September 15, 2008

Mislabeled Plants: Just Tell Me the Truth

Has this ever happened to you?

You buy perennials on your "wish list" with a vision of specific color combinations. You wait until the spring or summer in anxious anticipation to see the results of your carefully planned design. The plants begin blooming. But wait...that gaillardia is supposed to be yellow, not burgundy and gold! That lantana looks like 'Ham and Eggs'!

It's not my imagination. My gardening friend also bought the gaillardias and saved the plant label. I planted my "yellow" gaillardia beside my nepeta. This was fortunate as the nepeta can handle this burgundy/gold color.

I'm no gaillardia expert. These are the first that I've ever owned. Last year, I hated them. This year, I hate to love them, but I do. They have bloomed continuously all summer long on pure neglect and full sun. I'm starting to give gaillardias more credit. Only, I need to know what color I'm really buying next time.

I lost my lantana label, but it wasn't 'Ham and Eggs'. I'm just guessing at 'Ham and Eggs' based on the pink and yellow bi-color blooms. However, the habit is not 2 feet high as would be expected with that particular lantana.

My lantana is more like 5 feet high and 8 feet across...or, so it seems. I've not actually gone out there and measured it. I tried in vain to dig it up and move it after it overwhelmed the flower bed. It won. Actually, there are three of those. I successfully moved one to the outer garden, but the other two are in beds flanking the walkway...and I have to cut our way through to be able to pass without being attacked by all the disturbed honeybees, bumble bees and carpenter bees that flock to these plants. Another continuous blooming perennial that survives on neglect and full sun. Even the heavy rains all summer haven't damaged these lantana.

If I'm to learn a lesson from this, it is to not buy seedlings in 2 inch pots. However, I like to buy in quantities and I don't want to have to wait until a plant is large to see it in bloom before purchasing.

So, my gardening friends, please tell me...



UPDATE: I have received some wonderful suggestions. Gaillardia 'Mandarin' and Lantana 'Athens Rose'

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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