Archive for This Month in the Garden

This Month in The Garden – January

GARDENING WITH CONFIDENCE ™

THIS MONTH IN THE GARDEN


Mid-Atlantic Region

Zone 7b


January Maintenance Guide


INTRO

January is a good time to look back on your gardening year and to plan ahead.

Now is a good time to walk around your garden, shoot some photos and make a wish list of your garden’s hopes and dreams.

It is always a good idea to photograph your garden each month as a photo journal of what is blooming when. But also, looking at your garden through the lens is telling. What you see and what others see are often time two different things. We all have our priorities. What you may pass by everyday because you got use to looking at it will show up and be noticed in print. philbrookraleighyoest-13

It’s no different when seeing one’s self in a photograph. Most of us don’t like what we see, we start picking it apart. Do you like what you see in your garden photographs? So while it is a good idea to walk around your garden to jot down ideas and what needs to be done, it is a better idea to evaluate what you see from photographs.

Take a good look around. January is a good time to look back on your gardening year. Are there things you would like to change? Make a list, keep it handy, and add to it as necessary and check off the tasks once completed…it’s a good feeling.

BULBS

february-2008-12You will begin to see bulb foliage begin to emerge. It’s OK. The leaves are hardy and if harmed, they’ll grow more. Keep bulbs mulched so they aren’t lifted by heaving resulting from repeated freeze and thaw.

ROSES

Check that the crown of the rose bush is still covered. Often times, winter winds can blow mulch away.

FERTILIZER

As the tips of your daffodils emerge, add a general 10-10-10 fertilizers or a fertilizer especially designed for bulbs such as Holland Bulb brand.

Figs do fine in many soil types, but perform best in slightly alkaline soil. To aid in this, given our areas natural acid tendencies, Here at Helen’s Haven™, we add powered dolomite limestone (CaCo3) to the fig bushes.

To keep your pansies happy, apply an organic fertilizer such as bone meal or root simulator fertilizer designed specifically for pansies following the label directions. Re-apply every 4 – 6 weeks.

WEEDS

Stay on top of your weeding by handpicking your weeds from the grass and beds on a routine basis. Dig up wild onions and garlic as they emerge.  If possible, walk my gardens daily and note what needs to be done, creating a to-do list. Then weekly, work through the list!

WATER

Plants in the winter still need water. We usually get a gracious plenty of rain in the winter and in the spring, but in times of drought, remember a winter drought can be as severe as a summer one. In fact, a plant planted in the fall that was not watered sufficiently in the winter and dies in the summer is often times blamed as a summer problem when it was more likely caused in the winter. Not that this is much consolation for the dead plant. But it does remind us that plants need water even in the winter.

Pansies have a shallow root system – make sure they get watered weekly, if not by nature, then by you.

For your Plumber…leave the hoses attached to your faucets! Your plumber will love you for it. If this is not the kind of love you seek, remove the hoses from your faucets so they don’t freeze and bust.

GARDEN PESTS

Spray for your aphids, scale and mites with a dormant oil. This will help to reduce the number of pest. Wait until the temperature is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer for at least 24 hours.

Camellias (Camellia japonica) really start to shine in January. To discourage Camellia petal blight, remember to rake spent flowers that have fallen underneath the bushes.

WILDLIFE

Recycle your Christmas tree to the garden for the birds. Fill with “ornaments” of pine cones covered with peanut butter rolled in birdseed and add some dried cranberries for color and good eats. The birds with thank you and you can reap the rewards of watching them enjoy. for-the-birds-291

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 (10)

This Month in the Garden – December

GARDENING WITH CONFIDENCE ™

THIS MONTH IN THE GARDEN


Mid-Atlantic Region


December Maintenance Guide



December can be a quiet time in the garden. Most of us are busy with other things, so the timing is good. Here is some of what we are doing in our Zone 7b gardens.


If you are in need for garden December garden inspiration, you may enjoy this – December Inspiration


HERBS

  • Rosemary topiaries are widely available now from nurseries, garden centers, big box stores, and grocery stores.  They make an excellent seasonal display, provide fragrance and decor for the table top inside or in a container outside.  If kept outside, protect from freezing the first year.  Potted Rosemary can easily dry out.  Keep an eye on this.  That shouldn’t be a problem since you will be going by often for a snip for cooking.


BULBS

  • I love Amaryllis at Christmastime! I start looking for the bulbs in October and begin planting them every other week. This way, I’ll have them blooming throughout the holiday season. It is also a good idea to buy after Christmas when they go on sale. Pot them up and enjoy during Valentine’s Day. Come spring, these bulbs can be planted in the garden.  You might find this interesting. The Amaryllis Lives on in the Garden.

  • Forgot to plant your spring-blooming bulbs such as daffs and tulips? Not to worry, they can still be planted as long as you can work the soil. A good rule of thumb is to plant with the pointed end up, at a depth 2 times the size of the bulb and add a bulb fertilizer to supply the nutrients necessary for a spring showstopper. So, if the bulb is 2 inches from tip to root, then plant 4 inches deep.

PERENNIALS

  • Cut back Cannas after frost and put in the compost pile. Be sure the cut them back though, leaf rollers that might be present can over-winter in the plant. Using a large kitchen knife, a quick slice at the base of the plant makes short work of this garden maintenance task.

piano_flowers_0031c

  • Cut back and remove Peony leaves after a killing frost. This helps prevent harboring of disease and tidies up the garden. Remember peonies need the chilling cold during dormancy for proper plant development. So be careful when mulching, keeping the “eyes” exposed. Peonies are heavy feeders and perform well using compost or well-rotted manure to feed. I like to use composted leaf mulch. Mulch around the plant. Usually an inch or two for established plants is all that is needed.

ROSES

  • Prune roses about half their size.

TREES AND SHRUBS

  • We are in Sasanqua Season.  How can you miss with these drought tolerant evergreens shrubs that flower in December?  They may be slow-growing, but they are long-lasting.  Yuletide is nice for their red blooms during the holiday.  I’m partial to the white Camellia sasanqua ‘Sestugekka’

HOLIDAY DECORATING

  • Deck the halls with boughs of Holly. Whip out those clippers and look christmas-mantels-027around the garden. There is so much to use to add festive natural adornments to your home, both inside and out. Wreaths on the windows or door; accent the mailbox and the light post and reindeer holding court in your front garden greeting your visitors.

