Limelight and Quick Fire make great companions!

ostrich(3a AB)August 7, 2009

I love how the lime blooms of my Limelight go with the pale pink blooms of my Quick Fire:

Also, the lacey blooms of QF are quite different from the conical blooms of the Limelight. So that makes a nice contrast.

Ditas, this photo also gives you a better sense of scale for my LL and QF.

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Great picture!
I assume this is just the left half of the bed you was creating couple of years ago with crabapple in a center.
Could you show the whole thing to see how you balanced left and right sides of it?
If I recall correctly Black Lace sambucus was there as well. Correct? If so, I'd like to see it.
Is it a weigela 'My Monet' in a lower right corner?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:07PM
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Oh Ostrich - how beautiful!!! Â;) You redid your 'Island' or is this another one? I love it ... thanks for sharing!!!

Is that Little Spire, peeking at the right?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:15PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks, George!

I am so impressed by you - not only do you have good eyes, you also have a super memory too! How do you remember all these details!? Yes, I did have a Sambucus Blacklace in the space behind QF. However, it was rather poorly balanced, so I moved it to the far right end of this bed, and now it is looking great there. Much more balanced that way. I have also moved the Ninebark Summer Wine to where the Sambucus Blacklace was, and it is now doing well there too.

Yes, that is a weigela My Monet. Its foliage is just absolutely amazing! Very, very pretty indeed.

I cannot believe that I didn't take a shot of the entire bed this evening! I will do that when I have a chance again this weekend.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:18PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Oh Ditas, I guess we posted at around the same time! :-)

Thank you! Yes, this is the same island, but just a different shot. Also, it is now blooming much better than before. I did move things a little bit there, and planted many, many more perennials there since last year.

Ditas, that is indeed a Little Spires Russian Sage. I love that thing! It is so very pretty. The only thing is, my bed is just a little rich and moist for its liking, so it flops over a little bit. Still, I like it so much that I will just keep it there!!!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:22PM
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I'm approaching the point when I clearly remember conversations happened years ago and still can't figure out where did I put my glasses after five minutes passes :-)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:52PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Good morning, George! You are too funny about memory.... doesn't that happen to ALL of us???!!! Sigh...

Anyway, here's a pic that I took just now:

As you see, on the right hand side, I have the Sambucus Black Lace and then the Pinky Winky in the background - the Sambucus is not as full as I might want it to be, but it's OK, because it's probably still recovering a little bit from the brutal transplantation that I inflicted on her last fall!!! The PW is also rather small due to the "severe pruning" by those ridiculous Bambi earlier this year. Around them, I have lots of perennials. I think that overall, the balance is much better than before the "shrub musical chairs" that I played last fall!

My only question now is: should I prune off those lowest branches of the small crabapple tree, to allow more room for the other plants surrounding her, and to promote more top growth?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 7:42AM
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G'morning , again, absolutely awesome Ostrich! - What variety of Crab A did you plant? I planted a Royal Raindrop in '06 (in a sm island I created at the time) and already I had to raise him a bit ... site does not have an even exposure to sun unlike yours so one arm was reaching out a bit more.

I seem to remember a Peony some where there, did you take her out or is she in the back?

Enjoy your day out there!!! Â;)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 9:30AM
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Re: crabapple pruning.
I'd say, yes. Not now, but in a spring.
If you'll remember (memory, memory!) make a picture from the same point in a winter, when all perennial stuff(noise) will be gone and that picture will serve you as a good structural reference point for the next year.
I like your island very much, but still think that it lucks strong vertical evergreen accent at the lower point (where the sambucus is).
Just for a moment try to imagine Picea pungens 'Fastigiata' (blue) or even blue Atlas cedar (if hardy) instead of it and you'll see what I see :-))

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 9:31AM
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OMG gorgeous island! Please post a photo of the view from the other side, it would be very instructional. I'm mostly wanting a peek at your Summer Wine, mine are framing my tall front steps (typical Chicago suburb cement steps with iron railings)and I'm curious how much room there is in your bed. They get pretty big. I wish I could get a bed shape like that, even with the hose it never looks as good once its cut out as yours does.

I don't think you need to trim the crabapple at all. What cultivar is it? It looks perfectly balanced to me, and more leaves mean faster growth, no matter what anyone else says, LOL. I asked an arborist I know about my "Charlie Brown" Prairiefire and he said to keep as many branches on it for as long as possible, for that reason (quick growth).

