A beautiful metal arbor and choice plantings form a warm, inviting portal to the garden. The arbor is a birthday gift to Shirley from her husband Rocket. Growing up its right arm is 'Sunny Lemon Star' Thunbergia (Thunbergia alata 'Sunny Lemon Star'). On the left, a 'Nigra' Alocasia (Alocasia plumbea 'Nigra'), also called Black Elephant Ears (it can grow to 4 1/2 feet), rises from 'Trailing Fanfare Coral Bright' Impatiens, a new Impatiens walleriana cultivar that grows quickly and resists heat so well that it can take full summer sun even in our hot Midwestern summers.
|Portal & Alcove|
A partly covered patio behind the arbor makes an attractive alcove. At lower left are small potted succulents and an iron butterfly. Vining up the arbor at right is a 'Mt. Fuji Mix' Morning Glory (Ipomoea x imperialis 'Mt. Fuji Mix'), a hybrid Japanese morning glory with beautiful leaf variegations and available with flowers in several colors. The two decorative suns dangling from the arbor were made from scrap metal by Ashton, the Andersons' 20-year-old daughter.
|'Mt. Fuji' Morning Glory|
A closer look at the 'Mt. Fuji' Morning Glory underscores its unique variegation--bright green sprinkled with white and gray. This annual vine grows to about 8 feet long and loves full sun but also thrives in part shade. It prefers loamy soils but grows in poor soils too and is also drought-tolerant. The blossoms? They're something else. Read on.
|'Mt. Fuji' Flowers|
'Mt. Fuji' Morning Glory flowers are as enchanting as the foliage. Neatly striped and as much as 6 inches across, they come in pink, blue, red, and purple.
|The Iron Butterfly|
One of the garden's most engaging sights, the metal butterfly came from an outdoor street fair several years ago in Springfield. Shirley says, "It was shiny and had blue tones in it. I asked them if it was going to stay like that and they said yes. About a year later it was rusted. They probably didn't know what they were selling, weren't experienced enough with metal." She adds, "I like the rusted look."
|A Daylily Trick|
Inside the alcove these beautiful daylily blossoms seem as fresh as the moment. Shirley explained that since daylily flowers last only a day in or out of water, water isn't necessary. "Just snap the flowers off and lay them wherever you like."
|The Peeping Vine|
A single flower of the 'Sunny Lemon Star' Thunbergia peeps through the foliage at the arbor's base. Commonly called Black-Eyed Susan Vine, Thunbergia is beloved by many gardeners, and this 'Sunny Lemon Star' variety is said to be especially easy to grow. In full sun or light shade it can reach 8 feet in length.
|In Early Morning|
The wooden gate in the first photo on this page opens to this view of the garden, our favorite. Here, it's 9:30 in the morning. Shirley says about the "living area" at the left in back, "We like to go out when it's early and the morning glories are blooming and have coffee out there."
|The Northwest Corner|
It's easy to see why the Andersons like taking their coffee here. Ingeniously, the structure forming the actual fire pit is the broken-off end of a drainage culvert. It's surrounded by broken concrete. Shirley says, "I dug the dirt and mounded it around the entire area to make raised planting beds, then put the sand in where the dirt was dug out, then put the broken concrete on the sand."
This view from behind an island bed shows several garden highlights. At the left of the swing is a Buttonbush (see below), one of Shirley's favorite plants. At the right of the swingset is the outdoor living area, which Shirley also calls a "firing area" because of the firepit. The large tree above the firing area is a Hedgeapple (Maclura pomifera), says Shirley. "It's a male tree that doesn't bear hedgeapples, but it shades the firing area."And a fine job it does.
|For Them What Climb|
The Andersons' daughter Ashton, 20, in her younger days actually used the rope dangling from the Hedgeapple. This is the tree commonly called Osage Orange. Other names include Bodark, Bois d'Arc, Bow Wood (for the Osage Indians' use of the wood to make bows), Hedge, Hedge Ball, and Horse Apple.
A favorite plant of Shirley's she started from a cutting 10 years ago has grown into a major element in the garden. Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is "a great plant for gardens," says Shirley. "It's a Missouri native, very drought-tolerant, very winter-hardy. It has glossy foliage and blooms in late June to July." In sun or part shade Buttonbush can reach 8-12 feet tall and 4-8-foot wide. A bonus: it also grows in shallow water, making it ideal with ponds and water features.
|About to Bloom|
Shirley points to the buds of the Buttonbush, adding that in about a week they should open into "ivory-colored, ball-type flowers that attract swallowtail butterflies."
