Thursday, September 27, 2012

Must Have Plants: Golden Variegated Japanese Sweet Flag

Golden Variegated Japanese Sweet Flag

Must-have plants are among the best plants for appropriate garden situations. When you need great garden plants for ground cover, naturalizing, wildflower gardens, perennial borders, butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, herb gardens, heritage gardens, cutting gardens, woodland gardens, shade gardens, bulb gardens, container gardens, bog gardens, water gardens, rain gardens or xeriscaping, look for the best among our must-have plants. 

Name(s): Acorus gramineus 'Ogon', Japanese Sweet Flag, Japanese Rush, Grassy-leaved Sweet Flag, Golden Variegated Sweet Flag

Flower Color: Yellow, not showy

Bloom Time: May to June

Foliage: Herbaceous, golden, variegated.

Height/Spread: 6 inches to 12 inches x 6 inches to 18 inches.

Climate Zones: 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full shade.

Soil Condition: Moist to wet, pH 6.1 to 7.8

Features: Grassy, golden, fragrant foliage.

Uses: Bog gardens, water gardens, fragrance gardens, and as a ground cover in wet soils.

Return to buy Acorus at goGardenNow.com.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Can you give me some tips about how to plant tulips?

Can you give me some tips about how to plant tulips?

Tulips prefer full sun, and well-drained, organic soil in USDA climate zones 3 - 8. If your preferred site is not well-drained and high in organic content, you might choose another, plant your tulips in containers or raised beds, or amend the site.

If you're not sure whether your soil is high in organic matter, you should take a sample to your nearest Cooperative Extension Service office for analysis. You will be charged a nominal fee. Follow their instructions. You can raise the soil's organic content by adding finished compost or a good grade of sphagnum-based potting soil.

Raised beds are not difficult to construct. A simple 8' x 4' box, open at the top and bottom, can be made of three boards of  2"x 8" x 8' untreated pine. Painting the wood with exterior latex paint can extend the bed's longevity. Fill the box with compost or potting soil

If you prefer a large free-form design, forget about the constructing the box. Outline the contour of the bed, cultivate the soil within, add your organic material, mound the soil and level it to a height of 6 inches.

The bulbs should be planted at a depth that is 2-1/2 times the height of the bulb, 4 inches to 6 inches apart, or 4 to 5 per square foot. Planting depth is measured to the base of the bulb.

Return to goGardenNow.com to buy tulips.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Japanese Holly Fern Is Tough And Dependable


 
Japanese Holly Fern - Cyrtomium falcatum
Ferns might seem lacy and delicate, but few are. Given the proper environment, most are tough and dependable. Japanese Holly Fern, also known as Japanese Netvein Holly Fern, is a good example. It even looks tough.

Its botanical name is Cyrtomium falcatum (pronounced sir-TOH-mee-um fal-KAY-tum) which means “arched” and “sickle-shaped.” The coarse, evergreen fronds arch and the large, glossy pinnae (leaflets) are sickle-shaped. Japanese Holly Fern forms bold clumps from 18 inches to 30 inches tall, and as wide. There’s nothing delicate about it. Cyrtomium falcatum is the ferny equivalent of Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant). Many southern gardeners rely on it.

Japanese Holly Fern is reliably cold hardy in USDA climate zones 7 to 11, but is known to survive in zone 6. A quick look at the USDA PLANTS Database shows that where it has escaped cultivation, it tends to do be distributed in areas where winter temperature is moderate or moderated by bodies of water.

Japanese Holly Fern performs best in partial shade to full shade. Slightly moist soil is preferred, though care must be taken to avoid over-watering. Once established, Japanese Holly Fern is reasonably drought tolerant. Recommended soil pH is 6.1 to 7.8.

You'll be pleased to know that Japanese Holly Fern has no serious insect or disease problems, and it's deer resistant. Having said that, I wish I knew how many times I’ve been contacted by desperate gardeners wanting to know what all those bugs or diseases are on the undersides of the pinnae. Those are not bugs or diseases, but are spore-producing organs called sori. Not to worry.

