Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Plant Stew

Last year, Kara just happened to be at Lowe's at just the right time. One of the managers was marking things down in the garden department and the prices were negotiable. She picked up several great things, one of which was a large styrofoam container. She got several of them for five dollars each, and I bought one from her.

This thing is bigger than any other pot I've tried to fill and for me, putting together an attractive container full of plants is akin to landscaping. It's just not something I do well. I was pleased, however, with how it turned out last year and this year I tried to duplicate my combination somewhat, but I like last year's better.

First of all, I didn't want or need to fill that big pot entirely with potting soil. I placed a drainage tray down in it and its diameter was of a size that allowed it to stop about two-thirds of the way down into the pot. Then I added some stones for drainage and started potting things up.

I wanted something tall in it as a focus feature, so I got a small smoke tree (
Cotinus coggygria), then surrounded it with coleus. For vining down around the edges, I chose sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), one in purple and one in green variegated. I added asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri') as fluff to tie in the height of the coleus with the trailing of the sweet potato vine, and it provided a different texture as well, although it now isn't even visible much, due to the proliferation of the coleus. There's a helichrysum (Helichrysum thianschanicum 'Icicle') for a different color, towards the back.

Last year, I did much the same thing, except I also had some fiber optic grass (Isolepis cernua) toward the front. Halfway through the summer, that wasn't doing so well, which is the same experience I'd had with it in the ground the summer before, so it eventually got torn out and I didn't use it this year. I love it, but I haven't figured out how to keep it looking good all summer long.

In the fall, when it's time to dismantle the container, I'll plant the smoke tree in the garden for overwintering and use it again next year. It doesn't grow all that much while in the container, nor while it's wintering in the ground, so I'll probably get a few more years' use out of it this way.

The base plants in this year's pot have grown quite large, while the smoke tree hasn't, and it doesn't look proportioned right to me. Also, this year's is missing that pop of the lime green coleus.

There are many things I can do if I have a recipe or a picture I can copy, but I lack the creativity to come up with something on my own. Maybe that will come in time, with experience, or I can just call my Mom whose pores are oozing with talent in that department and let her design my planter.

Moving Day

I've been waiting to do some moving of some things in the garden until we'd gotten a decent rain, and we got 3½ inches last week. That really perked things up in a big way, including the grass, and we once again have a green lawn as opposed to the golden brown one we had before. I didn't want to further stress the rain-starved plants by moving them, but I decided it would be okay to go ahead and do it today.

It seems like I was playing musical plants, but sometimes you just can't be certain what will work where until you put it there. Sometimes it's just right and sometimes it's all wrong. So you move it. And sometimes you move it again. Today was moving day for:

  • Delphinium grandiflorum 'Blue Mirror' - This was moved from the front of the house, where it was doing very well, to make room for some new shrubs. It joined the larkspur that I grew from seed, as they look similar.

  • Spiraea japonica 'Walbuma' - This also was relocated from the front of the house to make room for the new shrubs. I planted it between two other Spiraea japonica 'Goldmound.' We had originally purchased three of each one, for planting in two different places, then two of one and one of the other died. This will work too, and we'll take the dead ones back to Menard's for a refund, since they have a one year guarantee and we purchased these in May.

  • Ratibida pinnata (Gray-headed coneflower) - This was purchased at a plant sale as a donated plant from someone's garden and was mislabeled. I didn't have any of these, so it was okay, but when it bloomed and I saw that it wasn't what I thought it was, I realized it wasn't where I would have placed it, had I known. So today it got moved to the back of our property, between a pine tree and the burning bushes (Euonymus alata).

  • Iris reticulata - I didn't like these where they were and I'm not sure where they're going to go just yet (I'll figure that out tomorrow), but I dug them up so I could plant my new violas there.

  • Aruncus dioicus 'Kneiffii' (Goat's Beard)- I had gotten this at Lowe's Greenhouse in Cleveland when Mom and I went to the Cleveland Flower Show this spring, and I had planted it in full sun. I don't know what I was thinking, but it clearly wasn't happy there during our hot, dry summer. The leaves got burned and it wasn't growing well. It's now in the shade/part shade garden near the honeysuckle trellis. I've got astilbe there and it loves that location, so this should do well there, too, since they basically like the same growing conditions.