Sure enough, the following week the Buttonbush was laden with dozens of unique ivory-white pincushion-like blossoms. We'd never seen them before and thought them especially engaging.
|And a Bee...|
Bees love the Buttonbush, too. Indeed, the plant is an exceptionally rich source of honey.
|The Seed Pods|
From its unique flowers, the Buttonbush forms these beautiful 1 1/2-inch-wide seed pods, which remain on the plant through winter to provide a great deal of winter visual interest. Birds also love the seeds as food, and often will nest in the plant for that reason.
Looking due south from the rear of the garden reveals several focal points, the most obvious being the swing. "We placed the swing here because of the Buttonbush background," says Shirley. "We enjoy it especially in the evening."
The view southwest provides another perspective on the swing and a better sense of the garden's open space. "It's always important to have some open space for yard games or activities," says Shirley. "Rocket built the stand as a swing set for the kids. Now that we no longer need the swing set, we converted it to a yard swing."
The garden's northeast corner provides another appealing vista. "We recycled the shed," said Shirley, referring to the building on the right. "It was on a property on North Grant and Rocket disassembled it, moved it, and rebuilt it as a garden shed. I call it our 'wannabe garden shed' because our dream is to store everything in it, but we haven't quite managed that yet." The smaller building at left is a shed the couple had someone build for them earlier.
The garden's most appealing elements may well be its island beds, and there are several. We thought this one the most beautiful for its symmetry, height, and appealing variety of plants. "The island beds are three to four feet deep," said Shirley. "I wanted more plant material. I'm a plant collector, not a designer, and I wanted to be able to reach it from all sides and work with it."
Asked about the bike by the shed, Shirley laughs. "The bike we've had for several years. Ashton found it at a garage sale, and it's been really fun to have it in the garden. The blue color is original and worked out with the shed and the other garden colors."
|The Bike Basket|
The bike basket is another whimsical note, but not what it seems. "The bike basket is an old gym basket. You know, like we had in school," said Shirley. "I told a friend I needed a basket for the bike and she gave me an extra gym basket she bought at a flea market." The basket's planted with two plants Shirley recommends most highly, 'Easy Wave Blue' Petunias and 'Silver Falls' dichondra, the latter of which she loves for it's "shimmering foliage."
|Island Bed Plants|
Shirley works to have color all season long, and succeeds. In this bed, daffodils, pansies, and early grasses provide early spring color and interest; in late spring wave petunias brighten summer; and in summer and early fall it's canna lilies, celosia, 'Celeste' aster, purple crape myrtle, and other plants for both color and variety.
The eye-catchers in this island bed are 'Matrix Blue Frost' Pansies, beautiful in both spring and autumn, and 'Carmine Glow' Celosia, vigorous and heat-tolerant enough for our hot midwest summers.
|A Super-Special Plant|
Of singular note in Shirley's garden is 'Painter's Palette' (Persicaria virginiana 'Painter's Palette'), a most extraordinary plant whose unique cream, green, and maroon leaf variegations make it a marvel to work with visually. Shirley says, "I love it. I think it goes with everything" and adds that she uses it throughout the garden. "I don't water it and I don't have any problem with it," she says. "It is perennial and will reseed, but not aggressively, and it tends to be thick enough that it helps keep the weeds out." Relatively new to the horticultural trade, the plant grows to 30 inches tall with a 40-inch spread. It also spreads by underground stems, but not invasively. Growing best in medium shade, it thrives in all exposures. Though it likes to be watered, it also tolerates drought. Who could ask for more?
|'Pretoria' Canna Lily|
"It's such a striking plant," Shirley says of the 'Pretoria' Canna Lily in this island bed. "It's great with grasses because of its bold texture. It also has a tropical look that I love. The foliage is more valuable than the flower, but it does have an orange flower." She also has great advice on carrying Cannas over from year to year. She says some have wintered over in the garden, but to make sure she'll have cannas in the spring she digs up a piece of each after the first frost, lets it dry for at least a week, puts it in a plastic bag, and stores it in a cool, dark, dry place, which in her case is a crawlspace under the house.
|A Beautiful Mix|
One of the garden's loveliest combinations is this mix of 'Magnus' coneflower and a daylily whose varietal name escaped Shirley. "A friend gave it to me," she said. "I've had it a long time--that could've been 15 years ago." Given that there are over 60,000 registered varieties on the market today, forgetting a name is hardly a wonder.
|The 'Mighty Saga' Daylily|
One daylily name Shirley does remember is 'Mighty Saga.' "It's one of my favorite ones," she said. "It's a large-flowering one. It has a long bloom time and the bud count on each stem, or scape, is high."
