Although Daylily Week at ATP is history, I’d like to share with you my personal experiences at the 2015 AHS Region 1 annual meeting. As a newly minted hybridizer, this was my first attendance at a formal daylily meeting.
I just spent the better part of an afternoon extricating the perennials in one of my flower beds from the death grip of field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis). Weeds don’t come much nastier than this thug. It’s considered one of the most noxious weeds in the world.
When my wife and I inherited her mother's gardens, we were determined to put our own imprint on them, but just as determined to preserve their historic elements. That included the beds bordered with rocks my mother-in-law had gathered from various areas of the U.S. while on family vacations. I'd been wanting to expand on the rock theme but couldn't quite decide how. Then I came upon the perfect solution. I found a head.
Ranking right up there among the oddities in the world of plants are those that consume living beings to supplement their diets. Most of us are familiar with the ubiquitous Venus fly trap that snaps shut when triggered by an unsuspecting insect. But some of these plants have more in their bag of tricks than we suspected.
Growing at this very moment at the Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow is a plant whose original tissue came from a 31,800-year-old specimen of Silene stenophylla (narrow-leafed campion).
How reliable is growing information provided by mail order nurseries? Unfortunately, less than you might think.
Writing this month's article is a special treat for me, because I get to see and talk about things actually blooming. I do that in my other articles as well, so why is this one different?. You see, our outdoor gardens, right now, are buried under five inches of snow and counting. Winds are gusting up to 55 miles per hour. Roads are impassable. Blizzard conditions. Come on in where its warm, see what's blooming, and meet our November contest winner.
Carry a small digital voice recorder with you when you garden, either in your pocket or with your tools. Make “voice notes” of important things to remember, or to do later, as these thoughts come to you. Schedule a time at the end of each day to transcribe your notes onto paper or type them into the computer. These recorders cost as little as $15, are small (generally about 4” tall, 2” wide, and 1/2” thick), and lightweight (less than 2 oz.).
Want to make your small garden look larger? Try using a color scheme that includes plants with mostly white blossoms and green leaves. Add some green shrubbery and a colorful accent plant as well. The green and white combination gives the illusion of more space. Add some curving paths. They will also trick the eye into seeing the space as larger than it actually is.
If you garden in a zone that’s too cold to grow crinums, plant them in pots and treat them as you would amaryllis. They need to be crowded in their pots in order to bloom, so be sure that there is no more than an inch of space between the bulb and the pot rim. Winter them over right in their pots in a cool, dark area that remains above freezing.
November here in our zone 5 gardens brings hard frosts and ends our outdoor gardening season. Almost. I was determined to find at least one blossom as I was writing this. My efforts were rewarded with more blossoms than I expected to find. Come on in and check them out. A note to gardeners in warmer climes: Show us what's blooming in your gardens!
Don’t throw away that old, leaky garden hose. Using a small bit, drill holes in the hose, spacing them about six inches apart. Give some thought as to how far from female end of the hose you want the holes to start. Drill all the way through the hose, so that you’re making two holes at once. Cap the male end with an old soaker hose cap or an old nozzle. Voilà! A free soaker hose!
Although our gardens are still officially beset by this year's drought, and we're still about eight inches shy of our average annual rainfall, we've been blessed with some pretty generous rains lately. And despite numerous frosty nights, our gardens are not yet bereft of blossoms. Come on in, see what's blooming, and check out the winner of last month's What's Blooming contest.
While the heat and drought did a number on our perennials, many are making a comeback, given the rain and cooler weather that September brought. Come on in and see what's blooming and who the winner of our August mystery blossom contest is.
August has turned out to be a good month here at Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens. Having suffered substantially from heat, drought, Japanese beetles, and moles during June and July, many of our flowering plants are bouncing back with amazing rapidity and vigor. Come on in and see what's blooming and who our lucky winner is in July's mystery blossom contest.
This month's article is devoted exclusively to our winners. That's right, plural. There are three of them! Come on in, check them out, and see what photos they've chosen for their awards. At left is a photo of this month's mystery flower.
“The flowery May, who from her green lap throws, The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose." (John Milton) The cornucopia of color that is May in the Midwest certainly does include the cowslip and the primrose, but ever so many more interesting and beautiful varieties. Follow me into the garden and see what's blooming at Cottage-in-the-Meadow in May.
