August 2003
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Garden design using shade plants and shade trees   

Gardening Newsletter - August 2003, Issue 12

Happy one year anniversary to the newsletter !  In one year we've grown to 2,600 readers in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, eight Canadian provinces and 39 countries on  six continents (sorry - no one from Antarctica - yet).

Being a garden nut, I love worms – that is until “Sobig.f”. W32/Sobig.f@MM is a mass-mailing worm that you’ve probably heard about on the news. It arrives as an email attachment with a .pif or .scr extension. When run, it infects the host computer, then emails itself to harvested email addresses from the victim's machine. In addition, when it propagates, the worm "spoofs" (fakes) the "from: field", using one of the harvested email addresses. So exercise care when opening emails with attachments. An infected email can come from addresses you recognize. (see McAfee’s site for more information).

We’ve been getting a couple of hundred infected messages a day but never were infected thanks to our anti-virus software. As the virus spoofs the “from: field”, we’ve also been getting lots of messages from people complaining about us sending an infected email. All I can say is “we didn’t do it !”.

As long as I'm on computer geek stuff, more and more people are resorting to using some system to stifle the spam.  This newsletter always comes from .  Please set your filter to allow this address though.  If you don't to receive the newsletter anymore, follow the instructions at the bottom of every newsletter to cancel your subscription.

Enough on icky worms and back to the garden !

Rebecca Green

Striking a Balance

WildflowersMany wildflowers go dormant after flowering. These flowers are known as ephemerals. Those that keep their foliage all season are called persistent.

The key to a successful small wildflower garden is to balance the number of ephemerals with the number of persistent plants. While many ephemerals are lovely in bloom, your garden will look void by summer if you don’t plant persistent plants around them. Surround ephemerals such as: bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) with columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and wild bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia). When planning a garden try to have something of interest for each of the four seasons.

However, if you want to create a really breathtaking display of ephemerals in the early spring you may not have enough space between your ephemerals to plant persistent plants. This may be especially true if your ephemerals have naturalized (naturally spread), creating a dense carpet of bloom in the spring. The trick to keeping your garden attractive after the ephemerals are done blooming is to have something really eye catching in another location of the garden, detracting attention from the void left by the ephemerals. This could be a water feature, a decorative grass garden or, a brightly colored perennial border.

LightingLight-Up Your Garden

Gardens are living art. Just as you might place a light over a painting, lighting in the garden can make it more enjoyable. More than just functionally lighting a path, lighting can accentuate the major features of your garden and hide those that are less desirable.

Here are some tips on how to light your garden:

Create a hierarchy of brightness in your garden. Vertical elements should be more brightly lit than horizontal surfaces, such as paths.

Shining a light down on to an element in the garden is more natural than shining a light up. Down lighting mimics the sun, while up lighting makes shadows look backward.

Use several low wattage bulbs rather than one high watt bulb. You don’t want to create the feeling that you’re interrogating your garden.

Lighting looks different in different seasons. A deciduous tree with leaves creates a much different effect than one without. Some evergreens look best in the winter covered in snow. As such, you may want to light different plants at different times of the year.

Lighting accentuates textures, whether they are of building materials or plants.

Just as lighting can create dramatic effects indoors it can transform your garden in new dimensions. It can turn a cold dark winter landscape into an inviting winter wonderland and extend your hours of outdoor enjoyment in the summer. Lighting helps you make the most of your garden.

Daylilies, the Nearly Perfect Shade Plant

Daylilies only flaw is they are like candy to deer and many wild animals. Otherwise they are very adaptable and pest free. They withstand heat and drought better than most garden flowers. They will grow in sun or light shade and in virtually every type of soil except marshland. All they need is a bed of mulch, light fertilizing in the spring, and to have their foliage cut in the fall. Unless you have an animal problem in your garden, you should not be without daylilies.

HemerocallisThe botanical name for daylily is Hemerocallis. Within the genus Hemerocallis there are fifteen species. The genus name of Hemerocallis is derived from two Greek words: hemera means day; kallos means beauty. The name alludes to the fact the flowers only last for one day.

Daylilies are native to the orient. They were cultivated in China for food coloring and the flower buds were added to soup. The Chinese called them the plants of forgetfulness, as they believed the flowers would induce memory loss, thereby curing sorrow.

Many people collect daylilies. No wonder, there are 52,000 cultivars. The American Hemerocallis Society ( registers new varieties and is a warehouse of information.

With so many different types of daylilies, it's not surprising some do better than others in specific growing conditions. For example, it's typically too hot in the South for deciduous daylilies, but evergreen daylilies thrive there. The American Hemerocallis Society provides information about which daylilies are suited for different parts of the country, as well as their blooming time.

The ultimate honor for a daylily is to be awarded the Stout Silver Medal by the American Hemerocallis Society. Dr. Arlow B. Stout hybridized daylilies at the New York Botanical Garden. When Dr. Stout started his work only yellow and orange flowered varieties existed. After twenty-five of work he created the first red daylily named 'Theron' and soon after the first pink daylily. Today hybridizers are creating daylilies in virtually every color. To honor Dr. Stout, the American Hemerocallis Society annually awards the Stout Silver Medal to an outstanding daylily. The New York Botanical Garden has found the perfect use for daylilies. Along a long path they have planted them with daffodils. The daffodils come up in early spring before the daylilies. As the daffodils start to wither, the daylily foliage is starting to become bold, hiding the unattractive daffodil leaves. By using various kinds of daylilies, something is in bloom from spring into fall.

Although daylilies don't survive being planted in marshland, they look wonderful planted high up on the bank of a stream away from the water.

The following nurseries offer an outstanding selection of daylilies:



SWALLOWTAIL DAYLILY NURSERY; (note: they are no longer taking retail orders until 2004)

That's all for now. If you have any comments or questions on the newsletter, please email us at


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