A self-proclaimed “plant geek,” Cheryl received her Horticulture degree at Milwaukee Area Technical College. She spent many years working in the Otter Creek Landscape division and at John Michael Kohler Arts Center gardens. She’s now the office manager for The Wreath Factory and Otter Creek Landscape. Check out her blog for tips, travels and things that pop up in her garden.


Looking to the near future!
by Cheryl Walsh - posted 04/30/14

I am very anxious for the warm weather to stay for more than a few days!  So anxious that I had to look back to 2011 for a blog that I wrote about what will happen in the  next few weeks for me.  Enjoy remembering with me.

I was excited to get out in my gardens on Sunday for over four hours.  It felt good to clean up the ornamental grasses, rake out the beds and trim & prune.  I started to make a list of "empty spots" so when I buy the next "must have plant" I have a space for it.   Besides the daffodils, crocuses and squill that are blooming, I also have Pasque & Bergenia flowers.  The Pasque flower is a low growing perennial (8-12") that blooms around Easter time.  It comes in white, lavender or reddish-purple and the best thing about it is that the silky hairs cover the leaves, stems and buds.  An unusual wispy seed head succeeds the flowers.  I was able to get a picture right before it bloomed and then while blooming.

Pasque flower before: silken hairs cover the unusual foliage
Pasque flower after: the fuzz around the blooms create a halo effect
Another blooming perennial in my garden is the Bergenia "Pig Squeak."  It has shiny, cabbage-like leaves that feel rubbery and it makes a 'pig squeak' sound when rubbed between your fingers.  The leaves are evergreen and it blooms with bright red/pink flowers that provide long lasting cut blooms.  I planted nine of these in the front of my rose & Japanese Maple garden.  The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan has over one hundred of these under the Kentucky Coffee Trees north of the parking lot if you want to see some.  I've seen some of theirs bloom twice in the same season!
Bright pink blooms on the Bergenia near near my rose garden
I also deadheaded the three large "Limelight" hydrangeas in my backyard.  These shrubs were just planted two years ago and last summer it bloomed like mad where I had almost one hundred flowers total for the three shrubs.  I really liked the winter interest of the dried flowers all winter long.
The dried flowers on my limelights.  I leave the dried heads on all winter because I like the interest they add to the winter landscape.
Cuttings off the dried hydrangea blooms.  I filled my waste container!
And here they are after a trim...all ready for the growing season.
Limelights are show stoppers with sturdy flowers that are 6-12" and make great cut flowers.  The color changes from a soft green to a pink in fall.
Limelights in full bloom
This year there is a new cultivar called "Little Lime" that is 3-5' tall instead of the original which is 6-8' tall.  Because they're more compact, I'll have to buy some "Little Limes" for my front yard.
Question for discussion: Do you have any of the plants I mentioned in your gardens?  If so, are they blooming or have they bloomed yet?


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