You buy a young potted plant at your local garden center that is not yet in bloom. The tag in the pot pictures a beautiful blue-colored flower. Much to your later dismay, the flowers aren't blue at all, but a purplish lavender. What gives?
Like many other parts of the Midwest, our spring came early in Iowa this year, with temperatures approaching those of summer. Unfortunately, we are back to reality now, with three successive nights of temperatures in the upper 20s. Some plants suffered visible damage, but many that I expected to see damaged breezed through the cold spell with nary a blemish! Come on into the garden and see what our early spring has wrought.
It can't be long now! For those of us who garden in temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere, spring is just around the corner. While we gardeners anxiously await that magical time of year, come join me for one final look at what's blooming indoors. You'll also discover the identity of the mystery flower for February, who identified it, and what the mystery flower for this month looks like.
Last month's Name That Bloom Contest subject was the Black Locust Tree, Robinia pseudoacacia 'Purple Robe.' Check in to see who was the first to give us the right answer and while you're here, check out this month's mystery flower, too.
The world of horticulture recently lost a renowned avant-gardener with the passing of Wolfgang Oehme on December 15, 2011. Mr. Oehme--“Wolfi” to his friends--almost single-handedly launched a revolution in planting design with his sweeping landscapes of grasses, sedums, rudbeckias, and perovskias.
In a more normal winter, our gardens here in Iowa would be nestled under a blanket of snow. Catching sight of even a flake or two has been a rare event so far this winter. As I write this, I'm itching to get outside, because it is sunny and 61 degrees! The average high in January for our state is 32 degrees. If this keeps up, I may have some early spring flowering bulbs to show you in February instead of in April! In the meantime, let's pay a cyber visit to folks who really do have plants blooming now, and also to our Mystery Blossom Contest winner, Paul Anguiano.
Readers responded with an avalanche of photos to our call for blossoms from their gardens to publish in our December issue of What's Blooming. Thank you one and all! Before we take a look, though, let's hear from our Mystery Blossom Contest winner, Robin (Robynznest).
Here at Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens, our outdoor gardens are in their last-hurrah stage as frost creeps across the landscape. As you'll see, there are still a few hardy stragglers outdoors, but for the most part, our gardens have been put to bed for the coming winter. This time of year presents a perfect opportunity for gardeners in warmer climes to show us what's blooming in their gardens. Floridians, Californians, Aussies, Kiwis, gardeners anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere or the southern reaches of the Northern Hemisphere, show us your blossoms! I'll publish as many photos as time and space allow.
October usually spells the end of the gardening season here in Iowa. This year we've been blessed with an extended season as there has been no frost yet. Come on in and see what's still blooming at Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens! Check out the photo contest at the end of the article and take a moment to scroll down farther to the forum to show us some of the flowers blooming in your garden right now.
Before a killing frost, harvest several carrots, beets, and turnips. Remove any unsightly leaves. Cut each vegetable crosswise, so that about two inches remains below the leaves. Arrange in a dish containing a layer of pebbles or a pebble/sand mix. Add a piece of charcoal. Fill dish half full of water. Place in a bright window and keep water level constant. You now have an interesting foliar display that is sure to draw comments.
Are you relatively new to gardening and will be planting your first tulip bulbs this fall? Or have you grown tulips before only to be disappointed that after their first spring they never bloomed again? Here are some ideas to make tulip-growing a rewarding experience.
This article is the second in a new series at All Things Plants. On the 15th of each month I'll highlight plants blooming here at Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens. I'll have photos and will discuss the plants featured. You're invited to discuss these plants, too, but just as important, you're encouraged to show us what's blooming in your garden each month. There is also a monthly contest called "Name that Bloom." The first person to correctly identify the plant will have a photo of his/her choice published and featured the following month. Be sure to check out this month's mystery flower at the end of this article.
This article launches a new feature at All Things Plants. On the 15th of each month I will highlight plants blooming here at Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens. I'll have photos and will discuss the plants featured. You're invited to discuss these plants, too, but just as important, you're encouraged to show us what's blooming in your garden each month. I'll also have a monthly contest called "Name that Bloom." The first person to correctly identify the plant will have a photo of his/her choice published and featured in the following month. Be sure to check out this month's mystery flower at the end of this article.