Before planting, take a soil sample to your local Cooperative Extension Service office for testing. The results will specify any necessary soil amendments.

Prepare the planting bed by cultivating at least 10 inches deep, removing all traces of weeds. Composted manure may be incorporated into the soil. If your soil sample report indicates the need for fertilizer, avoid synthetic fertilizers contacting any part of your plants.

Space the plants 18 inches to 24 inches apart. Small plants may be planted closer together. 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 ferns 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 inch deep.

Shade gardeners will love Japanese Holly Fern. Its beauty is irresistible. Use if for ground cover, borders, accents. Gardeners in colder climates can grow it as a house plant. If you need a tough, dependable fern, you need Japanese Holly Fern.

Return to Ferns at goGardenNow.com.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Must Have Plants: East Indian Holly Fern

East Indian Holly Fern

Must-have plants are among the best plants for appropriate garden situations. When you need great garden plants for ground cover, naturalizing, wildflower gardens, perennial borders, butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, herb gardens, heritage gardens, cutting gardens, woodland gardens, shade gardens, bulb gardens, container gardens, bog gardens, water gardens, rain gardens or xeriscaping, look for the best among our must-have plants.

Name(s): Arachniodes simplicior 'Variegata', East Indian Holly Fern, Indian Holly Fern, Simplicior Fern, Shield Fern

Flower Color: None

Bloom Time: N/A

Foliage: Glossy evergreen foliage, creamy variegation down the center.

Height/Spread: 12 inches to 24 inches x 12 inches to 24 inches.

Climate Zones: 7, 8, 9, 10

Sun Exposure: Partial shade

Soil Condition: Well-drained, consistently moist, pH 6.5 to 7.5

Features: Deer resistant, attractive foliage, slow-growing, good for small areas.

Uses: Massed planting, naturalizing, woodland gardens, houseplant in cool climates.

Return to Ferns at goGardenNow.com.

Results of Community Poll Ending 18 September, 2012

Our Community Poll ending 18 September asked the question, "Where do you garden?"

22% polled said "On my own property in the city."
33% said "On my own property in the suburbs."
45% said "On my own property in the country."
None replied "In a community garden shared with others."

I should have included the answer, "I don't garden." I don't know whether any visitors didn't answer for that reason.

For those who would like to garden but don't because they don't think they have the space for it, community gardens can solve the problem. The American Community Garden Association provides lots of help for those who'd like to find a community garden nearby or start one. Even if you already have a garden, you might want to get involved helping with a community garden so you can share the pleasure of gardening with others.

Return to Community Poll at goGardenNow.com.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What should I use to mulch my creeping phlox?

I received my order of creeping phlox and am very pleased.  Never having planted something I wanted to spread quickly I have no idea what type mulch to use.  John, the bed borders the driveway, slopes downhill and also drops a little toward the drive. I appreciate your time and look forward to your suggestions.

Mulches are applied to inhibit weeds, moderate soil temperature, preserve soil moisture, prevent erosion, and make the bed more attractive.

There are two issues for you to consider: the growth habit of the plant and the slope of the bed.

As Phlox subulata spreads, the stems root where they touch the ground. Coarse mulches and inorganic mulches such as recycled rubber might prevent the stems from rooting.

Rainfall on a sloping bed can wash some mulches away. If the bed slopes to the degree that that might happen, you should use a mulch that will allow rain to percolate rapidly through it. In that case, I recommend pine straw mulch. However, a thick application of pine straw might inhibit the stems from rooting as they should. The solution would be for you to pull the pine straw mulch away from the phlox as the plants spread so the stems can contact the soil and take root. The pine straw will eventually decompose.

If the slope of the bed is minimal, and there's no danger of mulch washing away, I recommend pulverized pine bark, wood chips or finished compost.

