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Nasturtium 'Dwarf Cherry Rose'

Nasturtium Dwarf Cherry Rose
I decided to try a new Nasturtium this year in my garden after my failure with 'Mahogany Velvet' that I purchased from Sean Conway Seeds. I was really looking forward to the 'Mahogany Velvet' blooms last year because they were the closest to black I could find. Unfortunately the plants never bloomed while the 'Jewel Mix' grew like gangbusters.


Hemerocallis 'Siloam Fairy Tale'

Hemerocallis 'Siloam Fairy Tale'
I purchased this Daylily 'Siloam Fairy Tale' at the Home Depot garden center last year. Actually, I bought two of them because they were on sale and had not yet bloomed and wanted to add to the collection a gardening friend had given me. I've blogged a lot about the pros of buying plants in your neighborhood big box garden centers but there are also cons.

Flower-Of-An-Hour: Hibiscus Trionum

Hibiscus Trionum Flower-Of-An-Hour
Hibiscus trionum was introduced to the US from Southern Europe where it gained a foothold as a weed and as a garden plant, it is listed as a noxious weed by the USDA. One common name for this plant is 'Flower-of-an-hour because of the short-lived blooms.


Oxalis Charmed Wine

Oxalis Charmed Wine TM
This is number two of two Oxalis plants I own. The other one is Oxalis 'Iron Cross' and this one is named Oxalis 'Charmed Wine.' The name 'Charmed Wine' is a trademark of a gardening company called Proven Winners that supplies these to Home Depot where I picked up this plant.


Blue Chicory
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is another common weed found in Chicago. It can be spotted growing alongside roads and in empty lots throughout the city. It is a bushy perennial that is native to Europe but has naturalized in North America. In Europe it has a very long history as an herb with various uses in the kitchen and as a medicinal plant.

Asiatic Dayflower

Asiatic Dayflower in Chicago
Here's another weed that is common in the Chicago area and that grows in my garden. It is called the Asiatic Dayflower and has a true blue color. This is another weed that holds a lot of memories because as a kid we called it "Mickey Mouse flower" because of the two blue petals that sit atop.


Natural Methods Of Pest Control

This morning I woke up to find that a couple of the seed heads on my poppies were covered with black aphids. My first reaction was to run inside and pick up an insecticide but I remembered that I am trying not to use chemicals in my garden like I did last year. I almost searched on-line for one of those homemade concoctions to kill them but then I remembered that I had ladybugs somewhere in the garden.

  LadyBug eating Black Aphids

Clover In The Garden

My neighbor considers clover to be a weed and any that shows up in his lawn is quickly eradicated with chemicals. I'm of the opinion that clover is a beneficial "weed "in the garden because it attracts good insects like bumble bees and adds nitrogen to the soil.

  White Clover Red Clover

Poppies In My Garden

Last year I received poppy seeds in trades and never having grown them before didn't know what to expect. I was told to just scatter them on the ground in the winter and in the spring I would have more poppies than I knew what to do with. The blooms and colors were amazing and there were some poppies that I wish I had labeled and saved seeds from more carefully. I got a lot of comments on them in the garden and even some quizzical looks from people who wanted to know why I was growing poppies. Since I'm gardening in an urban area I sometimes played dumb and pretended they weren't poppies and say would they were something else.

Poppies Bees Peony Poppies


Zantedeschia 'Blackjack'

I bought this Calla Lily last year at a Lowes garden center. When I walked into the garden center my eyes were immediately drawn to a display of black Calla Lilies that were labeled 'Hot Chocolate' and I picked one up. I'd been purchasing all the black flowers I could find last year for the black and green theme I want to develop in my garden. Blackjack Black Calla Lily, black plants black flowers

Zantedeschia-Pink Calla Lily Flower

I purchased this calla lily rhizome last year because it was suppose to be a brown colored flower. As you can see the color isn't brown and that is a gamble you take when you shop in big box garden centers and when you buy something that isn't blooming. You never really know what you are going to get until it flowers for you and even then you may never be able to put a name to your plant.



Burdock is biennial thistle in the Asteraceae family. Common Burdock grows wild in North America, Europe and Asia. This "weed" is regularly found growing alongside roads in the Chicago area and in cracks in the pavement. This is one of my favorite weeds growing in Chicago because the large lower leaves that can reach 18 inches in length and look very dramatic. I've taken to calling Burdock a "Ghetto Hosta" because I see them growing alongside property lines and I wonder if we're mimicking nature or if nature is mocking us.


