Saturday, 17 February 2018

Viburnum, A Trouble Free Fragrant Flowering Plant

Viburnums are a joy to grow because they are so trouble free and they offer so much. Most bear while flowers in mid or late spring, some of them are very fragrant; these are followed by berries many of which are showy and either red, black or yellow. In addition may have colored foliage I fall, some of it quite striking. Moreover size are varies, so select the right one for the site.

Among the best fragrant viburnums are Burkwood viburnum “Viburnum burkwoodii” whose flowers are cluserts 3 inch pinkish white balls. Fragrant snowball (v. carlcephalum) is same and normally grows to 9 feet. Korean spice viburnum “V. carlesii” is the most fragrant of all, is only 5 feet tall, and its variety Compacta even smaller. All are hardy to zone 5. Southeerners favor sweet viburnum “V. odoratissimum” which normally grows to 10 feet and is hardy to zone 8.

Well, other attractive viburmums include double file viburnum (V. plicatum tomentosum) a tall and broadly spreading shrub with wide flowers clusters atop the branches (in the variety “Mariesi” They are very speciall showy. Linden viburnum “V. dilatatum” has very showy red berries as well as rust red fall foliage and grows to 9 feet. Bothe are hardy to zone 5. Moreover American cranberry bush “V. Irilobum” has flat flower clusters and red berries that are edible. It is hardy to zone 3.

Though not particular viburnums appreciate a good, light, moist loam. They are shallow rooted and appreciate a mulch to keep roots moist and protected in winter. All will tolerate some shade, though full sun produces the best flowers and fruits. Viburnums can be propagated by layering. They rarely need pruning, though old plants can be thinned at the base. Spring blooming species bloom on old wood, so prune the tops only after flowering if needed. Source: CP

Friday, 9 February 2018

Epimedium Flowers

Epimedium “Epemedium grandiflorum” is also called “bishop’s hat” is one of favorite ground covers. It is one of those plants which look like maidenhair fern, that looks dainty and delicate but is really as tough as they come adaptable, easy to grow, and hardy  to zone 3. The small spurred flowers are supposed to resemble a bishop’s miter, but they look to me like miniature columbines.
They come in various colors depending on the variety white, pink, red, lavender and yellow, appear in late spring. Rose Queen is a good red and Nivum has large, showy white flowers. The heart shaped leaves are pinkish when they first emerge in spring. They overlap in beautiful soft looking mounds and last even into early winter, after turning a reddish bronze color.
Moreover, Epimedium grows slowly when first planted. But it looks like the tortoise that beat the hare it slowly and steadily established large, vigorous clumps. It will grow well even around the bases of trees, where it is graceful addition. Epimedium prefers part shade but will grow in sun if you give it the moist, humusy soil in which it does best. Soil should be well drained and slightly acid. Since it is shallow rooted, try not to cultivate around it, but instead apply a light mulch to control weeds. Divide in spring, preferably while plants are dormant cutting the tough roots with a knife. Source: Charismatic Planet


Sunday, 4 February 2018

Queen Anne’slace Flower

Queen Annne’slace “Daucus Carota”  flower is so common that you might assume t to be an American native, but it’s really from Afghanistan and was introduced to the Europe in colonial times. Meadows roadsides and overgrown fields are full of it lacy, flat umbels made up of many tiny white flowers and a solitary purple one right in the center. They bloom a long time, from June to August in most areas, which means you have them throughout the summer to lighten and soften bouquets of brighter, less delicate flowers. You may like the way the flowers look when they are fading and start to close up like little cups. They are the same species as our common garden carrot, and in fact if you pull one up you will see a carrot shaped, carrot smelling taproot, though its stringy and white instead of fat and orange. The plants are hardy.
Moreover Queen Anne’slace will grow in cultivated gardens, although if the soil is very fertile and stems may become leggy.  It will tolerate dry, infertile soil quite well but needs at least a half day of full sun. In spite of the fact that it chooses to live in meadows, it cannot compete with vigorous rooted perennials and grasses. It is best simply to naturalize a clump of it somewhere and keep the soil weeded and cultivated so that the plant will self sow abundantly. Like many members of umbelliferae, Queens Anne’slace does this well anywhere, but in cultivated ground it will do so best. On the other hand, if you don’t want it to self sow, deadhead the plants or just pick them. There’s always a place for another bouquet of Queen Anne’slace. Like other tap rooted plants they can’t be divided but seeds can be collected when dry and sown outdoors in late spring.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

