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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Design Herb Landscape Garden

Herbs in the garden scene offer magnificence, scent, shading, surface, taste and great wellbeing. Herbs are entirely assorted as they add an abundance and profundity to a bunch of nourishments and drinks, are helpful as bundles, sachets, superb in teas, balms, oils, vinegars, and a huge number of meds. Herbs have a beautiful history, with people and creatures utilizing herbs for nourishment, pharmaceutical and excellence since the get-go. The advanced garden would be neglectful without the expansion of no less than a couple of herbs. Numerous herbs have the additional advantage of being dry season tolerant, the same number of began in the dry, hot, sunny Mediterranean area.

You can design and create herb gardens with plants chosen for specific themes or any combination thereof; some to consider include fragrance gardens, choosing herbs for their alluring aroma; tea gardens, growing herbs that are tasty and healthy as herbal teas; relaxation gardens, opting for herbs that soothe by sight, smell, taste, or their direct effects on the body; moon gardens, picking herbs with colors that reflect the moon light, like those with white flowers and silver/gray leaves; kitchen gardens, choosing herbs to be used in cooking and baking, to name a few. You can also grow herb gardens in a variety of containers on your porch or deck, interspersed in your existing beds, planted between stepping stones (so that when you step on the plants, they release some of their lovely scent). You are only limited by your creativity and imagination. Read some books on growing herbs (see below for some suggestions) to provide insight on what would grow best for you, based on your needs, location (sun, shade, wind, moisture), soil, traffic, etc.

When planning an herb garden, add structure and interest with benches to sit and enjoy your garden, enclosures to add dimension and sense of a secret garden (a stone wall, small fence, herbal hedge, trellis), walkways and walk-throughs (stepping stones, archway, trellis, arbor) and whimsical focal points (statuette, birdbath, glass reflection ball, sundial, urn).

Think about seasonal growth and interest, height, color, texture, shape, aroma. For year-round interest and depth, you’ll want to add anchor plants that offer color, texture, and other gifts in the winter months. Plants to consider for year-round color are compact conifers (no higher than 6 feet), plants that produce colorful berries, small trees, shrubs, and plants with interesting bark, and various grasses. To add height to your landscape, in addition to small trees and shrubs, consider adding a vine climbing over a trellis or arbor. Adding neutral colored plants help unify the various colors of the herbal landscape. Plants with grayish foliage have a cooling effect on the garden, and silvery plants help to illuminate neighboring plants, making other colors more vibrant.

The following are some suggestions on what to grow over, under, and through your various structures and anchor plants. Many herbs have multiple qualities and are both colorful and fragrant, for example. All of these plants do well in our planting zone and hopefully will provide many years of gardening pleasure and bounty. Herbs are versatile, beautiful and give us so much that they are worth any gardeners’ consideration in the garden.

Grey/Silver herbs

  • Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) – silvery undersided, lanceolate leaves
  • Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) – silvery-gray, finely indented leaves
  • Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ) – luminous finely-cut, gray foliage with lavender flowers
  • Gray Santolina (Santolina spp.) – aromatic silver-gray foliage with yellow flowers
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis) – greenish gray, oval, rough textured leaves
  • Pinks (Dianthus spp.) – foliage is lance-shaped and blue-gray with pink, fragrant, edible flowers

Colorful herbs

  • Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) – showy bright red flowers with purplish bracts that attract butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Lavender (Lavendula spp.) – fragrant beautiful little purple flowers and leaves, color varies by species
  • Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea spp.) – pretty purple petals with bright yellow centers in a cone shape
  • Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) – 3 lobed leaves with pinkish flowers in whorls in axils
  • Borage (Borago officinalis) -pretty starry blue flowers
  • Marigold (Calendula officinalis) – bright yellow and orange flowers that also repel insects
  • St. Johns wort (Hypericum perforatum) – bright yellow flowers

White herbs

  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – small, creamy white umbels with finely feathered leaves
  • Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) – white, star-shaped flowers
  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – small, white daisy-like flowers
  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) – white to pale pink flowers in tight clusters on pinnate leaves
  • Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) – serrated leaflets with white/light yellow sweetly aromatic flowers in dense clusters

Fragrant and tasty herbs

  • Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – lovely lemony scent to leaves, prolific grower
  • Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) – strong, delicious lemony scent to leaves Geraniums spp. – many varieties with interesting scents
  • Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) – fast grower and prolific – strong scent and taste of mint
  • Anise hyssop (Agastache spp.) – fragrant foliage with spiked purple flowers and scent of anise
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – different varieties ranging in different colored foliage
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – narrow, fragrant needle-like leaves with tiny pale blue/lavender flowers

