Monthly Archives: June 2015

Great Plant Pairings Series

Brunnera 'Dawson's White and Louisiana Iris 'Red Velvet'

Brunnera ‘Dawson’s White and Louisiana Iris ‘Red Velvet’

This combination stopped me on my tracks a couple of days ago.  They are planted next to a Darmera peltatum, with its gigantic leaves that make quite a statement.

 Darmera peltatum, and Equisetum

Darmera peltatum, and Equisetum

Here is Darnera, or Umbrella Plant, today. An exotic plant on its own, but paired with Equisetum or Horsetail, well, I love the effect.  The photo does not do it justice. I love how Darnera awakens in the spring setting out an elegant sphere that opens into a single compounded flower:

 Darmera peltatum, blooms

Darmera peltatum, blooms

The leaves in the background are not part of this plant.  It is Alchemilla mollis or Lady’s Mantle. Darnera does not put out any foliage until the flower turns into a beautiful bunch of red berries.  This photo was taken May 2.

Both plants are in a fairly wet area of the garden and they have made it through some pretty harsh winters. Deer resistant too, has not been bothered at all since planted  three years ago.

“There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.”
–  Francis Bacon 



The purchase of a couple of small strawberry plants three years ago has paid off like not other investment in my garden. These little plants multiply by runners, are perennials so you have them year after year and are very easy to grow in practically any plot of available ground or container.

There are many reasons to grow strawberries but for me, the most important is that strawberries consistently rate at the top of the “dirty dozen”  list. Loaded with pesticides and fungicides, even strawberries labeled “organic” can’t be trusted because the land they are grown in is generally already contaminated. Home grown strawberries are sweeter and more nutritious because they are picked at the prime of ripeness. They are soft and silky and melt in your mouth.


Cover your patch with fine bird netting to prevent birds and small critters from getting them before you do!  So for the last couple of years, starting on the first of June and continuing the entire month, I have more strawberries that we can eat in a day. That is fine because they freeze well and if you are so inclined make amazing desserts and preserves.

“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” 
― Joel SalatinFolks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World