Even if the dog hasn’t bitten and the bee hasn’t stung (as the song goes), it’s always nice to think on your favorite things. Our “favorites” change with the season! Here are our current fav’s.
Stephanie’s Favorite Flower:
Bleeding Heart/Dicentra spectablis
If ever a plant was named appropriately for what it looks like, it would be Bleeding Heart. Individual flowers line arching stems, each flower shaped like a heart with a droplet extending downward. If you take one flower and turn the heart upside down, then pull the two lobes of the flowers apart, the flower opens up. Use your imagination and you can see a lady standing in a bathtub, hence the other common name “Lady-in-a-Bath.” I see the lady, but I don’t understand why you would call the plant this, when the bleeding hearts are so obvious. Dicentra spectablis arrive and bloom early in the season, but they also go dormant again early in the summer. When the plant turns yellow, cut it back to the ground. Did you know this flower does very well as a cut flower? It doesn’t ship well; therefore, you won’t find it at the florist but if you cut the stems yourself in the early morning, they make a long-lasting and unusual bouquet.
Chesney’s Favorite Flower:
Peony/ Paeonia hybrids
These large blossoms are stunning- they vary in size, fragrance, and colors but any Peony you choose will be a wonderful addition to your yard. After the flowers fade and are done blooming, the large green foliage still makes for a lovely little shrub. At the end of the season, cut the spent foliage down to the ground. Each year, the Peony will get bigger and bigger and bloom more and more. While so beautiful and one of my all-time favorites, they can be a little difficult to manage. The blooms are so large and full that they tend to bend the stems so to keep them upright, they need to be held up by a three-legged Peony cage or even a wire tomato cage. To keep them blooming longer, dead head the blooms as they begin to fade. Peonies also make lovely cut flowers; the trick is to cut them while they are still not fully opened so they don’t shatter when cut. Another interesting thing to note about Peonies is the symbiotic relationship between peonies and ants. The ants are not necessary for the buds to open, but they do eat the sweet nectar on the bud and fight off any other harmful pest that come to eat the buds.
April is the right time to put a grow-through stake on your Peony. For information on that, check Stephanie’s blog post from last year.
Stephanie’s Favorite Gloves:
A good pair of gardening gloves is a must when you’re spending all day digging in the dirt. My favorite type are the nitrile coated knit gloves. These gloves come in several sizes and fit close to the skin so you don’t lose any dexterity when wearing them. They dry out quickly when they get wet although I haven’t had really great luck washing them after I’ve had to work in the mud. If I have to work in mud, I try to use an older pair. Eventually, I always get a hole in the index finger or thumb on my right hand glove so I wish they would sell the gloves individually instead of as pairs. At Sundrops & Starflowers, we go through about a dozen pairs of gloves each season and it’s not unusual to see us wearing mis-matched gloves.