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!

Fall is finally here!

Fall is finally here and all the wonderful pansies and mums are showing up in the nurseries. Here’s a tip: Check all those little flower buds on that beautiful chrysanthemums plant before you buy it. If the little flower buds are wilted or brown, don’t buy that plant. It means the mum dried out and those wilted/brown buds will NOT open into a flower.  Most mums that you find in the Garden shops or even grocery store are grown as annuals. Some may come back when planted in the yard but most will not. Yellows have been known to come back. The beautiful Pelee (florist) mums will not come back in our area. They are not cold hardy.

After you buy the beautiful mums, make sure to keep them watered heavily and if you want them to last October and November, remember to give them some shade. The more sun the water they will need.

Mark your calendars for 2 great “Folks on Friday”programs from the Master Gardeners. Friday October 21 at noon on Composting and Friday October 28 at noon on “Gardening for Wildlife with Native Plants”. Both held at the Extension Office on Fairchild St. W/S. You can find out more on both classes at

Are those Fall Webworm bags in the trees driving you nuts? Here’s a tip on them that doesn’t involve burning your trees and feeds the birds at the same time. If you will simply tear a hole in the bags, the birds will eat the worms. NOW I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH! DO NOT STAND DIRECTLY UNDER THE WEB WHILE DOING THIS UNLESS YOU WANT CATERPILLAR POO IN YOUR HAIR-  you have been warned. You have now created a bird buffet.

Help for wilting plants

Are you tired of this heat yet? I’m dying!! Do you know the difference between heat wilt and too dry? Hard to believe in all this heat that you could over water your plants- But you can.

Proven winners has a great article on over watering as well as several other good articles on knowing the difference between wilt from too much heat and too much water.

Dear Violet was discussing how her geraniums are struggling in all this heat with Theresa Myers and picked up a tip to pass on – Epson Salts.

Mix 2 TBSP of Epson Salts in a gallon of water and water the geraniums (as well as other plants) with the mixture in the morning. Plants will perk up and green up. Here’s a great article on Epson Salts

Happy Gardening!

Deadheading is #1 job in June

Before you rush out and start trimming nad deadheading, take a minute and read New Garden’s Landscaping and Nursery Summer 2016 newsletter.

Most perennials an annuals will benefit from deadheading. Here’s a few specific tips:

Peonies: You need to cut off the spent blooms down to the first leave pass the blooms for more blooms next year. Dear Violet’s favorite website for al things Peonies is

Perennials Chrysanthemums: Pinch or cut them back for bushier growth and more blooms in the fall. Make sure to get all the flowers buds. If not, they will bloom June and July and not in the fall when we want them to be showy.

Day lilies: Pinch (don’t pull) off spent blooms daily. When the stalk is empty and still green, cut it to the ground. When all stalks are finished blooming and have been removed: fertilize and water well and most day lilies with bloom a second round. Day Lilies get their names from the fact that the bloom is only open for one day.

Planting Time is here again

Here we go- It’s planting time girls (and guys). BEFORE you go crazy buying the beautiful plants in our local nurseries, stop and evaluate your pots and gardens. Make note of how much sun and rain they receive. That makes a big difference in what you plant. Don’t mix sun and shade plants. Think about how much water the plants need. You don’t want plants that need watering several times a week mixed with plants that only need watered once a week. Check the manufacturer card that comes with the plants or ask someone at the nursery. Putting the right plants together will make a huge difference in the out come of your pots.

Now think about the dirt in those pots. Has the dirt been there for several years? Then there is no nutrition in the soil. I now use Bio-Tone Starter Plus by Espoma in all my pots. Robyn from Briar Patch introduced this product to us. Follow the chart on the bag for instructions for amending your soil. I will NEVER plant without this product again. It has a higher nitrogen number which promotes root growth for healthier, stronger plants. It will also help the plants “green up”.

It’s also time to plant those boxes of Wildflower blend. Pick an area that gets morning sun. The best tip “Dear Violet” can give you for planting this seed mix is to WEED the area you are planning to use for the seed mix. Then when the seeds begin to germinate, you will know it’s a flower not a weed. The instructions on the box are very easy to follow. Take pictures for Dear Violet.

Planting instructions for the Siberian Irises:

Planting the Siberian Iris is best done in a rich, fertile soil with good drainage; however, Siberian iris will perform in lean or poor soils as well. Corms can be planted in full sun to partially shady areas. Keep the soil consistently moist until the plants are established, about a year. Water established plants regularly when drought conditions exist. Feed Siberian Iris plants with a nitrogen rich fertilizer and fertilize again when the blooms are spent. Trim the flower stalks as with all bulbs leaving the leaves to store food for next years flowers. Siberian Irises can be planting in the spring; just don’t expect blooms the same year. Siberian Irises are rarely bothered by rots and borers as are the bearded irises.

Remember trim off the flower stems from your daffodils and tulips. This one simple step will insure that you have tulips and daffodils next year. By trimming the flower stems, you send a signal to the plant to put all the food energy into the bulbs for next years flowers.

Happy Gardening!


April Events


With the crazy swings we have been experiencing, remember to keep your potted plants watered especially your pansies. It’s very important with the freezing temperatures expected over the next 2 weeks.

April is a great month for planning your gardens or containers and attending all the wonderful educational classes offered here in our area as well as all the great plant sales.


April 15 – our Zone 7’s  date for the last freeze but watch the weather.

April 16 – Old Salem’s Heirloom Plant Sale

April 16 – 19 Plant Sale and Programs at the Arboretum at Tanglewood. Dear Violet is signed up for the April 19th class. You can call 336 703 2850 to register. Information on the Plant Sale and Programs on website.

Forks on Fridays – Master Gardeners Spring Lecture Series held on Fridays at the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension office on Fairchild rd in Winston. You can call 336 703-2850 to register. Information on Forks on Fridays on website.

For the “Dear Violet” followers, Dear Violet has a surprise for you. Email if you can’t make the meeting or tell Dear Violet at the April Garden Club meeting the password “PURPLE” and you will get the surprise.

Happy Spring.