George, Sambucus is a woody, and conifers don't always play well with others, so how about a miniature bird's nest spruce at its feet instead? Just for contrast in foliage texture and color, and to satisfy that "winter interest" craving? A true miniature, so that it doesn't take up too much space, anywhere it touches an herbaceous plant it will die. IMO the vertical evergreen is way overdone, and would certainly spoil the billowly look of these selections. Just another opinion, please don't take offense.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 11:46AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I agree with prairiegirl about not pruning the crabapple. That is a wonderful garden-very, very pretty. Cynthia

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 1:57PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Love that island bed. So wish I had room for one. Was drooling over Quick Fire and Limelight and Pinky Winky this morning at local nursery but simply do not have room.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 7:29PM
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Since you guys are familiar with quick fire, would you mind taking a look at the pictures in this link and tell me if you think this shrub is quickfire? I bought it unmarked at the greenhouse and I can't find anyone who can give me a positive ID on it. If it's not QF do you know what it is? Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: What Hydrangea is this?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 11:45PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks everyone! George, I don't think I have room for a vertical evergreen, but I will look into it... thanks for your suggestion!

Prairiegirl, the crabapple is a Sugar Tyme. So it is not supposed to be huge... but we shall see! :-)

I took a photo of the bed from the driveway, and here it is:

However, now that I read your message again, did you mean taking the photo from my neighbor's side? Oops... perhaps I misunderstood!!! Please let me know...

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 9:26PM
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Ostrich, Your bed is beautiful and so full. I have hopes that my island bed will look as good in a few years. I don't have any Russian Sage yet, but I keep looking at how yours stands out. I may have to squeeze some in.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 7:17PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

macgyver, believe it or not, this is only the 2nd year that I have this island, and many of the perennials were only planted last summer/fall!!! So they do fill in quickly and yours will look good too soon!

Oh yes, you gotta get some Russian Sage - it's such a wonderful, beautiful and carefree plant! Love the scent too. BTW, I have Little Spires, which is the dwarf and it is much more manageable than the regular one.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:45PM
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"I don't think I have room for a vertical evergreen..."

Yes, you a place where Blacklace is right now.
And I could make a bet that in a couple of years you'll be thinking about my suggestion again when sambucus start swamping all around itself.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 11:25PM
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Hi Ostrich - I got my Little Spire in '05, he was only a dwarf for a couple of years ... seems to grow taller each year. He is in f/s, so it's not like he is reaching for the sun. I have the regular one as well in a different site, Little Spire is almost as tall. It must be my soil ... like Annabelle is taller than many I see around! LOL

BTW my LS is also a prolific seeder, I've been plucking tinee Spires around the area. I'm keeping him where he is for his lovely scent!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 12:10AM
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ostrich, thanks for posting another pic, truly virtual touring at it's finest! But yes, I did mean the other other side, LOL.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 9:40AM
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I absolutely love this island, could you name the plants that is in it, especially the ones in the front. I have an island and it is not nice like yours but am working on it so would appreciate your help in knowing what the name of your flowers are. THANK-YOU SO MUCH!!!

    Bookmark   last Saturday at 10:04AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

mjsavage, thank you so much for your nice comments!

You know, I posted the photos in 2009 and I have since moved from zone 5 to zone 3! I thought that zone 5 gardening was tough.... well, try zone 3! LOL! Anyway, I honestly do not remember all of their names, but let me try :-)

If I start from the front of the bed, I have the following perennials and flowering shrubs (apart from the Limelight and Quick Fire!):

1. Coreopsis zagreb

2. A number of daylilies - sorry that I really don't remember their names! I will see if I can find them somehow.... but no promise though :-)

3. Double knockout rose - yes, it is hidden in there indeed...

4. Agastache (I think it's Black Adder?)

5. Weigela My Monet

6. Echinacea magnus

7. Russian Sage Little Spire

8. Monarda (that dwarf one... sorry my memory is failing me! LOL)

9. Salvia Marcus

10. More daylilies

11. Iris Germanica Wabash

12. Sambucus Black Lace

Sorry that I really cannot think of the names of the others! I left this house 4 years ago and I really miss it! Sigh!!! Thank you for the question. It really brings back some very fond memories of Cleveland, OH.... I could never get my zone 3 garden to look anything like this at all! Sigh....

    Bookmark   on Sunday at 9:26AM
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Thank-You very much!! You have helped me so much, more than you know.

You have given me inspiration and something to look forward to.

I really appreciate you taking your time to help me.

Good Luck with your new garden, don't give up.

I'm sure you will finally get it looking as beautiful as your first one.

Do you have pictures of your new landscaping?

    Bookmark   on Sunday at 4:36PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

And tell us some stories of the difficulties of growing plants in Zone 3 for those who have no idea. Any do's and dont's that you may have learned? I can guess one: no H. macrophyllas, uhu?

    Bookmark   on Sunday at 5:43PM
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What is the length and width of your bed? The size looks perfect!

