Thursday, July 29, 2010

Crocosmia - Bold, Beautiful, Easy To Grow

If the time has come for you to quit fussing over difficult plants, it's time for you to plant Crocosmia.  It's native to South Africa and northward to Malawi.  Crocosmia (pronounced kroh-KOZ-mee-uh) is a member of the Iridaceae family along with Gladiolus, Iris and Crocus.  The name, derived from Greek, means "smells like saffron" crocus.  There are about a dozen species, a few natural hybrids and about 120 cultivars.  Plant size ranges from 10" to 48" and more.  About a dozen flowers, carried on each long arching stem, may be yellow, shades of orange to red.  The colors are as hot as the bloom season: summer to fall.

Crocosmia's resemblance to gladiolus is unmistakable.  The sword-like foliage adds vertical emphasis to the garden while the bold, blazing flowers add drama.  Leaves may be evergreen or deciduous.

Corms produce more corms, and more and more, stacked on top of each other.  Older corms tend to be pulled deeper into the soil as the younger ones grow on top.  The arrangement looks like a chain of little biscuits.  The corms can be separated and replanted elsewhere.  Crocosmia also reproduces from seed.  Within a few seasons, you could have a dense bed of gorgeous, fiery blossoms.

They are superb for bulb borders, perennial gardens and even for naturalizing in meadows.  You can grow them in containers, too.  Tuck a few crocosmia corms anywhere you want a dash of color.  By the way, they attract lots of butterflies and hummingbirds!

Crocosmia normally thrives in USDA climate zones 6 through 9, so gardeners in most parts of the U.S. can enjoy them.  Some gardeners in climate zones 4 and 5 even report good success if the bed is mulched in winter.  Plant in full sun.  Average, well-drained garden soil with pH ranging from 6.1 to 7.8 is fine.

Before preparing your planting site, take a sample of your garden soil to your local Cooperative Extension Service office.  For a nominal fee, they will send the sample to a lab for analysis.  The analysis will normally be sent to you through the mail.  If the test results seem difficult to understand, don't hesitate to call your County Agent for explanation.

Crocosmia corms planted in fall will bloom the following year.  But the corms may also be planted in spring as you would gladiolus.  Unless you are naturalizing them in a meadow, prepare the planting bed by cultivating at least 6" deep, removing all traces of weeds. Compacted soil should be cultivated to 10" deep.

Your soil sample report will include soil amendment and fertilizer recommendations based upon the results of the test.  Follow them.  A fine all-around practice for bulbs is to mix 5 tablespoons of 10-10-10 fertilizer and 2 cups of bone meal per ten square feet area of bulb garden.  Repeat the application when growth appears, but be careful that fertilizer does not come into direct contact with plant tissue.

Crocosmia corms should be planted 3" deep.  Depth is measured to the bottom of the hole.  Recommended plant spacing is 6" to 10".

Crocosmia requires very little maintenance.  Plant them and forget about them.

Return to Crocosmia at goGardenNow.com.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

River Lily, Spider Lily, Swamp Lily, Poison Bulb


River Lily, Spider Lily, Swamp Lily, Poison Bulb are common names for species in the genus, Crinum (pronounced KRY-num).  There are about 180 of them found around the globe in tropical and subtropical habitats.  Yes, especially near swamps and rivers.

Crinums grow from bulbs which, like so many ornamental plants, are poisonous if ingested.  Leaves, usually strap-like, may be evergreen or deciduous, depending upon the species.  Clusters of handsome flowers, often fragrant, are produced on long, leafless stems throughout summer.  Leaves and flowers may also be toxic, so keep your lips off.  Consequently, crinums are deer resistant.

Crinum is a member of the Amaryllidaceae, which includes Amaryllis, Clivia, Hippeastrum, Leucojum and Lycoris.  The family resemblance is obvious.  In fact, you might say that Amaryllis and Crinum are "kissing cousins", having been bred to produce an intergeneric hybrid, x Amarcrinum.

Crinums may be cold hardy from USDA climate zone 7 through 11, depending upon the species.  Those who live in cooler regions can grow the smaller species successfully in containers with winter protection.

If planting in the garden, select a site in full sun to partial shade.  Obviously, crinums perform best in moist soils similar to their native habitats.  Generally they prefer a great deal of water.  Some species such as Crinum thaianum are aquatic and often used in aquariums.  Some require the soil to dry between watering to avoid rot.  But I know from personal experience that many are quite drought-tolerant.

Soil pH may be acidic to neutral.  Exact requirements differ by species.  The best way to determine if the pH is within that range and contains the proper nutrients is to have the soil tested. Your local Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service can help you.  You can collect the soil sample yourself.  For a nominal fee, they will send your soil sample to a laboratory for analysis.  Be sure to call the Extension office for instructions.

Cultivate the soil to the depth of 12".  Add plenty of well-rotted compost.  Remove weeds.  Soil test results may recommend other soil amendments.  Bone meal is especially beneficial for bulbs.  If you use synthetic fertilizer, allow at least a week before planting so it can be incorporated into the soil by rain or irrigation and not burn the bulbs.

Planting depth and spacing vary by species and bulb size.

Crinums are stately additions to the garden, lending a bold tropical appearance to the landscape.  Sweet scented species are perfect for fragrance gardens.

Growing crinums in containers is not much different than in the garden.  Use the finest potting soil; cheap soil will give poor results.  The best potting soils will be light-weight, peat-based with added materials to enhance plant growth.  Select containers that will accommodate the bulbs and any other suitable companion plants.  All companion plants should have similar soil and moisture requirements.  Because container gardens can dry quickly, take steps to keep the pots properly watered.  Adding moisture retentive gel to the soil can be beneficial.  Larger containers are not as susceptible to drying.  Tipping over can also be a problem with small containers.

When bloom time is over, let the foliage remain to build reserves in the bulbs for the next growing season.  You may remove the foliage from deciduous species when it has turned yellow.  Continue to irrigate as needed.  Deciduous species will need considerably less water, if any, when foliage has fallen.

The following are a few of the most popular crinums:

Crinum 'Ellen Bosanquet' - Fuschia, trumpet-shaped flowers on 20" to 30" plants.  Evergreen foliage.  Climate zones 6 - 10.  pH 6.1 - 7.5.  Drought tolerant.

