Smooth Serviceberry “Snowflakes’ – a tree for a small garden

Amelanchier Laevis ‘Snowflakes’

The serviceberry glows in the morning sun. It has just begun to turn color and the orange and red leaves are looking beautiful.

We planted this tree in early spring. It’s still quite small but has already given us a taste what it will bring in terms of year-round interest: pretty white blooms in spring, red berries in the summer and gorgeous colors in the fall.

It’s a perfect tree for a small garden since it only gets 13-15 feet tall and wide.

It can grow in sun to part shade. I did read that it needs full sun to get the prettiest fall colors. However, mine get only 6h sun a day and it doing just fine.

Baneberry ‘Pink Spike’ brings contrast and drama to a shady area

Actaea simplex ‘Pink Spike’ (Baneberry) has grown quite a bit in just a few months. In a uear or two it will get 3-5 feet tall (90-150 cm) and 1-2 feet wide (30-60 cm). The size and the dark foliage bring drama and contrast to the garden.

Most Baneberrys prefer part sun. However, the ‘Pink Spike’ variety can grow and bloom in full shade. The delicate pink blooms glow in a shade garden.

Oh, and the blooms smell like strawberries!

Hakonechloa Macra – Japanese Forest Grass

Hakonechloa, Heuchera ‘Sweet tea’ in the front and Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ in the back. Iris and Hostas peaking up form the right.

It’s hard to describe how beautiful the Japanese forrest grass is with just a photo. The picture is still while the beauty of this grass lies in its movement. When the wind blows it looks almost like these settle green waves flowing around in the garden.

Hakonechloa, Heuchera ‘Sweet tea’

I’ve planted it together with Heucheras for contrast. The combination makes both the plants stand out.

Hakonechloa gets 12-18 in. (30-45cm) tall and 18-24 in. (45-60cm) wide. It prefers part shade, although in my garden it gets only 3-4 h of sun. It’s a slow starter and grows very slowly for the first two years. Year three it takes off and proves it was well worth the wait!

Hakonechloa, Heuchera ‘Sweat Tea’, Sweet Woodruff and Clethra alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’ (Summersweet) in the background

My plants are three years old so they have just begun to do their thing.

Succulent Arrangement in Bonsai Pot

Another weekend with dull weather – another succulent arrangement. This time I used a pretty bonsai pot at the local garden center. I chose succulents that go well with the color of the pot – concrete grey with touches of red.

Panda Plant (Kalanchoe Tomentosa)

Succulents need good drainage. That means letting water rinse quickly. Here’s how you keep them happy:

  1. Use a container with drainage whole. My container didn’t have holes so used a regular drill to make two – one on each side of the pot.
  2. Use succulent or cacti potting soil. It’s basically potting soil with sand and grit that allows quick drainage.
  3. Water moderately, especially during the winter months. Every 10-14 days is usually enough.
Echeveria pulidonis (Pulido’s Echeveria), Sedum ‘Aurora Blue’, Silver Sparkle Pilea

Make a Small Garden Look Bigger – Incorporate the Surroundings

At the end of my garden is a green boxwood hedge. The green color of the hedge is similar to the color of the large trees in the background. They blend together so well that if you look quickly, it almost looks like they are the same. The hedge adds an impression that these huge trees are part of the garden – making the garden appear much bigger.

Take advantage of you surroundings and incorporate the colors, structures and plants into you garden, especially to the borders.

Behind the boxwood hedge is a small road that the hedge hides so neatly. All you see from the garden are the gorgeous trees.

Dried Hydrangeas Fail and Another Fall Wreath (out of Hydrangeas)

A few weeks back I dried the blooms from my Hydrangea Limelight. To my surprise, they all died. They lost color and shape and I had to toss them. So what went wrong? Well, I cut them too early. They hadn’t begun to dry on the shrub yet so they still needed a lot of moisture.

In order to retain color and shape, you will need to let flowers partially dry on the shrub first. Cut them when the color begins to fade but while they still hold their shape.

My second attempt turned out better. The blooms dried beautifully since I waited until later in the season before I cut them. I followed the steps that I describe in my previous post on how to dry hydrangea blooms.

A blend of Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ and Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ turned into this simple, yet gorgeous fall wreath.

