December Poinsettias

Here’s a wonderful article from Better Homes and Gardens on the care of our beautiful Christmas Poinsettias. Just remember Poinsettias do not let to sit in water.

Summer is here! June and July gardening in BR

If you haven’t done so yet, NOW is the time to prune all the spring blooming shrubs like azaleas for next year. Mother nature has been very good to us this spring with lots of rain. Let’s hope it continues thru August when all the spring bloomers set their buds for next year.

Deadheading is the big June and July job! Many annuals and perennials bloom better when deadheaded. It is a must for our beautiful geraniums! BUT CLIP don’t pull the dead flower stem from the geraniums. You could split the branches causing them to take longer to re-bloom. Adding a little slow release fertilizer now also would help them re-bloom as well.Follow package instructions for best results. With all the rain we have been blessed with, the soil could use more nutrients. If you geraniums are looking a little yellow, you can use 2 tbsps. of Epson Salts to a gallon of water and that will green them right up. Your annuals and perennials could also use the deadheading and hit of fertilizer as well.  Look for a slow release fertilizer that doesn’t have a high nitrogen number. That’s the first number in the NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium).

Enjoy all the gorgeous hydrangeas blooming now as well. But remember the big Mophead variety will need to be cut back (if needed) by the middle of August so when the plant sets their buds for next year, you will not cut off the buds by pruning the wrong time of the year.

You can also read the June 9, 2016 article for more information on both Day lilies and getting them to re-bloom and the Chrysanthemums tip so they bloom in September or October when u want them to bloom.



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!