Beautiful Plants for Your Garden

by on June 23, 2011

A Sweet Annual with Old-Fashioned Charm

Lathyrus odoratusHave you noticed that old-fashioned favorites give your garden a certain charm and elegance? We love exciting new plants as much as the next gardener, but the classics remain popular for good reason.

Known as the “queen of annuals” by the English, sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) is a delicate, fragrant nod to the past. Here’s what you need to know about sweet pea:

Plant facts
Common name: Sweet pea
Botanical name: Lathyrus odoratus
Plant type: Annual vine
Height: 6 to 8 feet tall, depending on cultivar
Zones: 9 to 10
Family: Fabaceae

Growing conditions
Sun: Full sun to dappled shade
Soil: Well-drained soil with lots of organic matter
Moisture: Keep moist but not wet

Mulch: Place organic mulch around plants to maintain even moisture.
Pruning: Deadhead frequently to encourage vigorous blooming.

Attract Butterflies With This Annual

Planting your garden for bright blooms makes sense, of course, so why not add color that attracts movement, too?

The vivid purple flowers of heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) are eye-catching, and they’re also a favorite of butterflies. The clusters of flower heads have a fruity fragrance and bloom throughout the summer—great for window boxes, where you can enjoy the scent and sit back and watch the show. Here’s how to add this annual to your garden:

Plant facts
Common name: Heliotrope, cherry pie
Botanical name: Heliotropium arborescens
Plant type: Short-lived shrub usually grown as an annual
Height: 12 to 48 inches
Zones: 10 to 11
Family: Boraginaceae (Borage)

Growing conditions
Sun: Full sun
Soil: Moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter
Moisture: Water regularly to establish roots on new plants. Once established, water moderately.

Check out These Tiny Trees

If you think of golf, ties, and grilling for Father’s Day gifts, it’s time to start thinking out of the box.

Dads love to tinker. So this Father’s Day, why not give Dad his very own tiny Bonsai forest? There are lots of details to tend to, and there are tools involved, so that’s a win-win right there!

Bonsai Forest Bonsai Forest
Each kit contains growing medium, a stylish container made of recycled steel, and seeds of Dawn redwood trees—actual ancestors of the towering California redwoods. Within weeks, a forest of trees begins sprouting.
Traditional Bonsai Tools Traditional Bonsai Tools
Bonsai isn’t hard, but the dad in your life will need some specialized tools to train and shape the growing tree. Manufactured in Japan to strict standards, these shears, cutters, and wire-shaping tools will get the job done.

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