Archive by Author | Donna Lamonds

Dear Violet is Back

Well it’s finally happened. Dear Violet posts are back. This year Dear Violet will have 2 posts a month. The first post will be on garden care for that month. What’s growing and how to care for it. The second Post will be “Color for every Month” What is blooming this month and yes Dear Violet has flowers every month. April is a beautiful month for us. Everything is blooming! I thought DV would start will the bulbs in your yard. Did you know that deadheading tulips, daffodils, and other bulbs help next year’s crop? In fact most plants benefit from deadheading. Pansies, Geraniums and even day lilies (that only bloom for a day-hence the name day lilies). A flowering plant’s job is to flower so the plant will continue to send out signals to form new buds and continue flowering when you deadhead off the old flower. SO BACK to bulbs, after the bloom dies on the bulb stem, the plant is still sending a signal to the bloom. If you cut off just the stem NOT THE LEAVES, the signal then goes to the bulb to start storing energy (food) into the bulb for next year’s blooms adding more bulbs for more flowers as with daffodils. Pansies love to be deadheaded. This is the same principle of sending a signal to the plant to produce more flowers. (As well as the new geraniums you just bought home) But once the temperatures at night reach 65 – 70 degrees, the pansies will no longer make new blooms – it’s too hot for them. Hence the term “you’re a pansy- meaning you can’t stand the heat. June’s Dear Violet article will talk more in depth about deadheading and specific plants and how to dead head them.

May’s Garden Club Meeting will be at Frank’s Perennial where will be learn about perennials and their care. This month’s question… Is it possible to get a day lily to rebloom since a day lily flower only blooms for one day? The answer is yes. If you cut off each stem after it finishes flowering and then give the whole plant a haircut (cut the plant back by half) and fertilize and water(if it’s been a dry June) most times the Day Lily (who’s job is to bloom will send up more flower stems and bloom a second time. You can buy both reblooming day lilies and reblooming Irises now. More to come in June’s articles. There will be a space to write the Dear Violet question and answer at the bottom of your worksheet from the field trip to Frank’s. See you all there.

Water Water!!

HI All,

Dear Violet is back. WATER WATER is the title of this post because of the heat that’s coming next week. I would suggest to water water your hydrangeas as well as your peonies. With the freezing temperatures that the Hydrangeas have already been thru, they are going to be just as stressed from this heat with no rain. I would suggest 30 minutes of water this week and next. The Peonies also could use some water too. I use a small round sprinkler and set the timer on my phone to help remember to move the sprinkler after 3o minutes. Oh and to help me remember to turn it off. Slow watering as the soil is  very dry.

Freeze Warning

Freezing temperatures are possible overnight Friday into Saturday and Saturday into Sunday given the forecast conditions. Plan to protect newly planted annuals or herbs, and if possible any perennials that have begun to grow more than a few inches tall because of the unseasonably warm weather. If it is not possible to protect all your perennials, remember that freeze damage is not generally fatal to perennials, but may cause cosmetic damage. Pansies/Violas will be ok unprotected.

Trees and shrubs won’t be killed but may suffer cosmetic damage to flowers or new growth. Unprotected hydrangeas in particular may suffer damage to flower buds, causing poor or no flowering this year. 

Protect plants in the ground by draping sheets or blankets over them. Sticks can be used to create a “tent” to avoid flattening delicate plants, and also to avoid contact with leaves which may result in freezing through the blanket. Add bricks on top of the sheets to hold down the sheet from the winds. Containers can be moved into a protected area or covered the same way as plants in the ground.

What if you can’t protect because plants are too big or there are too many? Spring freezes are more of a cosmetic problem that a danger to hardy plants (perennials, shrubs and trees). Plants often recover with minimal long-term effects. That doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating to lose your beautiful cherry or magnolia blossoms.  That’s weather in North Carolina!

Why isn’t my Amaryllis re-blooming?

Here’s some instructions to help those not yet blooming Amaryllis bulbs.

  1. DID YOU PRE-SOAK THE BULBS FIRST BEFORE PLANTING THEM? If not, soak it now in the dirt. Place pot with bulb in a deep bowl and add warm water to about 2/3 the height of the pot the bulb is planted in. Check to make sure the neck of the bulb IS NOT submerged! Let soak for 4 – 6 hrs. NEXT  If the bulb has sprouted leaves, (Now this will be hard to do, cut the leaves off to about 3″). This will shock the bulb and signal it to bloom.
  2. BULBS MAY NEED SOME FERTILIZER. Add a 15-30-15 liquid fertilizer (follow directions on box) to warm water and water the dirt around the bulb in the pot, not the bulb. As the dirt completely dries, about 5-7 days water again. If you are pre-soaking, you can add the 15-30-15 water solution to the water that the pot is soaking in. REMEMBER AMARYLLIS BULBS WILL ROT IF OVER WATERED! 
  3. AMARYLLIS BULBS LIKE HEAT AND SUNLIGHT . Make sure the bulb is in a very warm room with sunlight at least half of the day. After they bloom, you can move them to less light and a cooler room to extend they bloom time. We have had several very cold days in the last 2 months.
  4. DON’T GIVE UP! Your’s will probably bloom in January. This summer while the bulb is summering out side, make sure to feed the bulb which will help this problem next winter. Also, remember forcing the Amaryllis to bloom for Christmas only works a couple of years.