Planting Helleborus Orientalis Viv. Victoria

Helleborus Orientalis ‘Viv. Victoria’, Heucherella ‘Sweet tea’, Japanese Maple ‘Orange Dream,’ Boxwood

I’ve been looking for a plant to match my newly planted Heucherellas. To get some inspiration I made a visit to the garden. I didn’t have to look long before I found the Helleborus Orientalis ‘Viv. Victoria’. What a beautiful perennial! It matched the Heucherella perfectly with the purple and orange/yellow colors.

The Helleborus and the Heucherella are both evergreen. They will keep their foliage all year-round. They will bring winter interest to the garden when all other plants are sleeping.

Helleborus Orientalis ‘Viv. Victoria’

Helleborus Orientalis ‘Viv. Victoria’ is a perennial. It grows 10-15 inches (25-40 cm) tall and preferens half shade.

The amazing thing with Hellaborus is that they bloom in the winter for 3-4 months!

This variety will bloom sometime between September and April. It will keep blooming for 3-4 months!

The purple flowers look pretty next to the deep purple Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ as well

Hosta ‘Francee’ – a Perennial for Sun or Shade

Hosta ‘Francee’, Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’, Hakonechloa, Yew ‘Hillii’

There’s a spot in my garden that gets sun for a few hours during spring and fall. In the summer, however it’s in shade. To meet that type of light requirements I’ve planted Hostas ‘Francee’. This type of hosta can take full sun to shade.

About Hosta ‘Francee’

Hosta ‘Francee’ is wonderful perennial that gets around 18-20 inches (45-50 cm) tall and 35-47 inches (90-120 cm) wide. It takes a few years for it to reach that size but when it does it’s quite a sight. It’s also one few hostas that doesn’t get eaten by slugs.

Companion Plants for Hostas

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple looks pretty in front of the hosta since they contrast in color. For further interest I’ve added Hakonechloa and Iris “Snow Queen”. While they have a similar color as the hosta, they complement each other in texture and form.

Hosta ‘Francee’, Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’, Hakonechloa, Iris ‘Snow Queen’

Fall Arrangement in Terracotta Pots

White Heathers and Cyclamens

It’s mid september and the days are getting cooler. As the temperatures drop I add things to the garden that will last all the way into winter. Cold tolerant decorations like moss or pine cones and plants like Heather and Cyclamen.

Heather top-dressed with moss and pine cones will look pretty all the way though winter

The days are shorter days and longer nights during fall and winter. The darker season feel less dull with white and bright colors in the garden.

Water Cyclamens from the bottom by placing the pot on a saucer with water

Virginia Creeper Climbing Vine

The foliage of the Virginia Creeper goes from deep green to deep, dark red in the fall

In a few weeks the foliage of this Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) will turn deep, dark red. It will look even more dramatic than it already does against the black trellis. This is one gorgeous and tough climber.

Virginia Creeper to the left and Boston Ivy to the right. The two intertwine and will bring year-round interest

I planted the Virginia Creeper just a few months ago and it has grown like crazy, despite half bad conditions. It’s in a shady and dry spot where other plants have died. This one doesn’t seem to mind at all.

The Virginia Creeper can take full sun to shade and pretty much any type of soil

Climbers are a must in a small garden. They bring lushness and coziness even to the smallest of spaces.

Virginia Creeper to the right and Boston Ivy to the left

Easy to Dry Flowers and Grasses

Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’ , Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ & Feather Reed Grass ”Karl Foerster”

Here are three flowers and grasses that are really easy to dry.

#1 Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’

Dead easy to dry – just cut and place in a container, no water needed. It stays pretty for a long time!

Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’

#2 Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’

Have a look at my post about how to dry Hydrangeas. When it comes to this type of Hydrangea, ‘Annabelle’, make sure the blooms have turned from cream white to lime green before drying. Otherwise they might loose their form.

Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’

#3 Feather Reed Grass ”Karl Foerster”

This grass turns into the most beautiful feather-light form when dried. Just cut and put in a container, no water needed. It might last as long as the first two but in my opinion it’s still worth bringing inside and enjoying for a few weeks.

Feather Reed Grass ”Karl Foerster”

Dried flowers are perfect for the darkest corners of the home. They bring a feeling of nature in spots where house plants won’t grow.

