Thursday, June 26, 2014

Peonies of All Species

          The peony exhibition is held annually in the Botanic Garden of Saint Petersburg. Over 250 species of herbaceous peonies in vases from the Botanic Garden collection, "Thais" nursery, "Dinos Park" company and private collections were presented at the Exhibition-2014.

As I wanted to visit this  exhibition all my garden works were postponed. I came to the opening at 11am to see and to take pictures without the large number of visitors.

Many species of Russian and world peony selection were presented and moreover, I could see the winners of world peony exhibitions. At this year's show I was especially interested in to learn about modern peony group ito-hybrids, which have yellow-orange dominating color palette that is unusual for other peonies.

In the new building of the Botanic Garden where peonies were exhibited, industrial refrigerators were installed so it was possible to demonstrate immediately all groups of peonies - as early-flowering and late blooming.

The first visitors carefully examined and photographed favorite species of peonies. The scent of flowers was so great in the halls that many visitors especially children wanted to smell them.

Besides of peonies in vases I liked the floral arrangements with peonies, leaves of hosts, asparagus, decorative grass, some perennials with small flowers. Also there one could choose a good gardening book.

Have you been to any exhibition this year? What did you liked there? Thank you!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chickweed for a Rockery

Chickweed (Cerastium) grows in my rocky garden. In its first years chickweed grew poorly, suffering from the winter frosts and thaws. Finally, after 3 years it has become a beautiful plant and began to bloom white small flowers.

Maybe you do not know this plant, so I'll tell you about it. It's an herbaceous perennial, gray because of dense pubescence. I like that it forms dense cushions. It has creeping shoots, flower stalks are15-20 cm tall. Lily leaves are small, silvery.

The flowers are white up to 1.5 cm, petals are deeply cut into two parts at the top. In our climate chickweed blooms in May and June 25-30 days. The fruit is cylindrical box with numerous teeth upstairs. In landscape design it is used since 1820.

If you do not want it to spread through your garden, simply remove the new shoots. In my garden it is not spreading but rather can be lost from frost and thaw. I do not cover it for wintering only prune heavily frosted ends of shoots in spring.

Does chickweed grow in your garden? Where do you use it: in a rockery, a flowerbed, or in hanging baskets?

Thank you!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

GBBD in June: Rhododendrons in bloom

Here is my small collection of rhododendrons. Actually I grow very hardy varieties of rhododendrons and they are mostly hybrids bred in Finland. From late May to mid-June my rhododendrons are blooming.
"Pohjolan Daughter" variety blooms now. It has many flower buds that open at once within 2 days. Firstly buds are pink or fuchsia color, then they are light purple and finally flowers get white-mauve.

Then "Helsinki University" variety blooms. This shrub has been growing for several years in my garden. Buds open one be one, they are dark red, then flowers are light red or pink with brown spots.

New variety in my garden is "Nova Zembla", it blooms first spring in my garden. It is still very low, but has many flower buds. Flowers are dark red or ruby, with red stamens and spots in the center. I think that this new rhododendron will grow well and will be hardy in winter frost, because it is a hybrid rhododendron from 'New Land' island.

Flowers of pure white with yellow spots; this is another new variety in my garden called "Cunningham White". It is also not high, it finishes flowering and is already beginning to grow. 

I have two azalea bushes, they are very hardy American hybrids. Now "Mandarin light" variety begins blooming. Its buds are large and open every day. I like the color of these flowers, they are bright orange as Chinese lanterns. 
Other azalea "Northern Lights" variety is not in a hurry, its buds only just getting light and big. Now it has some nice flowers, they are light-lemon color, beautiful and have fragrance.

Rhododendron blooming makes me happy and I always come to them closely and praise them for their beautiful flowers. 

Do grow rhododendrons in your garden? What varieties are? Are they enough hardy for your winter?
Thank you! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Potentilla or Kuril Tea

   Many of you, fellow gardeners grow this nice bush in your gardens. Today I want to show my Potentilla bushes. In Russia common name is Kuril tea that was given at Kuril islands in Far East. I have two varieties of Potentilla (bloodroot, cinquefoil) growing in my garden. One is 'Goldfinger' variety with yellow flowers and another is 'Abbotswood' with white flowers. There is also another variety with pink flowers but I have no it in my garden.

Potentilla, red begonia and white lobelia

Potentilla (Dasiphora fruticosa) is a perennial ornamental deciduous shrub, about 1-1.5 m high, with a dense crown. Extremely hardy, can be pruned, all its shoots ripen till winter, that is very important in the northern area.
I often propagate Kuril tea, planting new cuttings in early summer and now have many new bushes. It multiplies very easily.
Some of bushes were planted around the garden, especially where the tall shrub trunks have no leaves such as decorative willow, silvery goof, white dogwood. As Potentilla bushes are short, round, having dense crown covered with bright small flowers then the phlox, hostas, begonias, tall bushes are well complemented. 

My decorative willow 'braided pigtail' and Potentilla

 Potentilla, phlox and hostas
Tea of Potentilla leaves is used in many infectious diseases, it has unique antiviral and antibacterial properties. Also Potentilla or Kuril tea used as immunocorrective treatment. Methods of brewing tea are well described. Kuril tea improves overall health, if to drink it instead of the usual tea. It's allowed to drink up to three cups of medicinal drink per day. I did tea mixing young Potentilla, monarda, mint and lemon balm leaves.

What is you experience growing Potentilla? Do you have these bushes? Where did you plant them?