My Red Bed - Second Year ( *9 photos*)

gottagarden(z5 western NY)November 1, 2006

Last year I posted photos of my brand new red bed. I thought you might be interested in an update to see how it is doing in year 2. I have planted several large shrubs and a couple of small trees, but they are still too small to show up yet. One problem with this bed is its lack of height. But I'm working on it!

Here is the overall scene - it's 50 feet long. Unfortunately, when I reduce the resolution for fast uploads it really destroys image quality. It looks much better in real life.

This year I thought I would try something new - red castor beans. They were wonderful and next year I will do a lot more. The seeds are highly toxic, and my kids have gotten several lectures on them. They are finally old enough to know better, but I still watch them.

This photo is from early July, but the garden really gets going late in the season. I will be adding more for early season interest next year.

Here we are in August, things are filling out nicely.

Isn't that castor bean nice?

Dahlias and red hibiscus.

See the red stars - that's my new cypress vine on the obelisks.

Salvias and amaranthus really work well together.

That's my daughter, I'm brainwashing her with flower love.

Me and my 2 kids :-) Every proud mom has to throw in some of those pictures.

Sorry for so many photos, but it was actually really hard to narrow it down to so few! Hope you enjoyed it. Lots more plans for next year.

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WOW!!!! Your Reds have taken off and look stunning!

Thanks for sharing!

I like the new crop you are raising, 2 real cuties!


    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 8:24PM
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pat_tea(PNW, Van,WA)

That is beautiful! Now, can we have a list of what you have in there? P l e a s e! I'm doing a red bed for my grandaughter Karlie in my new house. Proud mom, proud gardener. I love it.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 9:01PM
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I LOVE your red bed!!! It is absolutely stunning. Just gorgeous!!! Thank you so much for all the pictures. Your plant selection is outstanding. I am a big fan of bright colors too. I am so glad you updated us with the latest pictures. Keep the pictures coming!!!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 9:26PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

That is just CRAZY!! WOW!
Did you grow all of those plants from seed? You have red EVERYTHING! I can't really think of a single red annual you are missing. Incredible!


    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 10:48PM
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daisydo(6 TN)

Very pretty! A great idea and wonderful selection of plants. Your pictures are inspirational, and your children are just beautiful!! You have every right to be a proud mom!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 10:54PM
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putzer(z4 WI)

Thanks so much for posting these-it has just improved with age! more!

I started Amaranthus from seed this year and it grew taller than me. I was surprised-isn't it beautiful?!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 11:17PM
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Well, dang! Everybody else said what I was going to say!

But I have to chime in anyway and say: That is one beautiful border! You must have done some serious looking to find all those!


    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 12:52AM
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inthegarden_k(z7 NC)

this is so beautiful, it takes my breath away. do you grow burgundy gallardia? it wintersowed beautifully and will (in zone 7B) start blooming early and then bloom all summer long. you could also use canna tropicanna for early season foliage color. in your zone you would have to pull them up every year and replant in the spring. if you started them inside you'd get early season foliage color. what else are you thinking about for early red color?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 7:30AM
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faltered(Hamburg NY Z5/6)

Brenda, I love how everything has come together again this year. I do like the castor beans, they add a nice texture and height. Those dahlias are amazing- do you know what variety they are?

You are so lucky to have all that space to spread out in. I cannot wait until we get a house. Then I can start my own huge red bed! Your amaranthus got so tall you can hardly see the cannas in the back. Or did they not do as well this year?

Thanks for sharing with us.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 8:38AM
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Oh I LOVE your garden!! Absolutely beautiful and I love all the plants you used. Could you please share what is the name of that dark leaved purplelish plant on the bottom-right hand of picture #5? :)

Really enjoyed looking at your pictures, Thanks for sharing...


*Your babies are sooo cute!! I bet they already love helping Mommy in the garden. :)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 11:00AM
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inthegarden_k(z7 NC)

i think i see some canna leaves that i missed earlier behind the dahlias and red hibiscus. this is a set of pictures to go over and over!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 11:02AM
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That border is absolutely stunning - I echo what everyone else has said. I remember the border from last year and was so hoping we would see undated pictures. Thank you so much for posting them.

Your children are simply adorable - prettiest flowers in the garden :):)......


    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 11:09AM
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Wow, I remember this from last year. It is beautiful. I trieds some of these from seed after seeing yours but I had no luck with amaranths. Have you tried any of the red sunflowers for height?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 11:45AM
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I'm so glad you posted your red border again. I was hoping you would. Could it BE any more gorgeous???? It is a work of art. Your little rays of sunshine are adorable.

I've got a huge space ready for next year and I'd like to try the amaranthus (sp?). I've got the sedum and would like to make a big splash like yours.

Nice to see a face to attach to a name (wheelbarrow included).
Were you working on your front walkway last year??? Or was that someone else? How's it going???
You've got a fantastic eye for combining things.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 12:30PM
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Jut beautiful gottagarden! I've never seen a red bed before,
it's striking!...the little ones are pretty cute too!
My kids loved riding in the wheelborrow too!