Merry Christmas Happy Gardeners.

Caring for your Cyclamen

the Cyclamen is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful houseplants, with velvety flowers in shades of white, red, pink and purple. A tuberous-root plant. it will enhance your indoor environment for months. The following pointers will help you prolong your enjoyment.

LIGHT: Give this plant bright, filtered light but keep it out of direct sunlight, which might scorch the leaves.

WATER: During the active growing period, water your cyclamen by standing the pot in a deep dish of water for half an hour. This avoids wetting the tuber, which can rot if it’s too moist. (Watering from above can also lead to crown rot.) Repeat this soaking treatment when the surface of the potting mixture feels dry. Feed with a liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks.

TEMPERATURE: Keep the plant cool at all times, so that it’s flowers last-longer. Warmer temperatures will shorten the plant’s life. A temperature of about 55-65 degrees is ideal, so try to keep your cyclamen in one of your home’s cooler areas.

HUMIDITY: Although the cyclamen doesn’t like wet feet, it will certainly benefit from humidity higher than that in most homes. The best way to enhance its environment is to stand the pot in a saucer filled with moist pebbles.

GROOMING: Remove flowers as they fade. Remove yellowing leaves as the plant gradually goes dormant.

After Blooming:  Most people choose to dispose of cyclamen after the bloom period ends. If you’d like to try to keep it, follow these instructions.  Your cyclamen will become dormant after its exuberant period of bloom. During this time, put it in a cool spot after the foliage dies back and let the soil dry. Then, in midsummer, repot the tuber with new potting soil in a small pot and place it in a warm place to encourage root growth. As the plant grows, gradually return it to a cooler location to induce blooming. Enjoy!

Fall is a great time to plant and transplant

If you are planting or transplanting this week, PLEASE make sure to water water water with the high 80’s temperatures coming back !

Fall is the best time to plant or transplant!

Now is the time to begin transplanting your bulbs and day lilies.

For Gladiolus,

1. Cut back the foliage to within 1 inch of the ground after the leaves begin to yellow and die back naturally in the fall. Rinse pruning shears in a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water before each cut to disinfect them.

2. Dig around the clump of gladiolus corms, loosening the soil to a 6″ depth. Lift the corms out of the soil and brush off the dirt.

3. Break apart the corms by twisting them gently until they separate. Remove the old basal plate, which contains the roots, on the large main corms and dispose of it. Separate the smaller corms from the sides of the main corms. Throw away any rotten or damaged corms.

4. Cover the new bed with a 2″ compost layer, then till into the top 6 to 8″ of soil. Select a well-drained garden bed that receives all-day sunlight during the spring and summer growing season.

5. Transplant each corm so the tip is 3 to 6 inches deep, planting larger corms at the 6″ depth and the smaller corms 3″ deep. Space the corms 3 to 6″ apart in all directions.

6. Water the soil after transplanting so the top 6″ feels moist. Cover the bed with 2″ of mulch to protect the corms from winter temperature fluctuations. Gladiolus do not require further watering until spring.

For Day Lilies: This articles is from Oakes Daylilies which shows these step by step instructions on an actual Day Lily: Divide and Conquer 101

  1. Select a large Clump: You can divide any daylily clump that has 2 fans(divisions) or more, but typically you would want to divide clumps that are several years old with quite a few fans.
  2. Dig up the clump. Start digging 6-8″ away from the clump, then work your way around the clump until you can pop it out of the ground
  3. Shake off the dirt and trim the foliage(optional) Shake off some of the dirt so you can see where to divide the plants. You may also want to trim the foliage (6-8″) so the plants are easier to handle. Trimming is optional, but if you don’t trim, the leftover foliage may wilt and look ragged after the transplant. New foliage will typically start growing back soon after transplanting, especially if you keep them well watered.
  4. Divide the Clump. Often you will just be able to pull the plants apart (some varieties divide more easily than others). If they don’t pull apart easily, you can use a knife to pry or cut the plants apart.
  5. How small to divide? You can divide as small as one plant but you will probably want to leave a few plants together. If you divide to a single plant, you probably won’t get much bloom the next year.
  6. Replant: Dig a hole deep and wide enough to place the roots. Plant to the depth they were previously planted. The white ring between roots and leaves is about ground level. Cover the roots and firm the soil.
  7. You’re finished! We usually toss a slight handful of basic fertilizer around the drip line of the day lilies in the fall. We just use a basic 10-10-10 mix. After you fertilize, don’t forget to water and mulch your new daylily. Then, just sit back and let that beauty grow!
  8. Remember Day Lilies are sun lovers.