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Wal-Mart is Not Your Garden’s Friend: Iris in May?


Horticultural Warning: For those that may be interested in buying bulbs at Wal-mart…

While in the Plover, WI Wal-mart on Monday with my Mom, we happened to stroll down the aisle where they had bulbs/tubers/rhizomes — glads, canna, iris, etc. Among the selection of about 10 iris varieties were 2 Dutch Iris — “Miss Saigon” and “Eye of the Tiger”.

20170506_142747Miss Saigon

My first reaction at seeing any iris – Dutch, Siberian, Bearded, or otherwise – is that this is NOT the time of year to plant iris. You plant them in the late summer/early autumn.

Dutch Iris do not grow in Wisconsin — they are for the southern states. Further research on my part shows that “Miss Saigon” is for Zones 8-11 and “Eye of the Tiger” for Zones 6-9. Wisconsin is mostly Zone 3 and 4 with a bit of 5 in the southeastern part. (NOTE: Plover is a 4.) Just like the short day onions I wrote about previously, Wal-Mart just throws whatever on the shelves because most gardeners that shop at Wal-Mart do not have enough knowledge to know that they are being taken. Just because you are getting a good deal at the checkout counter does not mean that you are getting what you think you are getting. And Wal-Mart is NOT the only offender — I have seen the same in years past at Sam’s Club, ShopKo, KMart, Menards, Home Depot, and other big box chains are notorious for selling things that they -say- grow in your area, but a quick variety search online shows how much they have lied to you. By buying products that are not for your area, you have just wasted your money on what will be an expensive annual, plus you will likely tell everyone you know that you have a “black thumb” when it comes to gardening.

Miss Saigon 2Eye of the Tiger

If you want something reliable that will truly grow well, spend the extra few cents/dollars and go to a reputable horticultural seller. If you need advise on where to go, send me a message and I can send you info.

Please feel free to share this post with your friends.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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What roses to plant?


“What is the difference between, grandiflora, floribunda &hybrid tea roses? The areas that I have for roses, one area has sunlight from sunrise until around noon& the other area has sun form 2:00 until sunset, the roses I was looking at were, Rock&Roll,Twilight Zone, Sunshine Dream, Ketchup&Mustard,Angel Face,Champlain,Oso Happy Candy Oh, Double Knock Out, Smart& Sassy,Double Delight, Paradise Found, Red Drift, Home Run, Rainbow’s End, Ruby Ruby & Smoke Rings of these what would be best for Zone 5 with the amount of sunlight I discribed? Or maybe you have some other suggestion,I have places for 6 to 7 roses & also I’m looking for roses with not a lot of maintenance. Thank you,

John Zahn

Celina, Ohio”

 

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Hi John,

Thank you for the email regarding roses.  First, let’s start with the different types:

–Grandiflora:  Grandifloras (Latin for “large-flowered”) were the class of roses created in the mid-20th century to designate back-crosses between hybrid teas and floribundas that fit neither category – specifically, the ‘Queen Elizabeth’ rose, which was introduced in 1954. Grandiflora shrubs are typically larger than either hybrid teas or floribundas, and feature hybrid tea-style flowers borne in small clusters of three to five, similar to a floribunda. Grandifloras maintained some popularity from about the 1950s to the 1980s but today they are much less popular than either the hybrid teas or the floribundas. Examples: ‘Queen Elizabeth’, ‘Comanche,’ ‘Montezuma’.
–Floribunda: Rose breeders quickly saw the value in crossing polyanthas with hybrid teas, to create roses that bloomed with the polyantha profusion, but with hybrid tea floral beauty and colour range. In 1909, the first polyantha/hybrid tea cross, ‘Gruss an Aachen,’ was created, with characteristics midway between both parent classes. As the larger, more shapely flowers and hybrid-tea like growth habit separated these new roses from polyanthas and hybrid teas alike, a new class was created and named floribunda, Latin for “many-flowering.” Typical floribundas feature stiff shrubs, smaller and bushier than the average hybrid tea but less dense and sprawling than the average polyantha. The flowers are often smaller than hybrid teas but are carried in large sprays, giving a better floral effect
in the garden. Floribundas are found in all hybrid tea colours and with the classic hybrid tea-shaped blossom, sometimes differing from hybrid teas only in their cluster-flowering habit. Today they are still used in large bedding schemes in public parks and similar spaces. Examples: ‘Anne Harkness’, ‘Dainty Maid’, ‘Iceberg’, ‘Tuscan Sun’.
–Hybrid Tea:  the favorite rose for much of the history of modern roses, hybrid teas were initially created by hybridising Hybrid Perpetuals with Tea roses in the late 19th century. ‘La France’, created in 1867, is universally acknowledged as the first indication of a new class of roses. Hybrid teas exhibit traits midway between both parents: hardier than the teas but less hardy than the hybrid perpetuals, and more ever-blooming than the hybrid perpetuals but less so than the teas. The flowers are well-formed with large, high-centered buds, and each flowering stem typically terminates in a single shapely bloom. The shrubs tend to be stiffly upright and sparsely foliaged, which today is often seen as a liability because it makes them more difficult to place in the garden or landscape. Hybrid teas became the single most popular garden rose of the 20th century; today, their reputation as high maintenance plants has led to a decline in popularity. The hybrid tea remains the standard rose of the floral industry, however, and is still favored in formal situations. Examples: ‘Peace’ (yellow), ‘Garden Party’ (white), ‘Mister Lincoln’ (red) and ‘Double Delight’ (bi-color cream and red).