"It's another one my friend gave me," said Shirley, seeming a bit embarrassed at forgetting its name. "I've had it years and years. I guess it would be classified as an older variety now."
This view toward the southeast makes even more obvious the exceptionally comfortable character of the garden. The design has evolved over time, says Shirley. "I knew I wanted the fire ring out from the house to be able to look out on it. I knew I wanted the center of the yard open. and I knew I wanted a border on the east side. Rocket put the fence in and built the arbor and the gates."
|The Fire Ring|
The fire ring that forms the firepit is an ingenious touch. While it might appear to be sculpted particularly for this use, it's actually a segment of culvert, set into sand and stone.
|The Garden's East Border|
Shirley did indeed get her east border. "It's a raised bed with a wooden border," she said. "I put things in there that don't have to be watered. There's blue spruce sedum, angelina sedum.... Further down there's peony, candytuft for spring color, money plant, and yellow primrose also for spring." She adds that the daylilies are another variety her friend gave her. "It blooms profusely," she said.
|'Blue Spruce' Sedum|
'Blue Spruce' Sedum (Sedum pinifolium 'Blue Spruce') is an excellent choice for visual and textural interest in the garden and seems especially effective with the wood in the raised bed of the east side border of Shirley's garden. This low-growing perennial thrives in sun or partial shade, reaching 6 inches tall with a spread of 2 feet. Gardeners also love its yellow flowers, which appear from May to September.
|A Colorful Cluster|
A closer look at the beautiful "mystery" daylilies in the east border.
"I think this one is 'Apricot Beauty,'" Shirley says of this daylily. "You can see how heavily it buds. And it blooms profusely." In checking the variety name on the Internet, we found that several different daylilies are listed with the name 'Apricot Beauty' and that this one also matches one called 'Apricot Angel.' More of the fun we can have in a world with 60,000 known daylily varieties.
|The Calla Lily|
We thought the spotted foliage of the Calla Lily a really nice note in the border, but Shirley is less enthusiastic. "I'm thinking of taking them out," she said. "I've had them so long...." We forgot to ask her the color of the bloom.
|A Treat for the Bees|
And for the birds. And for the butterflies. And for gardeners who like striking color and texture in the perennial border. This particular plant, a member of the Monarda didyma species, is the perennial cultivar 'Grand Marshall,' which grows to 16 inches tall and 20 inches wide. It prefers full sun but will grow in partial shade as well. The violet-purple blossoms appear in July and August. Monardas, known commonly as Bee Balm, Horsemint, Oswego Tea, and Bergamot, have a long history as a plant used for medicinal purposes and its reputed antiseptic properties.
|Perennial Bronze Fennel|
Perennial Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum') brings a lot to the gardfener's table. Shirley says. "It has terrific color and the texture goes with everything. It also has licorice-scented leaves and yellow flowers. And it reseeds." Fennel is also the food of the black swallowtail caterpillar and, as with other fennels, its young shoots are said to be delicious in salads.
|'Indian Summer' Rudbeckia|
Next to the Bronze Fennel are the flowers we think the border's brightest denizens, the 'Indian Summer' Rudbeckias (Rudbeckia hirta 'Indian Summer').One of many rudbeckias with the common name Black-Eyed Susan, this new cultivar boasts brilliant yellow, uniquely large flowers 6 to 9 inches across. It has a beautiful upright habit and can reach 36 inches tall, and longer flower stems can make it seem even a foot or more taller. It blooms all summer long and in our experience brightens gardens like no other plant we know. Super Bonus: The flowers make the longest-lasting cut flowers we've ever seem. When water is changed every couple of days, we've seen them stay pristine for as long as two weeks.
