Advertisement

While Waiting for Winter


While my back was turned (okay, I was out of town), we got a little frost. I didn’t realize it until I walked around my garden yesterday and discovered that the New Guinea impatiens, coleus and zinnia had collapsed. The dahlias also had gotten zapped. The cannas, however, were still standing tall in their pots, and I’m going to leave them there until the frost makes a repeat performance.

Losing annuals is to be expected. But what really caught my eye were the flowering plants that were looking so fresh that you might have thought it was June. ‘Indigo Spires’ salvia, for example. It’s a 6-foot tall plant with 12-inch deep royal blue flower spikes, and next year, if I have any smarts, I will have a lot of tall stakes so my three plants will no longer need to get support by leaning against a nearby boxwood. (Santa Claus, are you listening?)

Also helping to hold up the salvias is a ‘Lady Elsie Mae’ rose. This shrub is a marvel, brimming with salmon-pink double flowers from the moment it breaks dormancy until the end of November—or later. No disease or pest problems, ever. Oh sure, it gets nibbled by Japanese beetles now and then, but nothing that can’t be managed as long as you’re not squeamish about squishing. This is a low-maintenance rose.

But what really surprised me was the calamintha. Last year at the Lurie Garden’s plant sale I bought this Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta (I know, it’s a mouthful) since it’s a real bee magnet and we need to provide help for bees whenever we can. As it grew this year, I noticed that its flowers really do have a lavender tint to them, although from a distance you would probably call the flowers white.

Calamint

Whatever you call them, as we move into November, they are blooming their little heads off, full steam ahead. And if you run your hands along the stems, they will give you a lovely whiff of mint. To read more, check out our September/October issue in which Nina Koziol wrote about calamint.

categories

Lincoln Park Zoo Advertisement

popular

Article Thumbnail
Columns
Follow the Bouncing Gall

There are two kinds of bets going on among my readers. The first is whether I will follow the tried, true and now fairly ...


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Beyond Violet

African violets are pushing the envelope when it comes to colors and flower forms. Ruffles, anyone?


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Harvest Schmarvest

Some gardeners are able to make graceful transitions from season to season. In my case, I find that the word “lurch” is ...


Article Thumbnail
Features
Bursting Forth

Ted Nyquist’s rhododendrons light up his woodland wonderland.


Article Thumbnail
Columns
There Is No “I” in Ideas

This, as I have been told by the esteemed staff of Chicagoland Gardening magazine, is the Ideas Issue.


questions

The foliage on our cucumber plants is starting to wither and turn yellow. They get plenty of water and I feed them regularly. What could be wrong?

I brought a frangipani (Plumeria) back from Hawaii last April when it was just a leafless branch. It sprouted leaves and grew over summer. Now it is losing its leaves. How can I keep it growing over winter? Will it bloom?

What three dwarf shrubs do you think gardeners should know about and why?

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement