Thursday, September 14, 2017

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - Crocuses

Crocus vernus - mixed colors

Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Crocuses are among the earliest harbingers of spring.  Like little jewels, they sprinkle the dark moist earth and bring joy to those who find them.  "O, look!  A crocus!  And look, there are more!"

Name(s): Crocus vernus.

Flower Color: Mixed.

Bloom Time: Early spring.

Foliage: Herbaceous, green.

Height/Spread: Approximately 4 inches.

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

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Average, well-drained, pH 6.1 - 7.85

Planting Depth: 2 inches to 3 inches.

Features: Deer-resistant.

Uses: Perfect for container gardens and bulb gardens.

Return to Crocus at goGardenNow.com.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - 'Ambiance' Amaryllis

Amaryllis 'Ambiance'


Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

The genus Hippeastrum (pronounced "hip-ee-ASS-trum") is native to sub-tropical and tropical areas of South America and the Caribbean. The name is formed from two Greek words referring to "cavalry" and "star." It is theorized that the man who named it in 1837, the Reverend William Herbert, was thinking that the flower resembled a weapon used by medieval knights.


Name(s): Hippeastrum 'Ambiance'.

Flower Color: White with red stripes.

Foliage: Herbaceous.

Height: Up to 18 inches.

Climate Zones: Hardy in zones 9, 10, 11.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Organic, well-drained, pH 6.1 to 7.8.

Planting Depth: 6 inches.

Features: Size 34+ cm in circumference. Photo color is approximate.

Uses: Forcing, bulb gardens where hardy.

Return to Hippeastrum at goGardenNow.com.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - 'Globemaster' Ornamental Garlic

Allium 'Globemaster'

Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Ornamental Allium has shiny, glossy foliage and produces 12" - 48" high leafless stalks upon which sit tufted globes of color. The late spring and early summer blooms typically have great potential for cut flower production. The blooms last much longer in a vase than your typical flower. This plant attracts bees, butterflies and birds, but disinterests deer and rodents. It doesn't have any pest problems.

Allium x 'Globemaster' was raised in 1971 by J. Bijl. The flower ball can be over 8 inches across. Like other ornamental allium, they appear exotic, but are easy to grow.

Name(s): Allium x 'Globemaster', Giant Onion, Giant Allium.

Flower Color: Purple.

Bloom Time: Late spring, early summer.

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

Height/Spread: 48 inches x 15 inches.

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

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.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - Grape Hyacinths (Muscari)

Muscari armeniacum


Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Muscari armeniacum, also known as grape hyacinths, are native to Asia Minor. They are wonderful little plants that are very easy to grow and highly adaptable. Muscari are excellent for bulb gardens, perennial gardens, container gardens, rock gardens, mass plantings, or naturalized areas. They look best when planted in large groups. Flowering is mid spring.


Name(s): Muscari armeniacum, Grape Hyacinth.

Flower Color: Blue.

Bloom Time: Mid-spring

Foliage: Herbaceous.

Height/Spread: 10 inches x 5 inches.

Climate Zones: Hardy in zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Organic, well-drained, pH 6.1 to 7.8.

Planting Depth: 3 inches to 5 inches.

Features: Abundant flowers.

Uses: Bulb gardens, rock gardens, mass plantings, naturalizing, container gardens.

Return to Muscari at goGardenNow.com.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - Blue Anemones

Anemone blanda Blue Shades


Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Anemone blanda is native to Mediterranean regions. Flowers are among the daintiest in spring. Also known as Grecian Windflowers, they will give you a carpet of spring color.

Name(s): Anemone blanda, Grecian Windflower.

Flower Color: Blue.

Bloom Time: Early spring.

Foliage: Herbaceous.

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

Climate Zones: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Average, pH 5.6 to 7.8.

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

Features: Blue flowers.

Uses: Rock gardens, mass plantings, naturalizing.

Return to Anemones at goGardenNow.com.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - 'Cheerfulness' Narcissus

Narcissus 'Cheerfulness'


Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Narcissus 'Cheerfulness' was raised in 1923 by J.B. Van der Schoot, and is considered to be an heirloom variety.

Name(s): Narcissus 'Cheerfulness'.

Flower Color: White/yellow.

Bloom Time: Late season

Foliage: Herbaceous.

Height: 14 inches.

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

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil Condition: Organic, well-drained, pH 6.1 to 7.8.

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

Features: Double cup. Deer resistant.

Uses: Naturalizing, cutting, perennial gardens, bulb gardens, container gardens.

Return to Narcissus at goGardenNow.com.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Planted - 'Kees Nelis' Tulip

 Tulip Kees Nelis

Come spring, lots of folks slap themselves on the forehead saying, "I woulda, coulda, shoulda planted ____." You fill in the blank. If only they had planted those flower bulbs in fall, they would be enjoying them in spring. Here is one of my favorites that you should plant now.

Name(s): Tulipa 'Kees Nelis'.

Flower Color: Red/yellow.

Bloom Time: Mid-season.

Foliage: Herbaceous.

Height: 18 inches.

Climate Zones: Hardy in zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Sun Exposure: Full sun.

Soil Condition: Organic, well-drained, pH 6.1 to 7.8.

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

Features: Deer resistant.

Uses: Cutting, container gardens, bulb gardens, borders.

Return to Tulips at goGardenNow.com.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

How to Determine If A Plant Is Edible


Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia) fruit.