Crinum 'Ollene' - Fragrant, white, trumpet-shaped flowers on 18" to 24" plants.  Evergreen foliage.  Climate zones 6 - 10.  pH 6.1 - 7.5.  Consistently moist soil.

Crinum 'Walter Flory' - Fragrant, pink, trumpet-shaped flowers on 24" to 36" plants.  Evergreen foliage.  Climate zones 7b - 11.  pH 6.1 - 7.5.  Consistently moist soil.

Crinum 'Mrs. James Hendry' - Fragrant, pale pink, trumpet-shaped flowers on 36" to 48" plants.  Evergreen foliage.  Climate zones 7b - 11.  pH 6.1 - 7.5.  Consistently moist soil.

Crinum 'Stars and Stripes' - Red and white striped, star-shaped flowers on 18" to 24" plants.  Evergreen foliage.  Climate zones 7b - 10.  pH 6.1 - 7.5.  Consistently moist soil.

Crinum 'Hannibal's Dwarf' - Pink, star-shaped blooms on 12" to 18" plants.  Evergreen foliage.  Climate zones 7b - 10.  pH 6.1 - 7.5.  Consistently moist soil.

Crinum amabile - Pink, spider-shaped flowers on 36" plants.  Evergreen foliage.  Climate zones 8 - 11.  pH 6.6 - 7.5.  Very high moisture needs.  Suitable for bog and water gardens.

Crinum americanum - White, spider-shaped flowers on 24" plants.  Evergreen foliage.  Climate zones 7 - 10.  pH 5.6 - 7.5.  Very high moisture needs.  Suitable for bog and water gardens.

Crinum asiaticum - Fragrant, white, spider-shaped flowers on 48" plants.  Evergreen foliage.  Climate zones 9 - 11.  pH 6.1 - 7.8.  Consistently moist soil.

Crinum pedunculatum - Fragrant, white, spider-shaped flowers on 60" to 96" plants.  It's a whopper!  Evergreen foliage.  Climate zones 7b - 11.  pH 6.1 - 7.5.  Consistently moist soil.

Crinum x powellii - White or pink trumpet-shaped flowers on 24" plants.  Evergreen foliage.  Climate zones 8 - 11.  pH 6.1 - 7.5.  Average water needs.  Avoid over-watering.

X Amarcrinum memoria-corsii - Pink trumpet-shaped flowers on 24" to 36" plants.  Deciduous foliage.  Climate zones 7b - 10.  Average water needs.  Avoid over-watering.

This should provide you with a good over-view of Crinum.  You'll love the dramatic appearance they lend to your garden or sunroom.

Return to Crinum at goGardenNow.com.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

FAQ: A question about the length of muscadine grape vines

 Question:  I have several 2 year old muscadine vines that are producing well.  The vines hang to the ground.  Am I  supposed to keep the vines pruned back off the ground?

It doesn't hurt anything for the vines to hang to the ground.  They may get in the way of your lawn mower.  There's also the greater possibility for them to be sprayed if you apply herbicide under the vines to kill weeds.  Other than that, there's no harm in letting the vines grow to the ground.

On the other hand, if you wish to prune your vines to tidy up a bit, it won't hurt them in the least.  I suggest you prune them so that they hang no lower than your knees.  I'm assuming that you are growing them on a single wire trellis.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Close Look At Echeveria

Take a walk in the countryside and look closely at what grows around you.  There are botanical wonders practically beneath your feet.  The best way to study a plant closely is to sense it as an artist.  It doesn't matter whether you think you are an artist.  Take time to discover it entirely.  You'll find that when you come to really know something as it is, your appreciation will grow immeasurably.

Atanasio Echeverría y Godoy was such an artist.  A native Mexican, he accompanied the Sessé and Mociño expedition through Mexico (1787-1803) to inventory the country's flora and fauna.  Echeverría's drawings and watercolors record the minutest details of his subjects with accuracy and sensitivity.  Plant species perhaps considered common by many he rendered notable.

Robert Runyon 1881-1968) was another artist who studied his surroundings meticulously.  A native Kentuckian, he moved to Texas in 1908 after the death of his wife.  By 1910 he had established himself in Brownsville as a successful commercial photographer, devoting his work to familiar subjects, souvenir photos for tourists, and photos of sensational events such as the Mexican Revolution.  Gradually his interest began to include indigenous plants.  He became an expert on the flora of northern Mexico and southern Texas.  In the early 1930s, he began to devote his energies to his interests as a naturalist and aspiring politician.  Runyon published two botanical works, Texas Cacti (1930) and Vernacular Names of Plants Indigenous to the Lower Rio Grande Valley (1938).  J. Frank Dobie, a folklorist and friend of Runyon, said of him, "You have to admire a man like Runyon, who cuts off a little hunk of the world and dedicates a lifetime to its study."

It's fitting that plants of the region bear the names of Echeverría and Runyon.

The genus, Echeveria (pronounced ech-eh-VER-ee-ah), includes about 40 species of plants native to Mexico, Central America and parts of South America.  They are characterized by their thick, succulent leaves arranged in rosettes.  The leaves store water, so they're very drought tolerant. They grow quickly in full sun and in almost any soil type as long as it is slightly acidic or neutral and well-drained.  Sandy or rocky soil is perfect.  The common name, "Mexican Hens-and-chicks", was given because of the plants resemble Sempervivum, which is also called "Hens-and-chicks."  Smaller plants (chicks) that are produced on short side-shoots are clustered very close to the parent plant.

The species bearing Runyon's name is E. runyonii (pronounced run-YON-ee-eye), one of the more attractive and popular members of the genus.  E. runyonii 'Topsy Turvy' is a choice variety.

Echeverias thrive in difficult, dry areas.  Hardiness varies, but they are generally much less cold-hardy than Sempervivum, surviving in USDA climate zones 8 or 9 through 11.  They vary in foliage shape, color and growth height.  Tubular flowers are produced from summer to fall on succulent stems.  Hummingbirds love them.

They are are often used as edging plants, in rock gardens, and in containers.  Gardeners in colder regions can grow them successfully indoors.  Being drought-tolerant, they are excellent for xeriscaping.

Plant Echeverias about 10” to 15" apart in well-drained soil with pH ranging from 5.6 to 7.5.  To determine whether your soil is hospitable, take a sample to your nearby Cooperative Extension Service office for analysis.

