Archive for Flowers

Cymbidium ‘King of Orchid’

Cymbidium Culture

Orchid Cymbidium

In a word, Cymbidiums are stunning.  With a lushness to remind us of better gardening days ahead and a flower to make the wait until spring worthwhile, Cymbidiums make the perfect plant.

Inside, in the winter, Cymbidiums need moderate to bright light such as morning sun or bright, “dappled” afternoon shade preferring daytime temperatures of 65 to 82 degrees F and nighttime temperatures of 50 to 65 degrees F.

Outdoors, after the danger of frost, place just inside the “drip-line” of a good shade tree or a bright covered porch.

Cymbidiums should be kept evenly moist and well drained; and fed with a nitrogen fertilizer about once every two weeks.

Available at garden centers and even grocery stores.  Pick up your Cymbidium today for the best pick-me-up waiting for spring.

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

Comments (3)

The Amaryllis Lives on in The Garden

Did you know amaryllis transitions nicely from your holiday display to the garden for good?

Lucky for us, our zone 7 gardens suit this transition just fine.

Here’s what to do:

· Keep the amaryllis alive inside until after the treat of the last frost date in spring. For Raleigh, that 90 percentile magical date is April 15.

· Choose a location in the garden that receives full sun with afternoon shade for a little relief from our notably, hot afternoon summer sun.

· The soil should be well-drained and fertile with some phosphorus added. Bone meal or phosphorus fertilizer work fine.

· Remove the bulb from the pot and carefully, spread the roots.

· Plant the bulb just below the neck of the plant.

· Cover with 2 – 3 inches of mulch to aid in conserving water.

· Water in well.

· Keep mulched through the winter to enjoy your amaryllis for years to come.

Most likely, your amaryllis will not bloom again this year. Still, there will be nice strappy leaves to enjoy. Lightly fertilize monthly through August.

Next year in the late spring, your amaryllis should bloom again.

It is my understanding, hardy amaryllis are good into zone 6.

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

Comments (9)

A New Native Fall Blooming Dogwood?

Native Dogwood flowering in the fall

Spotted in Raleigh this week.  Is it a new native fall blooming dogwood?  It is fall.  It is a native dogwood.  Nope.  Nothing new; it’s been around for a while.

I have been assured by the best at the JC Raulston Arboretum that what this is,  is only the dogwood’s last hurrah before it goes dormant.   Too bad.  I could get use to this.

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening With Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook  friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

Comments (14)

The Fictitious Naming of Pretty Much Picasso™


Pretty Much Picasso™ Trial garden in Helen's Haven, Raleigh, NC

I wish I were a fly on the wall when the naming of this  Proven Winners petunia occrred.  I can imagine how the  brainstorming session went:

Marketing Head: “Here she is.  Now what deserving name do we give her?”

Namer 1: “Wow, this is gonna be hard, how about green and pink?

Namer 2: “But it’s more than just green and pink; its more like a lime green and purplely pink with deep colored veins, darker throat; very abstract, actually.”

Namer 3: “Well, that doesn’t help us name it.  How would these colors combine in nature?

Namer 4: “Makes me think of the colors from a Sherwin Williams paint chip display.”

Marketer Head: “Ok, now were’re on to something.  How about, Sherwin?”

Namer 2: Naw, sounds too much like Sherman and southerners don’t take cotton to the name Sherman.”

Namer 4: “But, I like the paint thing.  Kinda looks like a Monet painting.”

Marketing Head:   “Yea, but that kinda sound like the other guy’s Weigela My Monet™ and they have the mark, so there is no chance there.”

Namer 3: “Well since the colors are somewhat abstract, how about Picasso?”

Namer 1: “Yeah, I like that, Picasso!”

Marketing Head: “Does everyone agree?”

Namer 3: “Pretty much.”

Marketing Head: Pretty much; not absolutely?

Namers 1, 2, 3, and 4 shaking their heads in agreement. “Yeah, we like it pretty much?”

Marketing Head: “Ok, we all agree, Picasso it is!”

In the meantime, the note taker was asked to send it over to the attorney to be Trademarked. The attorney asks, “that’s it, Picasso?”  Note taker, feeling a little unsure, refers to their notes and replies, pretty much; yeah, that’s it, pretty much Picasso.”

