Brilliant!

I've been thinking about that word, "Brilliant".  It is used, of course, by our friends across the pond regularly, but by Americans, not so much.  Yet it is such a great gardening word! My Kousa Dogwood tree is brilliant today.  For those of you who are not familiar with them, they bloom now rather than in early spring.  Their flowers, like all dogwoods, are actually bracts and are held up on a short stem about 1/2 - 1" tall.  The…

Spring Peep Show

Spring is just a really great peep show!  Things keep sprouting up and creating wonderful surprises all through my garden.  I hope you enjoy the tour! Here is my mixed border.  The foxglove is spectacular.  I've been working on my foxglove drift for about five years. It finally reseeds itself and look what came up this year.  Behind the foxglove you can see the border featured in the second photo.  Rose Campion is new, and I love the fuscia flowers!…

Warming Up! Time for annuals!

Yesterday I put out my annuals that must wait for warmer soil to be successful.  Those were dahlias; tomatoes and caladium.  These annuals do better if the soil is warmer when they are planted.  It doesn't seem logical, but these guys don't prefer a "head start".  They never catch up if planted in soil that is too cool from the get go. Caladiums, as I've already mentioned in another post, are one of my favorite ways to add a punch…

Annuals, annuals and more…

I worked in the annuals department of a garden center for a couple of springs. I enjoyed it so much and learned a lot. But every spring I used to wonder how so many, many hanging planters of annuals and/or just annuals that were pricey got sold when they require so much work from their owners. The annuals on this post will show what I mean. Geraniums are so popular, and garden centers carry just loads of them and they…

Spring is here!

For flower aficionados such as myself, there is no such thing as too much color in the garden. I love color. And I love them all, pastels and primaries; everything mixed with white (which is a color, too!) Now is the time to get them in the ground. Yes, I love my perennials, but they each have a bloom time that is not all summer long. Only annuals can provide intense, reliable color all summer long. I’d like to tell…

Soil Amendments

"Amend" means changing something.  Here in the South, our soil needs serious change.  In the Midlands of SC, our soil is either clay or sand.  Both present unique challenges, but both have the same solution:  Amend, amend, amend.  Compost is the answer. THE CHALLENGE If you have sand, your clear challenge is that it drains so rapidly.  It's just hard to keep things watered.  It is, for sure, "well-drained" that is so often required by plants, but it can't hold…

Irises

I am an iris fiend.  To me, they are a spectacular bloom.  With falls, crests, beards and the myriad of colors and varieties they come in, they just cannot be beat.  And most of them grow in my zone and climate. Those who dislike irises cite their relatively short bloom time.  That's it.  That is all they have to complain about.  Yes, it's true the bloom time for each variety can be short.  But for the rest of the year you…

I’m talking dirty…

I know, Clemson has fits when I refer to "soil" as "dirt".  "Soil" being a growth medium for plants; "dirt" being something less than clean.  Well, my soil is less than clean.  It deceives me, it does not do what I expect it to do, it disappoints me, and it lies to me.  That is just dirty. I have clay soil; not red clay which is common to my geographic location, but grey clay - kaolin.  Yes, kaolin is that…

My personal piece of heaven

  Here is a picture of my garden view from my back porch.  I am blessed!  From this view I can see how things have filled out and there is nearly no brown space between plants visible.  My crape myrtles do not bloom as prolifically as they should because they get shade from about 3 pm on.  But they are a vibrant red.  This is near the end of the season.  I have tried to incorporate lots of different leaf…

Let’s get started!

I'm Lyn Richards, a Master Gardener who lives on the Northwest side of "Famously Hot" Columbia, SC.  We have brutal summers, hard red clay soil, and winters that are unpredictable.  In my former life I was a CPA.  I've been set free from my desk to be outdoors as much as possible in my mixed border, perennial garden.  I do flowers and have no luck with vegetables. My garden "design" is to plant things that I love in the right…