Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bedding-out Scheme Features at Kingwood

Colocasia 'Mojito' (Elephant Ear) This is a relatively new plant on the market and it makes quite an impression in the garden.

Colocasia 'Diamond Head' (Elephant Ear) is a show stopper. The deep dark color and the sheen of the leaf surface always make me stop and marvel.

Canna 'Australia' also has a dramatic dark luster to its leaves, and it also has brilliant orange flowers. The flowers could easily be too much, but it is something that seems to be possible to incorporate into seasonal beds more easily than in temperate climate perennial gardens.

Another dark plant, Pennisetum 'Princess' makes a quite an impact in the garden with its size and color. We overwinter this in front of some big windows in a building we keep at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

This Nicotiana sylvestris (flowering tobacco) is the only one of the five that is a true annual and that we grow from seed each year. It is amazing how such a huge plant can grow so quickly from a tiny seed.

When I garden at home I prefer growing hardy plants. I like establishing plant communities that develop and evolve over the years as I make changes, as things grow and get bigger, as some things die or recede, and as plants compete with each other. I enjoy working with all of these dynamics.

Kingwood Center, where I work, has a wide assortment of gardens, but seasonal bedding-out schemes are featured. As an administrator I am not directly involved in these seasonal beds, but I have come to appreciate the very different skills, techniques and results obtained from creating garden beds anew each year from scratch.

One of the most exciting aspects of the seasonal bedding-out schemes is the opportunity to use big, bold, exotic looking plants that really make an impression the very first year they are planted out. Most of these are tender perennials that have to be overwintered, which is often a special skill in itself.

Once again this year I am particularly impressed by several large featured plants and the special qualities they bring to the gardens. I have included photographs of four of them above.

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