One strong element in the border on the east side is this vigorous cluster of purple coneflowers. "These have been here quite a few years. I would think seven, eight, nine years," said Shirley. "It's a native Missouri plant, very drought tolerant, heat tolerant, and winter hardy. And butterflies love it."
The southeast corner of the garden is home to unusually engaging statue Shirley's named "Samantha." She says, "I got her at Wickman's. I just liked her. From the patio, when you look out, she's right there," Samantha's background is a beautiful old wooden fence and an imposing, 20-year-old stand of Giant Reed Grass (Arundo donax). "It's an amazing plant," says Shirley. "It makes a great screen. It dies back every year and resprouts. It has a huge tuberous root system. You've got to cut down all the old stems from the previous year. I would call it high maintenance because it keeps spreading and my husband's been out there digging and chopping with an axe."
The winsome little statue also serves as a planter. At her feet is a small urn. "She has her little urn there, and she has her little sedum planted in it," says Shirley. The sedum is 'Angelina,' a variety Shirley says has been out two or three years. "It's drought-resistant. That's why I put it in there. It's winter hardy as well."
Samantha's daylilies are a big hit with Shirley. "The variety is 'Always Afternoon.' As a daylily, it is a really great one," she says. "It's large-flowering and heavily budded and the color is really striking." The shrub behind the daylilies is a 'Little Princess' Spirea, a variety that Shirley says has a pink flower in spring. She also notes that this area also has a many daffodils that bloom in the spring.
|A Dream of a Petunia|
This Burgundy Picotee Petunia is a beautiful new variety in the Dreams series of petunias by Ball Horticulture. "It's a great petunia," says Shirley. "It blooms heavily with no deadheading." The flowers provide vivid color from spring through late summer on neat, multibranched mounds 10-15 inches tall with a 10-12-inch spread. It likes full sun and is also highly disease resistant. The Dream Picotee also comes in red and white.
|A Striking Note|
This striking plant rising from the daylilies is 'Frost' Plectranthus (Plectranthus coleoides 'Frost'). "It's a very strong grower with huge leaves, beautiful," says Shirley. An annual valued for its foliage, 'Frost' grows in a mound 10-12 inches tall by 14-20 inches. It tolerates heat and drought, thrives in sun or partial shade, and is superb especially as an eye-catching transition among other plantings.
|'Frost' Plectranthus with Other Plants|
No better illustration could be found of how 'Frost' works among other plants than this photo of it with pale lavender 'Celeste' Asters fronting the border and 'Blue Spruce' Sedum as the edging.
Anyone who thinks the Andersons don't have a sense of humor needs to visit Rex's Garden. Rex would be T. Rex, of course. It all started with the acquisition of the 'Jurassic Dark' variety of Alocasia, which you can see here just beginning to unfold at the right of Rex's cup. Rocket Anderson, who really likes the plant and thought it looked prehistoric, then discovered Rex at Toys 'R Us and added him to the family. "We keep him in the house most of the time. He only goes out on special occasions," says Shirley. The petunias in Rex's Garden are Tidal Wave Silver and Tidal Wave Cherry, she adds.
|Rex in Profile|
Rex seems even more handsome in profile.
|The Value of Open Space|
The view south is another good example of the wisdom of providing open space in the garden, to allow for games and activities and also to provide relief from and a setting for the heavily planted areas.
Shirley says she loves this picture, perhaps because it has the beautiful Buttonbush seed pods in the foreground. The first daylily in the group, which she also likes, is the 'Radiant Greetings' variety. "It's orange with a dark purple eye," she says. It's also a repeat bloomer with large, 5 1/2-inch wide blossoms. It grows to 38 inches tall, Shirley does not know the other two daylilies in the photo but says the plant behind them is ''Winter Gem' boxwood, which "has bright green leaves, is winter hardy, and likes the sun and tolerates shade well."
|'Purple d'Oro' Daylily|
"This is a great daylily!" says Shirley. "It's a heavy bloomer with a long bloom period." It's also related to the famed 'Stella d'Oro' yellow daylily widely used in landscaping because of its long season of heavy bloom. "A lot of people don't care for the regular gold-colored Stella, so this one is a great alternative," Shirley says. If you find one, snap it up, as it's such a great alternative that it's virtually impossible to find. Every outlet we've checked is long sold out. Let's hope for next garden season....
