Another round of heavy rain last night has our water soaked plants even wetter. I had errands to run yesterday after yard work, and made a stop at the Pulaski County extension office to drop off some plants I brought back for a gardener from Hope. Fortunately, I got to see the peonies out front of the office during a lull in the weather.
These showstopping beauties produce large blooms, which can droop easily when we have heavy rains or wind. Putting up perennial cages or stakes can help, but consider cutting a bouquet and enjoying them indoors as well. Peonies are fairly long-lasting as cut flowers go, and many are fragrant as well. You may bring a bouquet of ants in with the flowers. Peonies have nectaries in their flowers and buds which produce a sweet substance which ants love. Some gardeners think that ants are needed to open the blooms, but that isn't so--they just like the free, sweet meal. To eradicate ants from your bouquet, hold the flowers upside down under water for a few minutes. The heavy rain may have done the trick for you. Peonies thrive in full sun, and need to be planted shallowly. They are gorgeous this spring.
Speaking of the Pulaski County Extension Office garden, this is a Pulaski County MG project and it looks amazing.
Another testament to the outstanding volunteer work that Arkansas Master Gardeners do across this state. There were many plants in bloom and many were labeled so visitors could get pointers on what to plant in their own yards.
Their garden is a diverse mix of annuals, perennials, natives and heirlooms, along with roses
and herbs, and some newer introductions.
The weigela was blooming nicely.
This old-fashioned plant is making a comeback with some reblooming varieties like the Sonic Bloom series. Some of the old fashioned or heirloom plants can be tricky to find at nurseries, where newer introductions abound. Master Gardener plant sales are a great place to find some of the older varieties, since many of the plants are divisions from MG yards. There were many sales today and the final ones are next Saturday. Check with your local county extension office to find out when they hold their sales.
One of those old-fashioned plants you might find would be this plant--Rose campion is the common name for Lychnis coronaria.
This bright fuchsia colored bloom is the most common, but there is also a white flowering form. The silver, fuzzy, lambs ear-like leaves means it does well in drier spots. It is not the longest lived perennial in the garden, but can reseed and bounce around the garden once you have it. It is almost always a pass-along plant you get from a fellow gardener.
In addition to MG plant sales, many gardeners share between each other--which has been labeled as pass-along plants. I think most gardeners have plants that they share with others. I like walking my garden and knowing that I have a plant from someone else's yard or a family member. My sister has peonies from my mothers yard blooming in her garden now. I have so many plants that originated as starts from friends, or as gifts. I think of Charlotte every year when this Harlequin clerodendrum is blooming
and Sharon when the toad lilies are taking over (but blooming their hearts out)
and the Arkansas County MG's when my tulip magnolia is in it's glory,
and Magnolia (Columbia County) MG's when my Little Gem magnolia is blooming.
Gardeners are generally very nice people who enjoy plants. They also like to share with others their knowledge and a piece of their gardens. Whether cuttings, divisions or seeds, share something from your garden with someone else, and I bet they reciprocate. Or if you need a gift for a gardener, you can never go wrong with a plant.