FERTILIZER

On a warm day this month, lightly fertilize annuals, then water. Be mindful on unseasonably warm days this month with little rain, check to see of annuals need watering.


PROPOGATION

  • Now is a good time to take hardwood cuttings of deciduous woodies like forsythia, Quince, Mock orange, spirea, and viburnum.

WILDLIFE

  • Remember the birds through spring. Actually, I tend to my bird friends year ‘round. This is something I do that gives me a great deal of pleasure. They add so much to the garden and to the gardeners’ enjoyment. Be sure to provide a continual supply of seed, suet and water. Did you know that a bird is 3 times more likely to die from lack of water in the winter than lack of food? Break the ice, if need be.
  • Birdhouses make great holiday gifts and can look indoors or out.

THE SEASON

Winter solstice begins December 21, marking the end of fall and the beginning of winter.

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)

This Month in the Garden – November

Still plenty to do and the weather to do it in.  Enjoy! H.

GARDENING WITH CONFIDENCE™

THIS MONTH IN THE GARDEN

Mid-Atlantic Region

November Maintenance Guide

October292008JCRA 020

NC State Farmers Market, Raleigh, NC

INTRO

Once the killing frost hits, it’s time to tuck your garden in bed for the winter. Our first frost date is unpredictable in terms of regions and microclimates. Raleigh’s first frost date, as calculated at NC State University, is November 5th.

In my mind, November is the inspiration; in case you need more: November Inspiration at Fine Gardening

Here are some of things we are doing in our Zone 7b gardens:

BULBS

Spring Reaves 019

  • Plant your spring blooming bulbs this month.
  • Healthy bulbs will be firm and show no sighs of mold or decay. Bulb companies such as Brent and Becky’s Bulbs will ship your order at the ideal planting time for your area. If you can’t plant immediately, store them in a cool, dry place until ready to be planted.
  • Plant bulbs pointy end up. If no point is prominent, then look for the remains of a root and plant that end towards the earth.
  • Plant your bulbs in a sunny location – sunny when blooming, that is. This is a cool thing about bulbs, Take advantage of a an area in the garden that is shady in the summer, but sunny in the winter such as areas shaded by deciduous trees.
  • Plant some bulbs in pots for forcing during the winter months.
  • Cut back elephant ears, gingers and cannas and other spent plants and add them to the compost pile.

  • Plant your warm-seasoned lawn with crocus. The Tommies, Crocus tommasinianus, are early blooming crocus that work well planted in the open lawn. The Tommies are nice because they are up in the winter landscape just when they are needed the most and down by the time mowing starts.
  • Grape hyacinths are a happy bulb. Plant enmasse or in drifts. Many smart gardeners plant a single bulb along with the daffodils to aid as a reminder of where the daffodils were planted.
  • The tiny bulbs of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) and snowflakes (Leucojum) planted now, will bring great joy in early winter and early spring, respectively. Any other time of the year, these tiny flowers would be lost in the garden, but in the winter, with little competition, they shine like beacons.
  • I like pairing daffodils with daylilies. While the foliage of the daff is dying back, the daylily starts to emerge, helping to hide the daffs untidiness until they are ready to be cut back.

HERBS

  • Rosemary will not care that a frost has arrived. This wonderful Mediterranean shrub adds value to the fall and winter landscape. When it gets too big for an area, feel free to cut back.
  • Hardy herbs such as chives, dill, fennel, or Rosemary ca be cut and used for herb vinegar flavorings.

ANNUALS

  • If you didn’t plant annuals in October, there is still time to do so in November. Plant forget-me-nots, pansies, snapdragons, and violas.
  • Adding flowering kale, ornamental cabbage, and mustards add interest to the winter landscape and in container gardens.
  • Collect seed. Use for next year, give to friends, share with your garden club.
  • Seeds of larkspur, money plant, Iceland and California poppies can be sown directly.

PERENNIALS

  • This is the best time to plant perennials. As long as the ground is not frozen, perennials can be planted now. Great deals may be available at garden centers as they sell the remaining stock.

TREES AND SHRUB

  • Now is the best time to plant trees and shrubs, such as Azaleas and Camellias.

ROSES

BrightsFrontRaleighYoest (17)

  • Rose catelogues will be arriving, if not all ready. Now is a good time to order or at least decide on my new bare root roses. I find to best to choose roses while they’re blooming. You will note when looking at a photograph of the same rose in three books or catalogues, it looks like 3 different roses. As such, I pay attention to the roses of my friend’s, my client’s, and other private and public gardens. I note what does well in our area and get an idea of their shape and color. Also, I learn about the rose’s maintenance needs. Personally, I don’t want to mess with anything fussy. I don’t spray my roses with pesticides; I don’t want anything that will put my butterflies at risk or for that matter, any beneficial insect. But I do love roses.
  • After a freeze, it is OK to prune back your roses. It is not necessary to prune now; however the long canes are vulnerable to breaking in high winds or if coated with ice during an ice storm.

MULCH

  • Rake the lawn of leaves, especially if you re-seeded your cool season grass, such as tall fescue. Wet leaves will mat down, smothering newly sprouted grass and reducing needed sunlight.
  • Or don’t rake at all! I mow my leaves with a mulching mower. The bagged, chopped leaves are usually then put on the compost pile. Or they may go directly in a bed; it just depends on what I got going on. In either case, they stay with me and don’t go to the City yard waste center.
  • Removed the leaves from the beds; otherwise they will just drive you crazy when the move around. Rake or blow them into the grass before mowing, then you can put them back in the garden beds.

PESTS

Dwarf Loblolly larvae

The cold air and soon a killing frost will help lower garden pest population.

WEEDS

  • Once the garden is bare, the weeds are more visible. Pulling now is the best time to get a head start on next year’s weed season.

SOIL

  • Now is a great time to collect a soil sample for analysis.