  • Platycodon grandiflorus 'Scentimental Blue' (Balloon Flower) - The original location was good for this and it has been growing well, but a nearby (invasive) plant called 'Limelight' artemisia has been creeping closer and closer to it. I've continually removed some of the artemisia in order to keep it under control (I'll deal with this in a big way later), but the Japanese Fantail Willow (Salix sachalinensis 'Sekka') that grows in the middle of the artemisia has grown larger as well, so the balloon flower had started to look crowded there. It joined two other platycodon varieties - 'Astra Pink' and 'Astra Semi-Double Lavender.' I think it's better that these are all in the same location anyway.

  • Pulmonaria 'Majeste' (Lungwort) - The little section just under the kitchen window that used to be my herb garden has just gotten to be too shady to grow herbs, so I put some pulmonarias and other shade lovers there, but apparently it's too shady even for this. I have another pulmonaria there that does just fine ('Trevi Fountain'), but 'Majeste' doesn't like it. I moved it to the trellis area which is shady, but much brighter. I've got 'Opal' there and it's thriving, so we'll see how it does there.

  • Tiarella cordifolia 'Brandywine' (Running Foam Flower) - Same situation as 'Majeste.' I moved it to the trellis area too, near another foam flower, 'Spring Symphony.'

There are a few other things I need to move, like a couple of hostas which have outgrown their spots and the hollyhock seedlings that came up in the stones about a foot away from their mamas. THAT will be a JOB, and I've been putting it off. Meanwhile, they're getting larger and larger. Why is it you can give a plant ideal conditions and it dies, yet it will grow in stones, neglected and never getting watered in a drought year? Even the weevils have left these babies alone.

Gardens are constantly changing - a work in progress - a learning experience. As long as I garden, I'll move things here and there to please either me or the plants. In the end, the plant usually gets its way over mine, because if the plants ain't happy, the gardener ain't happy either!

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Summer Treat

Many hippeastrums are native to South Africa and I guess my 'San Remo' thinks it's still there. It's blooming in my garden. BLOOMING. I know it's not all that rare that an amaryllis will rebloom, but I've never had it happen. In the summer. In my garden. Until now.

My amaryllis spend summers in the ground, in not particularly good soil. In fact, I call this area the 'orphan garden.' Anything that isn't doing particularly well gets banished to the orphan garden and pretty much ignored. If it somehow survives a season there, it gets to come back and play with the rest of the team. If not, it's gone.

I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but somehow it works and I've rarely had to throw anything out. And when I say it's not good soil, I mean it. Tough, ugly, native clay. It's never been amended. The amaryllis seem to like it just fine.

Some people leave the bulbs in their pots and sink them in the ground, but I take mine out and plant them in. Last year was the first summer that I did this, and it worked well. Several of them produced baby bulblets by the time I dug them up in late September.

'San Remo' is definitely the star of the orphan garden this summer!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Just Another Pretty Face

I've seen these before but have never had my camera handy. This time, I didn't have it with me either, but I stopped what I was doing (deadheading) and ran up to the house to get it and hoped this colorful guy didn't take off.

He let me snap photos of him until I tired of it, which is more than a lot of bugs will allow you to do. Perhaps he knows he's a handsome fella and is more than happy to bask in the admiration of those who come across him.

I wish he could have told me his name, though. I've been trying to track it down, but so far have been unable to identify him. I think he's probably a moth of some sort, but I really don't know. Most of the time his antennae were tucked back under his body, but now and then he'd bring them out and 'sniff' the air with them.

EDIT: Thanks to Alyssa, this has now been identified as a Tropical Ermine Moth (Atteva punctella), also known as Ailanthus webworm.

Native to south Florida and the American tropics, it migrates north for the winter, sometimes as far north as eastern Canada. Its host plant is the Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) as well as Paradise Tree (Simarouba glauca), which are native to China and were introduced into the United States in the late 18th century.

The Tree of Heaven was the subject of Betty Smith's famous novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

While the larva stage of this beautiful moth wraps itself in leaves of the host plant and eventually consumes them, they are rarely a problem. The adult moth is a pollinator.

Join Green Thumb Sunday

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Something's Rotten in Ohio

Romie is a very thrifty person. Generally, I am not, though I have been known to pinch a penny, given the right motivation. So maybe it was the unlikeliness of me trying to convince him of the value of composting that made him suspicious and hesitant. Whatever it was, he's now seen the advantage of having our own compost bin. I don't think I've completely won him over, but he'll see soon enough that I was right.

I wasn't all that crazy about composting before this summer either. I didn't think we had enough waste to warrant going to the effort. But when I began to see how much I was throwing in the field or piling on the firepit, I knew we were throwing away potential 'black gold.'

