Viburnum opulus at Corte Eremo, Mantua.

Hibiscus coccineus sown today in the Hortus Horrei.

Big red flowers. Maybe for a red border, yet to be made… 

Nicotiana sylvestris sown today in the Hortus Horrei, Mantua.

Burpee needs some help with their sowing information. If these seeds were sown 1/2 inch under the soil, you wouldn’t get many or any plants. Surface sow on moist compost, as another company suggests:

There was also no seed count on the envelope, or warning of what the seeds were like - for beginners it might be a good idea to mention “Open envelope with care and not in wind. Seeds are extremely small”. 

Campanula medium ‘Calycanthema’ (Canterbury Bells; Cup and Saucer Mix). 

I’m sorry, Burpee, but this is NOT an annual in my book. I’ve sown it today, but I don’t expect to see flowers until spring of 2015. It even says on the seed pack: Days to bloom: 365. How could that be considered an annual?

Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’ at Corte Eremo, Mantua.

Pink seeds for green flowers. 

Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape’ thrown around today at Corte Eremo, Mantua.

They’ll grow when and where they want. I see a few plants already coming up in the most unpredictable places, so decided to just throw the seeds around the property (lots between bricks) and see what happens. 

Tips for Your Vegetable Garden:

Some plants, especially herbs, act as repellents, confusing insects with their strong odors that mask the scent of the intended host plants.

Dill and basil planted among tomatoes protect the tomatoes from hornworms, and sage scattered about the cabbage patch reduces injury from cabbage moths.

Marigolds are as good as gold when grown with just about any garden plant, repelling beetles, nematodes, and even animal pests.

Some companions act as trap plants, luring insects to themselves. Nasturtiums, for example, are so favored by aphids that the devastating insects will flock to them instead of other plants.

Carrots, dill, parsley, and parsnip attract garden heroes — praying mantises, ladybugs, and spiders — that dine on insect pests.

Much of companion planting is common sense: Lettuce, radishes, and other quick-growing plants sown between hills of melons or winter squash will mature and be harvested long before these vines need more leg room.
Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard grown in the shadow of corn
Sunflowers appreciate the dapple shade that corn casts and, since their roots occupy different levels in the soil, don’t compete for water and nutrients.
Incompatible Plants (Combatants)
While white garlic and onions repel a plethora of pests and make excellent neighbors for most garden plants, the growth of beans and peas is stunted in their presence.
Potatoes and beans grow poorly in the company of sunflowers, and although cabbage and cauliflower are closely related, they don’t like each other at all.
Strange Pairings
Sometimes plants may be helpful to one another only at a certain stage of their growth. The number and ratio of different plants growing together is often a factor in their compatibility, and sometimes plants make good companions for no apparent reason.

You would assume that keeping a garden weed-free would be a good thing, but this is not always the case. Certain weeds pull nutrients from deep in the soil and bring them close to the surface. When the weeds die and decompose, nutrients become available in the surface soil and are more easily accessed by shallow-rooted plants.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing examples of strange garden bedfellows is the relationship between the weed stinging nettle and several vegetable varieties. For reasons that are unclear, plants grown in the presence of stinging nettle display exceptional vigor and resist spoiling.

One of the keys to successful companion planting is observation. Record your plant combinations and the results from year to year, and share this information with other gardening friends.
Companionship is just as important for gardeners as it is for gardens.


A planting of silvery Stachys ‘Big Ears’, the dark Sedum ‘Matrona’, phlox ‘Rosa Pastell’, withEchinops ritro ’Veitch’s Blue’ to the rear (Left) and Agastache foeniculum (Right).

"My, What big ears you have!" said Little Red Riding Hood, "and big sedums, phlox and echinops!"

(Reblogged from cinoh)

Hottuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ in the Hortus Horrei, Mantua. 

Iris ‘White Wedgwood’ and Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ blooming in the Hortus Horrei. 

I can’t believe how many alliums bloomed this year. So many of those bulbs were mouldy and seemed rotten in February of 2013 when I planted them, and none of them bloomed last year. 

After they do their thing in pots in the barn, I might move them all out to the beds around the threshing floor and give them freedom.