WATER

  • Keep an eye on any new plantings. Continue to water new plantings often to keep moist. In the absence of rain, water new perennials once a week.
  • Don’t let your fountain water freeze. It is best to winter-ize your fountain by shutting off the pump, disconnecting the hose from the pump and protecting the pump. Many fountains have large reservoirs which help keep the water from freezing. Also, depending of the type of material the fountain is made of, you may need to protect it further. Metal fountains are fine if left alone. Concrete fountains do best if water is not able to set and freeze. So it is advisable to put a towel in the bottom of each tier to soak up water and have the towel do the freezing instead of the concrete. Even with these precautions, I still had a concrete fountain freeze and crack. Ceramic fountains may need to be put inside a shed or garage to protect from freezing.
  • Of course, a fountain is a wonderful feature to decorate for the holidays. I do various designs with my fountains. Just because it’s not running, doesn’t mean it can’t still be a showstopper. Fill it with evergreens, magnolias, pomegranates, and drape with ribbon. A metal fountain is a great opportunity to make a garden and design statement. After the holidays, it becomes a giant birdbath. When the water freezes in a tier, I send one of my kids out, usually Aster, with a hammer to break open.

WILDLIFE

IMG_1656
Virginia Creeper

  • Don’t forget your bird friends. They add so much to the garden and to the gardeners’ enjoyment. My favorite part of the garden is when I am walking down a garden path and see and hear the birds take flight as I come through. Be sure to provide a continual supply of seed, suet and water.
  • Leave any seed heads for the birds to feed over the winter and to add winter interest to the garden.

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

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

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

Comments (2)

This Month in the Garden – November

GARDENING WITH CONFIDENCE™

THIS MONTH IN THE GARDEN

Mid-Atlantic Region

November Maintenance Guide

October292008JCRA 020

NC State Farmers Market, Raleigh, NC

INTRO

Once the killing frost hits, it’s time to tuck your garden in bed for the winter.   Our first frost date is unpredictable in terms of regions and microclimates. Raleigh’s first frost date, as calculated at NC State University,  is November 5th.

In my mind, November is the inspiration; in case you need more:   November Inspiration at Fine Gardening

Here are some of things we are doing in our Zone 7b gardens:

BULBS

Spring Reaves 019

Plant your spring blooming bulbs this month.

Healthy bulbs will be firm and show no sighs of mold or decay. Bulb companies such as Brent and Becky’s Bulbs will ship your order at the ideal planting time for your area. If you can’t plant immediately, store them in a cool, dry place until ready to be planted.

Plant bulbs pointy end up. If no point is prominent, then look for the remains of a root and plant that end towards the earth.

Plant your bulbs in a sunny location – sunny when blooming, that is. This is a cool thing about bulbs,  Take advantage of a an area in the garden that is shady in the summer, but sunny in the winter such as areas shaded by deciduous trees.

Plant some bulbs in pots for forcing during the winter months.

Cut back elephant ears, gingers and cannas and other spent plants and add them to the compost pile.

Plant your warm-seasoned lawn with crocus. The Tommies, Crocus tommasinianus, are early blooming crocus that work well planted in the open lawn. The Tommies are nice because they are up in the winter landscape just when they are needed the most and down by the time  mowing starts.

Grape hyacinths are a happy bulb. Plant enmasse or in drifts. Many smart gardeners plant a single bulb along with the daffodils to aid as a reminder of where the daffodils were planted.

The tiny bulbs of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) and snowflakes (Leucojum) planted now, will bring great joy in early winter and early spring, respectively. Any other time of the year, these tiny flowers would be lost in the garden, but in the winter, with little competition, they shine like beacons.

I like pairing daffodils with daylilies. While the foliage of the daff is dying back, the daylily starts to emerge, helping to hide the daffs untidiness until they are ready to be cut back.

HERBS

Rosemary will not care that a frost has arrived.  This wonderful Mediterranean shrub adds value to the fall and winter landscape.  When it gets too big for an area, feel free to cut back.

ANNUALS

If you didn’t plant annuals in October, there is still time to do so in November. Plant forget-me-nots, pansies, snapdragons, and violas.

Adding flowering kale, ornamental cabbage, and mustards add interest to the winter landscape and in container gardens.

Collect seed. Use for next year, give to friends, share with your garden club.

Seeds of larkspur, money plant, Iceland and California poppies can be sown directly.

PERENNIALS

This is the best time to plant perennials.  As long as the ground is not frozen, perennials can be planted now.  Great deals may be available at garden centers as they sell the remaining stock.

TREES AND SHRUB

Now is the best time to plant trees and shrubs, such as Azaleas and Camellias.

ROSES

BrightsFrontRaleighYoest (17)

Rose catelogues will be arriving, if not all ready.   Now is a good time to order or at least decide on my new bare root roses. I find to best to choose roses while they’re blooming. You will note when looking at a photograph of the same rose in three books or catalogues, it looks like 3 different roses. As such, I pay attention to the roses of my friend’s, my client’s, and other private and public gardens. I note what does well in our area and get an idea of their shape and color. Also, I learn about the rose’s maintenance needs. Personally, I don’t want to mess with anything fussy. I don’t spray my roses with pesticides; I don’t want anything that will put my butterflies at risk or for that matter, any beneficial insect.  But I do love roses.

After a freeze, it is OK to prune back your roses. It is not necessary to prune now; however the long canes are vulnerable to breaking in high winds or if coated with ice during an ice storm.

MULCH

Rake the lawn of leaves, especially if you re-seeded your cool season grass, such as tall fescue.  Wet leaves will mat down, smothering newly sprouted grass and reducing needed sunlight.

Or don’t rake at all! I mow my leaves with a mulching mower. The bagged, chopped leaves are usually then put on the compost pile. Or they may go directly in a bed; it just depends on what I got going on. In either case, they stay with me and don’t go to the City yard waste center.

Removed the leaves from the beds; otherwise they will just drive you crazy when the move around. Rake or blow them into the grass before mowing, then you can put them back in the garden beds.

PESTS

Dwarf Loblolly larvae

The cold air and soon a killing frost will help lower garden pest population.

