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A Gardening Life – June 2

We know that the gardening season is well underway when there is finally a choice of cutting flowers for bouquets. Peonies, Nepeta, lady’s mantle, and Salvia are old favorites for early summer bouquets. But this year I’ve discovered a new must-have plant for this group of classic cutting garden plants. This reminds me that getting acquainted with a new perennial is a pleasure that builds from year to year.

One of the delights of growing perennial plants is watching them develop over time. You plant something small and unfamiliar, and over time you learn just what that plant can really do. I realize that many people want to buy a plant that’s already mature…they want the instant gratification of putting a large plant into their gardens. But for me the journey of discovery can ultimately be more satisfying.

Last year I was sent a small sample Euphorbia called ‘Ascot Rainbow.’ The variegated foliage looked interesting and I planted it in my trial garden. This spring it came into flower and I was delighted to find that the flowers are variegated just like the foliage.

A yellow-green flower is the perfect companion for peonies which is why every cutting garden where Peonia are grown should also contain Alchemilla mollis. Once my lady’s mantle comes into flower I know that the combination of those fluffy flowers will be perfect with the ‘Ascot Rainbow’ and the peonies.

This Euphorbia will be one of the plants that gets moved out of the trial garden and into a permanent location in my gardens. This perennial is a keeper and I’ll soon be buying more.

This is how the flowers look in the garden.

Just across from my test garden is the cutting garden where the peonies wave to the Euphorbia. This peony is 'Cora Stubbs' - yummy.

A killer combination, 'Ascot Rainbow' and 'Cora Stubbs' - I love how the cut peonies perfume the room.

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