Return to goGardenNow.com.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Must-Have Plants: Narcissus Tete a' Tete


Must-have plants are among the best plants for appropriate garden situations. When you need great garden plants for ground cover, naturalizing, wildflower gardens, perennial borders, butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, herb gardens, heritage gardens, cutting gardens, woodland gardens, shade gardens, bulb gardens, bog gardens, water gardens, rain gardens or xeriscaping, look for the best among our must-have plants.

Name(s): Narcissus Tete a' Tete.

Division: 12 - Miscellaneous

Flower Color: Yellow.

Bloom Time: Mid-season.

Foliage: Herbaceous, green, smooth.

Height/Spread: 6 inches to 12 inches x 6 inches to 12 inches.

Climate Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Well-drained, average, pH 6.1 to 7.8.

Planting Depth: 2-1/2 times the height of the bulb.*

Features: Deer resistant, fragrant.

Uses: Massed planting, cutting gardens, container gardens, bulb gardens, naturalizing, borders.

Comments: Narcissus Tete a' Tete was raised in 1949 by A. Gray, and is an heirloom variety.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Must-Have Plants: Flowering Onion


Must-have plants are among the best plants for appropriate garden situations. When you need great garden plants for ground cover, naturalizing, wildflower gardens, perennial borders, butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, herb gardens, heritage gardens, cutting gardens, woodland gardens, shade gardens, bulb gardens, container gardens, bog gardens, water gardens, rain gardens or xeriscaping, look for the best among our must-have plants.

Name(s): Allium aflatunense, Allium hollandicum, Flowering Onion.
Flower Color: Purple.

Bloom Time: Late spring.

Foliage: Herbaceous, blue-green, smooth, fragrant.

Height/Spread: 36 inches x 12 inches.

Climate Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Well-drained, average, pH 6.6 to 7.8.

Planting Depth: 8 inches.

Features: Deer resistant, fragrant.

Uses: Massed planting, cutting gardens, container gardens, bulb gardens, butterfly gardens, herb gardens, borders.

Return to Allium at goGardenNow.com.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Must-Have Plants: Japanese Painted Fern


Must-have plants are among the best plants for appropriate garden situations. When you need great garden plants for ground cover, naturalizing, wildflower gardens, perennial borders, butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, herb gardens, heritage gardens, cutting gardens, woodland gardens, shade gardens, bulb gardens, container gardens, bog gardens, water gardens, rain gardens or xeriscaping, look for the best among our must-have plants.

Name(s): Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum', Athyrium niponicum var. pictum, Japanese Painted Fern

Flower Color: None

Bloom Time: None

Foliage: Herbaceous, metallic gray, reddish/bluish blush

Height/Spread: 12 inches to 18 inches x 12 inches to 18 inches.

Climate Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full shade.

Soil Condition: Moist to well-drained, loamy, pH 6.1 to 7.5

Features: Colorful foliage, deer resistant, insect resistant, disease resistant.

Uses: Massed planting, naturalizing, fern collections, woodland gardens, shade gardens and borders.

Return to Ferns @ goGardenNow.com.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Must-Have Plants: Variegated Japanese Sweet Flag


Must-have plants are among the best plants for appropriate garden situations. When you need great garden plants for ground cover, naturalizing, wildflower gardens, perennial borders, butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, herb gardens, heritage gardens, cutting gardens, woodland gardens, shade gardens, bulb gardens, container gardens, bog gardens, water gardens, rain gardens or xeriscaping, look for the best among our must-have plants.

Name(s): Acorus gramineus 'Variegatus', Japanese Sweet Flag, Japanese Rush, Grassy-leaved Sweet Flag, Variegated Sweet Flag

Flower Color: Yellow, not showy

Bloom Time: May to June

Foliage: Herbaceous, variegated.

Height/Spread: 8 inches to 12 inches x 6 inches to 18 inches.

Climate Zones: 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full shade.

