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Plant of the Month - 2014Each month The Natural Gardener will be highlighting one of the many unique and unusual plants here at the nursery.
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JANUARY: Cacalia delphinifolia ‘Sanshoku’
I am always looking for new plants that are going to do well in the shade, even deep shade. There is a fairly limited palette of plants that will work well in those conditions but Japan seems to provide us with an amazing number of unique shade plants. That brings us to Cacalia delphinifolia. This is a quite rare shade plant originally from Japan. Hardly ever available in cultivation my good friend Lyle Courtice of Harkaway Botanicals is propagating this unique plant for us. Cacalia has maple leaf shaped leaves with 3 foot tall wands of white flowers in late summer. It is a true woodland perennial and thrives in shade, even deep shade. I love its leaves because they are such a great contrast amongst hostas, Brunnera and ferns. The cultivar ‘Sanshoku’ has leaves splashed with cream, making it a real standout in the shade garden. Being a woodland perennial it likes moist but well-drained soil. I would mulch it with either Sea Soil or chopped up leaves in the early spring to provide a more humusy soil. We should have it available in the nursery by April.
Soil: Moist, well-drained
Light: Shade to Full Shade
Height: 3 feet
Spread: 3 feet
FEBRUARY: Hosta ‘Curly Fries’
MARCH: Jeffersonia dubia – Twin Leaf
APRIL: Magnolia 'Little Gem'
MAY: Actaea Pachypoda 'Misty Blue'
JUNE: Disporum cantoniense ‘Night Heron’
JULY: Hosta ‘Praying Hands’
Like all hostas it likes a part sun location in moist but well-drained soil. It is completely hardy so you don’t have to worry about that. Its lavender flowers appear in mid to late summer and the hummingbirds love them. I think this is one of the best hostas to grow in a container. It just looks so elegant in a pot with its upright, wavy ‘hands’. That’s where I have mine and I love it.
AUGUST: Echinacea ‘Salsa Red’
Like all echinacea, ‘Salsa Red’ prefers full sun and a well-drained soil. I would fertilize once at the beginning of the season and then maybe once again mid-summer. Otherwise treat it like all your other sun loving perennials. Once it is established it is also quite drought tolerant.
SEPTEMBER: Phlox paniculata ‘Tequila Sunrise’
OCTOBER: Nerine bowdenii
As I mentioned, they like full sun and well-drained soil. Nerine’s also make excellent container plants and will grow happily in a pot or planter for years. In fact Nerine’s prefer to be a bit root bound and will flower more profusely that way. If you are planting them in the ground keep in mind that they don’t like to be disturbed once established. So, make sure that where you are going to plant them is where they are going to stay. If you must move them do so in late fall after flowering and be prepared not to have any flowers the next year.
Nerine bowdenii comes into leaf in spring, usually around April and keeps its leaves until the end of summer. As the leaves die back the flower buds begin to appear and by the end of September will be flowering in their full glory. They should continue flowering until the first frost when they go dormant. Nerine bowdenii is definitely a plant I will be adding to my garden soon.
NOVEMBER: Gentiana alpine ‘Success Blue’
DECEMBER: Anemone ‘Wild Swan’
gifts & accessories
fertilizer & soil
plant of the month
natural garden guy blog
links & resources
› A Checklist of Things To Do in the November Garden
› Poinsettia Care in the Home
› Fall Clean-up
› Fall Planting of Trees, Shrubs and Perennials
› Planting Perennials
› A Checklist of Things To Do in the December Garden
› January To Do List
› Fall Planting
› Growing Aloe Plants
› Pruning your Clematis
› Growing Jade Plants
› Planting and Growing Bulbs
› Pleione Formosana
› Caring for Sarracenia - North American Pitcher Plants
› Caring for the Venus Fly Trap - Dionaea muscipula
› Growing Winter Heather
and many more
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