So tonight, as I filled yet another green tub full of deadheading and pruning greens, I simply dumped it on the grass at the back of the lot by the fence and explained to Romie how he was going to construct the confines of the compost bin. Amazingly enough, he didn't give me 'that look.'

Garbage in, organic fertilizer out. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, it is. Sort of. There
are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You need a balance of carbon (paper, sawdust, wood chips, straw, leaves) and nitrogen (food, grass clippings, manures).
  • A compost pile needs air. Turn the compost with a pitchfork at least every other week.
  • Compost needs to stay moist. If you don't get regular rainfall, water it.
  • Keep your compost pile warm. It likes to be 90°-140° F, and the best way to achieve this is to not let the pile get too small. Ideal size is at least 3' x 3' x 3'.
  • Big chunks of stuff takes longer to compost, so if you need to chop it a bit before adding it, this will only help your compost to be ready to use sooner.

There are things you shouldn't add to a compost pile:

  • Meat, bones, fish, grease, and oil. These things attract rodents.
  • Pet waste, which can contain disease.
  • Weeds with seeds and runners. Other weeds are fine to add.
  • Plants with diseases and insects.
  • Treated wood or anything with chemicals or strong preservatives.
  • Ashes. They slow down the process of turning your waste into compost.

So that's the short of it. We'll see how this works out.

*Composting information from Texas A&M University website.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Ice Cream, Herbs, Wine, Horses, Plants, and Ice Cream

Back on Father's Day, Dad asked me if I would like to go on a bus trip with him and Mom. The YWCA in Van Wert was taking a trip to the Sandusky, Ohio area, with stops at an herb farm, winery, city gardens, a carousel museum, and a garden center. Oh, and there was ice cream involved. Dad's treat. Count me in!

Yesterday, we boarded an Executive Coach bus between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. and headed northeast. We stopped at a McDonald's in Findlay for breakfast, where I had an Egg McMuffin, which is one of only two things I'll eat there. This is one thing that McDonald's gets right besides their fries.

Our first visit of the day was to Mulberry Creek Herb Farm. What a lovely place out in the country near Huron, Ohio. The owner gave us a very informative tour of his gardens there (which are all organic) and imparted lots of information we can really use.

I was on a quest for 'Kent Beauty' oregano and was disappointed that yet another place I've looked didn't have it. Mark showed me a couple of other rotundifolia oreganos that he'd recommend but didn't have for sale either, but they're all very pretty and it's late in the season so I'm really not surprised there weren't any left.

Mark informed us that if we purchased one of any plant he had for sale, we could have a second one for free. Well, who can resist a deal like that? I tried to show restraint though, and purchased Large Yellow Foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora), which is a perennial foxglove (versus the traditional biennial variety). I wanted to buy some hard-neck garlic (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon 'Music'), but didn't see any, so I asked about it. It was curing out, but I was able to purchase two of them for planting in October.

Mulberry Creek Farms features many, many miniatures and there were charming fairy gardens planted as well as a large train landscape that had scenes peppered with miniatures that were amazingly similar to their full-sized counterparts.

After being treated to black cherry ice cream with chocolate morsels and spiced with cardamom (Yum!), we got back on the bus and headed for Sandusky.

We stopped for lunch at The Angry Trout, which overlooks Sandusky Bay, where I had salad, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, a hard roll and carrot cake for dessert.

Next stop was Firelands Winery, where we viewed a video presentation about the history and business of growing grapes and winemaking in the microclimate here around Lake Erie. The grapes are grown on Isle St. George, which has a unique growing situation:

Only a mile and a half wide and even less in length, Isle St. George is crisscrossed by a network of underground limestone caves. As the warm lake water circulates through these caves, ground frost is delayed until late fall. When the fall air becomes cooler, the warm lake water heats the surrounding air and land. Before winter sets in, the lake islands enjoy a 200-day frost-free growing season, remarkable and unusual for this climate. On North Bass Island, the grapes are harvested as much as six weeks after harvesting ends on the mainland. The United States Government has recognized the area's unique climate, soil, topographic and historic conditions that produce distinctive characteristics in the grapes grown here, and has established the area from the Bass Island and the southern shore of Lake Erie - stretching from Toledo into New York State - as the Lake Erie Appellation of Origin. When a Lake Erie designation is indicated on the label of a wine, it means that the grapes used in the wine came from this specific viticulture area.¹

After tasting five of the wines they offer at Firelands, we took a tour of the facilities and took time to shop their gift shop and make wine purchases. I didn't buy any bottles of wine, although the ice wine in the slender blue bottles tempted me ($29.95 stopped me).

