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the other begonia

On 12, Dec 2017 | No Comments | In plants, wintergarden | By All Year Garden

This is what I love about gardening, there is always something new and exciting to learn! I got this plant expecting it to perform like the tuberous begonias I’m used to. The latter are rightfully called the roses of the shade because of their large, full and lush flowers that last and last… I didn’t know why this particular plant didn’t bloom over the summer, so I blamed my predicament on the heavy soil or diminished sun exposure and hoped to see flowers next year in a different location.

It turns out this is not a tuberous begonia, but a rhizomatous begonia. What’s the difference? Read more…

hardiness zones

If you’ve been gardening for a while, no doubt you know what hardiness zone your pride and joy grows in. You know what plants need winter protection, what plants need to be moved indoors for winter, and what plants won’t be bothered even by arctic winters.

A few amendments to the general hardiness zone information. Strange as it may seem, the latter is not set in stone. The trend in recent years has been for the zones to shift towards getting warmer. Don’t get excited about it, whether or not your 5B zone has now officially become a zone 6, winter will still be gruesome. Read more…

kitchen garden marigolds

On 27, Nov 2017 | No Comments | In plants | By All Year Garden

Isn’t this beautiful? Few annuals are easier to grow than marigolds, a quality that makes them so ubiquitous one tends to overlook their genuine charm.

All a marigold needs is sunshine, everything else it will do for itself. Of course, because I planted mine in the vegetable patch, they were blessed with an extra helping of fertilizer and water and that made them super enthusiastic.

They are not my favorite flowers, and usually don’t fit into a color scheme that invariably drifts towards blue and purple hues, and their pungent scent is a little much for me, but I need to give credit where credit is due: this velvety blossom can hold its own with the carnations and the roses. Read more…

sun exposure

Even though the three basic sun exposures are full sun, part sun and shade, the latter comes in so many variations, all with their own little quirks, that it deserves a full chapter all to itself.

Full sun exposure means eight hours or more of direct sunlight a day, without any large elements casting shade at any point. Full sun exposure is the beloved of all annuals, vegetables, roses and a good chunk of herbaceous perennials. With very few exceptions, given a chance, a plant will do better in the sunlight. No plant designated for full sun exposure will thrive in any type of shade or part shade. Don’t waste your efforts planting them there. Read more…

all about roses

Whether rose pruning is best done in the fall or spring is a matter of preference. I usually leave it for spring, for some reason I feel the plants will fare better over the winter if they keep the growth from the previous year. If you do choose to prune before winter, do so, keeping in mind that you’ll have to go back to them in spring and clean out any canes that had suffered winter damage.

For the roses which need regular pruning, which do not include most of the once blooming roses and the climbers, keep three or four canes, that are sturdy enough but steel green and not woody, and trim them down to one third of their length. Read more…

how to care for bulbs

When you plant bulbs, whether that happens in fall or spring, don’t forget to mix in a good measure of bone meal into the dirt, to help them set in and give them some food for the first year. Other than that, bulbs don’t need a lot of care.

Because they are usually sprinkled among other perennials, they benefit from the regular feedings and waterings that happen throughout the summer. Don’t cut off their unsightly yellowing leaves after their bloom is spent, they still need them to feed the roots for the following season. Read more…

lunaria

On 02, Nov 2017 | No Comments | In plants | By All Year Garden

Speaking of plants for shade, this one kind of is, if you want to call shade the sunlight dappled through a rare tree canopy. Honesty is a biennial plant, but much like the long lasting hollyhocks, it reseeds enough to maintain its presence in the same spot for many years.

I never planted this flower in full sun, so I don’t know how it would behave there, but it performs reliably in part shade and on the north side of the garden. This one is white, but the plant comes in white and purple, like most wild flowers do. Read more…

fall schedule

If only a little late in the season, here are a few things for the fall gardener’s schedule. I haven’t even started most of mine yet, sadly.

Mid-fall is the best time to move, divide or plant spring and summer blooming perennials. Fall perennials can be moved and divided at this time too, if you really feel like you must, but as a rule, this is an activity best left for spring. Read more…

toad lilies

Toad lilies are the last flowers of the year, at least in the garden. They start blooming mid-October, to keep company to the already brown seed heads of the sedums, and they stay in bloom until November, braving the first frosts.

People tend to associate bulbs with spring, and ignore their potential in the garden during summer and fall. I really miss the Casablanca lilies, I don’t even know if they reached the end of their natural life cycle or succumbed to the unforgiving winter, but they all vanished one year, for no apparent reason. Read more…

almost time for bulbs

I really need to pick and plant spring bulbs, it’s been so warm so late into the fall that I almost forgot about them. They can be planted any time before winter, as long as the ground is not frozen. I have some pretty daffodils that I planted in the middle of December as proof of that.

There are a few good gardening practice rules that ensure the success of bulbs, even though they’re pretty forgiving plants and will do well anyway. Read more…