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Master Gardener Scoop: August 2, 2017

Plant Flowers En Masse

By Leora McTall, Master Gardener

At the recent Carlyle and Salem garden tours, one feature stood out as a reminder from some of the many classes we are required to attend as Master Gardeners – plant one variety of flowers “en masse”.

But,  when plant shopping, we usually “want them all” so we come home with one of this, and one of that, creating a hodgepodge design in our gardens, completely forgetting the “en masse” rule.

Friend Ernie just mentioned, as we were enjoying the beauty of Asiatic and Oriental lilies, that we must start planting at least 5 of one variety together, creating a clump, rather than one of each kind.

Even in small yards, this makes a statement.

A Carlyle gardener loves lilies – so he has many large clumps of his favorite varieties, not just one lily here and there.  By the way, he orders most of his lilies from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

Asiatic, Martagon, Oriental, Trumpet and O.T.’s (Oriental/Trumpet cross) lilies are called true lilies, and are members of the genus lilium.  They are not related to the daylily, whose name is “Hemerocallis”.    Some of the O.T. lilies grow to 6 – 7 ft.  (Brent and Becky say their O. T.’s  grow 8 – 10 ft, but they are in Virginia where the climate and soil are different than our Southern IL growing conditions.)

Majo has a large clump of white and rose Orientals which must be at least 6 ft. tall.  She has phlox, daylilies and dianthus planted at the base of these majestic beauties.   Talk about eye-catching!

We used to plant a row of Marigolds, and that was it.  One gardener had a large area of orange Marigolds – probably 100 plants, which brightened up the whole corner of their yard.

Then to Pat’s garden.  Pat has 50 Elephant Ear plants and had ordered 30 Caladiums from Florida.  She brings her Elephant Ears in to her basement for the winter, then pots them in February.  Her Canna plants were very tall, so along with the tall Elephant Ears and the colorful Caladiums, she displayed a tropical accent throughout her huge garden.

Karen has a sea of blue ageratums around her concrete dragon/
sea monster, as a focal point in her lovely garden.  Ageratum is a dependable annual with puffs of flowers, in blue, pink or white, and is deer resistant.  They may be planted from seed, then will re-seed.

So join a garden tour, visit your neighbors, and even stop by and ask to see gardens that catch your eye.  Most gardeners feel flattered that someone likes their garden.  There are always new ideas for your own garden space!

And don’t forget to plant “en masse”.

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