WEEDS

Once the garden is bare, the weeds are more visible. Pulling now is the best time to get a head start on next year’s weed season.

SOIL

Now is a great time to collect a soil sample for analysis.

WATER

Keep an eye on any new plantings.  Continue to water new plantings often to keep moist.  In the absence of rain, water new perennials once a week.

Don’t let your fountain water freeze. It is best to winter-ize your fountain by shutting off the pump, disconnecting the hose from the pump and protecting the pump. Many fountains have large reservoirs which help keep the water from freezing. Also, depending of the type of material the fountain is made of, you may need to protect it further. Metal fountains are fine if left alone. Concrete fountains do best if water is not able to set and freeze. So it is advisable to put a towel in the bottom of each tier to soak up water and have the towel do the freezing instead of the concrete. Even with these precautions, I still had a concrete fountain freeze and crack. Ceramic fountains may need to be put inside a shed or garage to protect from freezing.

Of course, a fountain is a wonderful feature to decorate for the holidays. I do various designs with my fountains. Just because it’s not running, doesn’t mean it can’t still be a showstopper. Fill it with evergreens, magnolias, pomegranates, and drape with ribbon. A metal fountain is a great opportunity to make a garden and design statement. After the holidays, it becomes a giant birdbath. When the water freezes in a tier, I send one of my kids out, usually Aster, with a hammer to break open.

WILDLIFE

IMG_1656
Virginia Creeper

Don’t forget your bird friends.  They add so much to the garden and to the gardeners’ enjoyment.  My favorite part of the garden is when I am walking down a garden path and see and hear the birds take flight as I come through.  Be sure to provide a continual supply of seed, suet and water.

Leave any seed heads for the birds to feed over the winter and to add winter interest to the garden.

 

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

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

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

Comments (9)

This Month In The Garden – October

GARDENING WITH CONFIDENCE™
THIS MONTH IN THE GARDEN
Mid-Atlantic Region

October Maintenance

MillsFallManteoYoest (41)

INTRO

Fall is one of the most beautiful times in the garden and yet, most gardeners garden for spring, maybe summer, reluctantly in fall, and virtually not at all in the winter.

Being the year ‘round gardener that I’m am, I not satisfied with a season or two of beauty, color, form and texture. I choose to have four full seasons.  I may not convince everyone to garden in the winter – yet, but I fully intend to preach the benefits of gardening in the fall. As summer wanes into fall, the humidity lifts, the days grow shorter, giving a feeling of preparedness. But also look around, and smell too, there is a lot going on.  Flowers, color, fragrance.  Osmanthus (tea olives) , sasanqua camellias, asters, roses, ornamental grasses, and  some azaleas are blooming. The leaves are changing colors, trees and shrubs have berries and pods, salvias and sages are alive with blooms.  The birds seem a bit busier than before.  All in all, October is my favorite time in the garden.

Thought you might enjoy  Fine Gardening October inspiration

LEAVES

PhilbrookFallRaleighYoest (6)
It’s also a great time to prepare beds for next year. Mark new beds, or beds you want to extend, with marking paint or a hose.  Cut an edge, turn into the new bed, cover with newspaper, then finally cover with chopped leaves or mulch.  Let nature take her course.  Your bed will be ready for planting in the spring.

BULBS

Colchicum from Montrose

Colchicum from Montrose

  • ‘Tis the season for planting spring flowering bulbs. Most require an extended period of cold to bloom. Daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips (Dutch and species), as well as, crocus, cyclamen, Dutch iris, and Galanthus (snowdrops) can be planted now.
  • If you have a vole infestation or limited space, growing bulbs in a container is just the ticket.  Container grown bulbs gives you color in the spring just when and where you need it most – you decide!  Containers should be at least 10″ deep and have a drainage hole on the bottom.  Cover the hole with wire mesh (landscape cloth) or gravel.  This will keep the dirt in and the critters out.
  • We are lucky, Cannas are hardy in our area so it is ok to leave in the ground for the winter.  Be sure to cut back the foliage to the ground after the freeze to rid the area of any harboring leaf rollers.  In the spring, you can add Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) as a natural way to rid this pest.

HERBS

  • Harvest fresh basil to make pesto to extend summer through winter.  Thought you might enjoy

Putting up Fresh Basil Pesto

ANNUALS

Fall inspiration

  • Kale, cabbages,  mustards.  Pansies, snapdragons, violas.  They are colorful, plentiful, long lasting, and cheap. I have often wondered why they are so underused.  For Pansies and Violas, I like to plant now. I tend to buy them earlier and nurse them in my holding area. I do this while the selection is good, but the ground is not quite ready for them. A good rule of thumb, the bigger the flower, the less flowering will go on. Violas, though small, tend to have abundant blooms.
  • Sowing seeds of California, Iceland, and Shirley poppies, sweet alyssum, and larkspur this fall for a spring showing.  Best sown  in lean soil.  They don’t re-seed well in Helen’s Haven since we are heavy mulchers.  As such, I sow seeds in the spring.
  • Collect seed of Cleome, cosmos, sunflower, and zinnias for planting next year.  Store in an envelope or brown paper lunch bag during the winter months.

PERENNIALS

  • This is your best time for planting perennials. The fall is a good time to divide perennials such as Hostas, daylilies, and ferns.  If you have a gracious plenty to share with friends, ask some over to help with the work. Make it a fun day of potting up to share. Friends make the job easier and help the chore go by quicker.
  • Sometimes, I find it hard to get in the garden in the fall after a full and rich spring and summer. But then I realize the rewards of good fall preparation, division, and planting, makes for a much happier spring and summer. Take advantage of some of these good warm sunny days. It is also easier to work in the soil when it is cool and wet.
  • Now is a good time to move aquatic plants deeper into the water garden.
  • Fall is the best time to plant peonies. Some say it’s tough to grow peonies in the south; there is a secret to dispel this myth. The secret to growing peonies successfully, is to keep the “eyes” exposed.
  • Set out peony root divisions now. Select those with 3 – 5 buds and 3 good roots. These long living plants don’t like to be moved, so be sure you like where they are going. Plant in a well-drained location that receives at least 6 – 8 hours of sun each day. The hole should be 2 – 3 feet deep and wide for each division.
  • Mix in organic matter such as compost or composed leaf mulch. Fertilize with a pound of bone meal or super-phosphate. The “eyes” should be 1 inch above below the soil/mulch surface, water in well. Be patient. Peonies may not bloom the first year. But patients pay off since peonies can last 50 years or more.
  • If you are trying to establish a moss lawn, now is a good time to do so. Moss prefers moist, acidic, lean soil.