    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 12:33PM
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balsam(z4/5 NB)

I absolutely love your red garden, gottagarden! Thanks for sharing the pics. "Flower love" - I like it! Good job on the garden and on brainwashing your kids. ;)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 12:50PM
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Ooo la la, there's nothing like red to make a statement. You have done a great job and make me want to look around for a place for my own red bed.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 1:40PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Your bed is gorgeous...I have amaranthus and red salvia together too, but they don't have near beauty and cohesiveness your bed has. Absolutely beautiful.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 2:52PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Thanks everyone! I must admit that your compliments really make me feel good. I live in the country and not that many people see my garden, so it's fun to show it online. When I do have people over, they often aren't gardeners, so they aren't as enthusiastic. Some think I definitely have too much time on my hands (perhaps that's why her house is such a mess). Some don't get it, You could use a few other colors in this garden, maybe some pinks and purples. Some astute people recognize compulsive behavior when they see it. (guilty as charged) Plus visitors also see all the hoses that aren't wound up, the past-their-prime plants flopping on the walkways, and the combinations that didn't work out. This is kind of a nice and safe way of showing my gardens at their best.

This redbed is harder to photograph than my other beds. It looks its best in early morning and evening when the sun shines through the petals and lights them up like fire. The photos at this time, however, invariably show harsh contrasts, and deep shadows, and never look good. So I have to settle for cloudy days. For Christmas I asked Santa for a fancy new digital camera, so maybe then I'll be able to show it in its best light.

I just went shopping this morning and bought bulbs on clearance. I was going to plant them, but it's snowing out pretty hard right now. So instead I'm on gardenweb.

Regarding your questions:
ggg - not everything is from seed. The red amaranthus reseeded itself -in spades! I hoed out so many I debated leaving any at all. But of course I have to have them, they really make the whole bed. I cheat and buy 4- packs of impatiens, petunias, and salvias for $1.25/4-pack. My friend mulchy gave me the castor bean plants that she started from seed, and also bronze millet.

inthegarden_k - I do grow burgundy gaillardia. It featured a lot in last year's photographs. This year I moved it too far back in the bed and they got covered by larger plants. But they are stalwarts, like you said, they start blooming early and keep going all season, even without deadheading.

I have canna "King Humbert" with red leaves. It's my second year, so they are slowly multiplying. My other green-leaved cannas multiply like rodents, I have removed 4 bushel baskets of them so far. I had tropicanna last year, but for some strange reason they did not grow, but rather shriveled in the cellar. Probably because they were expensive and the others were not.

Tracy (faltered) - I have 3 dahlias. The fancy ones are "akita". They died over winter in my cellar, so I bought more of them. The other dark smoky red is Arabian night. The bright true red is an unknown variety that multiplies like crazy. Happy to share either of those with you, I have a ton.

Tracy, you have quite a memory! You remember that last year the cannas were the backdrop along the whole bed. This year I added another whole 3 foot-wide strip to the back. I added manure and woodshavings and rototilled it all in, creating a new bed. That's where I planted my cannas and red barberries. However I did not add nitrogen to the soil to compensate for all those tilled in wood-shavings. (It only needs to be done the first year.) The result was very stunted 3 foot high cannas. A big flop.

One day you will get your own house! I lived for 6 years in a condo, and my garden was a rented 10'x20' community plot that I rode to on my bike.

Thegardenangel - that dark leaved purplelish plant on the bottom-right hand of picture #5 - is "red emperor sedum". Has gorgeous thick red stems all season. Needs excellent drainage. My first one got root rot, and this was a cutting from that one.

debbieca - can't believe you couldn't get amaranthus to grow. I can't get it to stop. I pulled out hundreds and hundreds of seedlings. Perhaps the trick is to sprinkle it on the surface, with no dirt on top. Moist all winter. FYI - they are shallow rooted and pull out quite easily, even when large. I have about a gazillion seeds if anyone wants, email me by member page.

Red sunflowers - yes! You just reminded me that I bought those seeds this spring, but never got around to planting them. Same story with scarlet runner beans. I'm guilty of a lot of that. I still have the packets, so maybe next year I'll try again. Any particular ones I should try? Great idea though!

Georgeanne - yeah, the photo. I was quite hesitant about that, you know, preferring my anonymity. That and I never like any photos of myself. But I guess I'm ready to come of the gardener's closet.

Still thinking about that front walkway, haven't come up with a design I like yet. I tend to ignore the front garden in favor of the back and side gardens. I keep thinking a good idea will just come to me oneday. That's usually how it works. No good photos yet, perhaps next year.

pattea - oh, the list is so long! All the above mentioned plants, and Lilies, bee balm, hollyhocks, red blood grass, cardinal flower, euphorbia, bloody dock, heuchera palace purple, husker red penstemon (for the foliage), poppies, geum, knautia, peonies, "blackie" sweet potato, etc. etc. etc.

Perhaps one day I'll post a thread on the red bed "failures". Things that didn't work out, and that I didn't show.

Later on I will post more photos. That's enough for now!