Tall or climbing herbs

  • Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) – soft, downy leaves and pale pink flowers in summer
  • Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) – vine with haunting, large purple flowers pollinated by bats
  • Hops (Humulus lupulus) – rough-prickly, twining vine with interesting fruit of strobiles
  • Rose (Rosa spp) – climbing variety, showy, aromatic flowers with a variety of colors and varying scents
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – feathery leaves with flat umbels of yellow flowers.
  • Dill (Anethum graveolens) – shiny green, feathery leaves with yellow flowers in umbrella-shaped clusters

Short or creeping herbs

  • Thyme (Thymus spp.) – fragrant small leaves and flowers, variety of scents and sizes, nice to plant creeping thyme between walking stones
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) – glossy leaves with red berries
  • Violet (Viola odorata) – toothed, heart-shaped leaves with drooping, purple or white flowers


  • Growing 101 Herbs that Heal by Tammi Hartung (2000)
  • Practical Herb Garden by Jessica Houdret (2003)
  • Herbal Tea Gardens by Marietta Marcin (1999)
  • Landscaping with Herbs by James Adams (1987)
  • Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Steven Foster and James Duke (2000)


Daylilies Perennial

The daylily offers a wide range of decisions for the finishing or garden at your home. The logical name of this enduring plant is hemerocallis. A cultivar is an enrolled named daylily. There are more than 75,000 diverse enlisted cultivars. This extensive number spreads cultivars enrolled from the earliest starting point of record keeping to the present, so a hefty portion of these cultivars are old and some even lost. Consistently hybridizers present new cultivars. In the most recent ten years there have been around 2,200 new daylilies enlisted every year. The adjustments in daylilies in the course of the most recent quite a while have been emotional in plant sizes, bloom sizes, blossom hues, and blossom shapes. Consistently new cultivars add to the enthusiasm for daylilies. This assortment gives purchasers numerous alternatives to look over for their patio nurseries.

In the Gettysburg area, daylilies will bloom from June through September, but the peak bloom time is the end of June until the third week in July. There are also early daylilies that bloom in June and many late bloomers that extend the season through August and September. Planting all three types of blooming time daylilies will provide blooms all summer long. Take a visit during peak season to a display garden and get familiar with the cultivars in which you are interested. By visiting a display garden in your region, you can see how well cultivars perform in your area, what they look like in clumps, and how many buds the plants produce. The bud count can vary considerably among the different cultivars. Observing daylilies in your growing area will assure you the cultivars you choose are hardy and will perform well in your garden compared to buying from a catalog or buying shipped-in plants from other regions.

Daylilies have many unique characteristics. The daylily bloom comes in all colors except solid white and blue. However, many newer complex cultivars do have white and blue within the bloom. Various ranges of color in yellow, red, pink, purple, and melon are found in the daylily. The bloom can be a solid color or a combination of colors, and many are complex with patterns and ragged edges called teeth. Some daylilies have tiny crystals on their cells that reflect light giving them a sparkling or glistening appearance and a gold, silver or diamond dusting. The part of the plant the holds the blooms is called the scape and sizes can vary from a few inches to over five feet. Different hydridizers have been working on these visual effects that really add to the interest of the cultivar types.

Flower form is another interesting feature of the daylily, and there is great diversity from one cultivar to another. Most are single blooms with three petals and three sepals, but they can also be double blooms. The bloom can open flat, recurved, circular, spider, or trumpet like a true lily. Bloom size is another feature to consider with the different cultivars. Blooms are broken into three size ranges: miniature under 3 inches, small 3 to 4 ½ inches, and large over 4 ½ inches. There are many large bloom sizes that are over 10 inches. These size variations add to the many choices you have within the various cultivars. Foliage can also vary considerably from grass-like leaves to thick corn-like leaves. The length of the leaves also can vary from as little as 6 inches to over 36 inches. Daylilies should be planted where they get at least six hours of sun daily. Keep them watered for the best bloom.

The American Hemerocallis Society ( is the governing body for the perennial daylily. From its web site you can gain information about the different cultivars. There is also a database with all registered daylilies, giving details and pictures of the blooms. Unfortunately, in most cases, a picture cannot capture the real details of the flower. You can also see what are the most popular daylilies in your region. The Gettysburg area is located in Region 3.

Perhaps the best way to determine which type of daylily you like is to visit an American Hemerocallis Society Display Garden. By looking on the web site, you will find many within a reasonable distance from where you live. Display gardens are both public and privately-owned collections. All display gardens welcome visitors and offer them the chance to see several hundred wonderful newer cultivars that are not available at commercial nurseries and other retail markets. You might even want to join the American Hemerocallis Society; it is inexpensive and you will receive its magazine with lots of current research and information to make growing daylilies all the more fun and successful. There are daylily clubs within each region, and all of them have daylily sales giving you a chance to purchase modern daylilies at reasonable prices. Fellowship in these clubs promotes knowledge and expands gardening skills with daylilies.