UrquhartRaleighYoest (11)

TREES AND SHRUBS

  • Any woody shrubs or small trees that you want to relocate later in the winter or early spring can be “root pruned” now.  This is easy to do.  Around the dripline of the plant, sink a shovel into the ground as far as it will go.  Circle the entire plant.  In the meantime, the plant will begin to “repair” the fresh cut by sending out more roots at the cut ends.  This will give the plant a better chance of transplanting.
  • Interiors of yews, Pines, arborvitae, and junipers may shed. This is natural for this time of year.
  • There is always room for conifers. They make a great addition in the mixed border, hedgerows, and specimen plants. Evergreens will drop needles this time of year. This is normal. You may find the arborvitae yellowing up in spots, then turning brown. It can be trimmed back or wait until it dies back and then pinch off.
  • White Sasanquas is blooming now. The fall is a good time to feed your camellias with cottonseed meal. Apply under the drip line of the plant.
  • If you are looking for a nice fall interest shrub, consider the Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana). The magenta fruit is so beautiful in the fall and the birds love it. The white variety (Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Alba’) is also fantastic.

ROSES

  • To help prevent diseases of your roses, rake up the any leaves from the beds. Removing some of the mulch exposed to the leaves is good idea as well. These leaves and exposed mulch can harbor blackspot spores that can over-winter in the leaves. Top-dress the garden with fresh mini-chip mulch.
  • It is not the time to plant bare-root roses or container roses, but it is a good time to transplant them. If you have a rose that has outgrown its spot, needs better light, or want it in an area you can more readily see to enjoy, October is a good month to move roses.

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES

  • Compost – Use the mower to chop up fallen leaves.  Add to the garden bed or compost pile.  Grass clippings welcomed too.
  • If we lack sufficient October rain, plan to water any new plantings, including bulbs.
  • Water everything if nature hasn’t done it for you before the ground freezes. Evergreens in particular continue to lose water by transpiring during the winter. Also winds can desiccate.
  • Don’t forget to water newly planted plants; slowly reducing the amount of watering until watering is only on an as-needed basis.

WILDLIFE

  • Don’t be so quick to tidy up.  The remains of the summer and fall garden give shelter, food and cover for the wildlife while also adding winter interest to the garden beds.
  • Maintenance guide and photos by Helen Yoest

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 (6)

This Month in the Garden – September

GARDENING WITH CONFIDENCE™

THIS MONTH IN THE GARDEN

Mid-Atlantic Region

September Maintenance Guide

Helen's Haven Summer - Mixed Bed

Helen's Haven Summer - Mixed Bed

INTRO

September delights.  With the dog days of summer behind us, September opens with cooler air creating a fresh scent and a sense of excitement.  The source of this excitement may be for no other reason than it being bearable enough to be out of doors once again.

Here’s some September Inspiration in case you need it.

BULBS

  • Hopefully, bulb selection was already done while the selection was good.  Buy what you fancy while they are available.  Avoid mushy, soft, moldy bulbs; buy from a reputable supplier.  And it is good to know that “bigger IS better.”
  • October is a better time for planting, but purchase in September while the selection is best.
  • Plant fall-blooming bulbs, such as autumn crocus.

HERBS

  • Continue to harvest basil and use for cooking.  Continue to pinch back flowers.

ANNUALS

  • Sowing seeds of California, Iceland, and Shirley poppies, sweet alyssum, and larkspur this fall for spring color and fun.
  • If your Zinnia’s have powdery mildew, they will come out soon, as such, no need to worry about them.  Next year, look for mildew-resistant strains.

PERENNIALS

  • Towards the end of the month, as the weather cools, the best time to plant and divide  perennials begins.

TREES AND SHRUBS

  • Our native Dogwood is a fantastic four-season tree making it a choice for all those zoned to have one.  As the leaves turn from green to red, excitement ensures.

ROSES

  • Roses make a big comeback in September and October.  Be sure to stop fertilizing your roses 6 weeks before the last expected frost. In Raleigh, we have a 90% chance of a frost by Halloween. Therefore, stop fertilizing by mid-September. If you have rose varieties with nice hips, this is also a good time to stop deadheading to allow the hips to remain. To tidy up your rose garden, remove the pedals by hand. Letting the hips to grow to signal the rose to go into dormancy.

PESTS

Watch where you reach.  Black widow spiders are plentiful.

Black widow spider

Black widow spider

SEEDS

  • Save seeds for planting next year or let plants self sow.  Also consider leaving seed heads on the plants for the wildlife to enjoy.

WATER

September and October tend to be dry months, unless we have a hurricane.  Plan to water any new plantings, including bulbs.

WILDLIFE

Don’t be to tidy in cleaning up the garden and deadheading.  The wildlife will enjoy the seed.

Encourage pollinating insects in your garden, such as bees and butterflies, by providing them a tasty treat.  This fall, plan to plant nectar-rich plants.  Nectar, the sugar-rich liquid many flowering plants produce, sustains bees and butterflies.

For the Bees: Add clover, cotoneaster, golden rod, heliotrope, Eupatorium cannabium, Lunaria annua, love-in-mist, asters, and Echium vulgare

For the Butterflies: Alyssum, Ajuga reptans, Iberis amara, catmint, echinops, verbena rigida, Rededa ororate, Joe-Pye weed.