|The House's West Side|
"This is our newest section of the garden," says Shirley of the west side of the house. "We have several daylilies, including 'Shopping Spree' and 'Purple Stella' ('Purple d'Oro') and an 'Endless Summer' Hydrangea. In the spring we also have daffodils...'Yellow River' and 'Bridal Crown.'"
|'Endless Summer' Hydrangea|
The 'Endless Summer' Hydrangea has soared in popularity with gardeners and landscapers for good reason. The plant flowers all summer long and an average 10 to 12 weeks longer than other members of the Hydrangea macrophylla species. The plant blooms on both new wood and old wood. It grows 3-5 feet tall with a similar spread and blossoms are 8-10 inches wide. Blossom color depends on soil pH. Shirley says, "The more acid the soil, the bluer the bloom." Here she's planted it alongside 'Tidal Wave Cherry' petunias. Although extremely winter hardy, 'Endless Summer' requires spring freeze protection to avoid losing buds, and flowers, to a late frost. Note: This is the plant known as "The Original" in the Endless Summer series, which also includes "Blushing Bride" and "Twist and Shout."
|More 'Painter's Palette'|
We have to revisit 'Painter's Palette' because it's such a presence in this garden. This picture especially shows how its splashes of color bring life to the garden in either sun or shade and how effective it can be in dappled shaded. Oh, we forgot to note that the species common name is Fleeceflower.
"This is a beautiful daylily, with the piecrust edge," enthused Shirley. "But I can't remember the name. It's another one that Roxie gave me." Whatever the name, we have to agree, it's gorgeous.
Note: Shirley's Garden has more mystery daylilies. Can you identify them? To try, or simply to see them, please click here.
|Fish Pond Island Bed|
One of the garden's most beautiful features is this amalgam of plants around a tiny pond. "We do have some goldfish in the pond,:" says Shirley. "And some oxygenating plants. It's all natural." Of the plants, she notes, "The yellow daylily is 'Creepy Crawler'. The burgundy plant is a 'Saturn Sun' Coleus--it's really terrific. Behind it I have 'Dallas Red' Lantana [Lantana camara 'Dallas Red'] and that blooms heavily and gets quite large after the daylilies are finished." The beautiful green ground cover about the daylily is Golden Moneywort, she adds. "It does really well in sun or shade, but is more yellow in sun." Golden Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') is also known as Golden Creeping Jenny.
|'Creepy Crawler' Daylily|
Viewed more closely, we can see that the 'Creepy Crawler' daylilies are distinguished by large, 6-inch wide, rich yellow-gold flowers with a chartreuse throat and frilly, toothed edges. The plant grows 30 inches tall. Bonus: The showy blossoms are also fragrant.
|Another Pond View|
A slightly different perspective reveals the flowing lines of the pond bed. "There's also a red Crape Myrtle in the center," says Shirley, "and the Plumeria Tree just to the left of that. There's 'Tropicana' Canna as well. These are things that carry the bed after the daylilies are finished."
|A Rustic Touch|
In the front of the house, this roughhewn bench lends a beautifully rustic note. "Our neighbor cut down a walnut tree and split it and gave us this half, which he cut and notche3d," said Shirley. "It was ready to go. They were terrific neighbors. They've moved now. We miss them."
|Bench & Jeep|
Under the Osage Orange Tree in back is another bench--and a Jeep. "The supports for the bench are pretty old," said Shirley. "We bought the top. The Jeep is a restoration project. It's a 1951 Willys CJ3-A civilian Jeep."
|Table & Shed|
Shirley says the table is "Just an old wooden table. It's a kind of worktable that we hope will go into a garage we plan to build."
Looking directly south in the garden, an unusually tall and imposing butterfly bush commands the view. "It's about 12 feet tall," says Shirley. "Usually I cut it back every winter to about 18 inches. I didn't last winter, which is why it's huge this year."
The second time we visited Shirley's garden, the orange flowers she mentioned had emerged on the 'Pretoria' Canna Lilies ((Canna americanallis var. variegata 'Pretoria' ) The flowers appear from July to frost. The plant likes full sun and lots of water; the soil should be kept moist. In the Ozarks, the rhizomes probably should be taken up and stored for winter. (Be sure and see Shirley's method in the 'Pretoria' Canna Lily entry above.) This plant is also known as Bengal Tiger Canna Lily and Orange-Flowered Canna Lily.
|Daylily & Palette|
Another unidentified variety of daylily, and another opportunity to see how 'Painter's Palette' may indeed work with any color or texture.
