Entries to Win Afghan

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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Color of the Day - Yellow

  It seems to me that most of the summer-blooming sedums have yellow flowers. Not sure if this is really true, or just the ones I own.

But right now, the rock garden is blanketed with yellow. This picture has two different plants, but the farther one is Sedum elecambeanum. I had some of this, and a friend gave me more. It's a great, reliable groundcover.
sedum elecambeanum

Also seen in that photo is Sedum sexangulare (the stalks have 6 sides). It's not one of my favorites, but it does add a lot of color when it is blooming.
sedum sexangulare

Remember those fountain-like sprays of blue-ish sedum that look like spruce twigs? This is what they look like in bloom. Sedum reflexum
sedum reflexum

I showed you this before, but to complete the theme, and it's still blooming wonderfully, this is the Sedum 'Bright Idea.'
sedum bright idea

For the last shot of yellow, we have to go to the front flower bed. That mystery lily is looking great. Last year, it had three flowers. This year it will have four.
yellow asiatic lily

The heat got to me today. I have managed to do 3 hours of computer work and 30 minutes outside. Mostly I read a book and drank ice tea. I'd call it age, but this has been my heat MO for years. We may get some rain and a break tomorrow.

See SunSparkler Sedums

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

SunSparkler Sedums

 I've mentioned the Sunsparkler (trademarked) Sedums several times. These are ultra-hardy hybrids of Sedum and (at least in some cases) Orostachys. Orostachys is a genus of succulents mostly from the far east. I had never heard of it. I believe the first of these released for sale was in 2012. Of course that represents a lot of years of research and testing, and then growing enough to be able to sell them. They are commonly referred to as sedums, but most seem to be in a new genus Hylotelephium.

You might also remember that I've been trying to track down where their demonstration garden is located. I'm pretty sure it's in Hudsonville, MI, and is part of Garden Solutions, which also creates the Chick Charms brand of Sempervivum. Well, that's a bunny trail for today. (But only for today.)

What I want to do today is show you all the Sunsparkler varieties that I currently own.

Before I even knew that the trademark was going to become of great interest to me, I bought this one as a reward for a week of hard work in 2020. It came from Wal-Mart, and as you have heard me complain yesterday, was not labeled as to the variety. But it has to be 'Dream Dazzler,' patented in 2019. The original was a single sport of the already hybrid 'Plum Dazzled' (which is solid purple and much taller). I've already split this a couple of times, so I can't complain that the original clump isn't much larger than when it started. The leaf bi-color is stunning.

Dream Dazzler sedum

The second one I bought in 2023. It's 'Lime Twister.' I liked it so much I bought a second one at the end of the season last year. Here's what that first one looks like now. It spreads well, and is filling in this space. The newer one isn't quite as large yet, but it's also doing fine. 'Lime Twister' was released in 2015.

Not long after getting 'Lime Twister,' I looked up the Sunsparkler series and realized these were going to seriously be plants I wanted to acquire. In fact, I confess to being covetous. So much so, I ordered two plants. Well, this is often not too satisfactory. You get some tiny sprig of the plant for an exorbitant price. Nevertheles, I ordered 'Cherry Tart' and 'Dazzleberry.'

'Cherry Tart' is a bright red-purple. It's doing OK, but it certainly doesn't spread very quickly. That said, it's looking a little bigger than it did this spring, and my purchase last year only got me one little stalk. Interestingly enough, this is no longer listed in their official catalog, so perhaps it hasn't been as successful as some of the other hybrids.

The 'Dazzleberry' has dark blue-black leaves which I love. I might have gotten two sprigs of this for my $8.99 plus shipping. :/ (that's what greed costs). When it gets large enough to bloom, the flowers are a bright raspberry color. Meanwhile, it seems to be slowly getting larger.

By now, I was actively on the prowl for other varieties created by Sunsparkler. I have found three more this year. The first one I found is 'Firecracker.' I almost wouldn't care what color the flowers are, the leaf color and spread is so great. The flowers are supposed to be magenta. I've only had this a month, and it's spreading fast.
sedum Firecracker

A week later I came across 'Wildfire.' I wildly love this. It spreads quickly and the colors are spectacular. I've already pulled off one sprig to get it started in another place. Just for contrast in price. I got this entire large plant for $6.99. Interestingly enough, this one was developed from a sport of the previous one, 'Firecracker,' in 2014. It's supposed to get rose pink flowers. I've had this less than a month and you can see it's already growing new shoots.
sedum Wildfire

Then I saw this one at Wal-Mart a few days ago. And I'm really sure this is 'Lime Zinger,' one of the first ones Sunsparkler released. I love the growth form as seen from the top. Very concentric.
Sedum Lime Zinger

Now, mostly for my own reference, I'll list the Sunsparkler varieties I don't yet have:

'Plum Dazzled' - dark purple leaves and it grows upright rather than spreading
'Angelina's Teacup' - pretty much like Angelina, but it stays small and doesn't spread all over so much.
'Cosmic Comet' - very blue foliage and low growing (apparently popular- it's sold out in their catalog)
'Dazzling Dynamite' - a lot like Dream Dazzler but add orange to the two shades of purple/pink
'Jade Tuffet' - more upright habit with pointed green leaves and pink flowers
'Saphire Tuffet' - taller and upright, with smoky-blue serrated leaves and hot pink flowers (new 2024)
'Blue Elf' - one of the first ones released, a low mound of blue leaves with purple flowers

That might be all the choices for now.