Roses do like to have full sun, so neither of the locations you have is ideal.  However, the better of the two would be the one that has afternoon sun.

Of the rose you have picked, the Knock Out series of roses is probably one of the easiest and most forgiving type of roses on the market.  Other than that, the others you have listed would all do equally well.  No matter which type you go with, you are going to want to make sure that you have a good spraying cycle set up — roses that are in shade tend to have more disease problems.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Potted Bulb Garden and Cutting Back Perennials


“It would be fun to have specific directions as to how to build a potted bulb garden.    I think it has to sit in the refrigerator (40 degree area) for 12 weeks.

Also you could write about the proper time to cut down perennials.  I’ve heard the new thinking is let them stand until spring (to feed our winter friends) and then chop them down inch by inch to create mulch.

Denise”

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Hi Denise,

Thank you for the email regarding your bulbs and perennials.

Forcing Bulbs

Bulbs made to flower at other than normal times are said to be forced. The practice of forcing is commonly used to flower daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, crocus and other spring bulbs during the winter. With proper planning and care, bulbs can supply color for the home from late November until early April, when they begin to flower normally outdoors.

Steps for forcing include selecting the most suitable varieties, potting bulbs properly in well-drained potting medium, providing proper
cold-temperature treatment, bringing bulbs into a cool room, and placing the plants in a display location when well-developed.

Stage 1:  Preparation
Any spring-flowering bulb can be forced, but to be successful, select types and varieties known to be good forcers. Hyacinths and daffodils are generally the easiest to force. Tulips are slightly more difficult, but with proper treatments they can be forced successfully. Many small bulbs such as crocus, grape hyacinth and snowdrops also may be forced.

The general procedure for forcing all these bulbs is similar. Begin by buying only top-quality, flowering-size bulbs for indoor forcing. Good bulbs contain ingredients necessary for successfully producing roots, leaves and flowers.

Hyacinths are usually the most easily forced spring bulbs. They may be forced in water or potted in a container. Potting should be done in late September or early October. Plants will flower about one month after being brought indoors from the chilling treatment. Earliest bloom from bulbs can be expected about mid-January.

Many varieties of daffodils can be forced. Paperwhite Narcissus are suitable for earliest forcing either in pots or in water.

All varieties should be potted before the end of October for adequate root growth and chilling. Dates listed in the table are the earliest that bulbs planted in October should be brought into forcing conditions. Most varieties flower about one month after being brought indoors, although timing varies due to varieties and individual forcing conditions.

Hyacinth varieties for forcing:
Variety        Color        Pot no later than    Earliest date to bring indoors
Anne Marie        bright pink    Oct. 1            late December
Delft Blue        porcelain blue    Oct. 1        late December
Jan Bos        red        Oct. 1            late December
L’Innocence        white        Oct. 1            late December
Carnegie        white        Oct. 1            early January
Myosotis        pale blue    Oct. 1            early January
Ostara            dark blue    Oct. 1            early January
Pink Pearl        pink        Oct. 1            early January
City of Harlem    yellow        Oct. 15        mid-February
King of the Blues    deep blue    Oct. 15        mid-February
Lady Derby        rose pink    Oct. 15        late January
Orange Boven        orange-salmon    Oct. 15    late January

