Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
We're going to have our first frost in a few days. So I wanted to cut the Dahlias that I have left to enjoy in the house. I have been working hard getting the garden ready for winter. Trying to finish the remaining weeding and cutting down what needs to be pruned for there dormancy period.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Crocomia, formally known as Montbretia, is one of my favourite and easiest to grow perennials that I have in my borders. I not only love it for its bright red flowers which the hummingbirds go crazy over, but also for it unique seed pods and its clumps of strap like foliage. It flourishes in full sun tucked in amongst some of the taller plants in the beds (Crosomia reaches 3 to 4 feet tall) and will bloom for 6 weeks in summer. In early spring I place a perennial cage over it so the foliage and flowers can grow through it and be supported with out being noticed. There are many Hybrids these days but right now the only one I have is 'Lucifer'. Being a fast grower it needs to be divided when flower and plant begin to decline or when the clump has out grown its location. Since Crocosmia 'Lucifer' is such a strong colour its usually planted next to saturated contrasting or complementary coloured blossoms. As a added bonus it makes a great cut flower.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
It's funny that when I mention Lambs Ear (Stachys byzantina) to gardeners there is always 2 responses. Either they hate it because it can be aggressive and flop over when in bloom or love it for its ease of care, its hardiness, great colour, and for its velvety leaves. I of course like it for all the latter. I love the light gray foliage which plays off any colour in the garden acting as an enhancer to what ever you plant it next too. It's very easy to control, it pulls out of the ground with a simple tug. And finally it so easy to grow, taking very little water and care. The hybrid I have was suppose to not bloom but as you can see, it does. I'm glad though, it adds some dimension and height to the front of the borders where I usually locate it. Finally, I love it for how tactile the leaves are. Who hasn't stop and reached down to touch it soft foliage.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
As promised, I'll share some tips and thoughts on growing roses. First I always recommend selecting desease resistent roses for your area. Here in the Pacific Northwest we get a lot of rain and have many cloudy days so choosing more fungus resistant hybrids makes the job of growing roses somewhat easier. Some gardeners are so tempted to try new hybrids for colour or fragrance that do not preform in there area, but the whole idea of growing roses is to have and enjoy there flowers. So pick roses that well grow to there potential in your environment. In spring I fertilize with a once a year fertilizer and follow that up with an application alfalfa meal that I work into the soil in June and August. In March I apply one cup of epson salts to each rose (for the magnesium) to encourage new cane growth. During the growing season I spray with Neem Oil to keep the bugs and fungus down to a minimum. In mid-September I no longer dead head allowing the roses to develop hips, helping them go dormant in the winter and for fall arrangements in the house. Every spring I apply a inch of compost to soil to help deter black spot since its soil borne. In November I cut my roses to half there height and pick off every leaf to prevent any deceases from over wintering and the end of February to the beginning of March is when I do my major pruning.
People often ask how many roses do I have, which is 20. They are a combination of mostly Hybrid Teas, some Florabundas, and a few David Austins. All in all it sound like a lot of work but it really isn't. And its well worth it for these garden beauties.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Wanted to share some pictures of front yard. My back yard is filled with mixed borders, the Rose garden, and the Dahlia bed. My front yard I choose to design with more textural combination focusing more on foliage and form rather than flowers. In all its much lower maintenance and looks pleasing throughout the seasons. Some of the plants are Nandina domestica 'Gulf Stream', Viburnum davidii, Phormium, Mugo Pine, Abelia x grandiflora 'Edward Goucher', Rose Glow Barberry, Phygelius (Cape Fushia), Vine Maple, and assorted Grasses, Sedums, Ground covers, and Sempervivums (hardy Hen and Chicks). These photos are what the yard looked like at the beginning of September.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Lychnis coronaria or known by its common name Campion Pink is an easy care attractive perennial with silver grey green foliage and bright magenta coloured flowers from the Pinks Family. They require full sun and infrequent summer water. Mine I unfortunately had to remove because it freely reseeds ending up in my lawn and throughout one of my borders. This can be prevented if you continually remove spent flowers, which is not an easy task because when in bloom they produce many flowers. But given the right place I would considerate again in the future because the flowers are so intensely coloured. For those interested in the background of the above picture is Oriental lily " Le Reve"
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I just spent the afternoon starting to cut down many of perennials in the garden preparing them for winter dormancy. We are having our Indian Summer so I wanted to get started before the fall rains really get going. This time of year my Hemerocallis ( Day Lilies) were looking pretty tired and shaggy, much in need of a fall trimming. I only have two hybrids of Day Lilies --- "Stella de Oro" and "Happy Returns". Both are yellow, but Stella de Oro is more of a butter or maize colour while Happy Returns is more lemon. Both are great bloomers, starting in May and continuing till fall. I'm to lazy to constantly deadhead and remove spent foliage, so I clean them up twice during the season. The above is a close up of "Stella de Oro". Day Lilies are great plants that are very easy to grow and thrive on the smallest amount of attention.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Asters are an important part of the fall garden. I only have two kinds of fall Asters ( both are Novi-Belgii types), but I love them. Ordinarily they can get pretty tall - 2 to 4 feet. But I keep mine short by trimming them back to 8 inches tall in mid June. Basically it cuts them by half. This way when in bloom they only reach about 14 to 18 inches tall and require no staking. I would love to have more of them in the garden but from what I understand there pollen can crystallize bee honey. So I keep them down to minimum and give the bees other flowers to enjoy. Locate them in full sun with good ventilation. This not only ensures that you'll receive an abundance of blossoms but it well also help keep the mildew down.