Gardening News and Ideas by LarryR

Conclusion:  AHS Region 1 Annual Meeting DiaryConclusion: AHS Region 1 Annual Meeting Diary
August 11, 2015

Karole Emmerich's address and a pleasant surprise conclude the annual meeting.

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Day Two at the AHS Region 1 Annual MeetingDay Two at the AHS Region 1 Annual Meeting
August 10, 2015

This article is a continuation of the diary I kept at my first official daylily meeting.

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Daylily Diary:  Annual Meeting of AHS Region 1, July 17-18, Marshalltown, IowaDaylily Diary: Annual Meeting of AHS Region 1, July 17-18, Marshalltown, Iowa
August 9, 2015

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.

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Larry's ObsessionLarry's Obsession
February 27, 2014

About three months ago, I began an odyssey that took me to places that, in my life long journey as a gardener, I never would have imagined. It all began with a daylily seedling.

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Schedule Your Seed StartingSchedule Your Seed Starting
January 30, 2014

Here is a simple way to keep your seed starting organized and on schedule.

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Use Milk on Houseplant LeavesUse Milk on Houseplant Leaves
November 12, 2013

Never use oil to polish plant leaves. It clogs leaf pores and interferes with their functioning. Use milk instead. It’s inexpensive and provides a good shine once it dries.

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Bindweed UnboundBindweed Unbound
August 14, 2013

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.

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You Can Reuse Potting SoilYou Can Reuse Potting Soil
June 5, 2013

Save old potting mix and save some money in the bargain when you repot plants. Make sure the plants in the pots had no diseases. Use the old mix to fill the bottoms of large containers. Leave room for at least four to six inches of new mix on top.

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Rocks and a HeadRocks and a Head
May 31, 2013

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.

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What To Do After Spring Bulbs Have BloomedWhat To Do After Spring Bulbs Have Bloomed
April 29, 2013

Cut or snap off seed heads from tulips and daffodils when they begin to form after blooming. This causes the plant to put all its energy into the bulb instead of into the seed pod and seeds.

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Flesh-Eating Flora Go UltravioletFlesh-Eating Flora Go Ultraviolet
April 5, 2013

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.

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Ice-Age Campion Comes To Life AgainIce-Age Campion Comes To Life Again
March 18, 2013

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).

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A Rant Worth ReadingA Rant Worth Reading
March 7, 2013

Sometimes we gardeners succumb to conventional wisdom, only to discover that it may be conventional, but it's not wise.

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Vendor Information on Plant Culture:  How Reliable Is It?Vendor Information on Plant Culture: How Reliable Is It?
February 28, 2013

How reliable is growing information provided by mail order nurseries? Unfortunately, less than you might think.

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Brown Leaf Tips on HouseplantsBrown Leaf Tips on Houseplants
January 10, 2013

Want to get rid of brown leaf tips on your houseplants? Simply cut off the brown tips. I don’t mean to be flippant here, but you can do this so that nobody will even notice that you’ve clipped the tip.

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What's Blooming in DecemberWhat's Blooming in December
December 26, 2012

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.

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The Organized GardenerThe Organized Gardener
December 16, 2012

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.).

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Landscape Design Tips for a Smaller GardenLandscape Design Tips for a Smaller Garden
December 10, 2012

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.

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Growing Crinums in Colder ZonesGrowing Crinums in Colder Zones
December 5, 2012

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.

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What's Blooming in NovemberWhat's Blooming in November
November 27, 2012

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!

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Recycle Your Old HoseRecycle Your Old Hose
November 23, 2012

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!

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Have You Thanked a Plant TodayHave You Thanked a Plant Today
November 8, 2012

Plants are an integral part of our natural heritage. Among other things, they provide us with food, shelter, fragrance, and beauty. They also provide us with a surprising number of active ingredients in the medicines we take.

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What's Blooming in OctoberWhat's Blooming in October
October 26, 2012

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.

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What's Blooming in SeptemberWhat's Blooming in September
September 27, 2012

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.

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What's Blooming in AugustWhat's Blooming in August
August 25, 2012

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.

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What's Blooming in JulyWhat's Blooming in July
July 23, 2012

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.

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Beating the BeetlesBeating the Beetles
July 16, 2012

Beetlemania reigns at Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens this month. The full force of the Japanese Beetle onslaught has hit our flower beds. Come on in, check out the damage, and see how I'm dealing with the invasion.

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What's Blooming in JuneWhat's Blooming in June
June 28, 2012

This month's mystery blossom contest winner is a very special person. Come on in and check him out!

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What's Blooming in MayWhat's Blooming in May
June 4, 2012

“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.

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Knock Out Roses Look Fabulous in PotsKnock Out Roses Look Fabulous in Pots
May 30, 2012

In the past several years, the Knock Out series of roses has enjoyed great popularity among gardeners. These roses grow well under all kinds of garden conditions, but did you know that they do well in pots too?

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This Isn't the Color It Was Supposed To BeThis Isn't the Color It Was Supposed To Be
May 1, 2012

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?

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What's Blooming in AprilWhat's Blooming in April
April 19, 2012

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.

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What's Blooming in MarchWhat's Blooming in March
March 18, 2012

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.

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Rise Up, All Gardeners!Rise Up, All Gardeners!
March 8, 2012

We all know that gardening is good for the body and soul. But there is something the great majority of us don’t know. And what we don’t know can hurt us.

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What's Blooming in FebruaryWhat's Blooming in February
February 18, 2012

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.

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Wolfgang Oehme Launches a Gardening RevolutionWolfgang Oehme Launches a Gardening Revolution
January 24, 2012

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.

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What's Blooming in JanuaryWhat's Blooming in January
January 17, 2012

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.

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What's Blooming in DecemberWhat's Blooming in December
December 17, 2011

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).

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What's Blooming in November:  A Call for Photos from Warm Climate GardenersWhat's Blooming in November: A Call for Photos from Warm Climate Gardeners
November 15, 2011

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.

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What's Blooming in OctoberWhat's Blooming in October
October 17, 2011

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.

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Bring Harvests Inside for Indoor InterestBring Harvests Inside for Indoor Interest
October 6, 2011

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.

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How To Grow Tulips SuccessfullyHow To Grow Tulips Successfully
September 26, 2011

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.

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What's Blooming in SeptemberWhat's Blooming in September
September 15, 2011

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.

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What's Blooming in AugustWhat's Blooming in August
August 15, 2011

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.

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All About PetuniasAll About Petunias
August 9, 2011

Petunias are one of the most popular bedding plants ever grown. Among the array of colors, shapes, sizes and habits available, there is bound to be something to please every gardener. It wasn't always like this though.

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