1 Like    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 3:33PM
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Your gardens are so beautiful I am in awe! Thankyou for posting such beautiful pictures! M

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 6:39PM
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Hi Brenda,
It looks great(or it did before the snow! lol.) I've got a plant for you! I'm overwintering cuttings of my tropical red hibiscus. You "gotta" have some next year, as long as I don't kill them before spring: ) Here's a pic of it.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 10:29PM
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homenovice(z10 / Sunset 23)

Brenda, this is one breath-taking bed and that's besides the beautiful plants and combinations - I'm talking about all that amazing work! I can appreciate the lack of garden enthusiasts to see a garden first hand, so I'm glad you're able to share online! I love it that your daughter's even wearing a read shirt!


    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 10:55PM
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FlowerLady6(z10 Fl)

Your red bed is absolutely stunning. It just takes ones breath away with it's beauty and diversity of plants. You did a fantastic job. Your children are sweeties. I would love to try some amaranth seeds. They would add something to my s.e. FL gardens if they would grow down here in our heat and humidity. I'd love to see more pictures of your other gardens. You are an inspiration.

I am emailing you through GW, let's hope you get it, since some have been having problems with mail going through


    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 6:14AM
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What beautiful pictures! I'm so impressed by your use of colour! It's extremely effective. Gorgeous. And your sweet babies (also colour-coordinated lol)... beautiful!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 9:17AM
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friend(z6a NJ)

Hi Gotta Garden..

Wow the amount of time you mus thave put into this...Honestly- this is just plain breath taking. I think you need new neighbors. I I lived near by I'd be walking by everyday just to see it.( and ask you for advice too, sinc eyou are obviously a guru!!)

I am just sooo sooo impressed with these pics. Unbelievable really!
Now I have a couple of questions for you.
#1- how does one get such darn beautiful kids? LOL WHAT CUTIES!!

#2- the plant in the secong picture with 5-6 toothed red leaves.. that's beautiful. Is that the castor bean? I have no idea what castor bean is? do you basically just have to keep your kids from eating it? how poisonous is that??! for pets too?

#3- That amaranth is wonderful! I just love it. do you thikn it woudl do well in my rock/wildflower garden? I jsut let things go nuts in there. it's a dry sunny slope and i really never eater it.. it's too far from the house.. so I try to keep it all wild stuff that reseeds and need little care. I assume deer woudlnt eat it and birds probably love the seeds too right?( since it is a grain after all right?)
i have no red leafed stuff in there- it woudl add lots of fall interest which is is lacking bigtime. if you think it would work- did you send some of those seeds in for the seed swap? :)

#4- I grow a redstemmed,redleaf cardinal flower ( perrenial) and i put lots of that seed in the seed swap. I can send you pics if interested. I forget the exact variety and i am not sure if it's hardy to zone 5 or 6 but I'm in 6 and i'm fine with it for 3 years now.

PS- when neighbors ask you why you dont add other colors- tell them that you are looking to attract the hummingbirds and it's their favorite.. maybe that will shut them up. LOL

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 9:30AM
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fammsimm(Z8 DFW)


I remembered your pics from last year, too and also your advice about adding as much organic material as possible to your beds. Remember the sawdust pictures? :-) I never thought of adding sawdust until I saw your picture. I've been trying to follow that astute advice ever since.

It's great to see how your red garden has matured. It's even more breathtaking this year!


    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 9:46AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Thanks everyone!

Remy - yes, please! I would love some of that red-leaved hibiscus.

friend - yes, that's a castor bean. The seeds are poisonous, so just don't let kids or pets eat them. (They're covered with cool spiky balls, so it's not really likely, but they still get lectures.)

Supposedly you can save the amaranth seeds and eat them, but I don't. I'm sure they would do well anywhere with full sun. I only put a few in the seed swap, not sure if people wanted them because they DO reseed profusely. If interested, email me and I will send you some.

Two years ago I had a red leaved cardinal flower, but it didn't overwinter. I tried again this year and am keeping my fingers crossed. Some seeds would be nice insurance . . . See it in the second picture at the bottom of the castor bean. So beautiful!

Marilyn - sawdust is great, just remember to put extra nitrogen the first year or you will wind up with stunted plants like my cannas.

This is in June. Problem with the lilies, and a lot of other plants, is that they are not true red, but tend towards pinky red or orangy red. I'm still debating whether to replace them. Other plants here are spiky cordyline and heuchera coral bells

My containers by the side door.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 11:44AM
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I sure enjoyed your pictures, you know how much I love looking at your gardens!!! Love the pictures of the children, just had to save the wheelbarrow one!!!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 2:15PM
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mmegaera(8bWA 4Sunset)

Wow. That is so beautiful, and I normally don't even care much for red.

Absolutely gorgeous -- not just the plants, but the way you've put them together, and the sheer overflowing abundance of the whole bed. Wow.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 8:36PM
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moonphase(z7 Ga)

gottagarden,you have mail.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 9:39PM
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gardengirl_17(z5 OH)

Your red bed is very inspiring! I love the dramatic look of all the various shades of red flowers and foliage! I have not been happy with the bed in front of our house for a couple of years and this summer I decided I would make it an annual/tropical showplace each year with a different color scheme. Next year I was planning to try red or orange so I found your pictures to be a great help in deciding some plant choices! I hope my bed turns out to look 1/2 as nice as yours!

I saw that you offered some seeds of the Amaranthus. I will e-mail you and see if you'd be willing to share some with me. I have some seeds to trade you too. Thanks again for the photos!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 9:42AM
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I 'get it'.....It's nice to think of how much enjoyment you must get out your Red Bed...


