Monday, March 15, 2010

Lovely, easy, Larkspur

One of my Twitter friends mentioned that her grandfather had grown Larkspur in the garden every summer. That reminded me of the larkspur my father always grew near the kitchen door of the house, so that he could see the rich colour (he loved blue flowers) every time he exited the door.

The Larkspur is an easy and delightful plant for many landscapers and gardeners, adding old-fashioned charm to any bed or border.

Bold and attractive, these hardy annuals grow light, feathery flowers atop tall spikes. Use larkspur in cottage gardens, or butterfly gardens. Larkspur also makes an excellent cutting flower so landscapers can use it in cut flower gardens.

Larkspur is a beautiful and popular annual that comes in colours of blue, lavender, white, rose, and pink, although blue is the most popular colour. Larkspur has a lacy kind of foliage (much like Cosmos) with blooms highly compacted on long tapering spikes that give it a tall, regal appearance. It generally grows in 30cm or 60cm high spires, although some people have reported heights of up to 1.2m and more.

These big plants grow quickly to produce flowers in spring, earlier than many annuals. Larkspur makes an excellent garden flower, and also looks great in vases, although its vase life is seven days or less. They can also be dried for winter arrangements. Larkspur is excellent massed in groups. Tall plants look their best in the back of the flower garden.

This multi-use annual is so easy to grow — just get it started and it will be happy to reseed itself for the next year!

The plant profile I posted on my website explains how to propagate, grow and care for Larkspur. Go there now!

Seductive Jasmine

Plant Jasmine and experience the delight of a very fragrant spring and summer garden. I couldn’t imagine my garden without the evening scent of Jasmine.

The name Jasmine is derived from the Persian yasmin which means ‘a gift from God' — so named because of the intense fragrance of the blooms of Persian or common jasmine Jasminum officinale. There are over 300 jasminum species that occur mainly in the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world — including South Africa — although a few are found in countries with cold winters. Jasmine is a very popular flower around the world, because of its unique fragrance.

Unlike most genera in the Oleceae family, which have four corolla lobed petals, Jasmines often have five or six lobes. Jasmine is widely cultivated for its shining leaves and beautiful clusters of fragrant flowers.

Flowering in Jasmines takes place in summer or spring, usually six months after planting. The Jasmine flower releases its fragrance at night after the sun has set and especially when the moon is waxing towards fullness. Jasmine flower buds are more fragrant than the flowers.

Most species grow as scrambling climbers or sprawling shrubs and can also be massed as groundcover in large gardens. Most will also grow well in containers.

The new Jasmine profile posted on my website not only tells you how to grow and care for Jasmine, but also provides descriptions for 12 great species of jasmine, including some that can tolerate temperatures as low as -18oC. Go there now!