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21 Spring Flowers for Your Garden

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21 Spring Flowers for Your Garden

 

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Early spring flowers are the surest sign that warmer weather is coming. Our list of early spring flowers will give you ideas for the best flowers to plant in spring. After a long winter, it’s time for spring landscaping!

  • Pansy

Cool weather is just what pansy prefers. It’s an annual that gardeners flock to because it’s one of the best flowers to plant in spring for early-season containers and window boxes, relishing the variety in petal color as much as the cheery uplifted blooms.

Name: Viola x wittrockiana

Growing conditions: Sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 10 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Zones: 4-8

 

  • Yellow Trillium

    Yellow trillium is a true spring plant: Once its flowers die back at the season’s end in June, the foliage recedes, too. Even so, its marbled leaves and delicate yellow-white blooms are a welcome sight in April.

    Spring flower tip: In a woodland garden, pair it with other shade-lovers.

    Name: Trillium luteum

    Growing conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 16 inches tall and 12 inches wide

    Zones: 5-8

  • Hellebore

    Also known as a Lenten rose or Christmas rose, hellebores produce spring flowers of delicate beauty and surprising resilience. In warmer climates, it may even tolerate light frosts, making it one of the best flowers to plant in spring. For unusual flowers, ask at your nursery about double-bloom varieties.

    Name: Helleborus niger

    Growing conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide

    Zones: 4-8

  • Bloodroot

    This herbaceous spring perennial flower makes its appearance in March, shooting up white flowers that last until late spring. It’s one of the best flowers to plant in spring and a good fit for either a shaded or woodland garden.

    Name: Sanguinaria canadensis

    Growing conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide

    Zones: 3-9

  • Snowdrop Anemone

    Fragrant and festive, the bright clusters of snowdrop anemone work well even in a spring garden that’s slightly shaded. Bonus: Once the cooler temperatures of fall arrive, the plant may put on a second bloom show in the garden.

    Name: Anemone nemorosa

    Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide

    Zones: 4-8

  • Redbud

    Flowers get lots of press, but plenty of trees offer springtime feasts for the eyes. One of them is the eastern redbud, a tree that puts on a riotous display of pink beginning in March.

    Name: Cercis canadensis

    Growing conditions: Sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 30 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 5-9

  • Lilac

    There’s no sweeter spring fragrance than the blooms of this cottage-garden favorite. Lilac varieties, one of the best flowers to plant in spring, come in all shapes and sizes, from dwarf shrubs to taller trees.

    Spring flower tip: The lilac blooms on old wood, so hold off on pruning until right after the same year’s flowering is finished.

    Name: Syringa vulgaris

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 20 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 4-8

  • ‘Acoma’ Iris

    Pick your favorite color, and there’s likely an iris to fill your spring garden need. Most put on their bloom show toward the end of spring, but the plants’ tall growth and delectable petal variations make them pretty additions to a variety of garden styles.

    Name: Iris ‘Acoma’

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 34 inches tall and 12 inches wide

    Zones: 3-9

  • Grape Hyacinth

    As much as any other spring bulbs, hyacinths trumpet the arrival of spring. Clustered flowers hang lusciously from sturdy stalks, resembling bundles of grapes; they are one of the most beautiful and best flowers to plant in spring.

    Name: Muscari armeniacum

    Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

    Size: To 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide

    Zones: 4-8

  • ‘Harmony’ Iris

    As much a late-winter plant as it is an early-spring bloomer, dwarf wild iris pops with deep, wild purple or blue — a welcome contrast to many of spring’s pastel flowers. Cut a clutch of the iris to put in a vase and take the pleasing fragrance of this early spring flower inside.

    Name: Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’

    Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 inches tall and wide

    Zones: 5-8

  • ‘Grand Maitre’ Crocus

    Crocuses are one of the best flowers to plant in spring, announcing the departure of winter with lovely pink, purple, yellow, or white petals. Planted from corms, crocuses also range in size from delicate blooms to more showy versions.

