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!


This is the month to put your Amaryllis to sleep for the fall so it will re-bloom this Christmas. Start by cutting  all the foliage to about 1″ – 2″ from the top of the bulbs, and place the bulbs in a dry, dark place. I put mine in paper NOT plastic, grocery bags. Basements are good choices, and even the back of a closet will work. You are trying to force your bulbs to take a rest, to slip into a few weeks of dormancy before starting a new flowering cycle. During this period, DO NOT water.

Let the Amaryllis sleep for ten to twelve weeks. Then start the growing cycle over just as you did when you first planted the bulbs.

PRE-SOAK BULB – Bulbs are very dry when you buy them. They need to be pre-soaked before planting. To do this place the bulb in a small container that will allow it to be half way submerged and soak in tepid water for 3-8 hours.

Replace the soil with fresh mix, remove any dead leaves and old, peeling bulb sheaths (these look like the dried, outer skins on an onion) and replant, again with the bulb shoulders exposed. Place your bulbs in bright light and give them one good drink of water. The combination of light and water will wake up the plants and encourage them to start growing again. When the first leaves appear, and NOT BEFORE, begin watering them regularly. If you give them a steady supply of water to the bulb with no foliage, the bulb will rot.

The only things I will add is that I take mine out of the old dirt for fear of bugs in the soil and I spray my bulbs with the Insecticidal Soap to make sure no funguses lived over the ten to twelve weeks they are sleeping. I would leave them the 12 weeks then re-pot the bulbs. Remember they will need another 2 weeks after they are re-planted to bloom so count backwards from when you want them to bloom and add one more week to this formula. Example: I will be putting mine to “bed” the week of August 21 and replanting the week of November 21st. Yeah, right before Thanksgiving. Then they have 2-3 weeks to bloom before Christmas. If you wait them blooming the first week of December adjust your week to put them to “bed”.

Can’t believe we are thinking about Christmas when it’s in the 90’s. Happy Gardening.


There are so many different types of Hydrangeas that grow here in our area.  Dear Violet’s favorite website for Hydrangeas is: You can get all the advice you need from this wonderful website. They do a great job of answering the #1 question for Hydrangeas. Why won’t my bloom? Follow their tips and advice and your Hydrangeas will be blooming very soon.

Diane Burke sent Dear Violet her trick for keeping Hydrangeas fresh as well as the beautiful mint that was in the beautiful flower arrangements at the picnic. Here’s what she does:

  1. When you go out to your yard to cut your hydrangeas, take a container of water with you. The water should be tepid, not cold. Place the cut hydrangeas directly into the water and then bring them back into your kitchen.
  2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan and then pour the water into a heat resistant cup or other container. Let cool for a minute and then get ready to dip the hydrangea stems into the boiled water. This removes a sticky sap like substance from within the stem that may block the stems ability to take in the water.
  3. Make sure you cut the stems to the length you want first, and then place the stem into the boiling water and leave 30 seconds. Remove the hydrangea stem from the boiled water and immediately place it in a vase or container with water at room temperature.
  4. Arrange the blooms as you’d like in your vase/container and ENJOY.

Great Advice. Dear Violet would only add that Hydrangeas should be cut first thing in the morning and I submerge the entire flower, stem and all in the first container of water. This hydrates the entire flower. The above method can also be used when the hydrangea flowerettes start to droop.  You can cut them again and place the stems in very hot water from the tap and they will perk right up. Works about 2 maybe 3 times before the hydrangea has had it.

Happy Gardening!



Deadheading is #1 job for June

Again, The # 1 job in June is to deadhead, water now that the temperatures are soaring and fertilize. With the 90’s right around the corner, you will want to check your pots to see how dry the soil has become. You will be surprised! Make sure to drown them before this weekend’s 90’s.

Also, it’s a great time to cut back plants like coleus and diamond frost that are fillers in your pots so they don’t take over the pot. Remember to deadhead your geraniums and petunias. They will thank you with a lot more flowers.

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.

Amaryllis Part 3

Now that the torrential rains have stopped, your Amaryllis bulbs in their original pots with the only the leaves because you have trimmed the dead stems off, can go outside. Place them in morning sun/afternoon shade. Keep them watered and also fertilize them every 2 weeks or so. Dear Violet uses a liquid sprayer attached to my hose. Makes it so must faster to fertilizer all my pots.

Check out the web site’s directions for more inform on summering Amaryllis bulbs outside. More inform to come in August on how to force the bulbs for a December bloom.

You can also plant them outside in the ground BUT you must plant them in a south facing garden. Dear Violet’s are also planted close to a stone wall which helps them stay warm during the weather. We are right on the line for Amaryllis bulbs surviving our winters. Please follow the directions at this website for planting them outdoors.


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!