New Plants!

Today I had to make a trip to a local material supply/nursery to pick up another load of compost, so I thought I'd make the rounds of the other two garden centers that are near it and see what sort of new coneflowers they have (talking about them the other day got me interested).


This is Mexican Petunia. I'll talk about it later in this post.

All three nurseries are very close to each other on the same road, just a few minutes from my house. When I got to the first one it had just opened, but it was already extremely hot and humid. Not a fun day to be shopping for plants, so just the diehard gardeners would be out.


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I liked having the place to myself (and yes, I was having fun despite the weather), and saw a lot of great plants that I'm currently interested in, like banana plants:


I never really liked the look of banana plants until somebody on a bamboo forum I visit posted photos of one of his new bananas that went from a small 1 foot plant to 10 feet tall in just 3 months. That's the kind of vigor I like in plants, so banana plants have been on my "want" list recently.

Although I don't know what varieties they are as the plant tags were either missing, generic ("banana"), or wrong ("Siam Red", when the name is apparently "Siam Ruby" or "Siam Ruby Red"), I'm pretty sure I can ID these later. Each of them has pretty great coloration on the leaves:





I also found some inexpensive and different "Elephant Ears":


This is Colocasia 'Black Magic':


It's similar to the black-stemmed variety I'm already growing, but the leaves are blackish too, not just the stems. Can't wait to see what this looks like when it's bigger!

Alocasia 'Frydek', with it's vibrant leaf markings:


This one is Alocasia 'Aurora'. I really love the color of the stems... sort of like ripe watermelon:


This one should also look amazing when larger!

Another reason for stopping at this first nursery is their pot recycling bins. I found some great pots in there today:


(I always ask the staff if it's ok to root around in there before I do it. They always say "sure, go ahead", but I'd rather ask first anyway.)

As I was putting my plants in the truck, one of the staff who was watering nearby asked if I'd like a Mexican Petunia. She said it was really rootbound and needed to be planted right away, then handed me the huge plant shown in the first photo in this post. I've never grown this before, so am really thankful for the freebie!

The second nursery had some newer coneflower varieties that I was interested in: 


These are in the "Big Sky" series: Echinacea "Big Sky Sundown". Look at the colors:


I also picked up a "Big Sky Harvest Moon" and "Big Sky Twilight". Just amazing. Fragrant too -- my truck smelled great on the trip home!

Did I mention that all perennials at the second nursery were 1/2 price? I guess the unseasonably hot weather we've had in June has kept people away, since they usually don't have perennial sales until later in the Summer. I may have to go back and pick up some more deals!

I'll follow up that photo of an amazing bloom with one that's not so amazing:


This to me is a sign of a plant that has been uprooted by a mole. Checking the base of the plant:


Yep. I've been fighting with this guy for three days now. I see his diggings, but I can never seem to flush him out. He's even pushed entire plants out of the ground:


Here is more evidence of his tunneling too:


Well, this evening when I was 50 feet away near the house, I saw a little soil mound. Even though it was completely dry (a sign that it's probably not from recent digging activity), I stuck the hose in anyway, and out popped this guy:



MoleMeter 2010 mole capture count: 10

 
Yahoo! I've made it to double digits and it's not even July yet!

I'm not sure if it's the same mole that's been giving me fits in the other area -- is 50 feet a long way for a mole to travel? -- but I'm glad to catch him. I'll know tomorrow if it's the same varmint or not.

So today was a good day in the garden despite the dangerous heat. Lots of exciting new plants, several more nursery pots to fill, and I caught what may be the most troublesome mole of the year. Can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

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Gerhard Bock  – (October 14, 2010 at 12:46 PM)  

Alan,

How long did the color last in your Big Sky echinaceas? We planted a few a couple of years ago and while the flowers are beautiful when they first open up, the color fades very quickly in our harsh summer climate.

As far as retaining their color over a long period of time, the best echinaceas for us have been older varieties such as Kim's Knee High and Merlot as well as the newer Terra Nova introductions, including Tiki Torch, Tomato Soup, Mac 'N Cheese and Hot Lava.

Echinaceas are among my favorite perennials and have about 10 different varieties now.

Alan  – (October 14, 2010 at 1:39 PM)  

Honestly, I'm not really sure. I don't remember them fading immediately, but I'm not sure how they compare to the older varieties like 'Magnus'. I'll have to pay closer attention next year.

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