    Name: Crocus ‘Grand Maitre’

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 inches tall and wide

    Zones: 3-8

  • Daffodil

    If it’s spring, it’s time for a show of daffodils. The bright, jovial spring flower has a range of shapes and sizes, from trumpet to small- and large-cupped to double. Deer find them less palatable than other spring plants, but the foliage should be left to die back on its own to rejuvenate the plants for the following year.

    Name: Narcissus selections

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 1 foot tall and wide

    Zones: 3-9

  • Tulip

    With innate cheerfulness and beauty, a  tulip, one of the best flowers to plant in spring, lends itself to a variety of garden settings — from formal border gardens to naturalistic, casual settings. And there’s a tulip for every gardener, from diminutive 4-inch-tall specimens to extravagant multifoot-high blooms.

    Name: Tulipa selections

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide

    Zones: 3-7

  • Winter Aconite

    If the snow has melted, you can be sure that winter aconite is ready to burst forth from the spring garden. Its growth time is limited — the plant dies back once spring transitions to summer — but its pretty, open blooms make it a showpiece in a woodland garden.

    Name: Eranthis cilicica

    Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 inches tall and wide

    Zones: 4-9

  • Puschkinia

    Inside the blooms of snowdrift is an exquisite surprise: striped flowers that offer surprising color variation. Tall foliage stalks make these a good companion to lower spring growers such as crocus and one of the best flowers to plant in spring.

    Name: Puschkinia scilloides

    Growing conditions: Sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide

    Zones: 3-9

  • ‘Miniature Snowflake’ Mock Orange

    The delicate blooms of sweet mock orange belie its easy-growing nature. After planting it, you hardly have to do a thing to this compact shrub! In addition to pretty white flowers, the plant supplies an intoxicating fragrance.

    Name: Philadelphus ‘Miniature Snowflake’

    Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 3-7

  • Bluestar

    The rewards of Arkansas bluestar bridge the gap between spring and fall: The plant puts on a restrained color show in spring with star-shape, light blue flowers. Then in the fall, the foliage takes a turn for the brilliant, transforming into a golden-yellow display.

    Name: Amsonia hubrictii

    Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide

    Zones: 5-9

  • Summer Snowflake

    A drooping bell shape distinguishes the diminutive blooms on summer snowflake, making it both delicate and one of the best flowers to plant in spring. In a flowerbed, group several of the plants to create a focal point.

    Name: Leucojum aestivum

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide

    Zones: 4-9

  • Oakleaf Hydrangea

    Big flowers and oversize foliage ensure the oakleaf hydrangea has a unique presence in the garden. For flower lovers, the late-spring-blooming shrub offers reliable, vigorous growth, but the plant also supplies visual interest throughout the growing season.

    Name: Hydrangea quercifolia

    Growing conditions: Part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide

    Zones: 5-9

  • ‘Pink Discovery’ Azalea

    Its bright color burst is short-lived, but ‘Pink Discovery’ azalea’s solid mass of flamboyant flowers provides a just-right transition from spring to summer bloomers. Pair the shrubs with hellebores, as in this sidewalk border, for an early-season showstopper.

    Name: Rhododendron yedoense var. poukhanensis ‘Pink Discovery’

    Growing conditions: Part shade and moist but well-drained acidic soil

    Size: To 10 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 5-9

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    Double Rock Rose

    Double Rock Rose

    Rock rose makes spring-flower lovers wait until late in the season for blooms, but that extra dose of patience is worth it. Double varieties such as this one are one of the best flowers to plant in spring, with a profusion of petals on low-growing shrubs in both spring and early summer.

    Name: Helianthemum ‘Annabel’

    Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide

    Zones: 6-8

  • These annual flowers don’t mind cool temperatures and are perfect for early-spring gardens.

 

The Best Vegetables to Plant in Early Spring

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The Best Vegetables to Plant in Early Spring

Start Them Early, but Enjoy Them for Weeks

The first vine-ripened tomato may still be a few months away, but there’s plenty to keep you busy in the vegetable garden. Take advantage of the cool, wet weather of spring to put in multiple crops of peas and lettuce. It’s also a great time to get your perennial vegetables, like asparagus and rhubarb, started.