Soil Condition: Moist to wet, pH 6.1 to 7.8

Features: Grassy, variegated, fragrant foliage.

Uses: Bog gardens, water gardens, fragrance gardens, and as a ground cover in wet soils.

Return to Acorus @ goGardenNow.com.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The State Botanical Garden Of Georgia


Bordering the Middle Oconee River, The State Botanical Garden of Georgia provides a unique facility for education, recreation, entertainment and quiet reflection. This "living laboratory" is operated by the University of Georgia, located in nearby Athens, Georgia. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, founded in 1968, now includes over 300 acres of developed gardens and woodland, all connected by easily accessible walkways and trails. Hikers won't find a better place for hiking near Athens, GA. For students and public, it's a place to gain knowledge and enjoy garden beauty.

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is located only 3 miles from the UGA campus, and about 5 driving miles from the center of Downtown Athens' Historic District. But inside the Garden one has a sense of solitude. Unpaved woodland trails can be accessed at several points throughout the property. Hikers who desire a more natural experience can do so.

It had been several years since we'd visited, so we wanted to see how the gardens have developed. We entered the Alice Hand Callaway Visitor Center and Conservatory. The lovely facility was made possible by the Callaway Foundation of LaGrange, GA. Alice Hand Callaway (1912-1998) was a civic leader and philanthropist who loved gardening, so the Visitor Center and Conservatory is a fitting tribute.

The Conservatory houses a small but delightful collection of tropical plant species including a display of significant food sources. On a hot summer day, you might be tempted to stay beside the brook rather than venture outdoors.

Outdoor plant collections are organized according to themes. The Heritage Garden highlights plants of historic socio-economic interest, especially to Georgians. The Herb and Physic Garden features plants of culinary and medicinal interest, such as thyme and lavender. The International Garden displays species of nearly all continents.

It's worthwhile noting that Georgia and other southeastern colonies were of great interest to plant explorers from Britain and Europe. Though sometimes it feels like nothing special to us, the southeastern United States is a botanical treasure. Seventeenth-century botanists must have been as excited at discovering plants here like Aesculus parviflora and Rhododendron prunifolia as others were when finding species like Lagerstroemia faurei in Japan. With that in mind, you should visit The Native Flora Garden and Native Azalea Garden with greater appreciation.

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is growing. New vistas have opened for visitors to enjoy. Pleasant water features and garden art enhance the experience.

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is a member of the American Horticultural Society (AHS) Reciprocal Admissions Program (RAP). The AHS RAP allows members of participating botanical gardens to enjoy benefits such as free admission or discounts at other member gardens. Admission to The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is already free, but the RAP allows discounts in the gift shop.

Here's a map to The State Botanical Garden of Georgia. If you're going to be in the area, check out the garden's schedule of events which may include entertainment and classes of special interest. Be sure to visit often.

Return to goGardenNow.com.

Must-Have Plants: Achillea 'Oertel's Rose'


Must-have plants are among the best plants for appropriate garden situations. When you need great garden plants for ground cover, naturalizing, wildflower gardens, perennial borders, butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, herb gardens, heritage gardens, cutting gardens, woodland gardens, shade gardens, bulb gardens, container gardens, bog gardens, water gardens, rain gardens or xeriscaping, look for the best among our must-have plants.

Name(s): Achillea x 'Oertel's Rose'', Yarrow, Milfoil, Staunchweed, Sanguinary, Thousandleaf, Soldier's Woundwort

Flower Color: Pink

Bloom Time: June to September

Foliage: Herbaceous, gray-green, fragrant.

Height/Spread: 12 inches to 24 inches x 15 inches.

Climate Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Soil Condition: Well-drained to dry, average to poor, pH 5.1 to 6.5

Features: Drought tolerant, deer resistant, fragrant.

Uses: Xeriscaping, massed planting, naturalizing, cutting gardens, butterfly gardens, herb gardens, perennial borders.

Return to Achillea @ goGardenNow.com.