Coreopsis (and Company) in the Cottage Garden

Coreopsis 'Star Cluster' in bloom with companions
Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy' (foliage left)
 echinacea (multiple varieties back)
 and purple phlox 'Nicky'.
Three plants of Coreopsis 'Star Cluster' PPAF were added to my cottage garden in 2011. I was so impressed by the performance and beauty of this coreopsis, that I purchased five more plants this spring.

This 2010 introduction in the Big Bang ™ series is from Darrell Probst. For several years, I've happily grown his taller Coreopsis 'Red Shift' in the deer resistant meadow garden. 'Star Cluster' is shorter at 18-14 inches high and wide, making it more suitable for the scale of my cottage garden.

Coneflowers and Aster Yellows Disease

These "green" disfigured coneflowers were removed and destroyed.
I didn't plant any new "green bloom" echinacea cultivars, so what's wrong with a few of my coneflowers? While most of the coneflowers in my garden are blooming and thriving, I watched three delinquent clumps and wondered:

Did voles eat the roots? No
Are they getting shaded out by the other plants? No
Is it aster yellows disease? Yes

As difficult as it is, there's nothing to be done except to remove and destroy infected coneflowers to keep the disease from spreading by leafhoppers feeding on the plants.  Out with the bad to save the good.

Refreshing Little Lime Hydrangea

First bloom of 'Little Lime' Hydrangea. June 28, 2012.
What's the most refreshing bloom color on a 100°+ summer day?  My vote goes to the huge, cool snowballs of 'Little Lime'™ hardy hydrangea from Proven Winners®. 

I know! I know! I'm obsessed with refreshing lime and refreshed light green garden benches to cool down my garden!

Garden Benches Refreshed

Many, many years ago at a property that I no longer own, a neighboring farmer teased me when I was painting my old, weathered barn. He said "A little bit of powder, a little bit of paint will make it look like what it ain't."

It was true that the old barn had warped boards and a rusty metal roof. It needed more help than a coat of paint. Fortunately, my metal garden benches were showing only a bit of rust and faded color—easily remedied by a good scrubbing and a coat of fresh paint. After seven years in the garden, I was ready to use some color.

I bought the spray paint, Valspar® Satin Leafy Rise, as my color of choice. It's a pale green that looks so much cooler than the dark bronze of the cottage garden bench or the black of the gravel garden bench. I also painted a rusty metal plant stand and a pot.

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