 

    • Rows of growing Asparagus

      Photo: © Marie Iannotti

      There are many perennial vegetables – vegetables you can plant once and harvest for many years to come – but we only seem to grow a handful of them in our gardens. It’s true you have to devote space to them, sometimes for decades, but it’s worth it. Asparagus plants get more productive every year, and a mature harvest can last for months. Looking forward to the first tender, pencil-sized spears of asparagus poking through in the garden is a rite of spring. If you thought you didn’t likeMORE asparagus, you haven’t tried it freshly picked.

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      Rows of growing lettuce

      Carol Sharp Corbis/ Documentary/ Getty Images

      The cool, wet weather of Spring is the perfect time to grow lettuce, and there are hundreds of varieties to choose from. Lettuce may take a little protection to get it going in the early spring, but, oh, it never tastes better than when it’s grown in the crisp spring air. You will get the earliest and longest harvest from the cut-and-come-again varieties. Lettuce may require a little frost protection in spring, but it won’t bolt, and you will probably have time for 2-3 succession plantings.

    •  

      A vast pile of snow peas

      Emmanuelle Grimaud / Getty Images

      There’s a tradition of planting the first peas on St. Patrick’s Day. Many of us don’t always get to take part in that tradition because of the snow covering our vegetable gardens. However, even in years when you can manage to get out there early, the peas planted later in April will quickly catch up to the peas planted in March. Peas don’t like freezing temperature, but they dislike heat worse. So don’t miss the window of opportunity. Get out there and plant a crop of your favorites, whetherMORE its shelling peas, snow peas or sugar snap peas.

      A closeup of growing rhubarb

      Photo: © Marie Iannotti

      Rhubarb is a vegetable we prepare like a fruit, and it is the first sweet “fruit” of the season. Rhubarb is another perennial gem of the vegetable garden. It really is a shame rhubarb is so underused in cooking, because it’s very easy to grow. Once you get your bed established, you can look forward to a rhubarb harvest every spring. One word of warning: the rhubarb crown quickly turns into a very dense brick that is hard to divide. If you need to move your rhubarb or want to divide theMORE plant, do it while the plant is young before it has time to develop strong roots.

  • A vast pile of spinach

    Tracy Packer Photography / Getty Images

    Spinach must be grown in cool weather, or it will quickly bolt to seed. There are varieties that claim to be bolt-resistant, but sooner or later, (usually sooner), they all go to seed. Luckily it also grows extremely quickly – which means you don’t have to wait long to enjoy it, but you’ll also have to keep planting new spinach, to extend the harvest. Getting spinach to grow is easy. Keeping your spinach growing takes some extra care, but it’s worth it. Fresh spinach is crisper, tangier andMORE more tender than any you’ll find in a cellophane bag. And it can grow in the shade of crops that will be taking off just as your spinach fades.

MID-WINTER CHORES AND OTHER FEBRUARY GARDENING TIPS

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It’s hard to be inspired about gardening when the ground is frozen and wintry winds howl outside your window. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get into gardening this month.

While February is still too early to start most seeds indoors, it’s the right time to prepare for seeding by purchasing seed flats, containers, and peat pellets, as well as check your cold frame for needed repairs. It’s also a good time to finish up your seed order, if you haven’t done so already.

If you want to grow your own celery, leek, or onion transplants, February is the time to start them because these slow growers need several months before they are ready to set out. This also is the time to start small-seeded flowers such as begonias and petunias

If you potted bulbs for forcing last fall, check their progress. Soil should be barely moist. If tips have sprouted and have a few inches of growth, bring the pot into a cool, bright room (50 to 60 degrees F). Gradually expose the plant to increasing warmth and indirect sunlight. Increase waterings. Feed once a week with half-strength houseplant fertilizer.
To help the stems grow straight, turn the pot every day. When buds and foliage are fully developed, bring into full sunlight, and enjoy!

If you didn’t force any bulbs, you can still brighten up your home by forcing branches of spring-flowering trees such as forsythia, dogwood, and crabapple. It’s simple. Just cut the branches, place them in a bucket of warm water, and recut the stems to enhance water absorption. Then sit back and let nature take over. In a few days the branches should produce flowers.