Know What makes a Flower Fragrant

Have you ever asked why a few blossoms, for example, out-dated roses have a dazzling aroma and others, particularly a portion of the more current mixtures, have no scent? Actually I think all roses ought to have that awesome scent. It took a touch of burrowing, yet in perusing a vintage bloom cultivator’s handbook, I found a basic clarification that reveals some insight into exactly what makes the scent in blossoms – it is a part of a blossom alluded to as nectaries.

Not all flower fragrances are pleasant. The corpse lily emits a fragrance likened to rotting flesh. Skunk cabbages emit a fragrance indicative of their name. But flowering plants do not release fragrances for the benefit of our human noses. Flowers use their scents to attract pollinators and communicate with other plants. Many flowers emit scents to aid reproduction. Flowers use their ability to create fragrance to lure pollinators and provide them with nectar as a food reward. Nectar-feeding creatures include many species such as bees, butterflies, moths, flies, and even mosquitoes, bats and hummingbirds. For carnivorous plants such as the Venus Fly trap and Pitcher plant, fragrance lures in insects to be captured and digested within the flower cavity for food.

Some flowering plants are non-discriminating using their fragrances to attract a host of insects and birds to fertilize their flowers. Others specialize in releasing scents that only appeal to a particular insect. An example is a specific yucca that relies on a single “yucca” moth for its pollination. In pollination, an insect comes into contact with pollen bearing flower parts and takes some pollen with it before it leaves. It then unknowingly deposits that pollen on another flower of the same species, pollinating the plant and satisfying its need for production of a future generation through seed.

Until the past few decades, the biochemical process of fragrance production remained unknown. In 1953, chemists identified some 20 chemicals in a rose’s fragrance. By 2006, that number was roughly 400. The nectaries that create these chemical fragrances usually are found at the base of the male stamen inside the flower. To date, scientists have catalogued 1,700 different fragrance compounds produced by flowers, with some single plants having a mix of more than 100 compounds.

Nectaries secrete sugars and amino acids to form both nectar and fragrance molecules that are complex mixtures of low molecular weight compounds. Each fragrance compound is an organic molecule known as a volatile that vaporizes into a gas when released by the plant. These molecules are so small that if the average person had the same body size as the moon, the largest fragrance molecule would have the size of a marshmallow. Although flowers may appear identical in color or shape, no similar flowers have fragrances that are exactly the same because of the large diversity of volatile compounds that make up fragrance.

Fragrance is a signal that directs pollinators to a particular flower whose nectar or pollen is the food reward. Species pollinated by bees and flies have sweet fragrances, while those pollinated by beetles, for example, have strong musty, spicy, or fruity aromas. Little is known about exactly how insects respond to these compounds within floral scents, but it is clear that they are capable of distinguishing among the complex fragrance mixtures. Since much of our food production relies on insect-based pollination, think honeybees, we as humans therefore rely on a flower’s ability to produce fragrance for our food. Think about it.


Soil Secret Life

I trust at this point I’ve made you eager to go the Farm Show, keeping in mind you are there you will see the Master Gardener Exhibit. This year, Master Gardeners have endeavored to be an unmistakable nearness at the Farm Show.

As a major aspect of the Penn State show in the Main Exhibition Building, Master Gardeners from a few districts have cooperated to create a magnificent show, entitled “The Secret Life of the Soil.” You will see (and have the capacity to slither through) a 5-foot high worm burrow enriched with all the living life forms that live in the dirt. Make sure to take the children or grandkids!

What about some live frightening little animals? There will be vermicomposting takes care of set (also called worm treating the soil). On the off chance that you experience difficulty disposing of table scraps (leafy foods), this is the arrangement. Simply keep a container of redworms under the counter and sustain them your scraps—in a while, you will have compost—enough to nourish your houseplants and other little plants a relentless eating routine of improved soil.

A regular composting display will also be set up to give you examples of the various types of bins and containers that can be used for composting.

Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your questions (remember we have been involved for 2 years with the Backyard Composting program). Speaking of questions, Master Gardeners can answer all sorts of questions, and if we can’t answer on the spot we can get the answer for you.

Computers will be set up to print out instant information on a variety of topics. Do you know?

  • One teaspoon of forest soil contains these beneficial organisms:
    – between 100 million and 1 billion bacteria
    – several hundred yards of fungi
    – several hundred thousand protozoans
    – several hundred nematodes.
  • One cup of soil may hold as many bacteria as there are people on earth
  • It takes from 1,000 to 10,000 years to form 1 inch of topsoil.