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

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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

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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

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The Fictitious Naming of Pretty Much Picasso™

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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.

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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

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Zuni Gives 100 Days of Blooms!

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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’.

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‘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

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

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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.

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Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence

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Dear Cleome,

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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

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