Outdoors, check your perennial plants. An “open winter,” like this one demonstrates the need for protective mulch on strawberries and many perennial flowers as well as garlic, over-wintered spinach, and other crops that can easily be damaged by alternate warming and freezing of the soil. Although it is too late to undo any damage that’s done, mulching now can prevent additional damage caused by spring fluctuations in soil temperatures.

You also should take a walk around the garden to check for ice and snow damage to shrubs, evergreens, and trees. Look for damage by rabbits and rodents, too. Install hardware cloth around stems to protect against further damage.

February is a great time to think about the birds. In addition to keeping the feeders full, you can attract them to your yard and garden next spring by building a birdhouse now.

There are a few things to keep in mind. First, the size of the entrance must be proportionate to the type of bird you want to attract. You also will need to provide a rough surface both inside and outside the entrance to facilitate access.

In addition, ventilation holes are important. When you put up your birdhouse this spring, be sure to place it at least six feet off the ground to keep cats, raccoons, and other predators away. A protective collar hung just below the birdhouse also deters unwelcome visitors.

Plans for building birdhouses are available in many gardening books. Or browse the Internet, which is also a source of good information on a number of gardening topics.

August Gardening Tips

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Temperatures Soar and Color Sizzles

Some plants thrive as summer heats up. If your perennial beds lack color, try a few of these plants that flower through sweltering August afternoons. All are drought-tolerant once established.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.) brightens the garden with cheery yellow blooms perfect for cutting. It’s a good choice for a wildlife garden. Flowers beckon butterflies; seed heads are a goldfinch favorite.

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) unfurls silvery foliage accented with lavender blooms. Plants are deer-resistant.

Threadleaf tickseed (Coreopsis verticillata) opens daisylike blooms in shades of yellow, white, or pink. Low-maintenance plants have fine foliage and open flowers steadily until frost.

Yarrow (Achillea) sounds a steady note of drought-resistant color in the summer garden. Look for flowers in many shades, from white, to red, to peach, to yellow.

Test Garden Tip: Even the most reliable summer bloomers stage a stronger show when you faithfully remove faded flowers.

August Watering Tips

Water plants a few hours before applying pesticides, especially during times of drought. In these conditions, plants have less water in tissues, and as pesticides enter cells, they may burn leaves.

Avoid watering during midday, when more water will evaporate than soak into soil.

It’s not uncommon for plants to wilt on hot afternoons even though soil has adequate moisture. The wilting occurs because plants are losing water faster than their roots can absorb it. Leaves should revive by early evening, after the sun is no longer directly on leaves. If not, water deeply.

Some shrubs need weekly deep watering now. Rhododendrons are beginning to form flower buds for next year’s show, and adequate water is vital. Fruiting plants, such as hollies and firethorn, need water to ensure berries mature and don’t drop.

Test Garden Tip: Water newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials — any plants you added to your yard last fall or spring. These plants need weekly irrigation to ensure roots establish deeply.

Garden-Fresh Flavors from the Herb and Vegetable Garden

Peppers: Pick peppers at any stage of development. The longer fruits stay on a plant, the more intense flavor becomes — sweet peppers grow sweeter, and hot peppers develop a stronger burn.

Herbs: It’s best to pick herbs before they flower. Harvest herbs on a dry morning, after dew has dried. The exception is mint, which you want to pick at midday, when essential oil concentrations in leaves are greatest. Avoid harvesting herbs following a rain, when foliage is wet.

Tomatoes: Even though tomatoes continue to ripen after picking, fruits develop greatest flavor when allowed to ripen on plants. The exception is cherry tomatoes, which are prone to splitting. Pick these tasty morsels as soon as fruits start showing color.

It’s Time to Stop…

Fertilizing roses. Stop feeding roses this month so that growth can harden sufficiently before killing frost arrives. This will help reduce the amount of winter kill.

Pruning evergreens. As August arrives, put away the pruners as far as evergreens are concerned. If you prune now, you risk plants pushing new growth, which won’t harden off and will be killed during winter’s chill.

Ignoring zucchini. Daily inspections of squash vines are a must. In August heat, small, tasty fruit can transform into inedible baseball bats overnight.