Pint-sized plants usually produce a few "chicks" within the year.  They may be divided and replanted every few years to maintain compactness.  Some species benefit from light applications of a balanced fertilizer.  Let the ground dry between irrigation.

Echeverias are fascinating plants to the eye and to the touch.  With so many ways to grow them, any gardener can find a place to use and enjoy them.

Return to goGardenNow.com.

FAQ: What is xeriscaping?

"Xeriscaping" is a blend of two words to combine their meanings into one concept.  "Xeri" is derived from the Greek word, xeros, meaning dry.  "Scaping" is derived from the word "landscaping."  So the blended word describes a manner of gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental watering.  Xeriscaping is appropriate for regions that are naturally dry, for areas under water-use restrictions, and for those gardeners who simply want to reduce the expense or environmental impact of additional water use.

"Xeriscaping" is often associated with the accompanying logo.

Return to goGardenNow.com.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

FAQ: How far apart should ground cover junipers be planted?

Question:  We have a part of a lawn with about a 30 degree slope (approximately 420 sq ft) that we are considering putting juniper ground cover on. How far apart should the junipers be planted to ultimately cover completely? And can we put down a garden cloth to  keep weeds at a minimum?  We are looking for maintenance free as  much as possible.

Planting distance is relative. Depends upon the habit of the species, how soon you want them to completely cover, how much you wish to spend and/or your level of patience. Species with slower growth rates and compact habits such as J. procumbens 'Nana' may be planted 36" apart. J. horizontalis may be planted 48" apart or more. If you're in a big hurry, plant closer.

You asked about ground cover fabric.  I'm not a fan of it for various reasons.  During hard rain, the water can't perk through quickly enough, so the water tends to flow off in sheets carrying mulch, etc. with it.  Ground cover fabrics usually don't bio-degrade.  The edges of fabrics tend to become exposed, look sloppy, and often end up wrapped in your mower blades.  Ground cover fabrics (weed barriers) may prevent weeds from coming up through them, but often do not prevent weed seeds from germinating and sending their
roots downward.

Bark and wood mulches on slopes tend to wash away with heavy rains.  I recommend 3" or more of straw mulch rather than bark/wood mulch and ground cover fabric.  Water perks downward through it quickly.  (Burlap spread atop straw mulch may help to stabilize it.  I realize that burlap may not be aesthetically pleasing.) The straw will need to be replenished occasionally, but it's cheap.  When your junipers mature and cover the slope, you can dispense with the straw mulch and burlap.

Maintenance free is good!

Return to goGardenNow.com.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thyme It Is A Precious Thing

Come all ye maidens young and fair
And you that are blooming in your prime
Always beware and keep your garden fair
Let no man steal away your thyme.

For thyme it is a precious thing
And thyme brings all things to my mind.
Thyme with all its flavours, along with all its joys
Thyme, brings all things to my mind.

Once I had a bunch of thyme.
I thought it never would decay.
Then came a lusty sailor
Who chanced to pass my way
And stole my bunch of thyme away.

The sailor gave to me a rose.
A rose that never would decay.
He gave it to me to keep me reminded
Of when he stole my thyme away.


Those lines from an old Irish song, A Bunch Of Thyme, remind us that herbs mean more to us than we often realize.  In the song, the herb symbolizes virginity and chastity.  In the language of flowers, thyme symbolizes courage, vigor and strength.  All are important virtues to be guarded.  It seems that herbs strike some deep chords within us that resonate when we experience them, especially by taste or smell.  It's certainly so with thyme.  I have a small jar of it beside me now.

Thymus (pronounced TY-muss) is a genus of about 350 perennials native to warmer regions of Europe, Africa and Asia in the Mediterranean region.  It belongs to the Lamiaceae or mint family.

Thymus has been highly valued and used by western civilizations since the ancient Greeks as incense, fumigation, anti-depressant, pest repellant (though powerless against lusty sailors), vermifuge, antiseptic, antifungal agent, mouthwash, treatment for skin infections and bronchial disorders, and flavoring.  Hippocrates is quoted as instructing, "Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food."  Thyme is a healthful flavoring, indeed.  It contains antioxidants, is rich in potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium, B-complex vitamins, beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C and folic acid.

Thyme has small, soft, aromatic leaves.  Diminutive lavender flowers are produced throughout the growing season. 

Most species are low-growing and spreading, so they are wonderful as ground covers planted near stepping stones.  Thyme tolerates some foot traffic, so can used as a lawn substitute.  Herb gardens, fragrance gardens, hummingbird and butterfly gardens are not complete without thyme.  Bees produce excellent honey from thyme.  Thyme is drought-tolerant, deer and rabbit resistant.

Where ever you plant it, you'll find yourself looking for recipes that include thyme.  It can be used in recipes fresh or dry, and is marvelous as an ingredient in aromatic cooking oils.

Thyme is generally hardy in USDA climate zones 4 through 8 or 10, requires full sun and well-drained soils with pH ranging from 6.5 to 8.5.  Take a soil sample to your nearest Cooperative Extension Service Office for proper analysis.

Prepare the planting bed by cultivating at least 6" deep, removing all traces of weeds. Compacted soil should be cultivated to 10" deep.  Compost may be incorporated into the soil. 

Space the plants 8" to 24" apart, depending upon the species. Dig planting holes into the cultivated soil a little less deep than the depth of the growing container.  Water the plants in the pots, then drain.  Place the plants into the holes and back-fill, watering as you go. Press soil around the root balls. Do not cover entirely the root balls with soil. The tops should be slightly exposed. Add a top-dressing of mulch around the plants, not on top of them, about 1" deep.

Plant thyme with other plants having similar cultural requirements.  Fertilize sparingly with organic fertilizer and allow soil to dry between watering.  The greatest cause of failure is over-watering.  Thyme is definitely a low-maintenance plant.

Thyme, "with all its flavours, along with all its joys", pleases the senses while it improves health and enhances the landscape.  "Keep your garden fair and let no man steal away your thyme."

Return to Thyme at goGardenNow.com.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Scabiosa: Better Than Its Name Sounds

Whether it is pronounced SCAB-ee-oh-sah or SKAY-bee-oh-sah, Scabiosa sounds dreadful and makes me imagine an itch coming on.