There were some old-fashioned blown glass ornaments I'd seen in one of their display cases upstairs but I didn't see any for sale in the gift shop. I wanted one, because most of the ornaments on our Christmas tree are this type. I asked about them and was told they were out of stock. Would they consider selling one from the display case? The sales associate quietly said, "Sure, let's go pick one out." I always say that it doesn't hurt to ask, and I now have a blown glass cluster of grapes for our Christmas tree, and this will be a nice memento of our visit to the winery.

We traveled to downtown Sandusky, where we were supposed to leave the bus and take a walking tour of the city gardens, but the weather had other plans. Due to the rain, we stayed in the bus and an employee of the city parks department narrated our mobile tour of the beautiful gardens.

Adjacent to the downtown gardens was the Carousel Museum, housed in the former Post Office. We were given an informative presentation about some of the history of carousel horses and got to see an artist painting a horse that would later be won by someone who had purchased a lottery ticket for it.

Then we took a ride! I can't remember the last time I rode on a carousel, and it's amazing how such a simple thing can be so much fun.

I picked up another blown glass ornament here, of a carousel horse.

Corso's in Sandusky was our next stop and it was somewhat of a feeding frenzy. I mean, you know what happens when you dump a bunch of gardeners off in a large nursery having a sale and offering you a free plant, don't you? Here's what happened to me:

Coleus 'Fishnet Stockings', Viola cornuta 'Columbine', Sedum makinoi 'Ogon'

Time to head home, but not before stopping at Toft's Dairy for ice cream. For two dollars, I got a pint of
Caramel Mountain Tracks which Toft's describes as "Caramel Turtles climbing mountains of toffee ice cream flowing with streams of Mackinac Fudge and praline pecans." Oh myyyyyyyy... I couldn't finish it all so Mom did me the favor.

Though tiring, it was a wonderful day with a great group of people, not the least of which were two that mean more than the world to me. Love you, Mom and Dad!

¹"Our Process", Firelands Winery website.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


If you lived here, you'd know exactly what sound that is. For nearly a month now, we've been hearing it during the day and in the early evening. Once the sun goes down, the sound disappears into the night, about the time the frogs and crickets are tuning up for their orchestral song. But those of you who aren't fortunate enough to be blessed with these lumbering, flying, buzzing, singing insects, meet the cicada:

Cicadas became well-known most recently in 2004, when Brood X emerged in great numbers. This brood was a 17-year periodical cicada, which differs from the cicadas we have around here. Oh, some areas very close to us were invaded by them, but we live one county north of their
range, and were spared.

I do remember the invasion, though. I flew by plane to Arkansas during that time, with a layover in Cincinnati. That leg of the flight was in a small plane and we disembarked on the tarmac. Walking up to the terminal entrance, it was quite apparent that cicadas had crawled out of the ground here in great numbers. You actually could have scooped them up with a shovel.

There are 13-year periodical cicadas, and the next emergence of these buggers will be in 2008, but we'll miss those, too. Cincinnati is very close to their range, so they may get blessed again. I would imagine there will be a year when both the 13- and 17-year broods emerge simultaneously. Heaven help Cincy.

The cicadas we get here are annual or 'dog-day' cicadas and they differ a bit in coloring and they're larger, at about two inches long. There are two- and five-year broods, but they're staggered, so some emerge every year and they never usually cause a problem.

They emerge from the ground during July and August and live for two to four weeks. Sometimes, if the weather has been wet around their emergence time (certainly not
this year), they will build mud tubes that rise out of the ground about three to four inches to escape the saturated soil. These are sometimes mistaken for crayfish holes.

When they crawl out of the ground, they attach themselves to a vertical surface, usually a tree trunk and they crawl out of their skin, leaving it behind. The molt can be somewhat disconcerting if you come across it. Ghostly, sort of.

When I was a kid, we called these things locusts, but that's not what they are. Locusts are large brown grasshoppers, and we have those, too.

Folklore says that six weeks after you hear the first cicada will come the first frost. That may be true in some areas, but for us, sixty days seems to be the accepted time period associated with this. I heard the first cicada on July 3rd, which would put first frost at September 1st. While not impossible -
look at when we had snow in the spring - it's not likely we'll be hit with a frost then, with an average first frost date of September 25th for us.

