Top Performers of 2014 – What were yours?

Ok, Ok…I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me but it’s been a busy fall so far! A brand new nephew has arrived, a new deck was built (bigger and better for, you know, more plants!!) and of course lots of gardening! So fall is now in full swing which means dismantling of summer containers and digging out all those plants you want to save!  You know me, a self admitted plantaholic, so it’s quite a process for me to winterize, dig out and repot everything I’m trying to save from Jack Frost – which was late this year thank goodness.  I was trying to streamline and not bring in SO much this year…but that didn’t work out too well for me.  Anyway, that’s another post for another time!  Right now I want to share my favorite plants from this year and hear about yours!  Below are just a few of my favorite containers from this summer…


In this pot: Cordyline australis ‘Red Star’, Surfinia Heavenly Blue Petunia, Petunia ‘Suncatcher Pink Lemonade’, ‘Dreams Appleblossom’ Petunia, Lysimachia hybrid ‘Sundew Springs’, Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’, Lantana camera ‘Samantha’


In the Blue pot: Pelargonium x hortorum ‘Mrs. Pollock’ Brocade Geranium,
Gazania rigens ‘Daybreak Mix’, Petunia ‘Potunia Papaya’, Lysimachia procumbens ‘Outback Sunset’
In the Black pot: Abutilon ‘Biltmore Ballgown’ Flowering Maple, Heucherella ‘Brass Lantern,
Cuphea hybrid ‘David Verity’, Solenostemon scuttelarriodes ‘Lava Rose’ Coleus, Petunia ‘Crazytunia Sparky’


In this pot: Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Copperhead’, Abutilon pictum ‘Biltmore Ballgown’ Flowering Maple, Pentas lanceolata ‘Graffiti Red Lace’, Dorotheanthus bellidiformis ‘Mesbicla’ Mezoo Trailing Red, Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Saturn’ Coleus


In this pot: Cassia didymobotrya Fresen Popcorn Cassia
(blooms all summer and foliage actually smells like popcorn!!!),
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ (super for attracting hummingbirds!),
Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Inferno’, Surfinia Variegated Baby Purple Petunia,
Portulaca Cupcake ‘Peachy’, Crossandra infundibuliformis ‘Orange Marmalade’

And finally, my fall container on my front porch still going strong!!!


In this pot: Pennisetum glaucum ‘Jester’ Ornamental Millet, Nemesia ‘Sunsatia Lemon’,
Celosia caracus ‘Intenz’, Spilanthes oleracea ‘Peek-a-boo’,
Ipomoea batatas ‘Sweet Caroline Bewitched’ Sweet Potato Vine

So, who were your superstars this year?

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Spring is here…or is it?

Wow!  What a spring…or late winter!?  Just when I thought I’d seen it all, this spring has surprised me again!  So unpredictable, this Northern Virginia weather.

I’m curious, with all of this late snow this year and consistently low temperatures, did you do an early spring garden this year?  Of course I couldn’t resist!  I absolutely LOVE cool season annuals.  Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re gonna say – cool season annuals don’t last very long…BUT they pack a huge punch for an early pop of spring color!  And what else are you gonna do to put out some spring color and get your hands dirty after a long winter?!

I didn’t go crazy this year but I did do up some pots for my new front stoop (thanks to a certain talented handy man I know, we now have a beautiful new front stoop and walkway!!).  While I potted my pots way back in mid-March, and at times had to scoot them into the garage because it was just too stinkin’ cold, my house has been the most colorful one on the block!  My veggie garden (below) on the other hand got planted a few weeks later.

Thanks to all the late weather we couldn’t finish the front walk as early as we wanted to.  And in case you missed my “Front Yard Veggie Gardening” post from last summer…I do my veggie gardening in the front yard right next to my front walk!  I have to – my back yard is too shady for that stuff.  So we were a little later than I wanted to get those veggies in but we’ll see how it goes!


Does anyone else have a favorite lettuce? Mine is this cool & tasty heirloom called Flashy Trout Back. They had me at flashy!

Here are just SOME of my favorite spring bloomers:


A beautiful bright orange Ranunculus.


I seriously can’t get enough of these gorgeous colors!


I absolutely ADORE Anemone!!! Especially the doubles!


Senetti, or Pericallis, has lovely daisy-like blooms.


Stock is a great one to add some height to a container or the garden…and it smells sooooo good! This one is called ‘Hot Cakes Mix’.

