Search My Garden Blog with Google Custom Search


Allium bulgaricum bulb

Two years ago I purchased a pack of Allium bulgaricum bulbs that I planted in the garden. On another blog of mine I wrote my thoughts on Allium bulgaricum, a couple of days later I was cleaning out my room and found a bulb that had apparently fallen behind a cabinet. For two years the bulb survived without water, soil and light and is now starting to sprout. I'm amazed at how resilent this little bulb is and how much it wants to grow. It almost makes me rethink my opinion of this bulb in my garden, almost.


Echinacea purpurea 'Double Decker'

Have you ever wanted a plant really bad and then were left feeling let down once you bought said plant for your garden? Echinacea purpurea 'Double Decker' also sold under 'Doppleganger' is a garden 'mutant' first discovered by German plant breeder Eugen Schleipfer. It is said that he found an unusal Purple Coneflower and spent many years selecting for the unusual flower we have now.

I purchased mine two years ago at a local Home Depot garden center and that should have been a big enough red flag. The Home Depot is good for a lot of things but specialty plants for the garden, IMO, is not one of them. After having seen many beautiful photos of the 'Double Decker' flower on the internet and plant catalogs I was eager to add this weird plant to my garden and when I found them for $5.00 I couldn't pass them up.

Echinacea 'Double Decker' purple coneflower


Obama on Plant Delights?

The recent outrage that The New Yorker created with their satirical look at the rumors that surround Barack and Michelle Obama got me wondering what the next Plant Delights nursery catalog cover will look like.

The covers for the popular plant catalog are illustrated by American cartoonist, Jack Pittman, and are always something that gets a good laugh from many gardeners.

The image on the right is the Spring 2008 cover of the catalog and it titled 'National Plant Care.' I wondered if Plant Delights Nursery would go there with the fall catalog cover so I e-mailed them and asked.

Today I got my answer;
Good morning Mr. Brown Thumb,

Tony asked me to pass along this little tid-bit of information regarding our upcoming fall catalog cover:

“Please tell Mr. Brown thumb that our catalog cover was designed a month ago and that it does include some Obama-esque satire.”

Oh dear! Here we go! J

Cordially,Dianne Austin
Manager, Customer Service & Shipping
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.


I emailed Dianne back to thank her for the response and to say I was looking forward to the cover her reply;

"Tony’s catalog covers always make me VERY nervous even before I see them and I haven’t seen this one as of yet J

You have no idea the hate mail I had to wade through when he released Gardening Jihad. Sheez! I’m glad to hear that you are looking forward to it. That’s makes one of us! "
Here is the 'Gardening jihad' cover that Dianne is talking about.

Medicinal Plant Garden in Chicago

Recently I came across a small garden that I'd never noticed before at the University of Illinois Medical Center. It is the Dorothy Bradley Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden that is operated and maintained by the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy in the UIC College of Pharmacy for educational and research purposes. When I first came across the garden the plant names registered something in my brain but I couldn't figure out why they were standing out eventually it came to me.

Medicinal/herbal garden UIC Chicago


Tulip Black Parrot

I want to share a photo from my garden from last month. The picture is of tulip Black Parrot that I planted last fall. I purchased it a cool garden center here in Chicago called Sprout Home because the photo of the tulip on the package was stunning. The tulip bulbs were packaged by a garden wholesaler named VanBloem Gardens that sells plants and horticultural equipment across the U.S and Canada. While not as large and nuanced as the product pictured on the package makes the Black Parrot tulips look they are still pretty stunning. The ruffled petals start a wine-red and darken to an almost black and the petals open up semi- flat and horizontal to the stem and reach a height of about 20 inches. The Leaves of this bulb are a grayish-green color and look the same as any other tulip. In my garden I also have Flaming Parrot tulips and the flowers of Black Parrot are smaller and not as flamboyant by comparison.

black tulip, black plants black flowers

Container Garden Inserts

Over the winter I was e-mailed by Jeff Maniscalco the husband of a Kristy Maniscalco wondering if I'd explain what this whole garden blog thing was about. I get a lot of e-mails of people who want to do "partnerships" of one kind or another so I was a little hesitant to answer. Over the course of a few e-mails I tried to explain why people like us blog about our plants and gardens and explain how to use a blog. I set them up with an account and created a couple of entries for them in their blog showing how to use the container garden inserts that Kristy had designed.

After I was done Jeff asked if I'd be interested in trying out one of the Ups A Daisy container inserts. I said sure and when it came in the mail I set it aside and forgot about it when life took an interesting turn recently. The other day I was finally getting around to planting my spring bulbs and my Amaryllis bulbs that I had kept dormant all winter and I spotted the Ups A Daisy planters Jeff had mailed me. Needing to plant everything at once I chose to plant my bulbs up in a large container I grabbed the Ups A Daisy insert and took it outside to see if it would work.

The idea behind the Ups A Daisy is to eliminate the need to fill the bottom of your garden pot with packing peanuts, soil or empty water bottles. I didn't get a chance to save up any packing peanuts this winter for my large pots so the Ups A Daisy came in handy. You measure the inside of your pot with a measuring tape and the measurement dictates the size of the insert that you'll need. The Ups A Daisy insert is then slid in and sits halfway down your pot so you only use half of the amount of soil you would normally use.

The photos in this entry are not mine they're product shots from their website but I'm using them to give you an idea of how to use it. I'll post the pics of my pot when I get a chance to go through my photo album and edit the pictures and the plants are a little more filled out. While I used the sample to plant up some of my "indoor" bulbs I don't see why the Ups A Daisy can't be used to pot up ornamentals, veggies or even houseplants. It is a good product for frugal gardeners like myself who don't want to fill a whole pot with soil and since only half the pot is filled with soil it makes it easier to move your container garden around. One of the creative uses they found for the Ups A Daisy was using the planter insert to create a water fountain for a patio garden. If you're interested you can learn more about the Ups A Daisy inserts for your pots or container garden at the Ups A Daisy website or find a store that carries it near you.