    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 9:09AM
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I too remember your bed photos last what a difference. I remember being excited to see it when it was done. And it is lovely.

Thanks for sharing your garden.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 9:39PM
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Gottagarden, your red bed is so gorgeous! It REALLY says, "HELLO!"

I have some questions about that sawdust + nitrogen thing, though. I'm trying to garden in sand here where I live (just moved here in February of 2005) and have been trying to amend with loads of stuff that is cleaned out of the stalls of a horse farm nearby. It's mostly shavings with some horse manure and spoiled hay and straw. It breaks down fairly quickly in compost piles and also when I use it to make lasagne beds. In fact, it seems to "melt" away in this sand so that you can't tell much difference after a season or so. But I've been told that this is a good way to eventually improve this sand.

In the meantime I am noticing that almost all my plants are, as you said, stunted. They don't actually seem to grow much at all...just cling to life barely if at all. So I am thinking I need to take your advice and add nitrogen. My question is, what form of nitrogen do you use? I have fish emulsion that I can add in liquid form. Would that work? Is there a particular type or brand of product you would recommend?

Our soil is very acid here, too, and I've read that that can bind nitrogen so that plants don't take it up. Would you recommend using lime along with the nitrogen?

This is a new problem for me here and I'd really appreciate your suggestions.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 3:45PM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

What a magical garden! I, too, desided to make my front bed red. This bed is stuffed with bulbs like a Thanksgiving turkey, and spring will reveal the fruits of my labor. It better! Waiting and being patient is the hardest thing.
Your garden id just beautiful!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 9:05PM
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    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 10:56AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Thanks everybody. The redbed is pretty much done for the season. Right now the barberry bushes' foliage is a brilliant crimson. I'll have to get the camera. Shrubs to add for next year for fall foliage are yucca "bright sword" and mellow yellow spiraea.

lindakimy - re soil amendments. If you are tilling them into the soil then they need nitrogen the first year. Decomposing wood steals nitrogen from the soil in order to decompose. I just buy the cheapest kind I can get in a big bag. I use gloves and scatter it thickly on the surface. If you have sand, you will need to add that manure every year, but in future you can just use it as a mulch. Check the soil forum for lots of info on this.

If any of you have requested amaranth seeds and haven't heard from me, try again, since gardenweb hasn't sent me any notices.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 6:11PM
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I'm thinking of adding barberry to my red bed. Do you know which cultivar you planted?

Thanx, jxa44

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 8:49PM
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Your garden is absolutely gorgeous!!!


    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 3:39PM
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I just wanted to bump this one back to the top, for people like me who have been away for a while and are just now getting to see this.

This is absolutely stunning, creative work! Very inspirational!!!!

Gottagarden, are your children twins?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 11:00PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

JXA44, my red barberry was just generic red barberry, I bought it bare root from a catalog. Super cheap but very tough. I saw a hedge of these probably 7 feet tall while driving in a nearby town. Completely untended, but still thick and naturally well shaped. Here is a photo of the fall foliage in NOVEMBER, but it's much prettier in real life, and will be nicer still when it gets big enough to be a backdrop. The leaves turn very late, and last a long time.

I've added two trees, red-leaved of course! A "vesuvius" flowering plum, and a weeping purple beech.

Ellen, my children are 3 and 5, the perfect age!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 7:59AM
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lavendrfem(z6 CT)

Passion for a particular color expressed that way is a work of art...just beautiful!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 11:05AM
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I would think it would add value to your neighboring properties, that have a view of your garden! What an honor THAT would be!

Is your "red bed" idea original, gottagarden, or did you get the inspiration from somewhere else?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 11:37AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

I had seen some photos of some hot beds in English Garden Magazines, can't remember the names, but they were inspirational. I like to experiment :-)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 12:56PM
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barbuk(z5 MI)

Your red bed is so wonderful, I keep coming back for another look. In sharing, you have sown seeds of inspiration in many. Thank you, Barb.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 9:31AM
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Gottagarden- sooooo beautiful and unique. I never have enough courage to put things like amaranth in, and my garden doesn't have that drama to it. Those dahlias are GORGEOUS- I agree with Tracy, I am envious of all your space. I am new to dahlias but have fallen in love with them. Especially since they thrive in my Virginia heat. Those lilies are amazing too- which ones are they?
Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 9:50AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

OK - I've made an online album for my redbed. It has these photos and a few more, to show some different flowers, and angles. See link below.

Threeorangeboys - I just love dahlias too! So bold and bright and reliable. The lilies are "monte negro" (good true red), cote d'azur (definitely pinky, unlike the package photo), and another I've forgotten the name of.

I'm always looking for names of good true reds - neither pinky or orangey.

Here is a link that might be useful: Redbed Album

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 2:19PM
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Nicki(z9 FL)

I can't say anything that hasn't already been said! I remember seeing pictures of your garden last year, and I was blown away then.