The Goldenrod Flower

Solidago, commonly called goldenrods, is a genus of about 100 to 120 species of flowering plants in the aster family, Asteraceae. Most people are familiar with goldenrod, with its bright yellow plumes in late summer and early fall. For years it has been blamed for the hay fever that so many people get at that time of year, perhaps because the fuzzy goldenrod flowers look so pollen laden. In fact it is the sly, less conspicuous flowers of ragweed that cause most of the trouble. The many goldenrod species can be difficult to distinguish, due to their similar bright, golden-yellow flower heads that bloom in late summer.

People also don’t realize that there are several different species of goldenrod. Hybrid forms are even sold. In Europe goldenrod is more treasured as a garden plant that it is here. The best goldenrods to grow are probably the ones native to your area, though goldenrods are very adaptable. Most are typically found in rather infertile meadows. In fact farmers where the soil of an abandoned field needs work if they see goldenrod growing there. Solidago species are perennials growing from woody caudices or rhizomes.
Canada goldenrod “Solidago canadensis” is a common species that likes meadows slightly moist in spring and dry in summer, and grows up to four feet. Wrinkled or rough stemmed goldenrod “S.rugosa” is similar though sometimes taller. Both are hardy to zone 3. Showy or noble goldenrod “S. speciosa” can grow quite tall and has particularly fine gold flowers, hardy to zone 5 or 6. Seaside goldenrod “S. sempervirens” hardy to Zone 5, blooms a long time, even into late fall, and the leaves are evergreen. It is the best species to grow in seaside locations.
Some species produce abundant nectar when moisture is plentiful, or when the weather is warm and sunny. Moreover, goldenrods prefer full sun. They can be very invasive, spreading by creeping rootstocks and self sowing, especially in moist, fertile soil. They may need to be controlled in a garden setting but are good flowers for a meadow garden. To propagate, divide in late winter or early spring. Goldenrods are, in some places, considered a sign of good luck or good fortune.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Anemone or WindFlower

These are the tuberous anemones as opposed to the fibrousrooted typessuch as pasqueflower (Anemone pulsatilla). All are spring flowering. The most familiar kinds are the ones sold by florists. Which are hybrids of A. coronaria. These have three inch, very brightly colored flowers I shades of red, pink, purple, blue or white, often with striking black or yellow centers. They look a bit like small oriental poppies and grow 12 to 18 inches tall. Popular strains are the single “De-Caen” hybrids and the semidouble St. Brigid and St. Bavo.

None are reliably hardy as fulgens is similar in flower and growth, bright red and a little hardier. A. blanda “Greek anemone” is hardier still, though a bit less showy. Moreover daisy like flowers on six inch stems in shades of blue, pink, lavender and white carpet the ground and may survive as far north as Zone 5 with winter mulch.

Well, if you want to grow Anemones, then this flowers like full sun but can take part shade, especially at midday. The soil should be well drained and can be lightened with organic matter for better growth. Add some lime if the soil is acid or if you have used an acid material like peat to lighten the soil. Soak the tubers overnight in water before planting. A. coronaria tubers are planted 8 inches apart, 2 to 3 inches deep those of Greek anemones 4 to 6 inches apart and 2 inches deep. If you live in the north you need not give up on the tender anemones altogether. Either grow them indoors or plant them outdoors in early spring, then dig them in late summer and store them in a cool place in bags of peat.


Monday, 25 December 2017

How to Grow Crocus

Well, of all the small spring bulbs the crocus is most favourite among flower lovers. It is not the earliest to bloom, but when it does, often poking up out of the snow in such bright colors. It seems to tell you that if it can get through the rest of winter and mud season without looking grim, so can you. Most of the crocuses normally grow are hybrids of Crocus vernus or C. hrysanthus and have showy flowers in shades yellow, purple lavender and white. Some are striped, and all have handsome yellow stamens.
Moreover, the large flowered Dutch hybrids are the most popular, but if you want to search out other kinds of crocuses you may be able to stretch the blooming period. Some, such as the lavender C. speciosus, even bloom in fall. C. sativus which is lavender or white is the crocus from which the prized spice saffron comes. The bright orange stamens are dried to make this costly seasoning. Most crocuses are hardy and do best in cool climates. They grow from corms. Crocus is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family comprising 90 species of perennials growing from corms
Further if someone wants to grow Crocus, then most gardeners like crocuses not only because of their spring message of cheer, but also because they are trouble free, permanent plantings the multiply by themselves and needn’t be divided. They can be naturalized in grass, but as with any bulb with foliage that persists after bloom, they should not be moved while the leaves are still green. Crocuses like full sun or part shade. Moreover, best to plant some in a sunny sheltered spot for early bloom and some others in a cooler.  Soil required not be rich but must be well drained. Plant them about 4 inches apart, four inches deep in early fall. Plant fall blooming crocuses as soon as they become available in late summer.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Allium, Most Graceful Ornamental Flower in your Gardens

