Ageratum ‘Blue Horizon’

I’m not sure how long it will last, but I’m thankful that some seed companies are still selling ageratum ‘Blue Horizon’. It’s one of my favorite back row anchor plants, and the lavender color blends so well with just about any other color in the flowerbed.

A few years ago I tried ‘Blue Planet’ which was considered a replacement for ‘Blue Horizon’, but some years the plants—which were supposed to grow 30 inches tall—never made it past 12 inches and got buried in the back of my flowerbeds. After this happened for several years in a row I went in search of ‘Blue Horizon’ again.

‘Blue Horizon’ grows 30 inches tall with fluffy lavender-blue flowers. The plants aren’t bothered by critters or diseases, and butterflies love the flowers.

Eventually ‘Blue Horizon’ will probably disappear entirely from the marketplace, but until that happens, I’ll keep growing it!

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Up Close and Personal: Zinnia ‘Park’s Picks Purple’

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A Bright Spot

As I mentioned yesterday, many of my plants are currently serving as a salad bar to ravenous Japanese Beetles. The zinnias are no exception, but there are a few blooms that have been left unblemished like this ‘Big Red’ zinnia:

These lovely plants grow 36 inches tall with bright-red flowers that appear all summer long if you keep them deadheaded.

‘Big Red’ is very easy to grow. Just plant the seeds directly in the ground after the risk of frost has passed in the spring, and about a month later you’ll be rewarded with those rich, red flowers.

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More Beetle Mania

The ample rain we received this year turned my flowerbeds into a Japanese Beetle playground.

For the last several years their numbers have been waning, but this year’s crop has been record-breaking, and it reminds me of those years when they first arrived and mowed down just about every plant in sight.

I don’t have a single tall marigold in bloom right now because they have devoured them to nubs.

The beetles should start disappearing later this month, so the marigolds will just have to hold on a little longer.

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Up Close and Personal: Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Sun’

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‘Star of Yelta’ for Eternity

Morning Glory ‘Star of Yelta’ doesn’t take “no” for an answer.  I haven’t planted seeds for this morning glory in more than 10 years, but every year it sneaks up on me somewhere.

I think the flowers are pretty. I just wish the plants weren’t a magnet for Japanese Beetles. And oh my, can this plant self seed! Every year I have to rescue lilies, zinnias and other tall plants from the twisting grip of rogue ‘Star of Yelta’ seedlings.

I do have one area where I usually let them roam every summer—a have a little metal arbor in the back of one of my flowerbeds that they can crawl all over.

Last year not a single plant popped up on its own around that arbor, but this year we’re back in business again. The Japanese beetles are very happy.

If you have an area where morning glories could climb each summer, buy a cheap packet of ‘Star of Yelta’ seeds ONE TIME and you’ll probably never have to buy more seeds again.

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More from My “Year of the Dianthus”

All of my dianthus plants have had a spectacular summer. I recently raved about my Jolt series favorites—‘Pink Jolt’ and ‘Cherry Jolt’—but I don’t want to leave out ‘Neon Rose Magic.’

I’ve written about this one before, but it’s such a great plant that I’ll mention it again. ‘Neon Rose Magic’ grows18 to 36 inches tall, but the plants I grow usually stay in the 18-24 inch range.

The flowers appear in shades of white, pink and rose, and monarch butterflies find them irresistible.

This plant is a perennial in Zones 5-8 and I have had plants survive the winter in my garden, but not in a very long time—our winters have been too harsh recently. I start my plants from seed each winter about 10 weeks before my last frost date in mid-May. They are easy to sprout and raise until it’s time to plant them in the garden.

‘Amazon Neon Rose’ has no insect or disease issues, and you can cut the flowers and enjoy them inside in a vase. The soft colors look especially great with white or purple companions.

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Double Dose: ‘Kentucky’ LA Lily

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Fun with Daylily Names: Wedding Day Edition (v2)

‘Please Say Yes’:

‘White Perfection’:

‘The Reverend’:

‘Captive Audience’:

Captive Audience (1) (Medium)

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Daylily Revival

It was so good to see some of my favorite daylilies blooming like crazy again this summer thanks to my massive dividing project.

Hello ‘Lavender Exaltation’!

And ‘Ivory Edges’:

And look at this beautiful display from ‘Apricot Symphony’:

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