Sister, neice and I visited Overlook Farm on Saturday, an educational endeavor in eastern-central Massachusetts, owned and run by Heifer International. Visitors are welcome to look around the grounds and the demonstration gardens include small sites representing how people live around the world. The garden representing Peru had the broadest display of amaranth varieties that I’ve seen recently, where it’s used as a food crop.
My sister and I both live in heavily wooded areas with small spaces for gardens and my niece lives in a condo where she gardens on her deck. We were green with envy on seeing the two acre food garden on a sunny slope, not a wisp of shade in sight.
I bought maybe one plant of a deep red daylilly at a public garden that I visited in New York State many years ago. It was in the bed along the front walk before I planted the roses and I may have split it once long ago. Due to the horizontal supports for the climbers, it ended up under the roses. After this year’s flowers were spent, I decided to move it. It had become quite a clump and I was able to divide it into seven fans without even trying. I decided to pull the non-performing amaranths and from the before and after pictures, you may agree that pulling them wasn’t a sacrifice. I was able to preserve the single perfoming specimens of amaranth “Cinco de Mayo” and “Early Splendor” (from left to right). My plan for this long border is for the display to move forward through the seasons, from the once blooming roses to daylillies and then to the dahlia bed in front. Maybe the amaranths to fill; we’ll see.
It’s still too early for my full season dahlia gallery. The dinnerplate dahlias are tight buds, but starting to show color. I’m enjoying the flowers too much though, not to share. Croyden Masterpiece is not as large as it should be and not really orange, but I love it’s complex coloring. And it shows well with amaranths Love Lies Bleeding and Cinco de Mayo.
I have a nice design element happening (I never actually saw any of these before, just picked them out of a catalogue) which is the color and shape transitions from “Esther” the flat collerette to “Kasasagi”, to “Little Scotty”, the shy yellow ball (He still has a lot of leaf to flower ratio but it’s still early). Next year I will know that Ellen Houston stays shorter and goes in front. It picks up the red in the yellow/red blends.
I just wanted to share a couple of photos of my decorative amaranths. One question I have is whether I should be pinching out the middle to encourage side shoots. especially in Love Lies Bleeding. No one on the gardens list could tell me so I did it on one out of four, the other three have a blossom starting in the middle as in the picture below.
I am playing with decorative amaranths this year. I would really like to find a US source for “Ponytails”, see left, but none of the major seed companies seem to carry it in the US. T&M does but not in the US, evidently. Last year I ordered online and they said they had problems with the seed and I didn’t get them. They are similar to what I’ve seen with “Love lies Bleeding”, but while that variety is chenille rope-like, the Ponytails in this picture, from Jardin des Plants in Paris many years ago, was more like chenille balls on a rope. And I have seen some web locations that seem to believe that LLB and Ponytails are the same so I’m reluctant to try an unknown source. Oh well, enough about the “one that got away”. So far. And if LLB and Ponytails are really the same thing, I’m starting some LLB and may find out.
My trial with Love lies Bleeding and Joseph’s Coat last year was without success, almost nothing germinated and what did, didn’t live to be planted outdoors . This year I did more reading and saw a reference that they liked bottom heat. I was using a combination of last year’s seed and some new varieties that I purchased fresh so I used several seeds in every cell and started them over a heat mat. I think I got 100% germination from both sets of seeds! Here are the varieties:
Cinco de Mayo
Love lies Bleeding
Tricolor Early Splendor
Here’s a picture of my seedling forest. Since then, I’ve pulled out everything but two or three in each cube.