Composting weed seeds. Unless your compost pile gets hot enough to kill seeds, it’s best to destroy weeds with seed heads. If your town has a community composting facility, place seedy weeds at the curb. The community compost will be hot enough to kill seeds.

August Garden Chores for the Northeast

Pull annuals that are past their prime and aren’t likely to recover. Cover bare soil to deter weeds.

Take cuttings of plants you want to overwinter. Choices may include fuchsia, scented geranium, coleus, or wax begonia. Stick 3- to 4-inch green stem cuttings in soil. Place pots in a shaded spot, and keep soil moist.

Make sure mower height is raised so you’re cutting grass higher. When grass is taller, it shades soil beneath, which reduces water evaporation from soil. Taller grass generally has deeper roots, which helps it withstand drought better.

September is peony planting time. That means August is the month to order peony roots. You should have peonies in the ground about a month before the average first frost date.

Our Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Bunny visit was a great success!!

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What a great time we had this past weekend at our Easter Egg hunt and Easter Bunny Visit! Stop on by this week for some great savings as well as checking out our new spring plant arrivals!

Don’t forget our Mulch Madness sale is still going on!

spring daniels easter 5 daniels easter 7 daniels easter 6 daniels easter 1 daniels easter 3 daniels easter 2 daniels easter 1 daniels easter 3 daniels easter 4 daniels easter 5 daniels easter 7 daniels easter 6 daniels easter 2 daniels easter 4

Mulching Tips For Spring

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Image result for spring mulching tips

 

Mulching is a must for every yard. A properly applied layer of mulch provides a wealth of benefits to a landscape by suppressing weeds, enriching the soil, preventing moisture loss, regulating soil temperature, and more. Read on to learn five mulching tips that can help improve the health of your plants and soil.

1) Weed First

Mulch smothers weeds from growing by blocking their access to sunlight. Already existing weeds, however, can still grow without sun, so pull all weeds by the root in the area before applying mulch.

2) Winter Warning

Lawns often experience frost heaving in the winter. This is the process of the soil freezing and then thawing out, which causes a gradual expanding and contracting motion. This means that the soil swells and pushes out plants, exposing the roots to freezing temperatures. Mulching with evergreen boughs, chopped leaves, or straw can help keep your soil stay frozen until the final thaw at the beginning of spring.

3) The Rule of Trees

While gardens require the entire plant bed to be mulched, trees have different needs. An individual tree on your lawn should have a circle of mulch surrounding it. Start with a circle that measures 2′ in diameter and continue to add mulch as the tree grows, gradually increasing the size of the mulch circle. Make sure that the mulch does not touch the base of the tree trunk, though, as this traps moisture and invites disease and pests. The same goes for flower stems.

4) Depth Control

Generally speaking, the layer of mulch you apply should be about 2″ to 3″ thick. If your mulch is less than 2″ deep, it is less capable of retaining moisture. Any deeper than 3″ and the mulch will prevent plant roots from accessing sun, air, water, and other nutrients it needs. Too thick of a layer can also result in your plants taking root in the mulch instead of the soil.

5) Newsflash

Believe it or not, newspaper is an effective mulching material. It’s great for smothering weeds by blocking the sunlight. It then decomposes into the soil (don’t worry, it’s non-toxic). Just cover a layer of newspaper with a more attractive organic mulch, like wood chips or bark, and enjoy your weed-free garden.

October in the Garden

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what-to-do-in-the-garden-in-october_3_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.  ~~Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

Happy October!

This month we welcome fall, celebrate the harvest, decorate and carve pumpkins for Halloween, and create all sorts of yummy recipes with them. The worst of summer’s heat should be over and cooler temperatures heading our way.

October is a great month in the garden too! It’s a great time to take a fresh look around your garden, find tired perennials that need to be cleaned up, or divided and transplanted.  Do you see spots that could use brightening up with annual color? Do you have herbs that you’d like to harvest and preserve to use in the winter? Now is the time!

Replace your summer color with cool season annuals. Decorate your entryway with containers of mums and asters accented by colorful pumpkins and gourds and enjoy the beautiful weather. When you stop by our garden center, let us show you plants that have great fall color, berries, and flowers. Plant those now to enjoy in fall for years to come.

