Up Close in Our Gardens

Mid-season of this busy growing year is a moment to notice how our garden plants are progressing. Zinnias, smoke bush, wildflowers, and first look at sunflowers are featured today at Plant Exchange Blog.

Soil warmed slowly this spring, and direct-seeded plants such as zinnias were noticeably behind greenhouse transplants in this region. Zinnias are now in bloom, predictably attracting pollinators. They’re easy to grow and as varied in color and flower pattern as a gardener might want. As cut flowers, they last more than a week in a vase.

Smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria) is a moderately fast-growing ornamental deciduous shrub of the region. It is often grown as a foundation plant in a garden that has a distinctive leaf texture. Smoke bush (USDA Zone 4a-11) has few pests or diseases. It flowers best in full sun and tolerates alkaline soil. Recent Horticulture and Northern Gardener magazines, found for browsing at Yankton Community Library, have garden design articles that feature trees and shrubs as fundamentals in a yard.

These purple smoke bushes have grown three years at this site and serve as an ornamental and a blind to utility lines on the house. They grow beside lime colored Amsonia that have blue flowers in spring. 

We include an occasional twig of the distinctive lobed leafed smoke bush in flower arrangements.

This lime-colored smoke bush has grown slowly here due to deer sampling but is now beginning to expand. Varied leaf colors of smoke bush add to its versatility in a yard.

Re-seeded wildflowers show up again this year along our sloped yard. The angle is steep enough to discourage mowing, so short native buffalo grass is sewn there. Finding wildflowers that blend well with the short grass has been a challenge, but even in drought conditions, these plants flourish.

The first sunflower peeks from its container. Do visit again to see more of the sunflowers, a favorite here.

Thanks to all who let us know when you enjoy a topic by your “Likes” and thanks to loyal “Followers” who show up weekly to Plant Exchange Blog!

One thought on “Up Close in Our Gardens

  1. It seems to me that the chartreuse smoke tree innately grows less vigorously than the others. In our arid climate, it is also susceptible to foliar damage, such as salt burn from fertilizer.

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