And so a name could be born.


Pretty Much Picasso™ trialed in Helen's Haven

However it was named, Proven Winners’ Pretty Much Picasso™ is a winner in my book.

The trial in my garden, Helen’s Haven, is still going on.  We have yet to experience a hard frost; Pretty Much Picasso™ continues to do well.

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening With Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook  friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

Comments (21)

Zuni Gives 100 Days of Blooms!

July09HelensHavenYoest 059c

For a brief moment, 5 years ago, I knew the name of this Crepe Myrtle.  As soon as I sounded it out,  I forgot it.  I made some feeble attempts over the years  to id it, but gave up each effort as quickly as I lost the memory of the name.

I don’t say this lightly.  I’m not proud of it.

It recently became important to me to know her name.  I feel passion for this tree; of all my blooming trees, she gives me 100 days of blooms.    I owed her respect enough to know her name.  It’s no different, really,  than having a dog and only referring it as a poodle.  Just as the poodle has a name, so does my Crepe Myrtle.

Meet Lagerstroemia indica ‘Zuni’.

July09HelensHavenYoest 066c

‘Zuni’ is a star in my mixed border.  No southern garden would be complete without at least one Crepe Myrtle.  I have 7 Crepe Myrtle trees, 5 varieties…I like ‘Natchez’ so much, there are three of those.  But, If I had to, I could  trade all the others for this one.

Happy in my zone 7b (Zone 6 – 10) Mixed Border where she acts like a big ole blooming perennial.  ‘Zuni’ is very drought and mildew resistance offering pretty fall color late in the season.

To give credit where credit is due, Randy at Creating Our Eden suggested my CM as ‘Zuni’.  Ah, the power of the Internet.  I posed the identification of ‘Zuni” during my July Garden Blogger’s Bloom day post, and Randy answers.  Thanks Randy!

This was confirmed during a visit by Steve Bender of Southern Living,  “Yeah, ” he said, scratching his head, “It looks like a ‘Zuni’ to me.”  This scratching his head habit was witnessed many times as  I quizzed him during the week on plant identification.

If you want to learn more about growing Crepe Myrtles in the south, check out Southern Living’s Grumpy Gardener as he answers 10 of the most common questions about Crepe Myrtles.

Helen Yoest

Gardening With Confidence

Comments (11)

A nod to Eliabeth Lawrence – a fresh idea on flower arranging

Little bottles (1)

A Nod to Elizabeth Lawrence

A Fresh Idea on Flower Arranging

Ah, fresh flowers in our presence gives so much pleasure.  When friends come to share a meal or conversation, fresh flowers usually tops the list of preparations for  a festive evening.  Often times, I’ll fill a vase with masses of billowing flowers either one of kind or an arrangement of different flowers.  They were always pretty, but really served no purpose other then being pretty.

Through fresh eyes, on a pretty spring day, I learned a simple lesson about flowers.  I was having lunch with my good friend, Lindie Wilson, at the former home and garden of Elizabeth Lawrence.   On the dining room table at the window overlooking Miss. Lawrence’s stand of bamboo,  I noticed little clear bottles and vases on the table filled with fresh flowers.  Just one flower filled each vase.  It made the most simple and beautiful arrangement.  They were all different with no apparent thought to a theme of any kind.  When I asked about them, Lindie explained that was how Elizabeth Lawrence used fresh flowers.  She would fill the little bottles and vases with flowers blooming in her garden.  It was a wonderful conversation piece.  The flowers were cut from her garden.  Not masses of blooms, but rather a single snip of what was blooming then.

Dining room of Elizabeth Lawrences home

Dining room of Elizabeth Lawrence's home

It was also fun to move the bottles around seeing how one flower looked with another.  The simple tactile pleasure of moving the bottles around sprung  ideas as to how they would work in the garden.

Now, as I prepare to entertain, I snip flowers from the garden and fill little vases.  Without fail, the conversation goes to the flowers, not just how pretty they are, but what they are and what they represent – the conversation is about the delight and wonder of what’s blooming in the garden now.