There was a breeze all day which saved the weather from being oppressive. I did a lot of editing and a good bit in the gardens. I might go out for another 15 minutes yet this evening.

See Sorting Out Sedums

Monday, June 17, 2024

Sorting Out Sedums

 First, I have to tell you that I broke two of my rules last week. I shopped at Wal-Mart, and I bought a plant that wasn't properly labeled. OK, I go to Wal-Mart a couple of times a year, and one of them is to just check out the garden section in case they have something I want. I think maybe one of the reasons things are cheaper is because they don't care whether stuff is labeled correctly. This is a Sunsparkler hybrid Sedum, but it doesn't say which one. However, by elimination, since there are only a limited number of Sunsparklers, I think it has to be 'Lime Zinger.' When it blooms I should have a more solid idea. I do like the way it fills in a space.

It's also interesting that W-M's plants have the Better Homes and Gardens Label, Lowe's carries Proven Winner, and Meijer has Garden Exclusives. But if you read the small print on the tags, they were all grown at Sawyer Nursery.
Lime Zinger sedum

This is the Sedum I showed you a few days ago in bloom. I bought this last year. It's Sedum hispanicum 'Pinkie.'

It was another I thought I'd give a second try because I'd previously killed a S. hispanicum. That one was 'Blue Carpet.' Guess again. Two little patches of it have shown up. Opposite corners of this picture.
Sedum hispanicum blue carpet

I also had another tiny low-growing sedum, S. dasyphylum. I haven't discovered any of that yet. But so many things have unexpectedly popped up, I'm keeping my eyes open.

Finally, for today, Sedum spurium 'Tricolor.'

Remember the one I bought that was only green and white, and I hoped it would stay that way? I should have known better. Now that it's getting sun, it clearly has pink edges. That's OK, it looks nice.
sedum tricolor

This is a tricolor I've had for a long time. It has settled in and become almost "woody."
sedum tricolor

And then, this is a tricolor that Betsy gave me last year. It wants to ramble all over the place, unlike the other two. It's interesting to me how variable this is. That said, it's a hybrid, and might have been created by different greenhouses. It's an "old" hybrid, so it's not like it's patented any more.
sedum spurium tricolor

It's so hot and humid here that I struggled to keep working, but I managed laundry, shopping, editing for others and myself, and a couple other things. I can live with that. Only a little garden time. Too hot.

See Newly Blooming Mid-June

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Swoopy Sky

 Today's big event has to be the storm that swooped in early afternoon.

asperitus clouds

I looked these up, and this kind of cloud formation has a name. It's called Asperitas clouds. It is defined as a low layer that looks like the upside-down surface of a roughened sea. Interestingly enough, these rarely carry rain.

There sure was a good suggestion of rain. I could see the radar. I could smell the rain falling somewhere (actually the smell of the newly wetted earth). Even better, I could see the rain falling behind these interesting clouds.

The "waves" were moving fast. The heavenly sea was roiling.
asperitas clouds

Quickly, this formation moved off to the east. You can see that ragged edge on the back side. Sure enough, not with these clouds, but behind them, within a few minutes the rain reached me.
asperitas clouds

It was almost like a spring rain, gentle and falling straight down. A half-inch total. Very nice.

I pretty much took the day off. I did write a newspaper column, but other than that I goofed off. Hopefully, tomorrow morning I'll be ready to jump back into working hard.

See Yesterday's Storm

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Got Rhubarb? Got Apples?

 With an abundance of the two items mentioned above, I decided to make a crisp. I actually have a recipe for Apple-Rhubarb Crisp, but I tinkered with it. It is very good, but I think I'll tinker some more if I make it again. I liked the changes I made, except I think I'd use even less sugar. The apples moderate the sour rhubarb quite a bit.

I used 1 1/2 times the fruit called for, added oatmeal to the topping and sprinkled it liberally with walnuts.
apple rhubarb crips

Serving 1 was dinner, and serving 2 was dessert. No regrets. Serving 3 might be breakfast.

I edited the general text of the book and worked outside. Oh, and went to the food bank in the morning.

Recipe as I made it (I think I would cut the sugar-I like things a little tart- a little more and add more nutmeg)

mix in a bowl:
1 1/2 c chopped apple
1 1/2 c chopped rhubarb
1/2 c stevia (this can just be additional sugar, but I try to use part stevia in desserts)
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t nutmeg
1 beaten egg
spread in a glass 9x13 pan

mix in another bowl
1 stick (1/2 c) softened oleo
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. oatmeal
cut together until well mixed

spread over fruit and press down

sprinkle with as many walnuts as you want

bake at 375 for 30 min

See New Rhubarb Recipe