When I was a child, head lice and scabies struck fear in the heart of my mom.  Scabies is a skin condition caused by a tiny mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis) tunneling under the epidermis to lay its eggs.  Head lice and scabies were socially delicate matters in those days and very difficult to eradicate.  Among the many things I was warned to avoid at school and elsewhere, other boys' hats and people with rashes were near the top of the list.

I didn't obey all of her warnings.  I wore a yarmulke (kosher enough I thought) borrowed from Larry Cooperman so I could join his middle-school entourage, and rassled with a scabious assailant when he wouldn't let go of my leg.  I ran over oyster shells, brushed by poison ivy, boated many days without a shirt, and explored island hammocks, so I've had my share of wounds, rashes, sunburns, itches and chiggers, but never head lice or scabies.

It's said that Scabiosa was named by Carl Linnaeus because of its traditional use as a treatment for scabies.  Perhaps Scabiosa and other herbs were steeped as tea in a tub of water for bathing, or the rough leaves might have been used to scratch the itch.  I don't know that it actually works for I've never had to use it.

The genus contains from 14 to 80 species (depends on who's counting what) native to Europe, parts of Asia and the Mediterranean region.  However, some have been introduced to North America.  Scabiosa is a member of the Dipsacaceae family.   A common name for it is Pincushion Flower, derived from the appearance of the seed head.

Very few scabiosas are used as ornamental plants.  Most are from the species, S. columbaria (pronounced kol-um-BAR-ee-ah).  Columbaria means "pigeon-like", perhaps because it can be found living in niches on the sides of cliffs in its native habitat.

A cultivar, S. columbaria 'Butterfly Blue' was named Perennial Plant Of The Year in 2000 by the Perennial Plant Association.  Since then its popularity has taken off.  Light blue flowers are produced in mid-summer on mounding plants up to 18" high.  Flowering may be extended through fall if the spent seed heads are removed.  In addition to blue, other cultivars exhibit flowers in pink and white.  Scabiosa is great for naturalizing, growing in perennial gardens, mixed gardens with bulbs and annuals, and in low borders.  Butterflies love it, and birds love the seeds.  It's easy to care for and drought-tolerant when established.

S. columbaria thrives in USDA climate zones 4 through 9 or 10.  Plant in full sun to partial shade.  Average well-drained garden soil with pH ranging from 6.6 to 7.8 is fine.

Before planting, take a sample of your garden soil to your local Cooperative Extension Service office.  They often provide collection bags.  With each soil sample, indicate the type of plant you intend to grow in it.  For the most basic recommendations, you may be charged a nominal fee.  For more information such as micro-nutrient and organic content you may be charged more.

Prepare the planting bed by cultivating at least 8" deep, removing all traces of weeds.  Adjust soil pH according to soil test results.

Your soil sample report will also include fertilizer recommendations.  Following instructions is always a good bet.  A fine all-around practice is to mix 5 tablespoons of 10-10-10 fertilizer and 2 cups of bone meal per ten square feet area.  Repeat the application later in the season if they appear to need a boost, but be careful that fertilizer does not come into direct contact with plant tissue.

Scabiosa is much better than its name sounds.  Plant it in your garden and you'll soon understand why it has become so popular.

Return to Scabiosa at goGardenNow.com.

FAQ: I have had junipers planted for a couple of years.....is it possible to move them to a different area of the yard? Is there a certain time of year I should do this?

It is possible to move your junipers to a different area of the yard.  The chance of success varies according to the season of the year and the size of the plants.  It's best to try moving them during the cooler months.

When transplanting, you must keep as much soil intact around the roots as possible.  You may wish to move them yourself.  If not, perhaps a local nursery can assist you.

You did not indicate the species or size of the junipers.  If they are low-growing, you'll need some baling twine to tie the branches upward.  I'll assume that the trunk of the plant is 1" diameter measured about 6" above the soil line.

You will also need a flat-bladed spade with a sharp edge, a square sheet of burlap about 48" x 48", a dozen or more nails (10D, 3").

Your objective will be to form a root ball, move the entire shrub with root ball intact from the ground, place it on the burlap square, wrap the burlap around the root ball, secure it, and transport the shrub ball and burlap to its new location.

The root ball should be 12" in diameter for each 1" diameter of the plant trunk.  Begin by scraping weeds, grass and dirt from around the plant, exposing what will be the top of the root ball.

To form the ball, carve a shallow trench with the corner of your spade around the perimeter at the proper distance from the trunk.  With our example, the distance from the trunk should be about 12" radius.  Now, with the front of the spade facing you, begin digging the trench wider and deeper.  Shape the top of the soil into a ball by pulling soil with the spade away from the trunk and toward you.  Work your way around the plant.  Carve the trench more deeply as you go, remove excess soil.  Continue to work your way around the plant, repeating the steps until 1/2 of a ball has taken shape.  Visualize a small beach ball, if it helps.  When 1/2 of the ball has taken shape, begin carving gradually under the ball.

When you've formed about 3/4 of a ball, begin forcing the spade under the ball at an angle as you continue to work your way around the ball.  Be careful not to disturb the soil in the ball.  You don't want it falling apart.

When the ball is completely severed, you may remove the ball from the soil.  I recommend you slide the spade under the ball, leverage the ball up onto the spade and gently slide the spade with the plant out of the hole.

Slide the spade and root ball onto the burlap square.  Position the ball with the plant upright in the center of the square.  Remove the spade.  Pull the opposite corners of the burlap toward the trunk and tie them tightly.  Open gaps in the burlap may be pinned to close with the nails.  Special nails are made for the purpose, but 10D 3" nails should do.  Take care when pressing the nails through the fabric.  Wear gloves to protect your fingers.

Unless you are replanting immediately, cover the wrapped root ball with soil or mulch and keep it moist.

When replanting, the new planting hole should be the same depth as the original hole, but twice as wide.  When positioned in the hole, the top of the root ball should be at the same level as the surrounding soil.  DO NOT REMOVE THE BURLAP!  With some of the excess soil, form a ring about 5" deep around the hole and pack it tightly.  Place the end of a water hose inside the soil ring at the edge of the hole with the water running gently.  Keep the plant upright and back-fill the hole with original soil.  The water and soil will form a slurry of mud.  Then continue to back-fill the hole.  When the fill has reached the top of the root ball, stop back-filling and turn off the water.  Allow the soil to settle.  If necessary, add more soil around the root ball.  DO NOT COVER THE ROOT BALL WITH ADDITIONAL SOIL. 