Did you know:

  • 80% of the world’s food crops need a pollinator at some stage in their life cycle; many require multiple visits.
  • Stick with the species.  Many double flowers are usually sterile with no value to insects.  The petals of the second flower replaced the anthers and nectarines leaving the plant unable to be fertilized.
  • Many pollinating insects ingest protein-rich pollen before they can breed and some use pollen to feed their young.
  • Plant in en masse making the plants easier to find through grouped color and scent.
David and Lara Rose putting up a screech owl box

David and Lara Rose putting up a screech owl box

Comments (5)

This month in the garden – August

GARDENING WITH CONFIDENCE™

THIS MONTH IN THE GARDEN

Mid-Atlantic Region

August Maintenance Guide

Manteo 2009 025

INTRO

August is the test month of a gardener. If you can make it through August, you can make it anywhere. Except for going after some weeds, it’s best to stay on the porch sipping some tea. While you are relaxing, make a note of what did well and what didn’t. Remind yourself of your poor performers now so that you are not tempted by their pretty faces next year.

ANNUALS

JulyGBBD 007

  • There is still time to sow more zinnias. The nectar-rich flowers will be welcomed by the butterflies in the fall garden.

BULBS

  • It’s not too late to put in your fall bulb order.
  • Plan to plant or moved summer flowering bulbs as the end of the summer season approaches. August is a good time to plant or move amaryllis, Crocosmia, iris, and lily.

HERBS

  • Remember to keep basil flowers pinched and to pick basil for use in pesto, sandwiches, and other culinary uses.

PERENNIALS

  • This is definitely not a good time to plant perennials.

TREES AND SHRUBS

  • This is definitely not a good time to trees or shrubs.

ROSES

  • Ugh, no doubt the Japanese beetles are still around. Continue to pick off a drop into soapy water or for those less squeamish, pluck and squeeze – take that!
  • Plan, don’t plant roses now. Do look around and see varieties you might like to add next year. Choosing roses in bloom takes the mystery out of the difference catalogues depict.

MULCH

  • Check the mulch – wind, rain, consumption may have lessened the depth, thus lessening the effectiveness. If the mulch in the beds is less than ½ inch, add more.

WEEDS

  • Alas, the weeds are still trudging along. Try the early morning or later in the evening to weed. Best to say out of the heat of the day, most of us are just not as productive in the heat.  Ideally, the best time to weed is right after a rain. But with little rain this month, it makes the task all the harder. However, weeds never sleep, remove them if you can.

PESTS

  • Bagworms abound! Bagworms can be treated with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or handpick and drop into a bucket of soapy water.

Manteo 2009 187

WATER

W A T E R W I S E Gardening

WILDLIFE

  • Did you know that Hummingbirds are Native Americans? A ruby-throated hummingbird weighs only 3 grams – that’s 1/10th the weight of a first-class letter. The following is a list of a few flowers Hummingbirds love:

JulyGBBD 011

  • Agapanthus
  • Allium
  • Agapanthus
  • Bee Balm

JulyGBBD 012

  • Cannas
  • Honeysuckle
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Trumpet Vine
  • Petunias
  • Salviass

Maintenance guide and photos by Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence

Comments (9)

This month in the garden – July

GARDENING WITH CONFIDENCE™

THIS MONTH IN THE GARDEN

Mid-Atlantic Region

July Maintenance Guide

JuneGBBD 123

INTRO

July is your reward to many months of gardening efforts.  Whether you vacate to see what the rest of the gardening world is doing or staycate to reap your rewards with fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers, either way, now is the time to put down your trowel to travel and tour!

ANNUALS

  • Cut back summer annuals so they don’t become leggy.  A good time to do this is right before you go on vacation. You will be gone, thus missing the unsightliness of the haircut. This will help the plants look good through the fall.
  • Petunias will benefit from a summer pinch.  By removing an inch or two from the ends of the stems throughout the summer, encourages branching, resulting in a bushier plant.
  • Cleome, cosmos and zinnias, can still be planted or sown for continuous blooms ‘til frost.
CleomeCleome

BULBS

  • Bulb catalogues are arriving.  Many pages of many catalogues sitting in the table of my reading are dog eared.
  • On my summer flowering bulb list are: Calla lily (Zantedeschia), canna, Crinum lily, Liatris (at least the one the bunny missed), Asiatic lily, Oriental lily, and tuberose.
CrinumCrinum

HERBS

  • Harvest Provence lavender.  Cut stems, bundle, hang upside down and in a dark, dry place.  Within 2 weeks, the florets will easily fall from the stems.  To make lavender sugar, grind dried florets in a coffee grinder and mix with sugar.
  • Cut back basil to keep from going to seed.  Don’t forget to use it!
  • Keep oregano cut back to keep from going to seed.

JuneGBBD 080

PERENNIALS

  • Continue to deadhead to tidy the garden and encourage more flowering.  There are many perennials grown for the wildlife so don’t be to tidy;  leave some seed heads.  Not only will the birds enjoy the seed, you will enjoy watching them retrieve the seed.
  • Perennials that benefit most from deadheading include bee-balm, black-eyed Susan, daylilies, coneflowers, salvia, Stoke’s aster, yarrow. Also Coreopsis will benefit from a shearing to encourage a second bloom.
  • Garden centers may have reduced prices on earlier blooming perennials. A great opportunity to save some money, but this is not a good time to plant.  If you proceed, provide extra nurturing (and watering) until established.
  • As a butterfly gardener, a purple coneflower is a staple in my Mixed Border.  Even if I was just gardening for the flowers, Echinacea purpurea would be at the top of my list of must have plants.  There is now a wide range of colors – ‘Sunrise’, Sundown’, Twilight’, Harvest Moon’, Summer Sky’, ‘After Midnight’ and more. Sadly, the bunnies find all the colors tasty.
  • Did you know there is no research showing that English Ivy climbing up your trees will actually harm the tree?  It is not one of my favorite looks and I encourage others to keep it from climbing.  If you want to remove it, cut it at the base and wait a year or so for it to die back before pulling it off; otherwise, removing it will harm the tree (taking bark with it.)   When it climbs, the adult ivy forms.  Here is where it seeds and makes more ivy.  If not able to climb, it will spread, but can more easily be kept in check.  Just keep an eye on it.

JuneGBBD 056c

  • Perennials

The first year they sleep

The second year they creep

The third year they leap

Author unknown

TREES AND SHRUBS

  • This is not a good time for planting trees and shrubs.  If you find some good deals at the garden center, by all means purchase.  But wait until fall for planting.
  • As the new growth emerges on your specimen conifer, candle-prune to maintain the shape.

