Bargain Time

I have a Baptisia australis in my front border that has bloomed only once, and sparsely. It needs to come out, but not until fall, when I can dig without trampling good flowers. I also have some lilies in containers that are in their second year, and will have to be moved because they’ll have used up the fertility of the soil. So what do we do in June, when we anticipate gaps to be filled in October? Shop the sales!

Don’t get bargain fever, but snap up anything you know you’ll want. Above are two rudbeckias, a meadow sage, a foxglove, a papyrus, two balloon flowers, and a campanula, that in total I paid $37.98 for. The rudbeckias and foxglove (which appears to be three individuals in one pot, anyway) can be divided into threes, and the sage looks like it can make two. Wherever I choose to plant them for summer growth, I can later move any of them into the front border, or my larger containers. 

You’ve probably seen various techniques for dividing plants, but let me share the easiest. Get a bucket of water, unpot your perennial, and swirl it in the water until the roots are clear of soil. Cutting it apart with scissors can be done then with precision, and the roots are well conditioned to spread in their new location. 


This is always the fate of Hibiscus. It looks like there are enough good leaves for the plant to overcome being eaten and flower. Hibiscus are easy to grow from seed, so let the caterpillars thrive for the songbirds, and start some new ones when you need to.


A section of border flowers (and some of the deer netting, that needs tweaking up every day, so it doesn’t stop the blooms from opening). The yarrows are coming out naturally in this suite of pinks.


Fantastic nicotiana that can’t really be captured by the camera. It has this brick red on the outside, and purple on the inside, so that from the right angle the two colors together make a neon effect.


Petunias seem perfectly symmetrical, but they do have a right-side-up. At the base of the fused lower right petal is an extended marking to guide the bees.


Alaska nasturtiums doing what I want them to, spilling over the block edging, which looks very distant thanks to the camera’s forced perspective. 


A close view of a tiny wildflower, abundant in my lawn, Blue-eyed grass (a type of iris).


Wild garlic, one of the natural arrivals in my deer area. The new plants are all ready to go, as soon as the seedhead breaks up.


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