We'd guess that for most observers this 'Bloodgood' Japanese Maple is a beautiful presence in the garden, yet Shirley is concerned, and with good reason. "It was a gorgeous specimen tree," she says, "but I don't believe it's ever going to have good structure. The Easter freeze in 2007 froze it back. It had leafed out completely, and grown, and then that severe cold that weekend damaged it tremendously. Practically everyone in this whole area had that same experience because plants had leafed out early, too early, and then that sudden, severe cold."
Shirley seems to have a special fondness for Lunaria, better known as Money Plant, here growing beautifully among the hostas by the chainlink fence on the west side of the garden. "Lunaria has a purple flower in spring, and then makes the 'money' seedpods. It's biennial. It grows the first season and flowers the second season. It reseeds and spreads easily and quickly. The hosta is 'Royal Standard', an old-fashioned variety. It has a solid green leaf and a fragrant white flower in late summer."
|'Paper Butterfly' Daylily|
"This is one of my very favorite daylilies!" Shirley enthused when we came across this cluster. "It's 'Paper Butterfly.' The flower is huge, 5-6 inches wide. It's a rebloomer also."
Peeping through the 'Painter's Palette' is this bit of phlox, the sight of which very much surprised Shirley. "I don't know where this pink phlox came from," she said. "I don't recall having a pink one. I don't know if it's a seeded one that just blew in, or if a bird brought it in. The one I planted is a white one."
And here it is again.
|'Cape Cod' in the Sun|
This beautiful daylily grows on the east side of the garden near the fence. "The variety is 'Cape Cod'," says Shirley. "It's one of the older ones I've had for a very long time, maybe 10 years."
|The 'Tropicana' Canna|
"It's terrific," says Shirley of the 'Tropicana' Canna Lily. "I like planting it with the 'Dallas Red' Lantana on the right. They complement each other really well." She adds that on the ground is 'Golden Moneywort,' a ground cover that she also loves.
We loved this little nook in the northwest corner of the garden for its lush growth, sense of privacy, and the hammock. "The hammock is Ashton's," said Shirley. "What does that mean? It means she's the one who lays in it. She bought it." The plants here include XXX
|The Cat's Place|
This is the cat's place. "Her name is Kitty," says Shirley. "Ashton was 6 when she got her and she's 20, so we've had Kitty 14 years. Actually, this was a play fort for our son Tyler when he was 4 years old."
|Another Beautiful Mystery|
"Oh, I'll have to research this one," said Shirley. "It's another Roxie plant."
|'Fresh Look Orange' Celosia|
We liked this scene especially for its bright note of orange. The plant is 'Fresh Look Orange' celosia, one of the award-winning and extremely popular Fresh Look series of celosia varieties, which also come in red, yellow, and gold. It goes beautifully with the 'Matrix Blue Frost' pansy, the 'Tidal Wave Cherry' petunias, and the 'Pretoria' Canna Lily. (Note: Orange and blue never miss, in our opinion.)
|Variegated Solomon's Seal|
Variegated Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum') with its graceful, arching stems and white-edged, pale green foliage brings a note of elegance to any garden. "It's great in dry shade under the huge hedgeapple," says Shirley. "It's under a thick canopy and this area is very dry in summer and I don't give it any extra water. Behind it is Oakleaf Hydrangea, which has also done real well in dry shade." Variegated Solomon's Seal will grow to 2 feet or more tall and a foot wide. It spreads by creeping slowly. Adding to its charm are burgundy stems and tiny bell-like white flowers in mid-spring.
|'Dallas Star' Daylily|
This beautiful daylily is 'Dallas Star', which we thought most engaging by virtue of its unusually subtle coloration, the pinks and greens being almost imperceptible. Shirley says the plant is a vigorous bloomer that produces huge numbers of very large flowers for six or seven weeks.
|The Plumeria Tree|
This Plumeria tree strikes a strong tropical note in the garden as well as serving to hold whatever strikes the family's fancy, in this case an iridescent birdfeeder. "It is a tropical plant," says Shirley. "I have to take it in during the winter and wait to put it out in spring until its reliably 50 degrees at night, usually in late May." To take it inside, Shirley says she must dig it up before frost, shake the dirt from the roots, let the tree dry outside, then take it into the house. Before replanting in spring, she soaks it thoroughly in water. Plumeria is the plant that provides the flowers for Hawaiian leis and is also known as Frangipani, the name given to the intoxicating scent of those flowers.