Daffodil (Narcissus) varieties for forcing.
Variety        Color                Forcing dates
Accent            white; salmon cup        March to April
Barrett Browning    white; orange cup        January to April
Bridal Crown        golden yellow        March to April
Carlton        double white; orange center    January to February
Cassata        creamy to pale yellow    January to April
Dutch Master        golden yellow        January to April
February Gold    bright yellow        January to February
Flower Record    white; orange-rimmed cup    January to February
Fortune        yellow; coppery-orange cup    January to April
Ice Follies        white; yellow cup        January to April
Las Vegas        white; lemon yellow cup    January to April
Mt. Hood        ivory white            January to April
Tete a Tete        yellow miniature        January to February
Unsurpassable    yellow                March to April

Tulip varieties for forcing.
Variety        Color                Earliest date to bring indoors
Apeldoorn        orange-scarlet        early February
Apricot Beauty    salmon-rose            early January
Attilla        purple violet        mid-January
Bellona        golden yellow        early January
Blizzaard        creamy white            early February
Christmas Gold    deep yellow            early January
Christmas Marvel    cherry pink            early January
Couleur Cardinal    cardinal red            early February
DeWet (General)    orange                early January
First Lady        reddish-violet        early January
Garden Party        white-edged red        early February
Gudoshnik        pale yellow streaked; rose pink    early February
Jewel of Spring    yellow-streaked red        early February
Kansas            white                early January
Make Up        white with red edge        early February
Merry Widow        red with white edge        mid-January
Olympic Flame    yellow-flamed red        early February
Orange Nassau    double-orange scarlet    mid-January
Orange Wonder    bronzy-orange        mid-January
Paul Richter        scarlet red            early January
Peach Blossom    double deep rose        early February
Preludlum        salmon with white base    early January
Queen of Sheba    mahogany-edged orange    early February
Westpoint        yellow                early February

Stage 2:  Potting

The following materials will be needed for potting bulbs:
–Pots 4 to 8 inches in diameter. Short pots known as azalea or bulb pots are preferred.
–A well-drained potting medium such as a blend of Sphagnum peat, vermiculite and perlite. High fertility is not essential, but good drainage is important. No fertilizer is needed at potting time.
–Wood, plastic or metal labels.
–Thermometer for checking temperatures.

Procedure
All bulbs are normally potted in October.

*Add enough soil mixture to fill the pot so bulbs are placed as follows:
–Hyacinths and tulips: Allow only the tip of the bulb to show above the soil line.
–Daffodils: Plant so about one-half of the bulb shows above the soil line.
–Small bulbs (crocus, snowdrop, grape hyacinth, etc.): Plant so they will be about one inch below the soil line.

*Set the bulbs in the pot. One large bulb may be placed in each 4-inch pot.  Use six tulips, three hyacinths, five daffodils or 15 crocus (or other small bulb) in each 6-inch pot. All bulbs in a pot should be of the same kind and variety to ensure uniform flowering. Place tulips with the flattened side of the bulb toward the outside of the pot.

*Fill around the bulbs with potting medium to the proper height. Firm the medium with light pressure, but avoid tight packing. After planting, the final potting medium line should be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch below the rim of the pot.

*Label each pot with variety of bulb, date of potting and expected date to begin forcing.

*Add water until it drips through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. After about one hour, dump out any water remaining in the saucer.

Stage 3:  Rooting
After potting, keep hardy bulbs where temperatures range between 35 and 48 degrees F; 40 degrees F is ideal. These temperatures may be found in a cool north room, basement, crawl space, bulb cellar, outdoor trench, refrigerator or cold frame.

An unheated basement or storage cellar is most convenient because temperatures don’t fluctuate greatly and the cooling is quicker and more satisfactory. An old refrigerator may be used for a few bulbs.

A cold frame is easily built outdoors and may later be used for other gardening activities. Place the pots to be forced in the cold frame and cover them with sawdust, straw, leaves, peat moss, shredded styrofoam or other material. The cold frame should be in a shady place or on the north side of a building so the soil is as uniformly cool as possible in October and November. No sash is needed on the cold frame.

When preparing only a few pots, place them on the surface of the ground close to a building. Cover them with peat moss, leaves, straw or similar material and invert a box or bushel basket over them for protection.