The cats like to chase the cicadas and eat them. They don't bite or sting and they aren't toxic to cats or dogs and sometimes they eat them in great numbers. People eat them, too. (Not this people.) Asians and Native Americans have been eating them for centuries and they're said to taste somewhat like asparagus or minty shrimp. Umm ... okay. They are arthropods, as are shrimp, so I guess that makes sense. I'm not about to taste test them, though.

I'm glad they provide entertainment and a treat for the cats, and I like hearing their "Ree-a-Ree-a-Ree!" because it's just one more thing that says it's summer.

Photo of cicada skin from Hilton Pond.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tools of the Trade

I've been meaning to clean my tools since early spring and today was the day. I didn't really clean them, I just hosed them off, since they're far from being put away for the season, but they're much cleaner than they were.

It's amazing, all the things I use on a pretty regular basis in my gardens, and just as amazing, what I don't. We all have our favorites and somehow we all manage to get this business of growing flowers and edibles accomplished. Herewith, my repertoire:


When I first got serious about gardening back in 2005, Smith & Hawken had some heirloom tools they offered at sale prices. Even discounted, they were pretty pricey, but I've never regretted spending the money on them. They're heavy-duty and have stood up to whatever I've thrown at them, and I can be pretty abusive to my tools.

This set of hand tools came with a wooden cabinet in which to store them. Most of the summer, they aren't in it, but they should be, because it never fails that I want one of them and I have to chase it down somewhere (usually the trowel).

On the far left is my trowel. I LOVE THIS TROWEL! I love the wooden handle, I love the size of the blade, I love the leather strap, but most of all I love that it's made of heavy stainless steel and that the neck has never ever bent, no matter how much I dig and pry with it.

Next is the
fork. I never used this one very much until this summer. It's great for transplanting (when I can't find my trowel) and works very well for cultivating the soil in tight places.

In the middle is the
dibber. Or dibble. Or dibbler. It's called by any of these names, and it's great for planting small bulbs in the fall. Just poke it in the ground, pivot it around to enlarge the hole as necessary, pull it out, and drop the bulb in.

Next is the
weeding fork. I don't use this too much. I used it quite a bit the first year, because I swear, someone planted thistles in the vegetable garden. We've not even had one thistle this year, so I don't know what was up that summer. I got a blister in the palm of my hand from digging so many thistles out with this thing. That was the day I learned just one more reason that wearing gloves might be something I should consider doing.

On the far right is what I call my forky thing. If I'm looking for it, I'll say to Romie, "Have you seen my forky thing?" while doing the hand formation of it. I look like I'm giving the super secret signal that signifies my membership in a geeky club or something. It's really called a
claw cultivator and I use it a LOT. I use it when I make my trenches for planting vegetable seeds in the spring. I use it when planting or transplanting plants that don't require a deep hole (when I can't find my trowel). I even use it for cultivating.


These are my border spade and short shovel. I use the spade more than the shovel. I would probably not even need the shovel, but I thought I might, and since they were on sale, I bought it. I've read that short-handled shovels require more leg strength to use than long-handled shovels, which require more arm strength. Given that I'm a woman and women are generally weaker in the upper body, maybe I should get to know my short shovel better.

Romie uses the spade now and then for his projects, such as the flagstone walkway. But I use it when planting anything deeper than the trowel can handle. It's just the right size for me. If I need a hole dug deeper than this can do comfortably, I ask Romie to do it with his full-size shovel. It's not that I couldn't do it, and I sometimes do, but he's happy to help me out so I let him.

Again, these are from Smith & Hawken and like the hand tools, they're well made and will serve me for many years to come.


I can't say enough about my Felco No. 6 pruners. I have them with me much of the time and use them every single day. With as many flowers as we have, something always needs to be deadheaded. If I have these handy, I can keep up with it, doing a little at a time.

I use them for pruning shrubs and small branches on trees, too. You're not supposed to cut anything more than ¾-inch in diameter, but I've cut larger branches with them.

I've also used these in the locked closed position for minor digging (when I can't find my trowel). Yes, I know ... but I warned you at the beginning of this post that I'm a tool abuser.


This is my hoe. I don't own a proper hoe. Well, we do have an old one and Romie uses it from time to time, but I prefer to use this. It seems to work better for me with our heavy clay soil.

I will admit it doesn't work that well if the soil is too wet, as it clumps and sticks to the tines, but I shouldn't be trying to work the soil when it's too wet anyway.

I've never really felt the need to use a regular hoe. (Breathe, Carol.)