|'Pandora's Box' Daylily|
'Pandora's Box' is an older variety daylily very popular for its dark eye and yellow throat. It grows to 19 inches tall, starts bearing its4-inch-wide flowers in July, and is a rebloomer. Shirley says of reblooming daylilies, "My experience is that more water is likely to encourage reblooming. Rebloomers will have some early summer bloom and then stop. The more rainfall we have in August and September, the more likely they are to bloom again. They'll have two cycles of bloom, with a rest period usually in July and early August."
|Color Up Front|
"I try to have three seasons of color in front of the house," says Shirley. "Here I have 'Tidal Wave Cherry' Petunias and two 'Herbert' azaleas. 'Herbert' has purple blooms. For spring I'll also have 'Matrix Yellow' pansies, 'Tete a Tete' paffodils, and 'Golden Moneywort' groundcover. There are also 'Firepower' nandinas in this picture. Their foliage becomes reddish for fall."
Shirley says of these daylilies, "I'll have to look them up."
|Ashton & Rocket|
Ashton and Rocket, daughter and dad, both have contributed to the garden and both, as we might guess, really like it.
|Rex in the Jungle|
Rex lying in wait in the fullblown jungle. By the way, the 'Jurassic Dark' Alocasia is one of the Proven Winners series of plants, as are quite a number of the plants in Shirley's Garden.
One of the engaging artifacts in the garden is this whimsical sun created by Ashton. "She made it from scrap metal," says Shirley. "I think she was in about the eighth grade. I bring it inside in the winter and have it in the kitchen."
|Petunias & Grass|
The Petunia is 'Dreams Picotee' and the grass is Stipa 'Ponytail', says Shirley. Stipa is the genus name. It's a perennial grass, but not reliably so [in our climate]. Sometimes, though, it will reseed fairly easily."
|A Zinger of a Mix|
Shirley says this scene is one of the garden's "best new combinations." Here, she's mixed 'Fanfare Coral' New Guinea Impatiens with 'Lime Zinger' from the Zanphasoma elephant ear group and an 'Illustrious' Colocasia, with the darker leaves.
On the east, the Andersons have planted in the foreground Arundo donax, or Giant Reed Grass and a plant that Shirley describes as "A huge lilac from a start from my grandmother's house, just the old-fashioned spring-blooming lilac." Because lilacs in the Ozarks frequently fail to bloom, or die, due to mildew, she strongly advises planting them "in a location with sun and good air circulation." She adds, "The sooner in the morning you can get the dew dried off, it helps."
|'Blushing Bride' Hydrangea|
The 'Blushing Bride' Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Blushing Bride') is another in the Endless Summer series that bloom on old and new wood and so provide flowers all summer. In full sun or part shade it grows 3-5 feet tall and as wide. The blossoms are 8 inches wide and snow white, soon acquiring a very subtle (and beautiful) pink blush. Note: if the soil pH is acid, the blush, and eventually the color of the entire bloom, will be sky blue.
We were quite struck by this plant growing against the back of the house, and Shirley told us, "This was in my grandmother's garden. It's a perennial begonia. It's a wonderful plant. It blooms from late summer to fall with pink flowers. It does great in shade. It does burn if it gets too much sun. I think it's absolutely gorgeous."
Shirley has a special fondness for Lunaria, better known as Money Plant, shown here by the chainlink fence on the west side of the garden. "Lunaria has a purple flower in spring, and then makes the 'money' seedpods," she says. "It's biennial. It grows the first season and flowers the second season. It reseeds and spreads easily and quickly. The hosta is 'Royal Standard', an old-fashioned variety with a solid green leaf and a fragrant white flower in late summer."
|A Nifty Combination|
This combination, which we think wonderful, starts with the red coleus. "The coleus is Proven Winners 'Saturn', a fabulous plant. It's huge and a vibrant intense color. There are some fields of yellow that usually come up in it." The lovely green plant is a surprise, says Shirley. "It's a celosia. I have several celosias I plant each year and the cross and reseed and you never know what you're going to get." Behind these two plants is a 'Dallas Red' lantana, which she says is a tall lantana. She adds that alongside it is "leadwort, a fantastica plant also."
