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Last Minute Advice

The Plant Sale is only a little more than a week away. I am so excited about all the great plants we have this year. If you are like me your favorite "must have" plant is always the one in front of you, so I thought you might like a few hints to help with the decisions:

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Great Trees to Add to the Your Landscape

Many of us are looking to add some new trees and shrubs to our landscape after the devastating storms of the past few years. When we bought our homes most of them already had trees and shrubs and we either were happy with them or decided to leave them until we got around to re-designing our landscape. With trees or shrubs there seems to be an added need to get it right the first time. A tree is not like a perennial that is easily dug up and moved from place to place. Trees and shrubs are expensive so we want to make sure we make good choices and place them properly. I once heard someone say we plant trees for posterity and that has some truth to it.

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My Favorite Plant (Today)

My favorite plant today is an oldie-but-goody, Alchemella mollis. This deer-resistant, shade-loving perennial is commonly known as Lady's Mantel and bears frothy chartreuse flowers in May and June. My reason for growing this plant is its fuzzy, palmate, blue-green leaves that after a rain or on a dewy morning hold beads of moisture. I never cease to marvel a how the simple drops are so exquisite.

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Poygonatum odoratum Variegatum (Variegated Solomon's Seal)

This is not only one of my favorites but it is the Perrennial Plant of the year for 2013. Each year the PPA chooses a plant that has outstanding value in gardens. These plants are voted on by the associations members and are judged for a wide range of hardiness,easy of growth, multiple seasons of interest and ease of propagation.

Variegated Solomon's Seal is an upright,arching plant for the shady garden. It blooms in early May and June with fragrant white bells that smell faintly like lily of the valley followed by dark blue fruits. The deep green leaves are edged in white and grow to about 2 feet.This North American native spreads slowly but not aggressively to form nice colonies. It is deer resistant.

Combine this with Ferns, Hosta, Brunnerra, Dicentra in a shady spot. Or it can be used as a ground-cover in the shade. Increase by dividing clumps every two to three years. It provides a strong architectural note in the landscape. In addition to being a favorite it is on my list of plants that I cannot do without.

==Sue Acheson, Plant Sale Co-Chair==
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Butterfly Bushes for Every Garden

Many of us think a gardening bonus is to have a great garden plant that also attracts butterflies and none does it better than Buddleias. In the past few years there have been many wonderful new Buddleias appearing in garden centers. They are easy to grow but require a sunny spot. Some of the new Buddleias are sterile and produce no seeds so deadheading is not necessary and no unwanted seedlings are popping up in your garden or your neighbors. They are also on the deer resistant list. They top the list of "most attractive to butterflies." The following are some that will be available at this years sale.

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Another Today's Favorite Plant

Every day I have a new favorite plant -- sometimes more than one! Today it is Abelia mosanensis.

Abelia is an old fashioned plant that has been left in the dust by all the new plants that are introduced each year. What's so great you ask? For starters it is very hardy and easy to grow -- hardy to Zone 4.

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My Favorite Plant (Today)

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Verbena Bonariensis

My favorite plant today is Verbena bonariensis a self-sowing annual for sun with a long bloom season.

Self-sowing means that if you let the seed pods stay on the plant they will be dispersed in your garden and you can have this wonderful plant popping up year after year. If you don't like the serendipity of plants appearing in your garden simply deadhead it as it sets seed.

A look alike to Spring flowering Alliums Verbena bonariensis adds that same circular shape to the garden all Summer long. The purple flowers on wiry stems attract bees and butterflies.

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Wonderful New Annuals

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Angiozanthos Kanga Red

Sometimes gardeners come full circle and I have done that where annuals are concerned. When I first started gardening I went to a local nursery and loaded up on annuals. I was a wannabe gardener then and knew nothing except that I wanted a garden. I won't tell you what my choices were -- can you say gas station design -- but I can say that awful hodgepodge of plants gave me great joy. They did what they were supposed to and bloomed their little heads off all Summer long, but then I became a garden snob and annuals vanished from my wonderful border of perennials or my mixed borders of flowers and shrubs.

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A Workhorse in the Garden

Some plants just work hard and astilbies are one of them. They are low maintenance and long blooming. Their flowers range in colors from white to pinks to reds and their foliage may be dark green, red or bronze. With heights from 6 inches to 3 feet this is a plant that belongs in every garden. Planting several cultivars can provide a whole Summer's worth of blooms. They are bothered by few pests or diseases. They grow in part shade but if kept well watered they can take more sun. They are easily divided but do not require frequent division. They are deer resistant.

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Not Here, Deer!

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Well, here I am ready to leap off into the abyss of talking about plants that deer don't eat. It has been the most frequently asked question at every Friends Plant Sale. "What can I plant that the deer won't eat?" The answer is always the same: "That depends-----," followed by a whole list of what if's, maybes, not in my experience, might be different with your deer and so on.

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