Mom gave this to me a couple of years ago and I use it far more than I ever thought I would. It's perfect for dividing perennials and it works well for loosening the root ball of a root-bound plant. I've used it for digging holes when planting, too (when I can't find my trowel).

I have a couple of lesser quality trowels running around here somewhere. I hate them generally, because they're cheap and flimsy, but they do come in handy when I can't find my real trowel, which will surprise you to know, happens quite often.

By the way, have you seen my trowel?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

From Canada, With Love

I built a cairn a few weeks ago and one of my fellow garden bloggers, Jodi of bloomingwriter fame, left a comment suggesting that those who'd visited the gardens virtually, send a stone for our cairn. She offered to start it off.

Jodi has the hono(u)r of being the first person to contribute a stone to our cairn. Last Friday, just before we left for the weekend, I received a package from Canada. It took eight days to make its way about 2200 kilometers (1367 miles).

The stone that Jodi chose was gathered from the path down to Scott's Bay near her home in Nova Scotia. It's made of granite and she chose it because it has somewhat of a heart shape. I've placed it on the cairn and it now greets me, the cats, and every other visitor to our gardens as they enter them.

The heart shape is appropriate, Jodi. It symbolizes the ties that we as human beings have on this earth to each other, including yours and mine. They form by various means. Some live next-door, some live next-country, and some live on the other side of the world. Something brings us together in a moment, and we are better people for having met, regardless of the vehicle that transports us.

Many people don't understand these internet relationships we have. And if you've never made a friend this way, it's hard to understand. But once you have, it seems as normal as it was when we were kids and had pen pals in far-off lands. We exchanged letters relating our lives to each other and hoped that someday we could meet in person.

The internet, like the world, can be a scary place and there are precautions to be taken. But at some point, you make the choice to refuse to be as cynical as some and take a chance that those friends you've made in this way are who they say they are.

My life has been enriched beyond description because of the people that live in my computer. I'll never forget the day many years ago when I found myself chatting with a student in Bangladesh - the world suddenly became very small. I've learned so much in this way and it has opened my eyes to new ideas and causes me to look at old ones in a new way. It has made me see that there are an awful lot of kind and caring people out there with good hearts and it inspires me to become more like them.

In my idyllic world, I have this crazy idea that if people bothered to get to know people from other places, whether it be in your own country or around the globe, we would realize that although we live in our own delineated spaces, we are all inhabitants of Planet Earth and this alone ties us together. The internet makes this so much more possible.

World peace via the internet . . . it's got to start somewhere!

Variegation on a Theme

I've always had a weakness for variegated foliage, and in the last couple of years, I've managed to accumulate quite a collection of speckled, spotted, striped, and mottled. When I went outside to take pictures of some of my variegated plants, I was shocked at just how many were out there.

Some Calla lilies have variegated leaves, such as my 'Red Galaxy.'

Caladiums are some of the most beautiful variegated plants out there. Their dramatic large leaves come in all kinds of combinations of red, pink, white and green.

Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum) has a frosty look to it.

Variegated leaves have a combination of plant tissue with chlorophyll and tissue without it. All variegated foliage is genetically unstable to some degree and sometimes the all-green tissue is more vigorous. If your variegated plant starts reverting and putting out
new growth in solid green, just prune it out to encourage the variegated foliage to continue.

Many cultivars of Lungwort (Pulmonaria 'Trevi Fountain') have fuzzy spotted leaves and some varieties have a solid lighter green leaf with a darker green margin (such as 'Majeste').

Many heucheras exhibit some degree of variegation, but none more than 'Snow Angel.' As is often the case with variegated plants, this one is a smaller plant in general than other heucheras.

That being said, I've got a variegated hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Variegata')and it seems to be a pretty vigorous grower.

The variegated Flowering Maple or Parlor Maple (Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii') has a special kind of variegation caused by a virus.

Yes, that's right. It's a sick plant, but it lives quite well with its chronic illness. The mosaic virus that causes the variegation in the abutilon's leaves doesn't affect its growth or performance, but the virus can be transmitted to other non-variegated abutilons via insects such as white fly.

Sometimes the variegation isn't intentional. The leaf miners create a swirly pattern on the Columbine leaves and I don't mind it unless it gets out of hand. If you don't like the leaf miners' art work, just snip out the damaged leaves. This gets rid of the larvae that are inside the leaf munching their way through. If you know a plant is susceptible to leaf miners, like Columbine, you can spray Neem oil on the young foliage in the spring, before the miners begin damaging the leaves.

There are seven types of variegation, and Mike Hardman discusses them
here, if you're interested.

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