce a flower but none will look as striking as a rose groundcover!

Did you even know that there is such an option for your landscape? Well, there are some options for a rose groundcover that will work here in Indiana. From my research it looks like we might be at the northern most acceptable climate for these lovely groundcovers.

The sweet little apricot variety shown above grows from 1 to 2 feet tall and will spread about the same in width. Plant it in full to partial sun in an area where you need some fill but do not want a tall plant. The variety of rose groundcover like the Apricot Drift is disease resistant and likes a soil that drains well.

Once established your rose groundcover will start to bloom in the spring and provide lovely color throughout the summer months. You will even get a slight fragrance from these little beauties!

The blooms are what I would consider on the frilly side when fully bloomed out. I think the little roses would look lovely in a small little rose bowl when you cut them. Don’t you?

I didn’t find a huge variety of color when it comes to a rose groundcover. Pale apricot, peach, pink and a pale red was what I found. But, honestly any of those colors are going to look striking as a cover for the ground!

My concern would be our cold winters here in Indiana. I know in the past when I had regular roses I needed to cover them during the winter. I’m not sure how one would go about covering an area with ground cover that would be protective enough during the cold and snowy months that we get here.

Still, I think I would love to give this a try in the front yard where people could see it from the street. Perhaps my local landscape shop could advise me on what to do for winter months.

Accenting Your Easter Bouquet with Dark-Hued Flowers

When it comes to making beautiful floral arrangements and centerpieces for Easter, most people think of white flowers, or perhaps an assortment of pastel colors. Few people realize that you can make a truly stunning floral arrangement by incorporating black flowers or dark-hued flowers into the mix.

Black flowers are not actually black, but rather very deep, dark shades of reds, burgundies, or purples. These dark colors can be added to a floral bouquet with white or other light colored flowers to add a dramatic accent to the piece. The use of black flowers within the arrangement will help to create a piece that is truly unique looking that will add a festive touch to your home decor or holiday table.

Featured: Deep Purple Queen of Night Chilled Tulips

Color Symbolism

When it comes to choosing colors for an Easter floral arrangement, it is important to keep in mind that there is a lot of symbolism behind the colors that are commonly chosen for Easter bouquets. White flowers typically represent the resurrection, passion, and rejuvenation. Good flower choices in white include Easter lilies, daisies, tulips, and Azaleas. The color red represents life and being victorious over death. By keeping this symbolism in mind, you can come up with some beautiful white flowers and add some dark-hued flowers in rich red tones to create a striking combination. One of the “black flowers” known as the Black Star Calla Lily, is a very dark shade of red, which would look perfect among white Easter Lilies.


Black Star Calla Lily

The color green symbolizes hope, while purple stands for spirituality. Consider adding some Queen of the Night Tulips to an Easter floral arrangement, for a dramatic touch of greenery and deep purple color. Orange and yellow flowers symbolize wisdom, light, and happiness. With these colors in mind, maybe add some Black Dahlia flowers with their dark-hued purple color to a mix of sunny yellow tulips, white Easter Lilies, and greenery.

Tastefully Using Accent Flowers

When creating Easter floral arrangements using black flowers, remember to use them sparingly. This will create a much more dramatic effect, while still keeping your bouquet looking festive. For example, if you are wanting to use a red flower, consider something like the above mentioned Queen of the Night Tulip or the Black Star Calla Lily instead of the usual “red” color most people would think of. Mixing one or two varieties of black flowers into the arrangement here and there among the lighter colors will really add a dramatic flare and draw attention to the bouquet. Be sure to include any combination of white, yellow, purple, orange, and red flowers, along with greenery. Pick the dark-hued flowers as a companion to or replacement for lighter shades of the red and purple flowers that are typically used for Easter arrangements.

Possible Flower Combinations

Imagine a bouquet with white, yellow, red, and purple tulips, with the addition of a dark red Queen of the Night Tulip. Or, picture an attractive centerpiece using bright yellow Lilies, white Easter Lilies, greenery, and the dramatic Black Star Calla Lily. Try adding some dramatic flare to your Easter floral creations this year and see what beautiful and striking combinations you can come up with.