This fanciful garden sun is one of the most ingenious garden decorations we've ever encountered. It's actually a harrow, which, if you're not familiar with farm implements, is a sharp-toothed disk used for plowing, and it's Rocket who with a little paint and imagination turned it into an objet d'art.
Ashton appears to be admiring this marvelous crape myrtle, about which Shirley says, "It's 'Dwarf Pink Ruffles', a prolific bloomer and an exceptionally good plant. I've had it for about 12 years. It's extremely cold-hardy. I cut it back every year to about 15-18 inches."
|Fit for a King|
In the northeast corner of the garden stands another attractive crape myrtle, this one a rich royal purple in color. "It's 'Dwarf Purple Royalty.' I've had it the same length of time [as the above] and cut it back in winter, too," says Shirley. "They have a nice shape when you cut 'em back."
|The Sun on Old Wood|
This remarkable sun works beautifully against an old wooden fence. "It's actually two separate pieces," said Shirley. "The center face is separate from the Sun part." The crape myrtle in the foreground is 'Dwarf Victor.'
Ashton and Samantha (in the corner) are beautifully framed by the 'Dwarf Pink Ruffles' crape myrtle on the right, a 'Dwarf Victor' crape myrtle on the left, and in the background Giant Reed Grass growing skyward above the fence.
|Coffee and Flapjacks|
Rocket Anderson yields to no man (or woman) when it comes to hospitality. He also makes a darn good cup of coffee. Shirley can't help interjecting, "The little plant on the milk crate is also a Proven Winners plant. They call it Flapjacks." Flapjacks, or Flapjack Plant, botanically is Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, a South African perennial succulent. It's fun to see, and its unusual shape has also spawned the common names Desert Cabbage, Paddle Plant, and Ice Sculpture. Wheeeee....
We love this fish. We suspect Shirley does too, even if she does say, "Oh, it came from Roxie. It's another one of her castoffs."
Another of the garden's beautiful daylilies, 'Radiant Greetings' grows to 38 inches tall and is an extremely-easy-to-grow rebloomer with blossoms 5 1/2 inches across.
|'Claimed Blessing' Daylily|
Another very special reblooming daylily, 'Claimed Blessing' grows to 31 inches tall and bears an abundance of blossoms 5 1/4 inches across that are also fragrant.
|'Prairie Blue Eyes' Daylily|
The 'Prairie Blue Eyes' Daylily is a real prize in the garden for its extra-abundant flowering. Amazingly, it produces up to 25 buds per stem and flowers that can be 5 1/2 inches across. Its lavendar color with a bluish halo also makes it the daylily closest to blue in color.
|'Cape Cod' Daylily|
The unusually rich burgundy color of the 'Cape Cod' Daylily makes it an especially warm presence in any garden. The plant grows to 34 inches tall and the flowers are 4 1/2 inches across.
|The Phantom Petunia|
One of the most striking plants we've yet seen is the Phantom Petunia (Petunia x hybrida), developed by Ball Horticulture, which Shirley gave its own space in this ceramic pot. An annual, the plant grows in an upright mounded habit to 12 inches tall and as wide, likes full sun, and blooms from late spring through autumn.
|The Phantom Opens|
When the Phantom's flowers open they're a pure, velvety black and virtually breathtaking. In time they will develop a yellow cross against the black background.
|'Pretty Much Picasso'|
The 'Pretty Much Picasso' Supertunia from Proven Winners has won a world of gardening awards, and for good reason, being superb for its uniquely subtle colors, season-long bloom, vigorous growth, and compact trailing habit. It also takes drought and heat, grows to a foot tall trailing to 3 feet, and never requires deadheading. Shirley grew this one beautifully in a pot, and it's done beautifully in our own garden. Our verdict: If you see this one in the nursery, snap it up.
|Shirley at the Gate|
|Mt. Fuji Up Close|
|Tie Dye Blue Morning Glory|
|Black Swallowtail Caterpillar|
|Pinstripe Petunia & Shirley|
|Wild Poinsettia Up Close|
|Sweetpea Up Close|
|Easy Daylily Display|
|Shirley and Sweet Pea|
|Firepit and Wood|
|UAugust 30, 2009 A 029|