How to Divide and Propagate Brunnera

Freshly divided Brunnera plants in their new home

It’s really easy to to divide and propagate Brunnera macrophylla. To quickly get new plats from an existing split the plant in two while still in the ground, dig up one of the two halves and re-plant it somewhere else.

Step 1: Separate the leaves into two groups

Step 2: Use a shovel to dig down in the middle and split the plant in two

Step 3: Dig up on one of the halves

Make sure that both halves have healthy roots!

If you want to be extra sure the roots are ok, dig up the whole plant before splitting it. It’s an extra step that allows you to see where the roots are and where to best make the split. While adding extra control it’s a bit more work and I find that in most cases the plants do fine without it.

Step 4: Find a new home for your plants

Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’, Boxwood, Heuchera ‘Obsidian’, Creeping Jenny & Begonia

Fall is a good time to divide perennials that bloom early in the season. It doesn’t disturb the blooms and gives the plant time to recover.

Heucherella ‘Sweet Tea’ for Winter Interest

Fall is here. As the temperatures slowly drop I’m reminded about the coming winter months. Have have quite long winters here in Sweden and the garden will loose most of it’s blooms, foliage and color. To keep the garden interesting during winter I try to add more and more evergreens. Plants that will keep their foliage and bring color during the grey and cold months of the year. Plants like boxwoods, yews, grasses, heucheras. This Heucherella ‘Sweet Tea’ is the latest addition.

During the winter you need to rely on foliage for color in the garden.

Heucherella ‘Sweet Tea’ is an everygreen. That means that it keeps its colorful foliage although the year. The gorgeous orange-red-purple color darkens in the summer and lightens up again in the fall.

Like most heucheras/heucherellas, it preferens sun to part shade and gets around 10 inches high (25 cm).

Heucherella ‘Sweet Tea’ and Great Masterwort (Astrantia major)

This plant goes well with pretty much everything. It bring contrast and makes other plants pop. In the landscape, I chose to combine them with Great Masterwort (Astrantia major) and Hakonechloa right below a Japanese maple.

The orange foliage of the Heucherella ‘Sweet Tea’ in the background of Great Masterwort (Astrantia major) that is blooming for the second time this season.

Succulent Miniature Garden

Succulent Miniature Garden
Kalanchoe, Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’), Cotyledon ‘Tomentosa’, Echeveria ‘Pulidonis’, Haworthia Aristata ‘Zebra’,  Eve’s Needle cactus, Panda Plant (Kalanchoe Tomentosa)

We’ve had another rainy day. The wet weather makes it difficult to be in the garden so I’ve kept busy inside. My indoor plants (finally) got some attention and I put together a miniature succulent garden.

Succulent Miniature Garden

I often use a small Kalanchoe in my arrangements. They bring a pop of colors that’s hard to get with succulents alone.

Succulent Miniature Garden
Kalanchoe, Echeveria ‘Pulidonis’, Haworthia Aristata ‘Zebra’, Eve’s Needle Cactus, Panda Plant (Kalanchoe Tomentosa)
Succulent Miniature Garden

The Kalanchoe is back-planted with a Croton, which isn’t a succulent. Since it’s an ordinary house plant it needs more water. To make sure it gets the right amount and at the same time keep the low water succulents happy, I planted it in a separate pot. Before watering, I pop the small pot up, water it separately and that put it back in place.

A tip for adding house plants into low water succulent arrangements is to plant them in a separate pot.

Succulent Miniature Garden

Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ & Geranium ‘Rozanne’ – The Perfect Perennial Combo

I recently back-planted my Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ with Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (‘Gerwat’). It has turned out to be a winning combo! The mix of silver foliage of the Brunnera and blue blooms of the geranium looks absolutely beautiful.

The go together so well that it almost look like they’re the same plant.

Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ and Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (‘Gerwat’)

One Flower Bed – Two Seasons

In the spring, this bed starts off with shining pink Tulips ‘Foxtrot’. Their color also goes really well together with the Brunnera. Later when the tulips begin to look tired the Geranium takes over and goes on all the way to fall.

Pretty blue blooms of the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ peaking up from behind the Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’

Focal point in small garden with Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

Hydrangea Limelight blooms white then turns light pink

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ really glows, especially during dusk. The blooms shine even more when planted against a dark boxwood hedge. There, they create the most beautiful focal point.