Gorgeous! Thank gawd you gotta garden!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 5:23PM
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slubberdegulion(z7 VA)

Same here, I'm smitten. I recall last year's pics also. Just gorgeous. And not only the plants (choices and placement), but the pictures themselves, which has also been said before. Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 9:16PM
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Try the red dahlia spartacus if you want to add more dahlias. They are a gorgeous deep red- huge dinner plate ones. I am thinking about adding cannas to my garden for the first time. are they hard to grow? I never thought of them before but I am developing a real affection for the tropical plants. Always looking for things that are happy in heat and humidity.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 11:35AM
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I think you've inspired a LOT of people, whether they have posted here or not. If you go to the Seed Exchange forum, under Round Robins, there is a Swap called "Theme" swap run by drippy. In it are 30 participants and about half of them are starting a "Red Garden".


    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 2:27PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

I put this info on another post, but thought it would be useful to include here for any future readers.

Color is so subjective. When does red cross into orangish red? When does red slide into purplish red? Whats the difference between burgundy, maroon, scarlet, crimson, ruby, claret, vermilion? (not to mention smoky red, cherry red, tomato red, etc. Â those terms at least are a little easier to envision.) And just exactly which shade is the "true red" anyways?

IÂm sorry but I wonÂt be answering these questions. I just bring it up to help describe my "red bed". My goal was to have it be "true red", more or less, and also have lots of dark or reddish foliage. I have since come to the conclusion that there are lots of orangey-reds and lots of purply reds, but few "true" reds. In order to have more than five specimens, I have relaxed my standards and include many flowers that are "pretty close" to true red. If they stray too far from that section of the spectrum, they have been usually been removed. Not because IÂm trying to be a purist, but I find that orange red next to pink red really clashes. I have a couple photos of these that show what I mean. But, you could decide to focus instead on burgundy reds altogether, or the orange reds.

Here are my observations on plants and colors in this zone 5 red bed. Your garden may differ.


Amaranthus  not sure what kind I have, I got it in a trade. It is the backbone plant of the garden. Looks like amaranthus cruentus Hopi Red Dye.
Castor Bean "carmencita" Â wow! The new mainstay, a huge success this year. Highly poisonous seeds.
Impatiens  edging plant
Petunia  edging plant
Salvia coccinea "Lady in Red" Â must have. Blooms early and all summer long
Salvia splendens "Flare" Â somewhat orangish, but worth it for the long bloom season.
Icicle Pansies  dark burgundy, long bloom when nothing else going on.
Marigold "scarlet starlet" Â really dark orange. Gone next year
Pennisetum Fountain Grass  got buried by faster growers
Iresine  so beautiful, but way, way too hot pink
Nicotiana  true red
Gerber Daisies  true red

Sweet Potato "blackie" Â great trailer, annual
Cypress vine  true red, small stars. Fabulous ferny foliage, worth growing just for foliage.
Rhodochiton  burgundy, but exotic and unusual. Delicate and small
Sweet 100 cherries. Grew them in the veggie garden but they are joining the fray next year.
Clematis "Asao" and "Niobe" Â both too pink. TheyÂll get moved.

Anemone coronaria  true red!! Wonderful, long blooming, very early.

Dahlia "Arabian Night" Â deep smoky red, reliable
Dahlia "Bishop of Llandaff" Â deep red AND reddish foliage! DoesnÂt overwinter in my cellar though L
Dahlia "Akita" Â red, orange and yellow cactus. Gorgeous
Dahlia "swapper special" Â donÂt know the real name of this dahlia I got in a swap, but super hardy, early and long bloomer, nice true red. CanÂt give them away I have so many of them.
Iris "Samurai Warrior" Â more burgundy, but stays because very little else is blooming at that time.
Gladiolus  Black Jack  nice smoky red
Gladiolus - Sensation  true red
Gladiolus  Trader Horn  orangy, removed
Crocosmia "Lucifer" Â more red than regular crocosmia, but still kind of orangy
Calla Black Beuty  deep smoky burgundy red. A keeper
Lilies  Monte Negro  nice red!
Lilies  Fangio  too pinkish
Lily "Blackout" Â a knockout! True red.
Martagon Lilies  too orange
Tulips  red emperor, red riding hood  deer food, sigh . . .

Astrantia Moulin Rouge  love it! CanÂt wait for it to "bulk up". Technically more burgundy, but oh well, too nice, have to keep it.
Primrose cherry red  double, beautiful, slow to bulk up, unlike my other primroses
Daylilies  "Ruby Throat" and so many wonderful true reds, but I canÂt find my notes right now.
Burgundy gaillardia  despite the name, I consider it true red.
Hollyhock  almost black. Next year trying a seed swap red.
Knautia macedonica  burgundy, but just the right form  airy, bulbous flower heads swaying in the breeze
Geum Mrs. Bradshaw  too orange. Removing.
Poppy  Allegro  too orange
Poppy Brilliant  too orange
Lobelia Cardinalis  true red! Wonderful
Lobelia Cardinalis "Queen Victoria" Â true red! AND smoky red foliage. Perfect for the red bed.
Heuchera Ruby Bells  true red bells! But leaves burned by too much sun.
Heuchera Palace Purple  leaves too burned
Penstemon Husker Red  flowers are completely wrong shade of lavender, but stems and leaves have a great smoky cast to them, and flower seedheads stay all year, even through winter.
Phlox  Tenor  too pink and removed
Potentilla Fire Flames  too orange, removed
Peony "Karl Rosenfeld" Â pinky red, but so little else is blooming at this time of year, so it stays
Fushcia magellanica  orangy, but kept anyways because itÂs the only hardy fuschia here
Firecracker flower (dichelostemma) Â ho hum
Monarda  one true red, one burgundy red. Keep them both because theyÂre so nice.
Sedum  Autumn Joy  flowers go from light pink to dark dusty pink. Not quite right.
Sedum  Matrona  red stems! And flowers are better than autumn joy. Will replace AJ when large enough
Sedum Red Emperor  nice dark foliage! Susceptible to root rot.
Hibiscus "Luna Red" Â very short, so I need to move to front of border. Have just bought new taller one, "Lord Baltimore". Ask me next year
Chrysanthemum "Helen" Â wonderful dark smoky red. Need to propagate more of these.
Sweet Williams "sooty" Â dark, smoky red, long blooming and early
Poker Plant (Kniphofia) Â too orange