Bulbs stored outdoors will normally get sufficient moisture from the soil around them after initial watering. Indoors, bulbs should be kept moist at all times. Overwatering, however, may cause bulb rot.

Roots should develop soon after potting. Excellent root growth is essential to good growth and flower formation. Potted bulbs should be placed outdoors at least three weeks before the first hard freeze is expected. This is an important period for good root development.

Stage 4:  Top-growth

A few varieties may be brought indoors after about 12 weeks of cooling, but most will require 13 or 14 weeks to develop the necessary roots and top growth. Indoor forcing takes three to four weeks. To extend the bloom period, remove potted bulbs from storage at weekly intervals.

If potting medium and tops are frozen when plants are brought indoors, place plants in a cool room (about 40 degrees F) for two or three days to thaw out slowly. Don’t touch the plant tops when they are frozen.

If plants are not frozen, bring them directly to a cool, bright window where temperatures range close to 60 degrees F. Don’t place them in direct sunlight. Keep bulbs watered, but fertilizer won’t be needed.

Stage 5:  Bloom

When flower buds are almost fully developed, pots may be moved to the area in the house where they are to be displayed. Avoid placing them in full sunlight or close to a heater. The life of the flowers can be lengthened by placing the plants in a cool room at night.

Bulbs that have been forced indoors are usually of little value for outdoor planting afterwards and should be discarded.

Forcing bulbs in water

Tender types of Narcissus such as Paperwhite and Soleil d’Or don’t require cold treatment before being forced into bloom. These are the most popular and dependable bulbs for forcing and may be grown in water with pebbles for support.

Hyacinths can be forced into bloom in containers that will support the bulb with only its base touching the water. Bulbs should be cleaned before placing them in glasses. The best time for starting the bulbs is in October.

Keep the glasses containing the bulbs in a cool (45 to 50 degrees F), dark location until tip growth is 3 to 4 inches long and the flower cluster emerges free from the bulb. This may take 8 to 12 weeks. When the top growth is well-developed, move the glasses to a cool, bright window.

As for your perennials, you can chop them down if they herbaceous (not recommended for roses or other woody perennials that come back on the same stems/foliage).  However, the only thing to keep in mind is to wait until the foliage had died back.  If the stems or leaves are still green, the foliage is still feeding the plant and preparing it for winter.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Winter Protection for a Tree Rose


“Hello – this is the first year that I bought a Tree Rose.  I placed it near a main walkway in a condominium complex.  When maintenance shovels snow, they will most likely pile it up in the area where my rose tree is.  Can you recommend something that I can place around it in order to protect it?  Would it be alright to put a plastic pipe around it if it has enough room around it?  Please let me know……….thanks for any advice you can give me.

Nancy”

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Hello Nancy,

Thank you for your inquiry on winterizing your rose tree.  I understand that you are in Zone 6 New York, and as roses can be a bit finicky, it is best to give them a little bit of love and care and then bundle them up well.

Winter Tree RoseRemove all old mulch from under and around the roses; it might harbor insect eggs or disease spores from infected fallen leaves. Just before the first hard, or killing, frost of the season, spread fresh mulch of wood chips, shredded bark, or chopped leaves around the base of the plant, extending as far out as the branch tips. Wait until after the ground freezes to spread the mulch if rodents are a problem in the yard. Mice, especially, like to build their nests in mulch. Water the rose well, especially if it’s been through a dry summer.

There are a few items that you will need to help in the winterizing process:

— organic mulch (I recommend leaves from the yard)

— binder twine or heavy duty string

— burlap

— stakes (wood, bamboo, etc.).  You will need at least four, and possible more depending on the circumference of your rose. They should be just a bit taller than the height of the tree rose.

Begin by setting four stakes in the ground around the rose and just beyond the mulched root zone.  Wrap a protective barrier of burlap around the stakes and tie it in place with the twine (at least at the top, middle, and bottom with more in between as needed to accommodate for the height of the plant. Then fill in the middle with an insulating layer of dry leaves (pack them in so they are not loose and full of air pockets that can get cold). The rose is now shielded from harsh winds and should look kind of like an upright gunny sack of potatoes.

I hope this helps you out.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

More Plant Combination Inspirations


Republished with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

 

More Plant Combination Inspirations

Based on the response from the last e-newsletter about possible combination planter ideas, we are again presenting a few ideas on plants that can grow well together. Listed below, you can find additional National Garden Bureau’s members’ new varieties, including recent AAS Winners, as possible combinations to try.

