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.


Lots Blooming Now
by Cheryl Walsh - posted 07/30/14

This is the time of year when I look forward to seeing lots of flowers in the gardens.  Some of my favorites are hydrangea, coneflower, liatris, agastache, yarrow and betony.


The orange flower is Echinacea purpurea "Hot Papya.'  I have to say this is my favorite coneflower with it's pompom center and drooping petals.  I have four of these perennials in my garden and will probably buy some more.  Behind it is Liatris spicata or gayfeather with it's spikes of purple blooms.  The light and airy white flower in the picture is Scabiosa Pincushion Flower.  This cottage garden was once a very neat and tidy garden before we had some issues and needed to dig up the septic pipe that runs through this flower bed.  There were some casualties as my husband call it whenever one of my plants disappears when we had repair work done.  So last year, I decided to let the garden be natural and whatever happens happens.  So wherever there was a bare spot, I transplanted some agastache, knautia or penstemon so now there is not any open areas.


This new garden is the home of three Hydrangea arborescens 'Invincibelle Spirit' with it's pink blooms.  This blooms early summer to frost and tends to droop so I have some short fencing holding them up so they don't hug the ground.



This is one of my 32 hydrangeas (15 different types) that I have and it is Hydrangea paniculata 'Great Star'.  It is somewhat new to my garden and I am hoping that this year it will give me lots of starry blooms.  Right now it is about 5' tall but can get 6-7'.



These hydrangeas can be seen from a far as it is Hydrangea arborescens 'Incrediball'.  The stems are sturdy and don't flop even with the extra large blooms.  The coneflowers are Echinacea purpurea 'Bravado' and are 4' tall.  The splash of yellow is from Helianthus or perennial sunflower.  I am not sure of the cultivar as it was one of those that I acquired in a plant swap.

Besides redoing an entire landscape bed in the front of my house (I'll show you pictures soon), it has been a year of lots of weeding, pruning and dealing with rabbits.  I am finding that I may have planted some shrubs too close together so I will have to decide if I need to move some this fall or heavily prune.  I guess shrubs really get as big as the plant tag says it will.  Well we all learn from our mistakes.  The rabbits also enjoyed the vegetables I planted for them while I was in England for two weeks.  My husband got frustrated and surprised me with a wire fence around our 24'  X 24' vegetable garden and then I within days of getting back I planted some more bean, pea, kohlrabi and beet seeds.  It may be a while before I can harvest any of those vegetables.

Happy gardening everyone!


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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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Fall-ing in Love With My Garden
by Cheryl Walsh - posted 09/30/13

It is officially fall and the gardens are changing quickly.  I thought I would share with you some of my favorite fall perennials and shrubs.

Agastache or Hyssop are  2-3′ tall perennials are loved by butterflies and hummingbirds.  They make a perfect back drop for a flower garden and my favorite combination is with coneflowers.   I also have them in pink and white.

Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’ Sweet Coneflower are great for cut flowers and grows 4-5′ tall.  The contrast next to the Weigela ‘Shining Sensation’ dark leaves make the yellow flowers stand out.  An added bonus is the vanilla scented foliage.  When I stand on the other side of my acre lot these really stand out.

I just can’t get enough of hydrangeas.  This is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ and it is one of the taller varieties I have getting 6-8′.  Three of them are planted in front of a large spruce tree and so it hides the messy bottom of this old evergreen.  The flowers start out a lime green color then fade to white.  When I look at my bedroom window in the morning it is the first thing that I see.

Anemone vitifolia ‘Robustissima’ has foliage resembling grape leaves and delicate pink flowers.  These are located near the spring blooming poppies and verbascum so there is continuation of  color in that garden through out the summer.

Aronia melancarpa or Black Chokeberry has spring flowers, colorful fall foliage and this blackish purple fruit.  This shrub gets 3-6′ tall and is planted in my bird garden.  This year the branches are almost hugging the ground as they have so many berries on them…….the birds will feasting in my backyard.

These daisy like flowers and dark leaves are from the Ligularia dentata ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’ perennial in my shade garden.  It gets 3-4′ tall and requires part shade.  This is one of the many varieties I have.  Another one is Ligularia stenocephala ‘The Rocket’ which has brush like yellow flowers and green jagged edged leaves.

The large flowered perennial is Eupatorium purpureum or Joe Pye Weed and can get 5-8′ tall.  The other plant is Rudbeckia nitida which I planted from seed.  I admired them at a friend’s house and collected some seeds.   I would love to continue this combination along the back of this entire garden.

This was taken in the Delaney Garden which as you can guess from the picture is also known as the pink garden.  The Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’ shrub looks great next to the barberry shrub and near the bird house and garden art.

The common name for this plant is Seven Son Flower and the botanical name is Heptacodium miconiodes.  One of the reasons I bought this plant is because my husband is one of seven sons in his family.  The other reasons include:  the bark is light tan and exfoliates in strips (very cool) and the flower brackets turn red after the August/September fragrant blooms are done.  This large shrub or small tree is great for any landscape.  There is one near the parking lot at work that I get to admire this time of year.

This 3′ aster has bright pink flowers and the botanical name is Aster novae-angliae ‘Alma Potschke’.  The name is even fun to pronounce!  My only regret is that I didn’t buy more of these at the time.

Hibiscus syriacus or Rose of Sharon shrub came to me as a very small seedling that I received free in the mail.  I will have to say it is doing quite well and I enjoy the many blooms late in summer.

Just a reminder to collect seeds for next year, harvest your herbs for the winter, start some herbs from cuttings so you can bring inside and enjoy all winter long and take notes for next year’s garden improvements!


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