If your plant is tall and located in a windy area, it may require bracing.  In most cases it will not.  At any rate, that is a subject for another day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How I Love My Santolina



Santolina, Santolina,
How I love my Santolina,
Some are green and some are gray,
Rub them each and every day
It's amazing -- you will praise them
As they chase the bugs away.

I'm not sure who composed that poem, but it appeared on an advertising leaflet from noted herbalist Sal Gilbertie.  The poem has it right.  Santolina is a very effective insect repellant.

Santolina (pronounced san-toh-LEE-nah) is a genus in the Asteraceae family which also includes ageratum, asters, daisies, goldenrod, sunflower and yarrow.  There may be up to two dozen species in the genus.

The name, Santolina, means "holy flax", but it seems no one knows why.  The plant was well-known in ancient times for its medicinal and insect-repellant properties.  Flax, of course, is a plant of a different genus used for fiber.  The Shroud of Turin has been called The Holy Flax of Passion, but I can find no indication why the genus bears the name.  I suppose the name is lost in etymological obscurity.

Native to the  Mediterranean region, santolina plants are generally evergreen in mild climates.  They prefer dry, poor, sandy soils, full sun, low humidity, and tolerate heat and drought very well.

Santolina species have been popular as low hedges for traditional knot gardens. They are also used in wreaths and potpourri. From the Middle Ages until the 18th century, santolina was strewn on the floor as an insect repellent, disinfectant, and to cover odors.  The flowers and seeds were used to treat intestinal parasites.  Pliny, the Roman naturalist, prescribed wine containing santolina for snake bites.

My favorite species is Santolina rosmarinifolia.  Mature height is 12" to 24".  It spreads in a mound shape to 24" to 48".  The plant is great for herb gardens, fragrance gardens in hot, dry climates.

S. rosmarinifolia is hardy in USDA climate zones 7 - 10.  It prefers well-drained soil.  Soil pH should range from 6.6 to 7.8.  Take a soil sample to your nearest Cooperative Extension Service office for proper analysis.  Follow the recommendations.

Cultivate at least 6" deep, removing all traces of weeds. Compacted soil should be cultivated to 10" deep.

Space plants 36" to 48" apart.  Dig planting holes into the cultivated soil a little less deep than the depth of the growing container.  Water the plants in the pots, then drain.  Place the plants into the holes and back-fill, watering as you go. Press soil around the root balls. Do not cover entirely the root balls with soil. The tops should be slightly exposed. Add a top-dressing of mulch around the plants, not on top of them, about 1" deep.

Plant santolina with other species having similar cultural requirements.  It has no insect problems and few disease problems.  The greatest cause of failure is over-watering.  Allow soil to dry between watering.

Return to Santolina at goGardenNow.com.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Results Of Community Poll Ending 11 July, 2010

The community poll just ended at goGardenNow.com asked the question:

"Have you made changes in your landscape to reduce home heating and air-conditioning expenses?"

One-third of respondents said "Yes." Two-thirds responded, "No, it never occurred to me."

Participate in our next Community Poll at goGardenNow.com and let us know what you think! You'll see the poll in the right-hand side-bar.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Give Me Pearlwort

"Some people are flower lovers.
I'm a weed lover," wrote English poet Norman Nicholson.

Weeds don't need planting in well-drained soil;
They don't ask for fertilizer or bits of rag to scare away birds.
They come without invitation;
And they don't take the hint when you want them to go.
Weeds are nobody's guests;
More like squatters.

Coltsfoot laying claim to every new-dug clump of clay;
Pearlwort scraping up a living from a ha'porth of mortar;
Dandelions you daren't pick or you know what will happen;
Sour docks that make a first-rate poultice for nettle-stings;
And flat-foot plantain in the back street,
gathering more dust than the dustmen.

...You can keep your flowers.
Give me weeds!

Nicholson's argument is compelling.  Just yesterday I spied a tidy clump of pearlwort growing beside an asphalt walk as a fellow was shoving a lawn mower over the grass around it.  It occurred to me that he might be better off if he planted his entire yard in pearlwort.

Pearlwort is of the genus Sagina which includes about 90 species native to Europe and North America.  It's a member of the Caryophyllaceae family which includes dianthus, carnations and campions.

Though most of the pearlworts are attractive, Sagina subulata is the one most commonly grown as an ornamental.  The green form is also known as Irish Moss while the yellow cultivar, Sagina subulata 'Aurea', is often called Scotch Moss.  Neither are native only to Ireland or Scotland.

Pearlwort is most often grown as a perennial, evergreen ground cover.  Mature height is only about 1".  It spreads to 12".  Leaves are needle-shaped and about .4" long.  Tiny white flowers, produced spring through summer, are about .25" diameter and borne on stems less than 1.5" long.  Its habit is dense, so it chokes out weeds once established.  Pearlwort also tolerates moderate foot traffic.  You can see it makes a perfect lawn substitute, especially for small to medium lawns.  Plant pearlwort between stepping stones, beside walks, in rock gardens and at the fronts of borders.  Eco-conscious gardeners should consider it for their green roofs.  Container gardeners will find it useful as a planting beneath taller perennials and shrubs, maybe even under larger bonsai.

Sagina subulata is hardy in USDA climate zones 4 - 10.  It prefers well-drained soil, but is not particularly drought tolerant.  Soil pH should range from 5.6 to 7.5.  Plant in full sun to partial shade.  Take a soil sample to your nearest Cooperative Extension Service office for proper analysis.  Follow the recommendations.

You wouldn't think a plant that can grow "from a ha'porth of mortar" would need to have the soil prepared before planting, but I recommend it.  Cultivate at least 6" deep, removing all traces of weeds. Compacted soil should be cultivated to 10" deep.  Compost may be incorporated into the soil.  Fertilize sparingly.  Incorporate 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of no more 1 lb. per 100 square feet into the top 4" to 6" of soil. Avoid synthetic fertilizers contacting any part of your plants.

Space plants 8" to 12" apart.  Dig planting holes into the cultivated soil a little less deep than the depth of the growing container.  Water the plants in the pots, then drain.  Place the plants into the holes and back-fill, watering as you go. Press soil around the root balls. Do not cover entirely the root balls with soil. The tops should be slightly exposed. Add a top-dressing of mulch around the plants, not on top of them, about 1" deep.