Lily of the Valley The Birthday Plant For May

Sweet little bell shaped flowers with a pleasant fragrance, the Lily of the Valley is the birthday flower for the month of May. This little flower is associated with humility, pureness of heart, happiness, and sweetness. One legend of the Lily Of The Valley is that it was formed from the tears of Eve as she was banned from the Garden of Eden.

May’s Perennial Plant

The Lily of the Valley is a perennial plant that grows best in the shaded area of the garden. The plant multiplies through rhizomes underground. A hardy plant flowering in late spring. Favored for it’s sweet fragrance, it is often used as a ground cover in the shady areas of garden. All parts of the Lily of the Valley are considered to be poisonous. However, it has been used in medicines and herbal remedies for heart and epilepsy.

How To Plant A Lily Of The Valley Plant

Here is a nice video that show you how to plant the lily of the valley in your garden.

When I was a young girl, my Grandmother had Lily of the Valley growing on the north side of her house. The sweet little white bell shaped flowers were planted in front of large ferns and had a dramatic effect. It is funny how over 50 years later I can still conjure up that picture in my mind of the flowers in May at my Grandmother’s house.

In a Christian legend it is stated that the tears of Mary turned into lilies of the valley at the crucifixion of her son Jesus. Sometimes these little flowers are called Mary’s Tears.

Traditional Plants In White

At first glance it looks like the traditional plant with the sweet little white bells but what makes this option different is that the bells are actually doubles. They are fragrant and just lovely in any garden! You get three plants in one pot to start a lovely display in any shady area of your flower beds.

Lily of the Valley plants are believed to ward off evil spirits from the garden.

I know I get so excited when I start to see the green leaves of this sweet little plant start to sprout up out of the ground each year. The tiny little white bell shaped flowers look striking against that wonderful shade of green of the leaves! I don’t do much with them each year other than let them spread as a ground cover. Oh, occasionally I’ll find that they have started to spread in an area that I would prefer that they not be. That is when I just dig up that little one and put it in an area where it is welcome.

Lily of the Valley from Nature Hills Nursery

Lambs Ears A Nice Perennial For Indiana Gardens

A nice perennial for consideration in an Indiana Garden is the mound style plant known as Lambs Ears. It is one of many Stachys species that originally came from Turkey, Iran and Armenia but has thrived globally for many years. The reason that gardeners refer to it as Lambs Ears is because of the leaves being rather curved and covered with a white fur like covering that is soft. The silvery version can grow in partial shade to full sun and in Indiana you will find that it dies back in the cold months of winter. Don’t worry, it comes back nicely when the weather warms up! It is a slow grower but will spread over the years.

I particularly like this plant for borders and it does bloom in late spring or early summer with spike like flowers that are small and usually white or pink. I also like that even when not in bloom, they provide a nice contrast to some of the taller darker foliage from the plants that I have behind the lambs ears.

I believe that this particular species of Lambs Ears is what most people are familiar with. You might not have even known that it was called by the name but may know it as Stachys which is part of its botanical name.

Lambs Ear – Silver Carpet

This particular species of lambs ear produces some nice rosy lavender flowers on tall spikes in the middle of the summer. Unlike the other types of lambs ear the leaves on this plant are a dark green with a glossy look rather than the silvery foliage that we find with its cousins. If planted in full sun, you can count on this plant to spread over time. It makes a nice plant for rock gardens or borders.

Lambs Ear – Hummelo

I think that you will find that this is a very easy plant to grow. Many times it is a choice that adults give to children to grow in their own gardens because it is so easy to grow. The other reason is that kids love to feel the soft furry leaves. Lambs ear is actually a perennial herb but here in the US, we rarely use it to cook with but choose to just have it adorn places in our flower beds.

Have you ever used Stachys or Lambs Ears in your garden? If not, it is certainly one to consider as you plan your flower beds for the coming seasons. I don’t think that you will be disappointed.