ROSES

Pink PeacePink Peace

  • It’s Japanese beetle time!  They are attracted to the color.  To discourage this, keep the roses “in the green” whereby cutting your roses for our enjoyment indoors.  I hand pick Japanese beetles off the plant and drop into a bucket of soapy water.
  • Water your roses deeply to encourage a deep root system.  At Helen’s Haven, I have the upper garden’s French drain empty here.  In effect, it’s a rain garden, but with supplemental watering in the absence of natural rainfall.  The hotter it is, the more water roses require.
  • To reduce fungal disease such a black stop, avoid watering the leaves.  Of course, there is nothing you can do to prevent this when a summer rain falls.
  • Ensure the roses are mulched to help retain moisture.
  • Prune climbers and ramblers that bloom once on last year’s growth.  Thin out dead canes.

MULCH

  • As you added annuals and perennials up to now, the spring mulch has no doubt been disturbed.  Now is a good time to do an abbreviated mulching to tidy up the disturbed areas.  But of course, the best reason to do so is to retain moisture, particular for these new plantings until they are established.

WEEDS

  • The best advice anyone can give you with regards to weeds, pull them when you see them.  Walk your garden often.  Enjoy the journey and pull a weed when you see it.  It keeps weeds in check and saves you from having to tackle a major problem latter.
  • Like a grey hair, every weed you pull, three grow back – or so it seems.

PESTS

  • Bagworms abound! Bagworms can be treated with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

Manteo 2009 187

WATER

As summer begins, so do summer vacations.  This also arises the need to have your garden looked after while you are gone!  When preparing to go on summer vacation, there are three main areas in the garden the elicit attention:  Container gardens, plants in the garden not yet established, and plants in the established garden.

CONTAINER GARDENS

There is no need not to have container gardens just because you are going on vacation and don’t want to be bothered.  Why let a week or two away keep you from coming home to some nice plantings?  Here are some tips to caring for your container gardens and houseplants while you are on vacation.  These tips are for those with and without automatic irrigation systems.

  • Bring houseplants outside under the cool of the porch or eves of the house.
  • Get a neighbor kid to come over everyday to check on things and to water.  Most pots will need watering everyday.
  • Pool you pots together near a water source and out of the afternoon sun.
  • Add extra mulch to the base of the plant.
  • Add water lines to your containers from your irrigation system.
  • Don’t have an irrigation system?  The garden centers and big box stores sell automatic systems that hook up to your spigot.  These systems are easy to install, include a timer to turn on the water a certain time(s) of the day and for a dialed in duration.

CARING FOR YET TO BE ESTABLISHED PLANTS IN THE BED OR BORDER

  • The neighborhood kid or friend will be a big help while you are gone.  In the absence of automatic irrigation, caring for the garden while you are away is a little trickery.  For your convenience and to aid the person helping while you are gone, marking the plants yet to be established, thus needing additional attention, will be important.  Clearly mark the plant with a survey flag.  This will help remind you and your care giver who needs a drink while you are gone.

CARING FOR ESTABLISHED PLANTS IN THE BED OR BORDER

  • Most established gardens should survive a week without watering.  Most years, the concern is with container plants and plants that have yet to establish, both concerns are addressed above.
  • Even in an established bed, some plants will require more attention than others.  One of the best ways to learn when you’re your garden needs watering is to identify an “indicator plant.”  An indicator plant is usually one of your garden’s the thirsty-er plants.  For my garden, Helen’s Haven, it’s an Endless Summer Hydrangea.  If my indicator is looking thirsty (wilted) in the morning, it needs water.  As such, I would then direct the caregiver to water while I am away.  If not, then you should be good to go.  It should also be noted that this same plant may look wilted in the last afternoon, but this is not a true indication.  Have them check it again in the morning.  If not wilted, then it is fine

It is also a good idea before you leave to weed, deadhead, and water everything thoroughly.

WILDLIFE

  • Continue to fill feeders, provide clean water daily, and refresh hummingbird feeders with fresh sugar water.

Formula for hummingbird nectar:  4 parts water, one part sugar.  Heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Once cooled, fill feeders.  Nectar can be stored in the refrigerator up to a week.  Change the feeder nectar often, daily when temperatures reach the upper 80s.

Maintenance guide and photos by

Helen Yoest

Gardening With Confidence

Permalink

7 Comments »

  1. tina said

    June 25, 2009 @ 10:19 am · EditExcellent tips. I like the gray hair simile. It must be why I have so many:)

    When are you posting on your visit with Janet, Racquel and Les?

  2. June 25, 2009 @ 11:15 am · EditHey Tina, with regards to weeds and gray hairs, maybe we should stop pulling them. How bad can it get? Never mind, I just had an imagine of weeds EVERYWHERE!

    I’ll post the visit with Janet, Racquel and Les during my Sunday puttering post. Since returning from my scouting trip, I am behind – as in a big behind not even my big purse can hide! I have 3 deadlines waiting first!

    H.

  3. Racquel said

    June 25, 2009 @ 1:12 pm · EditWhat a great information post Helen. Thanks for all the tips & reminders. It gets so hot at this time of the year sometimes I forget. ;)

  4. Janet said

    June 25, 2009 @ 1:25 pm · EditHi Helen, good tips…..summer is when my garden explodes!! Guess I should at least deadhead some stuff in the early mornings.

  5. June 25, 2009 @ 1:59 pm · EditHey Racquel and Janet, boy do I love to dish out the tips, but right now, I’m having trouble getting my air conditioned self out there doing it. There’s always this evening!

    I went to this most amazing garden during my Virginia/Outer Banks scouting trip. She had thousands of daylilies (more than 500 varieties) and EVERYONE was deadheaded. I bowed to her greatness and wanted to hang with her all day long. I make not bones about being a tidy gardener, but when I saw this maintenance poster child, it confirmed it all the more, maintenance matters! H.

  6. June 25, 2009 @ 10:20 pm · EditYou know I like these post. Love your Cleome and agree that July is our reward for working hard.