Plant your pearlwort with other species having similar cultural requirements.  It has few insect or disease problems.  Pearlwort is deer resistant.  The greatest cause of failure is over-watering.  Allow soil to dry slightly between watering.

Return to Pearlwort ( Sagina ) at goGardenNow.com.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Behind A Garden Wall - The Epcot ® International Flower & Garden Festival

Anticipation grew as we approached the entrance to Epcot ®, the 300-acre theme park inspired by the creative genius of Walt Disney.  Epcot ® is an acronym for "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow".  Disney actually envisioned a living community in a futuristic environment, but it was established as a tourist destination in 1982.  It was designed with two "worlds" of discovery: Future World and World Showcase. Future World features the land, seas, technology and imagination.  World Showcase is a kaleidoscope of nations gathered to celebrate their heritage and culture.

In 1993, Epcot ® established their annual International Flower and Garden Festival.  The Festival fit naturally into the Epcot theme for all of the Disney parks are famous for their imaginative and immaculate landscaping.  Rae Spencer-Jones included the Walt Disney World Resorts among her 1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die.

The last time our family visited Disney, my wife and I were pushing strollers.  After 20 years, it was about time we visited again.

This visit was during the Flower and Garden Festival.  From the moment we entered, impressive gardens and topiaries excited us.  It was unmistakably Disney in style and scope.  Impressive topiaries were featured everywhere.  Colorful Disney characters entertained visitors in Future World while fanciful characters like the Bromeliad Dragon inspired gardeners in World Showcase.

Disney's Flower and Garden Festival was a treat for the mind and senses.  This year, nationally recognized garden personalities shared their insights and techniques on weekends during the Great American Gardeners workshop series.  They included Robert Bowden - expert on gardening in Florida, Jeff Gillman - author of The Truth About Garden Remedies, Lynn Coulter - author of Gardening with Heirloom Seeds, Maureen Gilmer - gardening author, designer and speaker, Douglas Tallamy - expert on native plant gardening, Debra Prinzing - garden designer, Susan Belsinger - culinary educator and food writer, Tom and Joani MacCubbin - creators of HisandHersGardening.com, Lee Reich - gardening author and consultant, Matt Henderson on A Fragrant Love Story, and Ahmed Hassan - host of DIY Network's Yard Crashers.  Disney's own gardening experts also shared their knowledge and provided visitors with tips they could use at home in their gardens.

One could satisfy the palate and nose in pleasant venues.  Garden Town Breakfasts prepared by Disney chefs were offered on selected days.  Menu offerings included fresh ingredients from the Epcot ® Land Pavilion.  Professional chefs and horticulturists shared their knowledge with guests.  Daily tours of the Fragrance Garden, sponsored by Guerlain, delighted visitors at the France Pavilion.

The Flower Power Concert Series was a great favorite.  During the Festival, music and recording artists from the 60s and 70s drew crowds to the concert shell.  Among them were Jose Feliciano, Paul Revere and The Raiders, David Cassidy, Starship, Tony Orlando, Herman's Hermits, The Nelsons, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Fran Cosmo - formerly with Boston, Davy Jones and Chubby Checker with The Wildcats!

The 2011 Epcot ® International Flower and Garden Festival is scheduled for March 2 to May 15.  Put it on your calendar.  You shouldn't miss it.  For the price of a ticket you can discover what grows behind Disney's garden wall.



Return to goGardenNow.com.

FAQ: I have some Blue Daze and New Guinea Impatiens growing together in a planter. The Blue Daze looks great, but the impatiens looks awful. What's wrong?

You have species planted together that have different cultural requirements. Blue Daze (Evolvulus glomeratus) thrives in full sun to partial shade, soil pH between 5.6 and 6.5, and will tolerate a little dryness between watering. New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens x hawkeri) requires partial shade to full shade, soil pH between 6.1 and 6.5, and consistently moist soil. You might grow them together if you move the container into partial shade avoiding afternoon sun, check pH to correct if necessary, and keep the soil slightly moist.

Return to goGardenNow.com.

FAQ: I love my flowers, but I would also like to grow some vegetables. I don't have room for both. Help!

There's no rule that says you have to keep vegetables separated from flowers. Perhaps you can grow both together. For example, bush beans will grow with petunias. Peppers, onions and roses are compatible. It's easy to make a little space produce a lot. Similarly, many veggies would grow well in containers on your patio. Another way to enjoy vegetable gardening is to join a community garden project in your area. Find one through the American Community Garden Association.

Return to goGardenNow.com.

The Saving Graces Of Sage

"Sweet-smelling sage grows in abundance right at the front of my garden.  It has a forceful energy and produces a healing drink.  Helpful with many human ailments, it merits eternal youth."  -- Hortulus, Walafrid Strabo (c. 808 – August 18, 849)

"Amongst my herbs, sage holds the place of honour; of good scent it is and full of virtue for many ills," opined the monk.

His subject was Salvia officinalis (pronounced SAL-vee-ah oh-fiss-ih-NAH-liss), an herb known since ancient times for its healing properties.  Salvia translated means "saving."  Officinalis means "official", referring to its inclusion in the materia medica - that body of knowledge now known as pharmacology.  It is popularly called "common sage."  But there's nothing common about it.  Common sage is an extraordinary gift that heals the body and graces the table.

The plant is native to the Mediterranean region.  It's a member of the Lamiaceae family which includes mints, lavender and rosemary.

As I've mentioned in other articles, Hippocrates is quoted as instructing, "Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food."  So the species was and continues to be used as a flavoring and medicinal herb.  Salvia is rich in vitamins A, B-complex, C and numerous minerals.  It improves kidney and liver function and stimulates the circulatory system.  Antioxidant agents help to prevent carcinogenic compounds from forming.  Chemicals such as thujone are reputed to improve mental concentration.

If you are tempted to treat yourself with sage, I highly recommend you ask your doctor first.  This is particularly true of women who are pregnant.

Salvia is not a small genus.  Arguably S. officinalis is best known.  But there are between 700 and 900 species in the genus, including annuals, perennials, shrubs and sub-shrubs, making Salvia the largest genus in the Lamiaceae family.