If you have ever seen chives blooming you may have been surprised to find that the plant is as ornamental as it is useful in the kitchen. Most gardeners do not realize that many members of the onion family produce flowers pretty enough to grow in gardens. They are a very diverse group, with flower clusters in many sizes, shapes and colors and blooming times range from spring to summer to fall. The one thing they have in common is an oniony smell when the foliage is rubbed or stepped on, but this does not happen often enough to offend, and some of the flowers are sweetly fragrant. Most of them make fine, long lasting cut flowers, and some every dry well for winter arrangements.
A wonderful allium to try is Allium giganteum “giant garlic”. In early summer it sends up long stalks about 4 feet tall, topped with 5 inch balls, perfectly round, made up of tiny purple flowers. Buy the time they bloom there is little or no foliage around the stems, so grow them together with lower, bushy plants or behind a low wall. If you like big, round purple flowers, you will really love A. albopilosum “A. christophii” commonly called “star of Persia”. Its flower cluster is looser than that of A. giganteum and up to a foot in diameter, with star shaped flowers in late spring. Stems are shorter, about 2 feet.
A.aflatunense has 4 inch purple balls in May and grows to 2 feet or a bit more. Other handsome spring alliums include A. moly “golden garlic”, with flatter clusters of yellow flowers, about a foot tall, and A. neapolitanum “daffodil garlic”, which is roughly the same height and bears fragrant white flowers in April. For late summer bloom, A. tuberosum “Chinese chives or garlic chives”, which has white, fragrant flower clusters. For fall try A. stellatum or A. thunbergii, both short stemmed and pink flowering. Most alliums are hardy to Zone 4, A. neapolitanum is hardy to Zone 6.
Moreover, if you want to grow Allium then this plant like full sun, though A. giganteum will do fine in part shade. Soil can be of average fertility but it should be lightened with organic matter and moist but well drained. They can be planted in spring of fall, from bulbs or from seed though seed grown plants may take a long time to reach flowering size. Plant the short ones about 4 inches apart, the tall ones 8 inches to a foot apart.
A few things are very important to watch for; some alliums should be deadheaded to prevent them from self sowing all over the place. They also propagate themselves by forming little bulblets on the sides of the bulbs by which you can increase your stock if you so desire. A friend of mine cautions me that his A. giganteum did not produce flowers the second year becaust its energy had gone into producing the bulblets, although by the third year the bulblets were large enough to flower. So if your allium gives you foliage but no flowers, be patient; it may perform better in the future. Also note that many spring flowering species are summer dormant, so don’t be alarmed when the foliage disappears.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Grow Begonia with their Own Special Virtues

Well, there are several types of begonias you can grow indoors, all of them very different from one another in the way they look and grow, and all with their own special virtues. The fibrousrooted wax begonias, which are normally grown most often as outdoor annuals, make fine ever blooming houseplant. Tuberous begonias also can be grown as houseplants though they will only bloom in summer Angel-wing begonias (Begonia coccinea) are fribrous rooted, cane type begonias that grow up to 4 feet and more and bear dangling clusters of small are flowers almost year round. Iron cross begonias “B. masoniana” are foliage plants, growing 1 ½ feet tall from rhizomes; they are valued for their crinkly, apple green leaves, which are marked in the center with a dark green cross.

Perhaps the most spectacular and popular begonias grown as houseplants are rex and Rieger begonias. Rex begonias “B. rex-cultorum” grow from rhizomes and have small pink or white flowers in spring, but heyare most prized for their arge magnificent leaves, which are an intricate brocade of green, red, bronze, pink or silver. They make a lavish mound a foot tall or a bit more miniature varieties are 6 to 8 inches. Rieger begonias “B. x hiemalis” often have colored leaves but are grown for their profuse, showy flowers at least 2 inches across in shades of red, pink, orange and yellow. Which provide months of color in winter? They are fibrous rooted.