Little bottles - milk bottles (4)

Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence

Home & Garden Business Directory - BTS Local

Comments (13)

Dear Cleome,

JuneGBBD 020

Dear Cleome,

Since the day we first met, in what seems like another life ago and certainly another garden ago, I loved you.  I knew one day you would be mine.

Now after more than 10 years of you coming and going, you’re starting to, well, smother me – just a little.  I need a little space and so do some of my  friends.  Just recently, I wanted touch base with Callicarpa dichotoma and she was no where to be found.  The same was true with Crinum ‘Ellen Bosanquet’.  Its one thing with C. dichotoma because she prefers to visit in the fall, but you know Ellen likes to visit with me in the summer.

We had a lot of good times together.  I hope our love affair will continue for many more years.  I’ve so enjoy your friends and they are always welcome here, especially the hummingbirds.  I’m particularly grateful you don’t keep company with any bad animals like the voles, deer, and rabbits.  The fact that you bloom where you’re planted just did it for me. And still does.  Don’t misunderstand me, you will always be apart of my life.  I cannot live without you, but for right now, I just need some space.

Please don’t take this hard.  Just give me some time; by early summer of next year, I will welcome you back with open arms.

Yours, Ty Dee

Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence

Comments (14)

Confederate Jasmine offering spring’s sweet scent

“Do you smell that, Honey?” I ask my husband as we are standing near the opened kitchen window.  Breathing deeply, we both inhale the sweet scent of Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides.)

Now in it’s third year, a vine’s leap year, the source of the scent has scampered up the wall on the east side near the kitchen window. Confederate jasmine 002A little further down the same east wall, is another vine.  Travel to the west side near the dining room and yet another is revealed.  Perhaps I got just a little carried away, but Confederate jasmine is revered here.

A zone 11 – 8 plant in our zone 7b gardens benefits from a little help.  Our Confederate jasmine is helped nestled against the home’s brick façade.  This jasmine, which is not actually a jasmine at all, only having the common name to honor the scent, has entered its, “Hello, notice me” stage.  And I’m noticing.

This beautiful, energetic evergreen vine can clamber and mold to most shapes using its holdfast roots to pull itself up.  During flowering, the ever present thick, dark green leaves are contrasted with new growth flashes of light green – and covered in flowers.

On a recent trip to Wrightsville Beach, NC, it was obvious this vine was a particular favorite of this quaint beach community; Confederate jasmine covered arbors, arches, and anchors.  As we were walking through the neighborhood, I wondered what mine at home was doing.  Tired from my road trip, I forgot to check out my own when I got home – until this moment in the kitchen.

May 7, 2009 Bloomsbury Beach trip 169

May 7, 2009 Bloomsbury Beach trip 149c

May 7, 2009 Bloomsbury Beach trip 162c

It’s true confession time; I actually have another Confederate jasmine, or rather had another. It is my desire and dream to cover the gazebo in the back garden with this sweet smelling vine.  Covered, it would create a romantic hideaway.  Right now, it is bare, cold and unadorned steel.  The one planted last fall was bit by the cold winter.  To hedge my bets going forward, I replaced it with 4 others.  Now I nurse these in hopes they make it through the winter.  Right now, they look a little puny; tiny plants trying to make it up the sides and over the top to meet my vision.

Only time will tell.  When I look at my gazebo of naked steal, I see a the promise of a hiding place with a sweet spring scent.

Comments (4)

Don’t be a bore – hellebore!

Nice arrangement from Pine Knot Farms in Clarksville

Nice arrangement from Pine Knot Farms in Clarksville, VA

I met my first hellebore back in 1988. Judy, my next door neighbor at time, introduced us.  I remember the day well, plant-wise,  anyway.  But for the life of me, I can’t remember where we went.  My first hellebore made her home in my Oakwood garden where I often wonder if she’s still there.

I was smitten by the promise of a flower blooming in the winter.  That was all the encouragement I needed –  even if I did have to lay on the ground to see it. This was also the beginning of my winter gardening journey. If it flowers in the winter and I can grow it, I do.

Over the years, as I built my winter garden display, it’s the hellebores that I return to time and time again.  They were my first love, and somehow first loves are always the best.

Many of my hellebores are baby crosses that my clients wanted cleared out or passed to me by a friend.  They cross easily.  They baby easily.