 

Take this helpful checklist with you into your garden:

October Garden Checklist:

  • Divide perennials and replant them; cut back faded blooms and dead foliage
  • Fall is for planting – plant new perennials, trees and shrubs
  • Transplant existing trees and shrubs as needed
  • Plant cool season annuals like African daisies, sweet peas, pansies and snapdragons– remember to water them regularly while temperatures are still warm
  • Also plant cool season edibles like lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, peas, broccoli, and cauliflower
  • Plant bulbs now for a brilliant spring show
  • On your porch and patio –protect your furniture and grill. Slip-on covers will protect them during the winter
  • To add color throughout the winter, place brightly colored container gardens filled with annuals throughout your garden.

August Gardening Tips for the Northeast

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The garden is at its peak, and long days offer ample time for picking fresh flowers and sun-ripened produce.

Temperatures Soar and Color Sizzles

Some plants thrive as summer heats up. If your perennial beds lack color, try a few of these plants that flower through sweltering August afternoons. All are drought-tolerant once established.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.) brightens the garden with cheery yellow blooms perfect for cutting. It’s a good choice for a wildlife garden. Flowers beckon butterflies; seed heads are a goldfinch favorite.

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) unfurls silvery foliage accented with lavender blooms. Plants are deer-resistant.

Threadleaf tickseed (Coreopsis verticillata) opens daisylike blooms in shades of yellow, white, or pink. Low-maintenance plants have fine foliage and open flowers steadily until frost.

Yarrow (Achillea) sounds a steady note of drought-resistant color in the summer garden. Look for flowers in many shades, from white, to red, to peach, to yellow.

Test Garden Tip: Even the most reliable summer bloomers stage a stronger show when you faithfully remove faded flowers.

August Watering Tips

Water plants a few hours before applying pesticides, especially during times of drought. In these conditions, plants have less water in tissues, and as pesticides enter cells, they may burn leaves.

Avoid watering during midday, when more water will evaporate than soak into soil.

It’s not uncommon for plants to wilt on hot afternoons even though soil has adequate moisture. The wilting occurs because plants are losing water faster than their roots can absorb it. Leaves should revive by early evening, after the sun is no longer directly on leaves. If not, water deeply.

Some shrubs need weekly deep watering now. Rhododendrons are beginning to form flower buds for next year’s show, and adequate water is vital. Fruiting plants, such as hollies and firethorn, need water to ensure berries mature and don’t drop.

Test Garden Tip: Water newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials — any plants you added to your yard last fall or spring. These plants need weekly irrigation to ensure roots establish deeply.

Garden-Fresh Flavors from the Herb and Vegetable Garden

Peppers: Pick peppers at any stage of development. The longer fruits stay on a plant, the more intense flavor becomes — sweet peppers grow sweeter, and hot peppers develop a stronger burn.

Herbs: It’s best to pick herbs before they flower. Harvest herbs on a dry morning, after dew has dried. The exception is mint, which you want to pick at midday, when essential oil concentrations in leaves are greatest. Avoid harvesting herbs following a rain, when foliage is wet.

Tomatoes: Even though tomatoes continue to ripen after picking, fruits develop greatest flavor when allowed to ripen on plants. The exception is cherry tomatoes, which are prone to splitting. Pick these tasty morsels as soon as fruits start showing color.

It’s Time to Stop…

Fertilizing roses. Stop feeding roses this month so that growth can harden sufficiently before killing frost arrives. This will help reduce the amount of winter kill.

Pruning evergreens. As August arrives, put away the pruners as far as evergreens are concerned. If you prune now, you risk plants pushing new growth, which won’t harden off and will be killed during winter’s chill.

Ignoring zucchini. Daily inspections of squash vines are a must. In August heat, small, tasty fruit can transform into inedible baseball bats overnight.

Composting weed seeds. Unless your compost pile gets hot enough to kill seeds, it’s best to destroy weeds with seed heads. If your town has a community composting facility, place seedy weeds at the curb. The community compost will be hot enough to kill seeds.