Begonias in general like plenty of light, and flowering types should have several hours of sun each day for best winter bloom. Daytime temperature should be in the 65- to 75- degree range a bit cooler for Rieger begonias and not below 50 degree at night. All especially rex begonias like humid air, but it must circulate well to avoid mildew, especially the large leaved types.

Soil with should be a nice, light, organic mix, like that sold for African violets, and should be kept evenly moist, or just slightly dry between watering. But drainage must be excellent and you should avoid wetting the leaves. Fertilize lightly with a balanced fertilizer about every two weeks, while plants are in active growth or in the case of Rieger begonias, all year. Fibrous rooted kinds should be repotted in spring as needed; those with rhizomes go in shallow pots and should remain rootbound until you can see rhizomes all over the soil surface.
Moreover Rieger begonias that stop blooming can be cut back to several inches to produce fresh, flowering growth. Stems of rex begonias should be cut back to the base if they start to  get leggy. Wax begonias also benefit from being cut back, and stems of angel wing begonias without leaves should be cut back in early spring to make new growth. All begonias can be propagated easily by stem cuttings. With rex and Rieger begonias leaf cutting are also a good method.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Ficus, The Most Popular House Plant

One of most popular houseplants is the weeping fig, also called “Ficus benjamina”, normally just called “ficus”. Though related to the edible fig, it does not bear fruit, but it makes a beautiful display as an indoor plant. Thus, a busy tree that might grow upto 50 feet in its native Malaya.  It can easily be kept to 6 feet or so or allowed to grow to ceiling height, which it will do within a few years.

Its 3 inches shiny, pointed leaves tolerate low humidity well one reason why “ficus” is such a popular plant. Another oft-grown ficus is that old standby the rubber plant (F. elastica).  It looks almost like an artificial plant, with its large, dark green oval, shiny leaves, and it can grow to the ceiling if you don’t pinch its tip. Though now out of fashion because of overuse, F. elastica is still a good plant to grow if you need something big and green in a spot with little light. it will grow in bright light too. The variety “Decora” has very broad leaves, and there are variegated varieties as well, though these need more light in order to show their colors.
“Ficus” plants like fairly warm rooms but will tolerate low humidity because their leaves are rather leathery.  F. benjamina needs more light that F. elastica filtered sun or bright, indirect light is best. Soil for both can dry out a bit between watering, but don’t overwater. F. elastica will get leggy, and F. benjamina will drop its leaves. Sudden changes in the environment, such as being moved or exposed to drafts, can also cause leaf drop in the latter, and making it seem like a delicate fussy plant. But it will normally recover promptly with new growth. Feed both regularly except in fall or winter and wash the leaves with warm water. They like to be rather pot bound and their size can be controlled by root pruning them and putting them back into the same pot. Stems can also be cut back to the desired height and will produce new, compact growth.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Hyacinth or Hyacinthus

Well, grow at least a few hyacinths so you can pick them. You know, they are looking very prettier indoors in vases, where they can perfume the room, than they do in gardens. The leaves, which seem to stick around forever, are quite unsightly, and even the flower heads, look rather lumpy among the more dainty shapes of the other bulbs. But grown with something to soften them, such as a sea of forget me nots or blue flowering periwinkle; they are not hard to take. The flower heads become less thick as years go by an improvement.
There is Hyacinthus you can grow besides Hyacinthus orientalis, from which the big Dutch cultivars are commonly derived. Try Roman hyacinth (H. o. albulus) in blue, pink and white. Roman hyacinth has a looser cluster but more stems per plant. The common hyacinth is hardy, you can still try it north of there is you give it some winter protection and plant is frilly deep.
If you want to grow Hyacinthus then in the north plant Hyacinthus as early as in fall. However in warm areas refrigerate the bulbs for a few weeks and plant in late fall. They like a sandy loam of moderate fertility that is moist but very well drained. Grow in full sun or light shade. Plant the large bulbs 5 inches deep and 6 inches apart, and trying to create the effect of natural groupings to offset the rather stiff bearing of the leaves and flowers.