Small gardens in particular need something that directs the eye to the furthest part of the garden: a strong focal point that adds depth. It could be a tree, or a shrub. Or perhaps some furniture, a pretty container, or some other garden decoration.

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ glows during dusk

How to choose your focal point

Here are a few things you should think about when choosing a focal point for a small garden.

  • To not disappear into the surroundings, a focal point needs a background. It can be a hedge, a wall or a group of shrubs of the same kind. To not blend into one another, make sure the colors of the background contrast the focal point. Bright blooms against a dark background never disappoint!
  • Go for big rather than small. A good size shrub or small tree makes e a bigger impact than a few perennials. Then again, a proper group of perennials with some height makes for a beautiful focal point.
  • Make sure your focal point has a long peak period. You want it to last for the most part of the season.

Fall Container Inspiration in Green and White

fall urns container white green
White Spruce, Ornamental Kale, Ornamental Cabbage, Bacopa, Variegated Ivy, Heather

It’s time to replace the summer flowers with fall plants! I’ve been looking forward to this for a few weeks but since my summer flowers were doing ok I couldn’t bare myself to kick them out. Then we hade heavy rain storms and the petunias finally gave in.

Here’s how I went about it.

Cleanup the summer plants

I just picked the old plants right up and fed them to the compost.

Petunias looking tired

Tip! An evergreen centrepiece brings year-round interest

The evergreen White Spruce bring year-round interest. It’s also more affordable since I only have to replace parts of the container. I’ve had this White Spruce in the containers for two years now. It grows slowly so I’m counting on keeping it for many more years.

At this point, I also kept the Bacopa. It looked fresh enough and its white flowers looked nice with the other plants.

Tip! Arrange the plants while keeping them in their plastic cans

“It was only when I placed the cabbage slightly below the Kale that the combo just fell into place.

I usually place out the plants while keeping them in their pots. It takes quite a bit of moving around and experimenting before I get it the way I like.

Make sure to take a few steps back and look at the container from different angles before you plant. Trust me, it’s much easier than having to dig the plants up again.

When happy with the way it looks, plant!

Make sure all the root balls have soil around them. When finished, water them in properly. Adding some fertiliser to the water is always a good idea.

fall urns container white green
fall urns container white green
Ornamental Cabbage

How many plants fit into the container?

More than you’d think! For fall containers, I usually squeeze in as many plants as I can. They won’t grow very much since we’re having low temperatures and I want the arrangement to look full.

In this 16 inches wide container (40 cm) there is a total of 7 plants.
1 White spruce
1 Ornamental cabbage (4 inch pot – 9cm)
1 Ornamental kale (4 inch pot – 9cm)
2 Heather (3 inch pot – 6cm)
1 Variegated ivy (3 inch pot – 6cm)
1 Bacopa (4 inch pot – 9cm)

Enjoy the result!

fall urns container white green
Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ in the back

Spring bulbs combo – tulip ‘Orange Breeze’ and daffodil ‘Sempre Avanti’

Daffodil 'Sempre Avanti', Tulip 'Orange Breeze', Lady's mantle
Daffodil ‘Sempre Avanti’, Tulip ‘Orange Breeze’, Lady’s mantle

Here’s another beautiful combination of spring bulbs. This one is planted at our entrance side and comes up quite early in the spring.

Daffodil 'Sempre Avanti', Tulip 'Orange Breeze', Lady's mantle

I don’t usually like orange flowers in the garden but mixed with the yellow they do bring a well needed pop of color in the spring.

If you’re looking for inspiration for tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs I can recommend you to watch Garden Answer’s 2019 Spring bulb tour. She has some really pretty combos!

Garden answer 2019 spring bulb tour

Spring bulb combo: Tulip ‘Foxtrot’ and Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’

Tulip ‘Foxtrot’ and Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’

It’s time to start thinking about spring bulbs for next year. This is my favorite combo by far. The pink tulips combined with the tiny blue flowers of the Brunnera are gorgeous. What are you planting for next year?

Tulip ‘Foxtrot’ – the color is amazing!
Tulip ‘Foxtrot’ shines up the garden in the spring