Eucomis bicolor-Pineapple Lily

Eucomis bicolor is commonly called 'Pineapple Lily' because the flowers resemble a pineapple. This bulb is native to Africa and in the US is hardy in zones 8-10. My garden in Chicago is nowhere near the required zones so I grow it and then lift it in the winter and store the bulbs indoors in a cool and dry area.

  Eucomis bicolor- Pineapple Lily

Black Hollyhocks

Black Hollyhock Alcea rosea, black plants black flowers
Alcea rosea is an old fashioned plant that I remember from my childhood but I don't see in many gardens now. When I was a kid there was an eccentric woman in my neighborhood that we called the "crazy bird lady" because her old Victorian knock-off was always covered in pigeons.


Want Bees In Your Garden? Tempt Them With Color

My favorite colors in the garden are green and black. Did you know bees, like humans may have a favorite color?

"Researchers took bees that had never seen real flowers from nine southern Germany bumblebee colonies and exposed them to violet or blue artificial flowers in the lab. The investigators found these bees—one of the most numerous bumblebee species in Europe—often prefer violet to blue, seemingly innately."

Bees Have Favorite Color.
I love bumblebees. They have to be my favorite bee and because I like them so much I allow Clover to take over the garden and grow where it wants. The bumblebees love the flowers and visit them more than anything else in my garden.


The Orange Daylily

Most gardeners would probably turn their noses up at this daylily and while I'm no garden snob I would too. The orange daylily can be seen planted just about everywhere around Chicago and this plant has escaped and become a nuisance in the wild. The cheerful flowers and grass like foliage along with the cheap price tag make this one popular perennial for the garden. The fact that they are tough and can handle an urban life doesn't hurt either. Honestly this isn't my daylily and it's not a garden escapee-it is more of a garden refugee.


Bells of Ireland

Bells of Ireland Moluccella Laevis
Moluccella laevis, more commonly known as Bells of Ireland, is one of my favorite annuals in the garden. I bought my first pack of seeds from Burpee last year when I decided green and black flowers were going to be my theme. These bells shaped flowers grow on erect stems that make them great candidates for floral arrangements.


Lightning Bug

I spotted the first lightning bug in the garden today and couldn't help smiling. To me nothing says summer in Chicago like catching the first lightning bug- which is really a soft bodied beetle and not a fly. Like just about everyone else, as a kid I caught these bugs and kept them in jars.


Heuchera X 'Crown Jewel'

I bought this Heuchera X 'Crown Jewel' last year for the garden. I was attracted to it's veined gray marbled leaves with maroon undersides. The plant tag recommended planting it in partial shade but I planted it in full sun where the colors seemed to darken.

Heuchera X 'Crown Jewel'


Ladybug In The Garden

The Ladybug (ladybirds to the British and Australians) is my second favorite garden dweller. Aside from their aesthetic quality I appreciate them for the work they do in the garden to keep the aphids and scale under control. This year I decided to avoid using chemicals in the garden to provide as hospitable home for beneficial insects.

Hover Fly In The Garden

Aside from the feeling of accomplishment I get when I see plants in the garden blooming my next favorite thing about gardening has to be bug watching. My neighbor's and family think I'm nuts and if I were to come across a guy laying on the ground staring at something I couldn't see I'd probably think he was crazy too.
  Hover Fly


Heuchera Sanguinea 'Snow Angel'

Last year I planted Heuchera 'Snow Angel' because I thought I had gone overboard with the dark colored varieties. I thought a little leaf variegation never hurt a garden so I bought two of these at the Home Depot garden center when they went on sale. Only one survived the Chicago winter and I'm not sure if it's because of an incident with a dog or because I didn't plant it deep enough and it died because of frost heaving.

  Heuchera Sanguinea 'Snow Angel'

'Nearly Wild' Rose

I'm not a big fan of Roses and for that reason I don't really grow them in the garden. They seem like plants that are too fussy and prone to diseases but an exception is made for this Rose because they were gifted to me. This pretty common Rose can be found in landscapes all over the Chicago area and seeing them everywhere can get pretty boring.

  Nearly Wild Rose


Peruvian daffodil

Hymenocallis narcissiflora commonly called Peruvian daffodil or Spider Flower has intricately designed flowers and fragrance. This bulb is native to South America and Africa and hardy only to zones 8-10 in the US. This is my second year growing these bulbs and I have yet to experience the fragrance that I read so much about. Last year the bulbs bloomed at six inches but this year the stalks grew to two feet before it started to bloom. The first year I had them there were only two blooms per stalk but this year each stalk produced between four and five blooms.
  Peruvian daffodil flower