Everyday the mailbox is filled with new garden catalogs. I am crazy for them, I'll admit. Last year's perennial border--it's second season--certainly provided armloads of cut flowers all summer long. As always some plants, like certain acquaintances, did not live up to my expectation. Umm, so out they go....Last year's selections of hardy asters fell well below my expectations. I am yearning for powder blue tall mounds of color; and again, I am stuck with lopy lavender lumps. and the little blooms do not lend themselves well to arranging. So off with their heads.
I am going to substitute European Monkshood (aconitum napellus), for the sprawly weak asters. Monkshoold is a statey 4 to 5 feet tall, with indigo blue flowers; it's been around since the 16th century and has a good track record. It is available through Forestfarm, 990 Tehtrow Road, Williams, OR 97544 or www.forestfarm.com. This is a great reference catalog with a broad selection of unusual things and the plants arrive in perfect condition.
In Indiana, we have experienced a harsh winter, quite a bit of snow cover, and very low temperatures. I belong to the school that thinks our climate is changing, with longer and harsher winters that I remember from my childhood on the farm. Thus far, not a single blade of daffodil foliage has risked its nose above ground.
I plan to entertain in May for The Women in Red, a fund raising support group within the Heart Association. Having had a successful Heart Transplant nine years ago, this charity is one I support with enthusiasm. so looking ahead to that, it's important the gardens are groomed and strutting their stuff. This will be during peak daffodil time; Beth and I planted 200 more from White Flower Farms, from The Works collection, which is still the best bargain around. To paraphrase the Duchess of Windsor, "One can't have too many daffodils or too much money."