Foliage Plants

Canna  Red King Humbert ( dig tubers annually)
Cordyline  Red Star Spike (annual)
Japanese Blood Grass
Bloody Dock
Smoke bush "purple robe" Â great foliage!
Weigela "wine and roses" Â ho hum
Weigela "midnight wine" Â ho hum
Red Barberry  gorgeous fall foliage, tough, nice background
Red-leaved euphorbia

Next yearÂs list of plants to find and try are:

Red Sunflower
Scarlet runner bean
Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes on my obelisk
Ruby chard
Red clover

Phew!! ThatÂs it for now, rather exhaustive list, donÂt you think? Sorry it took so long. Let me know what IÂm missing! Prefer perennials to annuals at this point. If you want seeds of anything email me late next summer and I will start saving.

Here is the location of my new redbed album on picasa.

Also, next year before the seed swaps let me know! I'll be happy to fill up a big package with lots of red seeds. 3 years on gardenweb and I never knew about the seed exchange!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 12:22PM
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I too remember the pictures from last year. Your garden is simply stunning. I can't look at the pictures enough. A gathering of attractive plants grown together is always a pleasure, but a work of inspired garden art such as this goes way beyond that.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 6:22PM
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ssfkat3(7/8 virginia)

absolutely gorgeous!!! where can I find pictures from last year? I'd love to see the changes a year make :D I've never used a lot of reds before, but this sure has me thinking of all i've missed out on!!!

I'd be proud to be your neighbor!!! (too cold for me though :D)


    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 9:41PM
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I have some true red lily's you can email me if you would like some this Spring. They are called monte negro if you would like to look them up.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 3:59PM
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bindersbee(6a UT)

Gottagarden- I have a plant suggestion for your garden this year. I was just alerted to this STUNNING red-leaved hibiscus. I can be grown from seed and will reach a height of 10 feet in a single season. The look is sort of like a Japanese maple but with beautiful pink blooms. Here's a link

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 8:08PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

bindersbee - thanks for thinking of me. About midway in this post Remy suggests a red-leaved hibiscus without giving its latin name. I'll bet this is the same, so thanks for the name, and hopefully I will see Remy at the Spring GW swap and get some cuttings.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 9:34AM
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    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 3:13PM
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lezard(4 Laurentide QC)

Hello I'm from Quebec Canada, you love red bed like me. To add with my amaranthus my favorite is canna australia, dahlia bishop children (from seed),purple majesty millet (from seed), hibiscus red... Look the picture of my red bed at.....

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 7:36AM
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Your gardens are inspirational! They are amazing! You have done a wonderful job on them. Thanks so much for sharing your photos, they are so enjoyable for me to look at!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 10:12AM
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This one I'm going to have to share with my DH. He started a red bed last year. Very nice!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 7:32PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Lezard and curlykat, nice to know there are other red fans out there. Lezard, I enjoyed your photos, obviously you love red too! I had bishop of llandaff dahlias, but the tubers didn't overwinter for me. I really like canna Australia, so I will have to look for that one.

Someone please stop me, I went shopping this weekend and came back with more red plants - sprekelia, dahlias, gladiolus, and calla bulbs. Like I needed any more!

Almost thinking of making that bed larger . . . .

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 5:51AM
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That is a *gorgeous* bed, and I am so envious of your space!

I love the comments/notes you've made about each plant. I started doing that same thing two years ago (garden journal) and I find it to be very helpful for future reference. I try to note general bloom-times too, to help with any plant rearrangements.

I've never done a 'color' bed... it's never something I've wanted to do, and I don't have much planting space anyway, but I would love having a red bed like yours!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 10:45PM
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lezard(4 Laurentide QC)

Gottagarden the red flower I saw is-it SALVIA COCCINEA LADY IN RED, because I bought seed of it from Thompson Morgan and I don't know if it will be flowering the first year from seed?????

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 8:23AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Yes, it's "Lady in Red". It should flower the first year from seed. I planted mine from tiny little 4 packs and they bloomed within weeks.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 3:38PM
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Thanks to those who kept bumping this thread!!! I'm finally getting around to commenting.

