Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When should I dig my gladiolus bulbs?

Picture of a gladiolus corm

Q. When should I dig my gladiolus bulbs?

A. As you probably know, "glads", as they are sometimes called, are native to Africa, Asia and southern Europe. Though cold hardy from USDA climate zone 7 through 11, they can be grown practically anywhere in the United States. In northern zones, they can be grown as inexpensive summer annuals, or they can be dug, stored over winter, and replanted in spring when danger of frost is past. In southern zones, they can be left in the ground and should come back year after year.

Gladiolus corms should be left in the ground until their leaves turn brown. Frost might brown them, or they might brown all by themselves by late summer.

Begin digging by loosening the soil on both sides of the row. Lift the corms gently. Take care not to dig too closely to the corms so as to avoid damaging them with the spade or garden fork.

Remove the foliage, leaving very little if any at the tops. Spread the corms in a dry location exposed to full sun for a day, then remove them to an airy location out of the sun to dry further. You may spread them on layers of newspaper. Some gardeners construct tables or trays with mesh bottoms for drying. Such structures can serve to dry other bulbs and corms after harvest. Stir the corms to allow all sides to dry, especially during damp weather. You may even expose them to an electric fan. Dried soil should fall away during the process. Remaining soil should be brushed off before final storage.

During cleaning, the corms may be inspected. Those that are damaged or diseased should be discarded.

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Must-Have Plants: Achillea filipendulina 'Coronation Gold'

Achillea 'Coronation Gold'

Must-have plants are among the best 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 filipendulina 'Coronation Gold', Fern Leaf Yarrow,

Flower Color: Golden yellow

Bloom Time: June to September

Foliage: Herbaceous, gray-green, fragrant.

Height/Spread: 30 inches to 36 inches x 18 inches to 24 inches.

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

Sun Exposure: Full sun

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

Features: Drought tolerant, deer resistant, fragrant.

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

Comments: Perennial Achillea filipendulina 'Coronation Gold', also known as fern-leaf yarrow, produces long-lasting golden yellow blooms from June to September. Foliage is herbaceous, gray-green and fragrant. Plant height is 30 inches to 36 inches.

'Coronation Gold' is recommended for USDA climate zones 3 to 9. Plant it in full sun to partial shade. 'Coronation Gold' prefers soil pH 6.1 to 7.8. Space plants 12 inches to 15 inches apart.

Achillea tolerates poor soil and drought conditions. 

How to move shrubs to a better place in your landscape.

Q. I want to move some shrubs to a better place in my landscape. Can you give me some helpful hints?

A. You didn’t say how large the shrubs are, or the kind. I’ll assume they’re small enough for a couple of people to manage with hand tools. I’ll give some general instructions regarding kind.

If you’re in no hurry to move them, I suggest you root-prune them to develop a more concentrated mass of roots near the base of the shrubs. To do that, you only need to take a nursery spade and slice downward into the soil in a circle around each shrub. By slicing through roots, you will encourage roots to branch within the circle. A three-foot diameter should be sufficient. After slicing, leave the plants in place for a few months. Be sure to fertilize and irrigate your shrubs within the circles.

It’s best to move them from late fall to early spring when they are dormant, or at least when not in an active growth stage.

For specific instructions on digging and transplanting, it is best to refer you to instructional videos. Since I haven’t created any on the topic myself, take a look at this one on How To Ball and Burlap Dig A Tree. Following that, view How To Plant A Ball and Burlap Dug Tree.

I hope this helps.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sheep's Fescue - A Natural Beauty

Ah! Consider the pastoral life of sheep, wandering wherever they may and ruminating on the beauties of nature – mostly the grass.

Unfortunately, many people don’t think often about the beauty of grass except in lawns and golf courses. Gardeners are discovering, however, that hundreds of grass species stand out as ornamental beauties.

Sheep’s Fescue (Festuca ovina var. glauca) is one of them. It is native to many parts of Europe and Asia. I’ve but one inkling of why it was called Sheep’s Fescue; sheep seemed to like it.

The most common form is green. Leaf blades are stiff, wiry, and grow in dense, evergreen clumps six inches to twelve inches tall. The flowers are white, light and graceful. Sheep’s Fescue became most popular, however, when blue-bladed forms were discovered.

Sheep’s Fescue is popular with gardeners because:

  • It’s beautiful;
  • It thrives in USDA climate zones 4 through 10;
  • It grows in full sun or partial shade;
  • It’s drought-tolerant;
  • It grows in poor soil;
  • It requires very little maintenance.
Consequently, it is perfect for xeriscaping, massed planting as ground cover, low borders, accent planting, edging and container gardens. You can’t say all that about your typical lawn grass.

With lovely plantings of low-maintenance Sheep’s Fescue, you might find yourself ruminating more on the beauties of nature.

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