Fabulous Four O’clocks

Mirabilis multiflora - Desert Four O'clock @XG 9aug05 LAH 080 printIn a field crowded with contenders, I have a new favorite wildflower. This plant is incredible—large, flashy, tough, gorgeous. What more could you want? Best of all, it’s thriving in my yard. I’m in love.

Most four o’clocks are sedate, old-fashioned garden flowers, something you’d see surrounding a cottage, combined with hollyhocks, old roses, and other grandmotherly plants. The Desert Four O’clock (Mirabilis multiflora) is like the grandma who dies her hair brilliant pink, wears short skirts with black fishnet stockings, and rides a Harley.

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Kintzley’s Ghost is Hauntingly Beautiful

Lonicera reticulata_Kintzley's Ghost Honeysuckle _DBG_LAH_1711You’ve put out the jack-o’-lantern, there are mysterious eyes blinking in the hedge, and spider webs festoon the front porch. It’s almost time to greet thus year’s trick-or-treaters. You think you’re ready, but there’s a good chance that you’re missing the pièce de résistance, the perfect, spooky vine to frame your doorway. You need to plant Kintzley’s Ghost honeysuckle!

This 2006 PlantSelect™ winner is the perfect plant for Colorado gardens, and not just because of its Halloween-evoking name. A cross between two Midwest natives, Lonicera reticulata (Grape Honeysuckle) and L. prolifera (Yellow Honeysuckle), this hybrid depends on weekly watering in more arid regions. Plants are hardy in USDA zone 4 through 8. Not fussy about soil, they thrive in full sun, but also tolerate afternoon shade. Another plus—the blue-green foliage is deer-resistant.

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Trumpet Vine – Campsis radicans

campsis-radicans-trumpet-vine_xg_090720_lah_7324Appearance
Tropical vines with huge, brilliantly colored flowers don’t normally grow in Colorado, but Trumpet Vine is an enjoyable exception. A vigorous grower, Trumpet Vine can reach 30 feet, with dark green compound leaves that drop in fall to reveal the vine’s light brown papery bark. From mid-summer to frost, three-inch long vase-shaped flowers of fiery orange-red grow in clusters of four or more. In fall, hundreds of papery seeds develop in five-inch long capsules.

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