GOTTA! What a truly handsome bed you've created!
Beyond the sheer beauty of it, and the wonderful use of red, you've done a lot of this without a background of trees and shrubs. THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!
My garden has fields behind it and I'm trying to use background plants that are grasses and tall perennials. I didn't think I could do cannas or amaranthus, but YOU HAVE and they are stunning!!!

Thanks for the inspiration you've given me and so many others.
(Your red bed and story belong in a future issue of "Fine Gardening"!)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 5:15AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Thanks PattiOh! I'd like a background behind this flower bed, but trees and hedges take a long time to grow. I have started planting though :-) I put in purple plum, purple smoke bush, barberries, red weigela, copper beech, etc. so that in future years (five or so??) I will also have a red leaved background. Definitely be over-the-top red, probably tooooo much.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 6:26AM
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rubyfruit(7 - New York)

i LOVE your red bed!
i love any monochrome gardens... but I especially love the dark reds - and I love how long it is, and how diverse!

beautiful, I'm jealous!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 9:38PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Gottagarden, your red bed is spectacular. Thanks for the inspiration and the plant lists. I have my own red bed, and it will be much prettier next Spring.
By the way, I share your shyness about appearing in photos; but heck, if I was a pretty as you I would have my photos plastered all over the internet.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 1:33PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Hi Rubyfruit and hosenemesis,
I did an update earlier this year with late spring and early summer flowers. I posted on the gallery side and here is the link. It's still unseasonably warm here, but as soon as it gets cold, I will go through my photos and try to post some new ones from this year.

Hosenemesis - I just love your "handle"! Many, many times I have thought to myself that the hoses are the bane of my garden and your name captures it all.

Here's one from this year showing the salvia and amaranthus running amuk:

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 6:27PM
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jody(7b - NC)

WOW! A beautiful, absolutely unique red border. The front of my house is red too, but anchored by climbing red roses (actually mostly roses). If you don't mind, I am studying in detail to get ideas for other red blooming and red foliaged plants to use.

I'm impressed that you got your cypress vine to climb on something. Mine climb all over the other plants and multiply with great enthusiasm. Thus far they have deliberately ignored any climbing supports I have provided for them :-) In the farmer's markets around here they call them cardinal vine.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 3:29PM
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moonphase(z7 Ga)

Brenda,I am in the swap and would love to receive seeds from your red bed.I used amaranthus,love lies bleeding,red zinnia,red tassel flower,some red sunflowers and have a red passion vine growing on a fence.I put up 2 sections of split rail fence and have my red bed on both sides.since it is dividing my flower bed area from my vege beds.I have along way to go but you have really inspired me.I also have some red climbing roses and rose hybrid teas named big love..Can't wait to see your year 3 pictures.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 12:35AM
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MollyDog(6 PA)

Absolutely beautiful...I love your color combinations.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 9:43AM
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swivelhips(z6 NWArkansas)

I am delighted to see these photos - never imagined the beauty that would result in the combinations you've used. Please send larger photos to me as you have time.

You definitely need to add some of my red daylilies! A friend suggested I look at your Red Bed - glad I did.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 12:49PM
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gail_ish(5a ON)

I'm glad to see this thread revived. I have been making up my catalogue orders. I'm planning new beds around the barns & there are a suspicious amount of red-flowered items on my list :)

Seriously, I have been planning this red bed (in front of the gray barns - ooh, I can't wait), but the pictures in my head have faded somewhat. I truly forgot how stunning your border is, and hopefully how mine will be. Here's a picture of the barns I have in mind - it's where you drive in (you can just see the driveway at the edge of the photo):

This has renewed my excitement!!!

All the best,

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 2:17PM
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jessica315(z5 Utah)

I am amazed and inspired. Thanks for sharing....


    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 10:37PM
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Hi Gottagarden,

I loved this post when I saw it last year and I'm still LOVING this post! What an amazing gardener you are!! Can you tell me if the castor beans are easy to grow from seed? My sister is going to give me a few seeds. Also, do you have any Amaranthus seeds or tubers from the true red dahlia, that you can spare? Finally, what is the name of the sedum on the bottom right side of fourth pic? Its so pretty. I love to see your garden pics - I look forward to them every garden season!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 8:42PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Hi folks,
Yes spring is not far away now and we're all dreaming of new beds. I happen to be on vacation in New Zealand now and have not had access to the internet most of the time, so that is why I haven't been posting.

Swivelhips, if you go to the link posted about 8 posts back, you can go to my picasa photo albums and see larger photos, and MORE photos.

Gail ish, that gray barn will make the perfect background for bright and dark colors, like red ;-) I see tall red hollyhocks as a background in its future.

Bellarosa, the red sedum is "purple emperor" or "red emperor", can't remember which. I bought both and the difference is one has bluish green leaves covered by red and the other has olive green leaves covered by red. This one is particularly prone to root rot here where we get summer rain. I am now putting in sedum matrona which is more reliable and has green leaves with red stems.

Castor beans are very easy to grow from seed, I think I had 100% germination. They are slow to get going though, so you may want to start indoors, I think I'll do that this year.

I do have both amaranthus seeds and red dahlias. The seeds I would send for free, but the dahlias are kind of heavy so would send for postage. Email me separately and let me know how many you are willing to pay postage for, I have so many and everyone in my garden club has already been given them :-) They are the most reliable dahlias I have ever grown.

here's to dreams of spring . . . .