It's well beyond the scope of this article to treat them all, so I'll mention only a few.
  • Salvia coccinea - Common name: Scarlet Sage, Hummingbird Sage, Texas Sage. A tender perennial.  Native to southern United States, Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America.  Flower color: Red/variable.  Height: 18" to 24".  Hardiness:  USDA climate zones 7 - 10.  Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.  Use:  Ornamental.
  • Salvia divinorum - Common name: Diviners' Sage, Maria Pastora.  A tender perennial.  Native to Sierra Mazateca in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Flower color: Light blue/white.  Fragrance: Don't know.  Height: 6' to 8'.  Hardiness: USDA climate zones 10 - 11.  Exposure: Shade.  Use:  Messes with the mind, calms anxiety.  Note:  Illegal in some states unless used for ornamental purposes.
  • Salvia elegans - Common name: Pineapple Sage.  A tender perennial.  Native to mountains of Guatemala and Mexico.  Flower color: Red.  Fragrance: Pineapple.  Height: 36" to 48".  Hardiness:  USDA climate zones 8 - 11.  Exposure:  Full sun.  Use: Ornamental, tea, anti-depressant.
  • Salvia farinacea - Common name: Mealy-cup Sage.  A tender perennial.  Native to Mexico.  Flower color: blue or white.  Height: 24".  Hardiness: USDA climate zones  8 - 11. Use:  Ornamental.
  • Salvia guaranitica - Common name: Brazilian Sage, Hummingbird Sage.  A tender perennial.  Native to South America.  Flower color: Dark blue. Height: 24" to 48".  Hardiness: USDA climate zones 7 - 11.  Use:  Ornamental.
  • Salvia hispanica - Common name: Chia.  Annual.  Native to Mexico and Guatemala.  Flower color: Light blue.  Height: 36".  Use: Beverage.
  • Salvia nemorosa - Common name: Meadow Sage. Perennial.  Native to central Europe and western Asia.  Flower color: Blue, white, pink.  Height: to 36".  Hardiness: USDA climate zones 5 - 10.  Use: Ornamental.
  • Salvia splendens - Common name: Scarlet Sage, Annual Salvia.  Annual.  Native to Brazil.  Flower color: Red, white, pink, salmon.  Height: 12".  Use: Ornamental.
As you have learned by now, there's a lot that you can do with salvia.  Don't forget, however, that the species have different properties.  You mustn't confuse them.

Herb gardens, fragrance gardens, hummingbird and butterfly gardens are not complete without salvia.  Salvia is also very effective in annual and mixed perennial borders for color and textural contrast.  If your growing space is limited, salvia performs well in containers.

Salvia is generally heat-tolerant, often drought-tolerant, sometimes deer and rabbit resistant.  Particular tolerances, resistances, benefits and dangers depend upon the species.

Hardiness also varies by species.  Most require full sun and well-drained soils.  Take a soil sample, along with the name of the species you intend to grow, to your nearest Cooperative Extension Service office for proper analysis.

Prepare the planting bed by cultivating at least 6" deep, removing all traces of weeds. Compacted soil should be cultivated to 10" deep.  Compost may be incorporated into the soil.  Incorporate 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of no more 2 lbs. per 100 square feet into the top 4" to 6" of soil. Avoid synthetic fertilizers contacting any part of your plants.

Plant spacing varies by species. Dig planting holes into the cultivated soil a little less deep than the depth of the growing container.  Water the plants in the pots, then drain.  Place the plants into the holes and back-fill, watering as you go. Press soil around the root balls. Do not cover entirely the root balls with soil. The tops should be slightly exposed. Add a top-dressing of mulch around the plants, not on top of them, about 1" deep.

Plant your salvia with other species having similar cultural requirements.  The greatest cause of failure for salvia is over-watering.

Return to Salvia at goGardenNow.com.

From goGardenNow

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Rosemary - The Herb Of Remembrance

For the sake of some things
That be now no more
I will strew rushes
On my chamber-floor,
I will plant bergamot
At my kitchen-door.

For the sake of dim things
That were once so plain
I will set a barrel
Out to catch the rain,
I will hang an iron pot
On an iron crane.

Those nostalgic lines from Rosemary by Edna St. Vincent Millay may stir similar emotions, if not actual responses in you.  In the language of flowers, rosemary symbolizes remembrance.  Few would strew rushes on the floor in memory of "the good old days", though bergamot may be found by kitchen doors, and rain barrels are becoming more popular.  Iron pots, if you can still find them, are most often used as planters.

Rosemary is also growing in popularity.  Once found mostly in herb gardens, it is now common in ornamental gardens, as well.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus, pronounced rose-mah-REE-nus) is a small genus of perennials including only two species: R. eriocalyx and R. officinalisR. officinalis (pronounced oh-fiss-ih-NAH-liss) is the most popular.

Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region from Spain to northwest Africa, often near the sea.  Rosmarinus, in fact, means "dew of the sea."  It's a member of the Lamiaceae family which includes mints, lavender, russian sage, and salvia.  Along with many other members of the family, rosemary contains essential oils and was discovered very early on to be beneficial to the body.  Officinalis means "official", referring to its inclusion in the materia medica - that body of knowledge now known as pharmacology.  

Historically, rosemary was used for medicine.  Hippocrates is quoted as instructing, "Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food."  So rosemary was and continues to be used as a flavoring.  Its healthful effects are amazing.   Rosemary is rich in vitamin A, which has a positive effect on vision.  It improves kidney and liver function.  Rosemary is a rich source of iron and stimulates the circulatory system.  Antioxidants in rosemary help to prevent carcinogenic compounds from forming when meat is cooked at high temperatures.  Carnosic acid helps to fight off stroke and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's Disease.  It's no wonder that rosemary is known as the herb of remembrance.

If you are tempted to research rosemary to treat yourself, I highly recommend you ask your doctor first.  This is particularly true of women who are pregnant.

Rosemary has evergreen, needle-like leaves that are resinous and fragrant.  Small, light blue flowers are edible and produced throughout the growing season.  The species grows to 48" or more and at least as wide.  Newer cultivars may be more compact.  One cultivar grows prostrate.