Many great container designers suggest a thriller element for the container, meaning something tall, bold and/or dramatic. If you like the look of a softened planter edge, then by all means, add some sort of vining element if the combinations below do not offer a vining/cascading plant. Additionally, adding foliage plants to a combination planter can add texture and additional color variations.

Have fun trying new combinations and once you have something you like, share it on our Facebook page!

Let’s Go Garden!

An edible combo for the sun that’s as pretty as it is practical! Pair AAS Winners Mascotte bean with Pretty N Sweet pepper for a range of bright summer colors that produce delicious edible goodies all season long. Both have a compact habit perfect for window boxes and/or containers.
The lovely pink edged leaves of Ornamental Japonica Striped corn will act as a stunning accent plant in a container of Pinto Premium Lavender Rose geraniums. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance combination planter, this one is for you!
Zinnia Salsiando can act as a medium-height accent plant with red interior petals that will blend perfectly with the flowing and mounding habit of Petunia Easy Wave Velour Red.
Brand new hydrangea L.A. Dreamin’ boasts of blooms in blue, pink and every color in between, all on the same plant. Pair it with airy Glitz euphorbia in a large container for a dreamy combination of large hydrangea flowers and delicate white euphorbia blooms.
New Sanguna® Radiant Blue petunia has a unique, eye-catching pattern that will add flair to landscape beds, hanging baskets and combination containers. Its white center with blue trimmed petals looks stunning with the all-white osteospermum Akila® Daisy White. Both varieties have very good heat tolerance and will perform well in full sun while attracting butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

Japanese Lanterns and Everlasting Flower Mixes


“I like Japanese Lanterns, but I don’t like to grow just a single thing in a row. I like things in a mix. Do you know of any variety from any seed company that has Japanese Lanterns in their mix. I am starting to make my seed list out for next year, so would appreciate your advice.

Margaret”

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Hi Margaret,

Thanks for your email regarding Japanese Lanterns (Physalis alkekengi var. franchetii).

Japanese Lanterns

As much as I’d like to tell you that Japanese Lanterns are available in some type of everlasting flower mix, it’s just not the case.  Japanese Lanterns are perennials (winter hardy to Zone 3) and require a little bit of indoor work to start the seeds.  Like their cousins, Ground Cherry (Physalis longifolia) and Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa), Japanese Lanterns require 4-6 weeks to germinate at a soil temperature of 75-85 F (24-30 C).  If planted directly into the soil in your garden, the small seeds are not usually not great performers.

What I recommend doing is starting the seed inside in February/March and transplanting it into your perennial garden.  You can then plant whatever flowers you like around it so that you achieve the ‘mixed’ effect.

Unfortunately, most American seed companies seem to be shying away from selling anything but the most common plants — consider it the “McDonald’s generation” of gardening where people just don’t understand how fantastically beautiful and very easy to grow most near-nonexistent flowers are.  Let me tell you, you don’t see the same trend in Europe!  Anyway, the only reputable place I have found in the U.S. to buy seed for Japanese Lanterns is from Swallowtail Garden Seeds.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bull’s Eye: Container Rose?


“Is Bull’s Eye Rose suitable for a large container?

~Jill Rising”

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Hi Jill,

Thank you for the question regarding the Bull’s Eye Rose.  As I stated in a previous article earlier in 2014, while it is possible to grow a shrub-type rose in a pot, it is not ideal. Given that this is the second time I have been asked the same question, I am wondering if it is being sold as such by a vendor. If so, I am curious to know who!

The rule of thumb with shrub roses is that if you look at the area taken by the stems and leaves, imagine turning that upside down and putting it in the ground. That is a representation of what the network of main roots and hair roots look like below the ground.

Bull's Eye RoseI don’t want to say that it is impossible, but if it were me and my garden, I would not do it. Other roses like miniature or tea roses work much better in a large pot because they don’t have a well-developed root system.  That’s not to say that they are weaker or anything due to their roots, but more with that they are more developed and hybridized for the potential of being grown in a pot. Shrub roses are more closely related to the old-fashioned roses that grow out in the wilds with unlimited room to grow — both in terms or shoots and roots.

I hope this information helps you out. I’m sorry I don’t have a more positive answer for you, but I know how expensive roses are and I don’t want to steer you wrong and have you put a lot of work into something that likely won’t work well in the long run.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.