Haphazard pot-up of hellebores - what they will be, will be a surprise

Haphazard pot-up of hellebores - what they will be, will be a surprise

Unless you are particular about getting a variety you desire, getting babies from a gardening friend is a good way to go.  I branched out this year and bought my first double.  Then another.  I promised I would never do that, but then I remembered, never say never.

'Southern Belles'

'Southern Belles'

My first double was ‘Southern Bells’, one that I picked up at this year’s Pine Knot Farms open hellebore days I shared the wealth and purchased my next double hellebore at Gethsemane Gardens in Greensboro, NC

Double purchased from Gaethsemane in Greensboro, NC

Double purchased from Gethsemane in Greensboro, NC

I thought I had a nice collection until I visited the hellebore garden of my friend Bobby.  Here is some from his collection:










Street-scape makes a nice home for hellebores

Street-scape makes a nice home for hellebores

Here’s some more from Helen’s Haven:




So jazz up your winter garden.  Don’t be a bore – hellebore!

Comments (5)

Its OK to fool Mother Nature – waiting for spring – bringing the outdoors in

Helen Yoest at Smith & Hawkins, Crabtree Valley Mall, Raleigh

Helen Yoest at Smith & Hawkins, Crabtree Valley Mall, Raleigh

It seems spring can never come soon enough. Here in Raleigh, spring can last three weeks or three months; I think it is the most unpredictable season and yet, still one of the most anticipated. This is why I suggest bringing spring inside early using some tricks to “force” nature or by using what is readily available from the grocery store, garden centers, and florists (shops.)

Forcing Forsythia Branches

Forsythia is widely available in this area and nearly everyone knows someone with a forsythia bush to share. Also, some shops will carry cuttings to take home for the blooms.

If you are to do the cutting, it is best to cut when the temperature is above freezing. Look for branches with lots of buds; the flower buds are fatter and larger than leaf buds. I like to cut long branches to give a graceful presence to a table. Follow these steps for great success:

· Use sharp pruners to cut your branches. I carry a water bucket with me when I take cuttings from the garden. This way they I can get them to water quickly.

· When you cut your branches, consider this as judicious pruning and shape the forsythia bush as you cut.

· Once inside, re-cut each branch at a sharp slant and peel or scrape back about an inch of bark or mash the ends with a hammer. Most woody stems need extra surface exposed to help uptake water more readily.

· Remove foliage from area that will be under water.

· Store in a container with tepid water and an indoor temperature between 60 – 70 degrees F.

· Change water often.

· It is a good idea to mist branches daily, but I often forget and they still seem to turn out nice.

· Expect the branches to bloom in 2 – 3 weeks.

· Once the flower buds begin to swell, arrange in a vase and move into a well-lit room.

· Blooms will last about a week.

Of course there are many other plants that can be forced and enjoyed indoors such as fruit trees, witch-hazel, pussy willows, flowering quince, bulbs and others. If you forget to force in time or if forcing just sounds like too much trouble, then you will enjoy the following ideas.

Taking advantage of what is readily available from grocery stores, garden centers, and florists

There really is nothing like a daffodil to say spring is here! The shops are eager to help you. Often times, shops have already done the forcing for you and have available for purchase bunches of forsythia, witch-hazel, and pussy willow. For a little cost, you get so much enjoyment and most of these purchases last longer than fresh cut flowers.

· Bring home blooming forsythia branches and arrange in a vase.

· Purchase blooming daffodil, hyacinths and tulips from the Shops.

· Bring home blooming witch-hazel, and pussy willows.

· Bring home blooming flowing quince.

· Bring in cut azalea branches. When done sparingly, the leggy look often takes on a Zen-like calming quality in a pretty vase.

· Floating Camellias in a bowl is also very refreshing and they last a very long time. Certain species can be cut as branches and arranged in a vase, but most common are varieties that look best floating in a bowl.

Just a little amount can make a huge difference. Nothing says spring more than spring flowers! One vase full of blooming Forsythia, a potted hyacinth, or a handful of daffodils brings the spring inside just enough to, hopefully, get us through winter.

Helen Yoest, with Gardening with Confidence lives, gardens, coaches, and writes in Raleigh, Zone 7b,

Comments (3)

Older Posts »