Garden with Grace

"I hope that while so many people are out smelling the flowers, someone is taking the time to plant some." ~H.Rappaport


My Secret Garden and the Discovery of a Schizo-Zinnia

There’s a secret garden in my backyard. You can’t see it from the street, from any of the windows in my home, or from anywhere else in the perennial gardens in the yard unless you follow the path that takes you along the neighbor’s fence, behind my potting room at the back of the garage.

The secret garden has a long, 20+ foot row of zinnias along its path. The zinnia bed was added to the garden two years ago after seeing all of the beautiful zinnias at the Community Gardens in Nashua’s Greeley Park. I still visit there to get inspired and to visit Sophie who has the most beautiful zinnia garden you’ll ever see.

This year, I planted the zinnia seeds late in June, so they just started to put on a beautiful show as we flipped the calendar to September. There are zinnias of every color, shape, and size that you can imagine.

There is one that you’d never expect to see, let alone imagine. It stands taller than all the others. It’s nearly 55″ tall.

55inchZinnia (1024x768)Its blossom measures nearly 3″ across.3inchZinniaBloom (1024x768)It’s a Schizo-Zinnia.

SchizoZinnia (1024x768)

This flower has two distinct personalities. It didn’t know if it wanted to be hot-pink or white with speckles. So it’s both.

It looks like someone took two completely different flowers, cut them in half, and stitched them carefully down the middle to become one interesting bloom.

As a gardener, I’m in awe of every flower in the garden. From April to October, I run out early each morning to see what Mother Nature has delivered since the day before.

Over the past 2 weeks, the morning garden walks include a turn along the path to inspect the zinnias. Usually a blur of color and textures, I’ve walked by and have been glad to see that they are finally blooming and adding every color of the rainbow where you’d least expect it at the back of my yard.

Mother Nature is incredible. She surprised me by making this special flower stand tall and be noticed.

She made me stop.   And look.    And wonder.

This flower will stay in the garden until it’s ready to be dead-headed in mid-September.

Then the seeds will be saved to plant a surprise for next summer……in the now, not so secret garden.


Boom…..Bloom! Here come the Daylilies!

A few years ago, I had the bright idea that daylilies would be a good filler for the perennial gardens in the backyard. I thought they would fit nicely among the peony bushes, adding continuous color in the garden throughout July and August. What I didn’t know then, but will admit now, is that daylily collecting can become an obsession.

There’s something special about a flower that blooms for only one day.

During July, I walk through the garden each morning to find a new daylily that has appeared. It always seems like a miracle to find that another flower bloomed overnight. There are always more buds on each stem, ready to open the next day, bringing true delight to any gardener during the hottest and sometimes most oppressive days of the New England summer.

For such a spectacular flower, the daylily is not fussy at all. Thankfully, they stay practically pest-free and don’t need very much attention.

Some deadheading of the spent blooms and a dose of fertilizer and compost in the spring is all the T.L.C. that these flowers need. It’s important to note that while they are beautiful, we no longer grow Asian or Oriental varieties of lilies in the garden due to the problems with the Asian Lily Beetle.

The daylilies that I’m now obsessed over belong to a genus called Hemerocallis, derived from the Greek words Hemera meaning day and kallos meaning beauty. Here are some of the spectacular daylilies currently in bloom in our Nashua, NH garden this week.

Garden paths lined by Stella d'Oro Daylilies.

Garden paths lined by Stella d’Oro Daylilies.


This beauty, called Wild Horses, was planted in spring 2013, but never bloomed until this summer. Definitely worth the wait!

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Not sure of the name, but these bright blooms bring a splash of color in between peony bushes and iris that bloomed in June.

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This is one of the first fancy daylilies that was added to the garden about 10 years ago. It’s called Strawberry Candy.

These Lemon daylilies are striking with the nearby Knockout roses.

These Lemon daylilies are striking with the nearby Knockout roses.

What are your favorite varieties of daylilies that I should consider adding to the garden? Please, comment and let me know!