Its finally here!  Time to start planning and planting our summer gardens. Because I am such a plant nut, I am at nurseries generally three times a week, mostly to the same ones over and over.  I know the delivery times for each nursery, and I know who sells the growers that I like.  I travel far and wide to visit nurseries, generally a two hour trip one way.  But I know what I want and I am willing to travel to get it.  It is so frustrating for me to not find the specific plants I must have. I read throughout the winter about the latest craze in horticulture or newest plant, but finding these treasures is such a challenge.  Its almost like a scavenger hunt.  But while I am on the search for my old standbys, which in of itself is a challenge – growers seem to be skipping my favorites this year-  I also find new plants or cultivars I haven’t heard of, so that is pretty exciting.  One such plant is Supercal Petchoa.  Now I may be just kidding myself, but this is a calibrachoa that I can actually grow AND ITS A PERENNIAL.    I know I have discussed this plant previously, but I am so excited that this new variety has caught on with other growers (the original one I found was from Monrovia), that I had to have all of them!

I can honestly tell you that calibrochoa can make the most successful gardener cry.  Just as it gets going, it just up and dies and no matter what you try to do, they will not survive throughout the summer.  But the Supercal Petchoa is going to change all that (at least I hope so!).  Click onto the link to see all the great colors.  If your nursery isn’t offering it, ask for it, no DEMAND IT.  Here are some of mine.




lavender (in front) from Monrovia

dusty pink with another yellow

cerise –


So far they are all doing great.  The tag describes it as a cross between a petunia and a calibrachoa; the flowers are a bit smaller than a petunia and a bit larger than a calibrachoa.  Here’s a TIP – they are easy/peasy to propagate!  Just take a cutting at the newest growth, dip in rooting hormone, then plant in perlite.  It will root within few weeks, meanwhile flowering the entire time.  Treat these as you would the fussiest petunia; they are big feeders so keep the fertilizer coming.  I added Osmocote when I planted them and continue with MiracleGro throughout the summer.

‘White Knight’ sweet alyssum

Another plant I discovered is Proven Winners ‘White Knight’ sweet alyssum.  In my opinion, this variety outshines Proven Winners ‘Snow Princess’ because it is more compact and much hardier, at least in my neck of the woods.  I planted this last November and it has not stopped flowering since.  It gets very thirsty, so water daily!


During my nursery visits, I have observed a selling trend that to me, is quite unsettling.  Because I love gardening and more importantly, I love to help others understand gardening, it pains me to see ill-advised patrons buying plants that they shouldn’t.

Delphiniums and daisies

Nurseries are selling plants that are not compatible with the growing climate and they sell others that are flowering out of season.  For example, the picture above was taken in April; not only are they selling delphiniums and daisies, but they are selling them in full flower.  Delphiniums do not grow in my area.  Delphiniums do not flower in April where they do grow!  The daisies above will not flower again this year when they should be (late June-July, depending on variety).  This is just a marketing ploy (this picture was taken at a box store) to get you to buy these plants, because consumers want to buy plants that are flowering.  Please be careful when making your plant selection.  It just leads to disappointment.


My last post showed my winter pots getting a face lift.  Here are the before and the after pictures.  I am so behind on posting, due to some technical difficulties, but I still wanted to share the outcome of my late winter pruning for my spring time containers.

Before rejuvenation

One month later

Before rejuvenation

One month later (note the disappearance of the yellow nemesia

The container above had some serious problems.  The white nemesia (Coconut) wasn’t growing and the yellow nemesia (Sunsatia) was so deprived of magnesium that it wasn’t flourishing at all.  After pleading with all the plants in this container to do better, the diascia and Coconut came back stronger than ever.  Even though it is mid May now, the pink diascia (Romeo) is better than ever.  I have removed all the yellow nemesia to make room for my summer flowers for this container, mainly, and you guessed it – petchoa!


As promised, here are a few more pictures of my travels this past February to Australia and New Zealand.


Both pictures are from the Queenstown, New Zealand area.  There is no such thing as a bad view there!