August Garden Chores for the Northeast

Pull annuals that are past their prime and aren’t likely to recover. Cover bare soil to deter weeds.

Take cuttings of plants you want to overwinter. Choices may include fuchsia, scented geranium, coleus, or wax begonia. Stick 3- to 4-inch green stem cuttings in soil. Place pots in a shaded spot, and keep soil moist.

Make sure mower height is raised so you’re cutting grass higher. When grass is taller, it shades soil beneath, which reduces water evaporation from soil. Taller grass generally has deeper roots, which helps it withstand drought better.

September is peony planting time. That means August is the month to order peony roots. You should have peonies in the ground about a month before the average first frost date.

Helpful Summer Lawn and Garden Tips

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13615047_1371441292870497_6253295095098226131_nHere’s some helpful Summer lawn and garden tips:

Chores and Maintenance
– If rain is lacking, practice water-wise horticultural techniques

– Determine which plants are most important, and water them first

– Water plants early in the day through drip irrigation or hand-held hose with shut-off nozzle

– Re-apply mulch to plantings to help conserve moisture

– Allow lawns to go dormant; they will green up again when rain returns

– Continue to remove weeds that compete for water

– Continue to stake floppy plants and vines

– Mow lawns regularly to keep grass height at 2 to 2 1/2″

– Continue to aerate and moisten compost pile to speed decomposition

– Continue to apply acid mulch to azaleas and rhododendrons, and other ericaceous ornamentals

– Apply a summer mulch to rose beds to preserve moisture and control weeds

– Deadhead annuals and perennials to encourage continuous bloom, and cut back any rampant growth

– Continue to spray roses weekly with a baking soda fungicide (See June for the recipe)

– Remove any fallen leaves and debris that can harbor insect pests and disease organisms

– Pinch back asters and chrysanthemums one last time

– Finish deadheading rhododendrons and lilacs

– Continue to apply deer repellent

Biennial Plants

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Biennial Plant Information: What Does Biennial Meanperennial-garden

One way to categorize plants is by the length of the plant’s life cycle. The three terms annual, biennial and perennial are most commonly used to classify plants due to their life cycle and bloom time. Annual and perennial is fairly self explanatory, but what does biennial mean? Read on to find out.

What Does Biennial Mean?

So what are biennial plants? The term biennial is in reference to the plant’s longevity. Annual plants live just one growing season, performing their entire life cycle, from seed to flower, in this short period of time. Only the dormant seed is left to cross over into the next growing season.

Perennial plants live three years or more. Usually, the top foliage dies back to the ground each winter and then regrows the successive spring from the existing root system.

Basically, biennials in the garden are flowering plants that have a two-year biological cycle. Biennial plant growth begins with seeds that produce the root structure, stems and leaves (as well as food storage organs) during the first growing season. A short stem and low basal rosette of leaves form and remains through the winter months.

During the biennial’s second season, biennial plant growth completes with the formation of flowers, fruit and seeds. The stem of the biennial will elongate or “bolt.” Following this second season, many biennials reseed and then the plant usually dies.

Biennial Plant Information

Some biennials require vernalization or cold treatment before they will bloom. Flowering may also be brought about by the application of gibberellins plant hormones, but is rarely done in commercial settings.

When vernalization occurs, a biennial plant may complete its entire life cycle, from germination to seed production, in one short growing season; three or four months instead of two years. This most commonly affects some vegetable or flower seedlings that were exposed to cold temperatures before they were planted in the garden.

Other than cold temperatures, extremes such as drought can shorten the biennial’s life cycle and compress two seasons into a year. Some regions may then, typically, treat biennials as annuals. What may be grown as a biennial in Portland, Oregon, for example, with a fairly temperate climate, would likely be treated as an annual in Portland, Maine, which has far more severe temperature extremes.

Biennials in the Garden

There are many fewer biennials than perennial or annual plants, with most of them being types of vegetables. Keep in mind that those biennials, whose purpose is for flowers, fruits or seeds, need to be grown for two years. Climatic conditions in your area which are unseasonably cold, with lengthy periods of frost or cold snaps, affect whether the plant will be a biennial or an annual, or even if a perennial appears to be a biennial.

Examples of biennials include: