A Plant to Love ~ Rodgersia

Oh how I love this plant!! I first saw this bold, beautiful shade plant at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. When I adopted a shade garden at my local park, this was one of the first plants I installed. I wish I knew which variety I have growing in my garden. I left all the tags in the garden so park visitor's could see what they were and now, all the tags are gone.

They need room to spread, they prefer rich, moist soil, even bog areas and shade. Like many shade plants, the do have interesting flowers, but it is their foliage that will have you wanting one, or two or three!!

Left- Rodgersia in my shade garden. Below- early in the spring, the Rodgersia is starting to add some height and peak up behind the Autumn Fern, another must have plant for a shade garden.
 Rodgersia pinnata 'Fireworks'
Pink flowers, 10'' leaves. Zone: 5-8 Height: 3-5'
Rodgersia aesculifolia
Creamy flowers, Zone: 5-9 Height: 48''
Rodgersia pinnata 'Elegans'
Zone: 4-7 Height: 34''
Rodgersia podophylla 'Rotlaub'

Very colorful variety. The glossy foliage is a distinctive coppery-red to deep bronze and holds its color better in the summer than other varieties. Leaves turn to a wonderful deep red-bronze in late summer coupled with 3 to 5 foot plumes of creamy-white flowers. Require consistent moisture. Zone: 5-9 Height: 32''


A Plant to Love ~ Gooseneck Loosestrife

Fair warning, this plant is hearty AKA it does spread but it is easy to control; I simply pull up any runners that I do not want and the main clump remains compact and upright. I have had this plant in the garden for three years and it has never had any issues with disease or pests and it does not get 'bald' in the middle like some clumping plants do. I plant mine with Verbena bonariensis, coneflower and moonbeam coriopsis.

Mine is in the part sun, in rich soil and I do water regularly.

Common Name: Gooseneck Loosestrife
Hardiness Zone: 3-8 S / 3-9 W
Height: 36"
Exposure: Full or Part Sun
Blooms In: July-Sept.
Spacing: 18-24" 


Discoveries on a Very Short Walk

I like how the owners of this yard, when they redesigned their front steps, had the new water feature run under the steps.

I had planned to take a long walk, explore a few new streets and present to you some killer gardens. Unfortunately, the heat and three days of running in the heat had taken its toll on me and the trip was cut short.

Usually, when I see gardens with a lot of rocks, weeds and debris start to diminish the look and feel of the rocks. The rocks in this garden are clean and the planting simple, ideal for a contemporary home's front yard and an entry garden. Personally, I would add a few more foliage plants, but all-in-all, in person the garden does make one stop and enjoy the sound of the water.

I love that I have lived in the area for most of my life and there are still streets, very close to my home, that I have not explored even with all the walking and running I do.

A cool railroad trestle I saw while on my walk.


Dividing My Time

This time of the year finds me quite busy, like any gardener worth her weight in soil would be. When I am not working at my 8-5 desk job (have to pay those bills) I am writing for Horticulture Magazine as Adventures of a Landless Gardener, working on my blogs: The Garden Life and  A Year in the Park or I am finding great new garden blogs to share with Horticulture readers with my role as a contributing editor. I also travel to exciting gardens. Hmmm something is missing... And of course I get some gardening in as well. Gardening is the basis for all of this wonderful madness, yes?

Several times a week I head to Ault Park where I garden and wage my battle against ivy, grapevine and Virginia creeper.  I never head to the park without my camera. As a result, many photos of Ault Park, particularly the Adopt-a-Plot area where I garden can be found at A Year in the Park.

Autumn Fern in my shade garden at the park, above. The arbor garden is a favorite spot for wedding and engagement photos as well as quiet afternoons with a book.
View of the south garden.