    Bookmark   on Sunday at 7:39PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

mjsavage, you are very welcome! I really am not sure if my Zone 3 garden will ever look as nice as my Zone 5 garden... but we shall see! :-) Let me see if I have photos to share. I just switched PC so I need to find those photos again! Ha!

luis_pr, oh my goodness.... the challenges of Zone 3 gardening are multiple. First, you have such a small variety of plants, so you are very limited as to what you can choose to create that "palette" of colours and textures.... then the growing season is so short (late May through September and that's it!!! Yikes....) that many plants just do not have enough time to mature during that season to bloom well, especially those late bloomers. For instance, by early September, we get pretty cool here already, and then by late September, there may be frost! So those late blooming perennials or flowering shrubs will never reach the point that they will be seen blooming, even though they may officially survive the Zone 3 temperature! Anyway, as a result of all of these challenges, most of the plants and trees are much smaller here. For instance, the Limelight in my Zone 5 yard grew to 6 feet tall in just a few years, but I doubt that I would ever see a Limelight that size here! Probably just 4 feet or so, I guess.... BTW, that's why Quick Fire is good here as it blooms earlier than the other paniculatas but even the other paniculatas may bloom a bit too late here.... SIGH!

BTW, we don't really have any spring here - it kinda just went straight from a mild winter to summer in late June! So none of the spectacular blooms here. Probably the best colours are provided by the bulbs and that's about it. And then we need to stop fertilizing roses by late August, in order to avoid much growth in September just to let the poor thing harden up for winter!!! Isn't that just so different!? Oh, and forget about tea roses here.... another big SIGH!

Oh, and one other thing that I have already learned just after being here for 4 years - even though these "Zone 3 plants" may survive one winter, it does not guarantee that they may survive the next one! It is always exciting and sad to see which plants make it through and which ones did not make it through winter. Oh dear, the more I talk about this, the more I miss my Zone 5 garden!

Yup, luis, NO macrophyllas here! Even though Endless Summer has been shown to survive here (most of it probably dies back to the ground) but then it takes so much time and energy to grow that it will probably not bloom until August, by then you are almost preparing for winter.... SEE WHAT I MEAN!? Mind you, they do sell lots of Zone 4 and 5 plants here though. I miss my macrophyllas that I decided to grow one in a big pot last year! It overwintered quite well in the insulated but unheated garage, and it's already sending up shoots with new leaves now! I am now allowing it to sit outside during the day, and then put it back into the garage overnight. Hopefully, this will do well! I am so excited!!! :-)

OK, I have been rambling.... LOL!

KarenPA - as for the size of this bed, it was a pretty decent size but not big enough! LOL! Anyway, just so that you can make sense of it, the Limelight in 2009 was probably about 5 feet tall and wide. So that should give you some idea as to how big the overall bed is.

Alright, before I go to bed, I forgot to tell you guys that I have the following hydrangeas in my Zone 3 backyard now:

1. Quick Fire

2. Pinky Winky

3. Vanilla Strawberry

4. Little Lime

5. Pee Gee (OK, these are really in my front yard LOL)

I had a paniculata that did not make it here so I had to yank it out!!! YIKES! Oh my, what was its name??? I am having a little confusion moment here so I will let you know once I remember what it's called! LOL! Good night, everyone!

1 Like    Bookmark   on Sunday at 10:10PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Oops! Of course, I forgot to mention that I got 3 Incrediballs in my backyard and they are doing very well indeed. Probably better than the paniculatas!

BTW, the one that did not survive was Bombshell... what a shame!

Another thing that I forgot to mention about Zone 3 gardening is that the direction is extremely important - many partial shade plants will tolerate the full sun here. I have a sunny south facing backyard and that has made my gardening so much more successful than others who have a east facing yard where they just do not get enough sunlight to get sun-loving plants going here.... isn't that crazy!? LOL

1 Like    Bookmark   on Sunday at 10:14PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Good to hear from you and Oh, wow! Quite a shock and difference. Our Spring starts who knows when... in January if you believe the Flowering Quinces and Forsythias. Maybe February but February is the start of the rainy season and with its cold temps, we often get rain, ice, sleet and snow so we usually give up and say Spring starts in March. By late April or May, we have reached the 90s. By June-July we are in the 100s, By August it is a stream of 100 degree days. So Spring can go blazing fast too if you are busy at work and not minding the yard.

From your list of panics, I would like to know how VS is working for you in Z3. I have seen a lot of people posting that their VSs sometimes fail to generate the magenta color because Fall arrives early in their zones and "messes things up" by making the plant's blooms turn brown before achieving the nice magenta seen in the advertising pictures. Has that been a problem in Toronto? I would love to have one here but with these hot summers, ugh, I just do not know. I am happy with a dwarf Limelight for now. Ha!

I tried an Annabelle and it was doing fine until part of my drip failed 2 yrs ago and got no water during a dry winter. Sigh, I was happy with it but replaced it with Little Lime just to try something else.

Have you considered making an island with dwarf connifers/pines/etc? I saw a picture that someone had years ago and it was awesome. Can you grow rhododendrons over there? I know there is a Toronto Rhododendron Society (a chapter of the ARS).

    Bookmark   14 hours ago
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