CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for annuals

The garden started without me: spontaneous blooms are the first of season

I’ve been slow to get my sprouts into the garden, what with waiting out the weather and other distractions. Apparently, though, the garden decided it wouldn’t wait for me.

Despite the fact that I pretty much build my garden on annuals because I don’t expect anything sitting in plastic planters on an exposed balcony, enduring the harsh Chicago winter and winds, to regenerate — I’ve been pleasantly surprised in recent days…

Things started to sprout spontaneously in the Read the rest of this entry »

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By any other name: garden flowers with rose-like blooms

DSC00916DSC00763DSC00918In preparing to show you the blossom of the final lisianthus in the tri-color group I purchased this season — lime green, joining the previously unveiled blue and yellow — I couldn’t help noting how much they lived up to their description. The distributor promised blossoms reminiscent of those on a rose.

Basically, to me that means the way the buds compact and the subsequent layers of petals unfurl look a lot like that most popular of garden flowers. The lisianthus bundle I purchased is in fact dubbed “rose bouquet.”

Unfortunately the lisianthus, an annual, doesn’t provide the added gift of fragrance that roses can Read the rest of this entry »

Evolution of a zinnia: popular garden flower gets bigger, better every day

DSC00714When I showed you this first photo of my zinnia “envy” bloom a few weeks back, I was quite impressed with its pastel lime-colored splendor.

DSC00761It appears, however, that I may have rushed things a little, because time
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proved that it was only phase one of this sturdy garden flower’s coming of age — and each phase Read the rest of this entry »

Blue review: undeclared flower seedlings show true colors

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DSC00646My plan was to strike a certain color balance in the garden this year. Blue was to be dominant, followed by yellow, then pops of red-orange and pale greens.

After buying numerous seeds, and supplementing those with online plant orders, I became a little concerned that I might wind up with blue overload. Well, leave it to happenstance to alter the landscape…

Some of the blue seeds that I planted in the peat pellets never sprouted, and I had a couple that sprouted, but later the seedlings dried up. Suddenly, I was facing the prospect of possibly having much less blue than I’d wanted.

Then, after the unusually cold spring and early summer — not to mention my unique challenges Read the rest of this entry »

Time to play ‘name that plant’ (or ‘plants,’ as the case may be)

DSC00479DSC00480There’s something growing in my garden. That’s the good news.

The more perplexing news is that in this particular case I’m not sure of what exactly it is.

You see, a terra cotta pot from last season that sat on the balcony through the winter sprouted and filled up with so many lovely, dainty leaves that I decided to just let it be and see what developed.

It’s developed into what you see here: a profusion of lacy edged leaves with some taller spikes boasting thinner leaves protruding at intervals. And now it looks as though those spiky protrusions are on the verge of flowering. (Click Read the rest of this entry »

Seeds of time: a couple of fast starters for slowpoke gardeners

Nasturtium seeds are large and they sprout quickly.

Nasturtium seeds sprout quickly, so they'll make up the time lost if you procrastinate.

Winter blew out of Chicago a few nights ago with thunderous exultation. And the rain rained down. The next day temperatures reached 80. Of course it’s cooled off a bit since, but there is the definite feeling that the worm has turned (yes, a pun for you in-ground gardeners).

Even Burpee is on board. Three of the plants I ordered from them arrived on the very day that temperatures soared. So, container gardeners start your engines… we’re just three short weeks or so away from the time when we can introduce our plants to the great outdoors.

If you haven’t started any seeds yet and are lamenting the fact that because you’ve procrastinated you’ll have to spend more money and buy all your plants from a nursery, fear not… Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve got the blues… hope it’s not too much of a good thing

Three shades of blue.

Three shades of blue in a past garden. Even more blue varieties will abound this year, punctuated with yellow, green and orange.

In my mind’s eye, the idea of a monochromatic garden is very intriguing, entrancing even. All-white gardens are quite the rage in certain circles, and, with my adoration of blue flowers, I’ve been oh-so tempted to create an all-blue fantasy.

But I think the reality would be far less satisfying than the dream. Recently, a fellow gardener who shares my love of blue said that if she had her druthers, some day she’d plant a garden of blues Read the rest of this entry »