Here’s what I put together for the front porch this year:


Yellow Ranunculus (the most gorgeous I’ve seen – my grower did such a great job, he
truly knocked my socks off with these!), Stock ‘Hot Cakes Mix’ (fragrant), Nemesia ‘Angelart Raspberry’,
Alyssum ‘Clear Crystal White’ (fragrant)


This is what I call my “Antique Pot” this year. It includes Pansy ‘Imperial Antique Shades’,
Antique Ranunculus, Erysimum ‘Poem Lavender’, Nemesia ‘Angelart Almond’


A shot of the group. In the small square pot is Hellebore ‘Penny’s Pink’,
Erysimum canaries, Dianthus sunflor ‘Olivia’, Viola ‘Angel Tiger Eye’,
Alyssum ‘Clear Crystal White’ (fragrant)


Orange Ranunculus, Ranunculus ‘Bloomingdale Mix’,
Primrose ‘Hethor Giant Yellow’ (fragrant), Primrose ‘Hethor Giant Orange’ (fragrant),
Senetti, Pansy (variety unknown)


Anemone ‘Pandora’ Double Fuchsia, Anemone ‘Galilee Mix’,
Snapdragon ‘Snapshot Yellow’, Alyssum ‘Clear Crystal White’ (fragrant)




Tell me how you celebrated the arrival of spring. Please feel free to leave comment here or share a pic on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Petalpushin or on Instagram and tag me @Petalpushin. Looking forward to checking out your spring color creations!!!

Cooling off with Fall Annuals

Well, here we are, at my favorite time of year…ALREADY!    As some of my summer annuals are starting to, well, not look quite as nice as they once did, I’m ripping them out of my containers and landscape and replacing with some freshies that can perform a little better in the cooler season.  While my summer annuals could certainly make it through until frost, it’s always nice to mix in some new fall varieties as well so my pots aren’t looking so tired.

So, what plants define fall to you?  Most people say Mums or Pansies, or even Ornamental Cabbage and Kale.  My favorite is the fall blooming Celosia, Celosia Intenz.  I love this plant, and every year we can never keep it in stock at the Garden Center.  It’s not your typical bronze or yellow fall color (which don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that too), but its a bright fuchsia color which adds a nice pop to a fall mix.  It’s also on the taller side so it can give a little height to a container and has a unique bloom shape which adds some awesome texture.

Celosia Intenz

Some of my other favorite fall flowers include the Efanthia Euphorbia and Helena’s Blush Euphorbia (the variegated variety), both of which are actually perennials.  The fall interest is their foliage which turns more burgundy as the temperature drops and their interesting shape also adds some great texture.

Efanthia Euphorbia

I’m also a huge fan of Nemesia, my favorite being Sunsatia Mango.  I’m so in love with this color!  And it performs very well in the cool season.  It definitely pitters out in the heat of the summer but a couple years ago I had it come back for me again in the fall…but I had the patience, or the laziness, to let it do that!  The rest of the Sunsatia Series (by Proven Winners)  is great too, but Mango is the prettiest in my opinion.

Sunsatia Mango Nemesia, Photo Credit: Proven Winners

I also like the Aromatica Scarlet Nemesia and Aromatica Sky Blue Nemesia.  Both are simply beautiful and wonderfully fragrant.

Aromatica Scarlet Nemesia, Photo Credit: Ball Horticulture Company

Aromatica Sky Blue Nemesia

So, like I said before, your summer annuals can most certainly go til frost, and some can even take a light frost too.  But sometimes after a long summer some of those annuals can just look a little tired.  There are some that perform well in the summer heat and can also tolerate those chilly temps that fall can bring.  Calibrachoa and Petunias are great examples of this.

Calibrachoa Superbells Lemon Slice

Petunia Pinstripe

We carry these guys spring, summer and fall…just be sure to watch your watering on those petunias in the heat – they can get thirsty.  I even conducted a small experiment early this spring and sacrificed one 4″ pot of calibrachoa, you know, in the name of science.  Well, the exciting part of this story is that I left this little guy out all by himself in the 28 degree cold of night and he was totally fine!   Now, I don’t think we got a true frost that night but it got darn cold!

OH!  And one more I absolutely cannot leave out is the Kent Beauty Ornamental Oregano.  This is hands down one of my faves and is actually a perennial I often winter over to include in many of my containers.  I keep a stock of these guys in the Annuals Department throughout the growing season because they perform so well in mixed containers.

Kent Beauty Ornamental Oregano

So, what are you doing in YOUR garden to spruce it up for the cool season coming up?  Inquiring minds want to know!