I don’t claim to be a fanatical foodie, though I love to cook and eat. But I am fairly serious about food, particularly native plants. My impressive credentials include:

One question that often enters my mind when eating any herb, spice, fruit or vegetable is, “How did someone decide THIS would be a good thing to eat?” Was it tested on "Mikey" first?



Kirsten Rechnitz, Head Instructor at Boulder Outdoor Survival School (Utah) suggests the following test for edibility if you’re in a survival situation where you have to subsist on mice and a few greens.

“The first thing you want to do is take a tiny bit of it and rub it on the inside of your wrist. And then you want to wait a number of hours to see if you have a reaction. If you don’t have a reaction…take the tiniest of bites, put it on your tongue, leave it there for a few seconds and then spit it out, and then rinse with some water. See what happens after a few hours, if you have anything going on. If you don’t, then maybe you want to take a tiny piece, chew on it, actually swallow it, take it down with some water. If you don’t have a reaction within a few hours, go for a small but larger gathering of that plant. Have that, then wait a full day and see what your system actually does. Anything like diarrhea, …itchy throat, ...stomach ache. Maybe that food isn’t actually poisonous, but it’s new to your body and if it’s causing you harm, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.”

That's one way it's done; courage born of starvation. Sylvester Stallone once remarked, “When I was a kid, my mother used to feed me mashed-potato sandwiches, Brussels sprout sandwiches; my brain cells were starving from lack of food. I'll eat anything. I'll eat dirt.”

Or, determining whether something is edible or delicious, even, can be born of an adventurous spirit.

There isn't anything I don't eat, although I'm not too keen on creepy crawly things. Other than that, I'm quite adventurous.  - Cherie Lunghi (Actress)

Return to goGardenNow.com

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

FAQ: How can I tell if my holly is dead?



I transplanted a large Fleming holly in the spring. Soon afterward the leaves turned brown and fell off. I've been watering and fertilizing it, but I believe it's dead. I hate to dig it up unless I'm positively sure. How can I tell if it's truly dead?


With a pocket knife or your fingernail, scratch several places on the stems, starting at the top and working downward. If you see green beneath, it's still alive at that point. If it's brown, cut it off.



Even if the cambium is green, the plant might eventually die. But if you care enough to keep it, continue watering when needed. Don't add fertilizer. Keep an eye out for tiny vegetative buds forming and leaves emerging. It's still possible your holly will survive.

Return to goGardenNow.com.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Foundation Shrubs for Home Security





In my recent article, Ten Simple Landscaping Ideas for Home/Land Security, the first two safety precautions were: 
  1. Choose low-growing foundation and border shrubs. (Low-profile shrubs require less pruning to keep them in bounds);
  2. Prune foundation shrubs to 3 feet high. (This might be necessary if you are working with an existing planting.)

The reason should be obvious; home intruders prefer to do evil in secret than in plain view.

Here are two examples.
This one shows a clean foundation planting with few places to hide.

This one exhibits a foundation planting that practically hides the house.

Which home would you choose to burgle? (Don’t get any ideas, now. Google is watching you!)

Some examples of low-growing shrubs include:

This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Don’t think that tall plants are always excluded. If they're narrow, they don't provide such good places to hide. Some fine examples include:


Foundation shrubs such as these will help to make your home a safer place for yourself and your family.

Return to goGardenNow.com.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Needle Palm: A Cold-Hardy Palm with Hot Points



Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix)


Gardeners are known for returning home with botanical souvenirs. Many of the plants are doomed (they know it before they buy them) but can’t resist. If you want a memento of the subtropics in your own back yard, and you want it to thrive, try Needle Palm.

Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix), native to Florida and other areas of the southeast, is reliably cold-hardy through USDA climate zone 7. Some growers report success in colder areas. It’s more like a shrub than tree, with a dense, mounding habit, growing about twice as wide as its height. The typical size of a mature Needle Palm is four to six feet high by eight to twelve feet wide.

Needle palm foliage
Needle Palm is fairly uncommon even in its native habitat. Outside of that, you’ll own bragging rights for miles around.

Don’t let its name put you off. The evergreen, cut-leaf fronds are not harmful. In fact, the tips of the leaflets are blunt, as though they had been snipped. The long, sharp needles are at the base of the plant protecting the inconspicuous flowers and fruit.

Needle palm needles
The needles do offer a significant benefit, however. They discourage through-traffic. Intruders who encounter them will get the point and hotfoot it out of there. If you're looking for a plant that offers a degree of crime prevention - call it "homeland security"- this is the palm for you.

Needle Palm prefers slightly moist, well-drained soil. Nevertheless, it is somewhat drought-tolerant when established. Space 6 feet to 10 feet apart in full sun to light shade. Soil should be moist to well-drained, pH from 6.1 to 7.8. Allow soil to dry between watering.

Pruning can be done at any time to remove damaged fronds. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer from late spring to midsummer. Needle Palm is very resistant to insects and disease, deer resistant and salt tolerant.

Needle Palm is excellent for native plant collections, coastal and tropical gardens, screens and hedges. Suitable native companion plants include Cut-leaf Coneflower, Goldenrod, Wax Myrtle, Inkberry Holly, Red Buckeye, Sensitive Fern, Allegheny Pachysandra, and Partridge Berry.

Return to goGardenNow.com.