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 3:25PM
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I love this garden and love looking at pictures of it. So inspirational! I'm delighted to see this thread come up again.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 8:11PM
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trowelgal(Kansas Zone 5)

Hi gottagarden,
Thank you so much for being such a generous person. It took a lot of time to photograph then upload your pictures (stunning garden)and then to make the long list of what you planted. In additon, you were so sweet to answer everyone's questions. You are teaching your darling children that life is beautiful when you love the earth. They are spending time with Mommy outdoors, very valuable.
I have some seeds of red Maltese Cross. Would you like some? Idea: Do you have a tripod for your camera? If so you could set up a lovely family photo in front of your red-bed and use it on Christmas cards. Put your family in white shirts and with all that red in the back it would be so dramatic. What do you think?
I will keep checking in the summer to see if you post your year#3 pictures, they are delightful to see. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 9:39PM
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I love your red bed!! That castor bean will throw all kinds of seeds,i'm forever pulling them out of the lawn and the gardens.But they pull out very easily.

I also love that red sedum in picture 5.I have several sedums,but not that one.

Have you seen this,it's more red in person than it is in this picture.It's called Texas Star Hibiscus.

I also have that ster shaped plant on the viney looking stems.A neighbor gave me some seeds and i potted them up,and they never came up that first year.Then last year i found them coming up in the ground around the corner from where i had planted them.Bird planting i guess!!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 10:53PM
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Ohhhh New Zealand! Jealous!
I'd also love some of your dahlias if you have more to spare. Of course, more than happy to pay you for them and/or postage. You inspire everyone here so much! Your gardens should be in garden magazines, truly.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 2:57PM
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That is unbelievable. Just beautiful. It must be stunning in real life.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 8:35AM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

First time seeing this thread and I echo what everyone else has said--FABULOUS. I have never grown amaranthus but inspired to try it after seeing your photos.

I suggest clematis texensis the US native species. Those flowers are red and would fit in well. Not sure if I missed them but what about some snapdragons to get the garden off to a red start early in the spring??

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 8:58AM
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Those pics are just amazingly beautiful! I'm now completely won over to reds altho have avoided most in the past. I look forward to seeing that bed again this year to see how it has matured. I've saved your plant list and hope there are a few really hardy ones there that will grow here.

Cute kiddies too, bet they've changed in 2+ years also! :-)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 3:52PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Well this is an old thread! The bed really hasn't changed a lot, just a few replacements and some new grasses.

I will have to see if I can find that red clematis. I've got Niobe in there, but it's rather pinky red. Still beautiful with the lilies.

I should try some snapdragons for early color. This bed is a bit slow getting started, but sizzles in the summer heat.

Luckygal, yup! The kids have changed more than the gardens, but they still love it outside.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 7:28AM
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I don't know how I missed this the first time, I have a red bed too! Not as stunning as yours though. I have Pardon Me daylily and Paprika yarrow, the daylily is burgundy with a green throat, and the yarrow gets pinkish as it fades. But I wouldn't be without either one! Have experienced same problem with sedum, try mulching it with pea gravel. I love the amaranthus, red salvia, and castor bean. Will have to add those, and hollyhocks, and try cannas again this year. It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it! :0)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 6:49PM
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Gottagarden: Do you have any photos of your red bed from last year? I love it and am working on plans for a red bed at my place. I have a long driveway and think a red bed would be smashing!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 4:39PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Definitely a stunning bed!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 6:49PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

I took a ton of photos last year, never got around to posting any. One comment, most of the photos look the same as the previous years :-)

I've been adding a few grasses and moving things around to change the display a little.

I will try to post some new photos sometime soon.

Good luck with your redbed!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 6:17AM
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I was just thinking about your Red Bed and found it! I so love these flowers that I wanted the newer members of the forum to have a chance to see your beds. Now that it is seed saving time and soon we will be planning for our beds for next year I thought this would,be an inspiration!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 2:23PM
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Thanks Joann for bringing this back up,i love seeing this and can never get enough of it.Now if someone could give me more hours in the day,then i'd be a happy camper.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 7:28PM
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Yes, it's good to bump this one back up for people to be inspired.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 7:35PM
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How is the garden this year. I just love the pics.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:51PM
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xiangirl zone 4/5 Nebraska(5)

Thank you for the inspiration. One of my goals this year is red. I've been collecting red seeds. I have the red castor beans and your photos were very inspiring of those! Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:35PM
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Beyond beyond. Omygoodness ... Stunning ! How grateful I am you listed the plants I adore the cypress vine - and everything. What everyone else said !!!! I need me some Amaranthus. Thank you all. Loving those barns too

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 10:37PM
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Jennifer_Ruth(Z 10, Sunset Z 23)

My thanks to both the creator of this bed and the person who brought the thread back up. I am so inspired that I immediately thought of a place in our yard for a red bed, and we'll be starting it tomorrow! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I wish you the best gardening year ever.

One note about the castor bean, for people who are just learning about it--it's not just sort of poisonous, it's very poisonous. So take care where you put it, to keep children and pets safe.

Off to make an inventory of all my red plants and seeds!


    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 12:44AM
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