Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Heidi's Helpful Hints #1 Baby Divisions or Seedlings

A late season score: I found these gems in a compost pile out for pick-up in my 'hood: rejects of Echinacea. My eye caught them before curb collection. Nine plants in total.

Be sure to examine all the leaves and the roots to find any issues; disease or possible rot. Discard if so.

This is the hint:  even though there are a bunch of tiny plants, instead of planting them separately and having to wait ages until they bulk up - group them instead. Here I've clustered the separate plants together, making two groupings.

Dig a large enough hole and place all the divisions together, making sure you don't squish them, allowing just enough space for adequate root growth. 

You can do this as well with the self seeded "plant-lets' that are generally around Echinacea in the garden. A great idea to pot them up as gifts for a friend. This method will allow for less wait time for the plant to establish and plentiful flowers for next summer.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hostas - Autumn Display

Not only should you choose the right colour of Hosta for summer displays; be also mindful about your choice for autumn colour in the garden.

I find, basic green and blue leaved varieties have true golden colours as autumn progresses.

The golden or chartreuse leaved hostas turn creamy yellow in autumn.

If you have evergreens as backdrops, or evergreen ground covers, choosing varieties like:

Hosta 'Halcyon' (colours up late in season, but well worth the wait)
  • August Moon
  • Paul's Glory
  • Big Daddy
  • Blue Angel
  • Sieboldii Elegans
  • Mouse Ears
  • Francee
  • Great Expectations
  • June
  • Krossa Regal
  • Royal Standard
  • Sum and Substance
  • Regal Splendor
  • Plantanginea 

Hosta 'Blue Cadet' (unfortunately, the slug damage shows up a fair bit - but from afar it lights up the shady garden)
...will really make a great display. I have experience with the above. Some turn early and some late. It's really fun to notice the changes.
The golden leaf colour is accentuated by the English Ivy's evergreen foliage.

If you want the autumn display to last, be sure to keep the hostas watered. Or like the above photo, tips will begin to dry out and become brown.
I find slight variegated varieties of Hostas colour up well too. The pale leaved varieties which have less chlorophyll (green) have less golden colouration in autumn. For the most part, all Hostas will yellow - some more than others.

Timing and frost free conditions are key as well. Once the frost hits, the leaves wilt - colour is gone.

Lots of colour still remaining in late October. Love my little hostas.
Enjoy them whilst you can!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Late Flowering Perennials

Nothing is bleaker than seeing your garden fade in October. When autumn foliage colour, leaf drop and the hint of frost on your lawn early in the morning show signs of winter.

However, there are these lovely plants that still shine through the darkness of seasonal change. Try some in your garden:

Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate' - Chocolate Joe Pie Weed

Tricyrtus hirta - Toad Lily

Nipponanthemum nipponicum - Nippon Daisy

Anemone x hybrida "Honorine Jobert" - autumn flowering Anemone

Actea racemosa "Hillside Black Beauty" -  This spliced photo is necessary to get the full spectrum of our Bugbane. Its spring foliage bears the name 'black beauty' - more than rest of the season. Fern-like, bronze foliage - really wonderful texture in May. Greening up in summer, it resembles an Astilbe. But just when you think it has given up any chance of flowering, in mid August the flower buds emerge and take ages to show any sign of blooming. Come late September, you get the first glimpse of these fabulous white bottle-brush blooms. Quite frost tolerant and will flower well into November in shade. (This plant gets evening sun.)

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Plant Profile: Bush Honeysuckle - Diervilla lonicera

This shrub has to be the most overlooked specimen in garden centres.

I have no idea why.

During the summer, this plant has such a fully balanced form of deep, shiny green foliage that sometimes can become confused with dogwood varieties.

Attractive attributes:
  • drought tolerant
  • full sun to shade ranges in exposure
  • not susceptible to bugs or disease
  • easy to prune
  • fabulous red fall colouring of foliage and seed heads
  • hardy (zone 3)
  • native (Ontario/Eastern USA)
  • seeds are food source for birds
  • bees and butterflies like their late blooming flowers

Not many shrubs have seed heads so rich in colour with contrasting blooms side by side.

This is just the beginning of the real autumn show. Leaves turn deep burgundy before their autumn shed. Brilliant red seeds provide winter interest.

Flowering from late July to October.  Give the shrub a harsh, rounded prune in early spring and it will provide more new growth for better flowering like above.

It's worth asking your local garden centre to order you one.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Green Living Roof

I don't profess to know how to install a green living roof. But I do tend to one and am completely convinced of their usefulness and sheer will to survive the toughest of environments.
The key is selecting plant material that can tolerate the extremes - making sure there is proper drainage.

Plants I can ID in the above photo: (all native)
  • Fragaria virginiana - Wild Strawberry
  • Coreopsis tripteris - Tickseed
  • Rudbeckia hirta - Black Eyed Susan
  • Gaillardia pulchella - Blanket Flower
  • Deullingeria umbellata - Flat Topped White Aster
  • Symphyotrichum ciliolatum - Blue Fringed Aster
  • Sedum acre - Stonecrop

Some plants are already dormant at this stage.

No required mowing or mulching. Leaving the seed heads is key. Self germination will determine which of the plants listed above will prosper. Making an ecosystem of its own.

The occasional intruder is what I am after. Bird droppings and the wind carry some deadly weeds, tree seedlings and grass that will unravel the balance of what works.
This is a rather large area and it's just amazing to see torrential rains get absorbed by this living roof. I would hate to see the alternative.

The best part - the VIEW! lol

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Suckers or Water Shoots on Corylus avellana contorta


This lovely Corkscrew Hazel (Twisted Hazel), also known as Harry Lauder's walking stick has been reacting to last winter's tough exposure. Suckers (or water shoots) are appearing from the root zone beneath.  This proves this specimen has a grafted rootstock. Some Corkscrew Hazel are in fact grown with their own rootstock. Others not.

Here you can tell the growth is unlike the contorted leaves and stems of the cultivar planted.
These are called suckers.

Remove these suckers as close to the base as possible. Even dig out some of the soil (but be sure not to damage the crown further) and cut as close to the sprouted area as possible.
A comparison of both. Lighter, green leaves and straight stems for the suckers, and crinkly, twisted stems for the Corkscrew Hazel.

If you leave these suckers, they will eventually take over and choke the contorted growth. These twisted cultivars are grafted on a regular Filbert/Hazel rootstock. Thankfully the grafted specimens are available. This gives us in Ontario and colder climates a chance to grow them - the grafted rootstock gives the plant vigor when establishing.  Would be a waste to see the common Corylus hazel take over this ideal spot next to the pond.

I think the Koi approve!
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