Herb gardens, fragrance gardens, hummingbird gardens, bee gardens and butterfly gardens are not complete without rosemary.  It's also very effective in mixed perennial borders for color and textural contrast.  Rosemary responds well to pruning, so it makes a fine hedge.  If your growing space is limited, rosemary performs well in containers.  I've even seen it trained as bonsai.

Where ever you plant it, you'll find yourself stepping out to snip a few sprigs of rosemary for use in the kitchen.  Rosemary can be used in recipes fresh or dry, and is wonderful as an ingredient in aromatic cooking oils.

Rosemary is drought-tolerant, deer and rabbit resistant.  The essential oils may repel some vermin.  Those who live near the sea will appreciate its salt-tolerance.

Hardy in USDA climate zones 7 through 10, rosemary requires full sun and well-drained soils with pH ranging from 6.6 to 8.5.  Take a soil sample to your nearest Cooperative Extension Service office for proper analysis.

Prepare the planting bed by cultivating at least 6" deep, removing all traces of weeds. Compacted soil should be cultivated to 10" deep.  Compost may be incorporated into the soil.  Incorporate 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of no more 2 lbs. per 100 square feet into the top 4" to 6" of soil. Avoid synthetic fertilizers contacting any part of your plants.

Space the plants 24" to 36" apart. Dig planting holes into the cultivated soil a little less deep than the depth of the growing container.  Water the plants in the pots, then drain.  Place the plants into the holes and back-fill, watering as you go. Press soil around the root balls. Do not cover entirely the root balls with soil. The tops should be slightly exposed. Add a top-dressing of mulch around the plants, not on top of them, about 1" deep.

Plant rosemary with other plants having similar cultural requirements.  Fertilize sparingly and allow soil to dry between watering.  The greatest cause of failure is over-watering.  Rosemary is certainly a low-maintenance plant.

Rosemary improves health and pleases the senses.  It enhances the beauty of your garden, cheers the nose and delights the palate.  Do remember to include rosemary in your garden.

Return to Rosemary at goGardenNow.com.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Doraji - The Bellflower

Doraji, doraji, doraji! 
I walk over the pass where doraji flowers bloom.
It is a path that is familiar to me.
Doraji, doraji, doraji! 
I look at these white flowers that remind me of my mother,
in the evening with the twinkling stars.
Doraji, doraji, doraji! 
When I wear these white flowers on my hair, 
it reminds me of my young days and my dreams.
---Korean Folk Song, Doraji Bellflower Song.



Plants have a way of taking root in the human consciousness to the point that they become personal, familial, ethnic or national symbols.  Can one mention shamrock, thistle, edelweiss, iris, tulip or rose without a country coming to mind?  Why?  Familiar plants and terrains, familiar beauties and histories, personal and collective memories, shared pathos of grief, love, longing and home.

Doraji (bellflower) possesses particular poignancy for Koreans who are separated from their loved ones and freedom by totalitarianism.  (Photo attributed to www.kremlin.ru.)

Doraji is planted deeply in the hearts of Koreans.  Its native range also includes Japan and China, so Doraji is a part of those cultures, as well.



It is known to us by its English names, Bellflower or Balloon flower, or by its botanical name, Platycodon grandiflorus (pronounced plat-ee-KO-don gran-di-FLOR-us) which means "broad bell, large flowers."  In the language of flowers, bellflower means "thinking of you" with grief implied.

Hungry, needy and wise people have always discovered good uses for the plants around them.  Though they may have never heard of Hippocrates, his wisdom seems to be universal.  "Let food be your medicine."  Chinese emphasized the medicinal properties of doraji roots while Koreans chose to eat them for pleasure -- perhaps to the same end.  Anyway, it's no surprise that Koreans shared a favorite doraji (bellflower) root-gathering song.

Doraji! Doraji! White Doraji!
In the deep, deep forest,
Even after digging only one or two roots,
My basket is overflowing.

Doraji (Platycodon grandiflorus) is a herbaceous (non-woody) perennial that may reach 24" height or more when in bloom with a similar spread.  Newer cultivars may be more compact.  Leaves are dark green, egg-shaped and and pointed.  Blue, pink or white star-shaped flowers, like a pentagram, appear from mid-summer to early fall.

To avoid confusion, you must know that there is another plant that goes by the name Korean bellflower.  Its botanical name is Campanula takesimana.  Though it is a member of the same family, Campanulaceae, Korean bellflower must not be confused with our subject, Platycodon grandiflorus.

In its native habitat, doraji may be found in abundance.  Few gardeners would devote a garden to it, but that would be their mistake.  A mass planting can be spectacular in naturalized meadows.  It's also very effective in mixed perennial borders.  Doraji is also effective in cutting gardens, and herb gardens.  It's perfect for gardens with oriental themes.  The dried, paper-thin blooms are wonderful in dried flower arrangements.

Doraji is deer resistant.

Doraji (bellflower) is generally hardy in USDA climate zones 3 through 9, preferring full sun or partial shade.  Well-drained soil is essential.  Preferred soil pH should range from 6.1 to 7.8.  Take a soil sample to your nearest Cooperative Extension Service Office for proper analysis.  You may pay a small fee.

Prepare the planting bed by cultivating at least 6" deep, removing all traces of weeds. Compacted soil should be cultivated to 10" deep.  Compost may be incorporated into the soil.  Incorporate 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of no more 2 lbs. per 100 square feet into the top 4" to 6" of soil. Avoid synthetic fertilizers contacting any part of your plants.

Space the plants 12" to 18" apart for the species, or 10" to 12" apart for compact cultivars. Dig planting holes into the cultivated soil a little less deep than the depth of the growing container.  Water the plants in the pots, then drain.  Place the plants into the holes and back-fill, watering as you go. Press soil around the root balls. Do not cover entirely the root balls with soil. The tops should be slightly exposed. Add a top-dressing of mulch around the plants, not on top of them, about 1" deep.

Plant doraji with other plants having similar cultural requirements.  Fertilize sparingly and allow soil to dry between watering.  The greatest cause of failure is over-watering.

For cutting and drying, clip doraji with small hand clippers just after flower buds open when dew has dried.  Hang stems upside down to dry in a warm, dry, shady area.  The cuttings should dry within a week.

You might think that a plant as exotic as this would be difficult to grow.  It is not.  Doraji (bellflower) is a plant for beginners.  It may even become your favorite.  I wouldn't be surprised if you began singing your own song about doraji.

From goGardenNow