  7. Jesslyn said

    June 25, 2009 @ 11:57 pm · Editcool tips tina!!

    the pink peace rose is beautiful

    thx a lot for sharing..

    GooD Day

    Jesslyn Tanady

    All Gardening Secret

Comments (3)

This month in the garden – June

GARDENING WITH CONFIDENCE™

THIS MONTH IN THE GARDEN

Mid-Atlantic

June Maintenance Guide

INTRO

June is a good month in the south; the humidity has not likely arrived, the days are long and school is out putting us on “summertime.”  A change in the daily routine is a welcomed change indeed!

May 2009 GBBD 010

ANNUALS

  • Tender annuals can still be planted: begonias, basil, coleus, impatiens.

BULBS

  • If your daffodil foliage is lying on the ground, it is now OK to cut back.
  • How well did your daffodils perform this year?  Great? then leave them be; poorly?, then dig up the bulbs and divide once they finish maturing (as indicated by the died back leaves.)  They are probably overcrowded.  Daffodil bulbs can be planted immediately or stored in a shade, well-ventilated location.
  • Remove the Amaryllis bloom stalk.
  • Remove German bearded iris bloom stalk to tidy up the plant.  During the 6 weeks or so after bloom time, next years’ flowers are forming.  Best to wait until the fall to transplant or otherwise disturb these plants or risk next years show.
  • The soil has warmed enough to plant caladiums and elephant ears.
  • Late spring is the time to plant autumn crocuses.
  • Dahlia tubers can still be planted.

HERBS

  • Rosemary can take a hard pruning.  Now is a good time to shape, shear it, prune to manage its size.
  • Its easy to plant more herbs than you can use – plan to share with friends and neighbors.

PERENNIALS

  • Up until about the 4th of July, many plants can be pinched back to maintain shape, delay bloom time, and keep from getting leggy.  Give your garden Nip and Tuck; Plants that benefit from a nip include: Asters, Basil, Joe-Pye weed, heliopsis, Mint, Mums, Salvias, Sedums.
  • Keep flower heads deadheaded.

ROSES

  • Remember to cut your faded rose blooms to encourage more growth.  Cut the stem just above the first 5-leaflet leaf below the bloom.
  • Remember, roses are a thirsty and hungry bunch.  The watering rule of thumb is to water each plant 5 gallons per week.  Fertilize every six weeks with a complete rose fertilizer.

PESTS

  • This is also the time for the Japanese Beetles to fest on your Roses. At Helen’s Haven, we practice mechanical pest control of Japanese Beetles – we hand pick them when you are out cutting or pruning the Roses. This is my practice. Wearing gloves, I just put the bug between my thumb and forefinger and squeeeeze.  Too squeamish for that, prepare a bucket of soap[y water.  Tip the flower head with the Beetle over a bucket or soapy water and shake into a bucket.
  • Another technique is what is referred to as keeping the roses ‘in the green.’ What this means is to cut your Roses and bring inside. Or at the very least, keep the roses pruned, reducing the amount of color in the rose garden.  The Japanese Beetles are attracted to the bright and happy colors. Actually, so am I. While I do occasionally bring in cut flowers, I have a Rose garden to enjoy them in the garden; thus, I had to overcome any questions of how to dispose of these nasty little critters. So I just squeeeeze and voila, they are gone.

MULCH

  • Often I am asked how to get rid of that yucky yellow blob in the mulch. It may look distasteful, but it’s not harmful. None-the-less, I get it up as soon as I see it. I have tried to ignore it, but can’t. One mulch supplier is no more prone to it than another, as I am often asked. I like using a hoe to get it up. It also works well to scrape up the mold with some attached mulch removing any trailing bits. I first learned the name of this slime mold as dog puke! When you tell people that, they actually think it is dog puke. Then if you tell them it is slime mold, they want a name of a new mulch supplier. There’s just no good name for it.

WEEDS

  • Hopefully you mulched nicely and do no have a huge problem with weeds, but weeding is a reality of gardening: they know a good thing with the see it. My approach is to use a good hoe and just come along and chop their heads off down to their feet. I don’t even have to bend over. But from time to time, when looking at my garden beds, I’ll see this big green thing. Yep, it’s a large crab grass. I use to wonder how it got there, but now I don’t even wonder, I just reach in and pull it out.  My least favorite weed is nutsedge Are-you-ready-to-weed

WATER

As summer begins, so do summer vacations.  This also arises the need to have your garden looked after while you are gone!  There is no need not to have container gardens just because you are going on vacation and don’t want to be bothered.  Why let a week or two away keep you from coming home to some nice plantings?  Here are some tips to caring for your container gardens and houseplants while you are on vacation.  These tips are for those with and without automatic irrigation systems.

  • Bring houseplants outside under the cool of the porch or eves of the house.
  • Get a neighbor kid to come over everyday to check on things and to water.  Most pots will need watering everyday.
  • Pool you pots together near a water source and out of the afternoon sun.
  • Add extra mulch to the base of the plant.
  • Add water lines to your containers from your irrigation system.
  • Don’t have an irrigation system?  The big box stores sell automatic systems that hook up to your spigot such as Mister Mister.

WILDLIFE

  • Cow birds, bunnies, fox, grackles, copperheads, voles, moles, squirrels, deer.  They too, are part of our “wildlife.”  Let’s learn to all get along.
  • Continue to fill feeders, provide clean water daily, and refresh humming bird feeders with fresh sugar water.

FOR YOUR CONTINUING EDUCATION

  • Around the 2nd weekend in June, plan to attend the Larkspur Party.  This is a great gardening event organized by artist and gardener Frances Alvarino  Larkspur Party
  • Plan to visit public gardens for ideas and inspiration.  A camera, journal and even lunch will complete your visit.

Guide and photo by Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence

Permalink

6 Comments »

  1. June 6, 2009 @ 1:30 pm · EditEnglish Roses?

  2. June 6, 2009 @ 4:18 pm · Edit“Let’s all learn to get alone?” Gee, and they called me “Grumpy.”

  3. June 6, 2009 @ 4:48 pm · EditGrumpy, LOL, well that is a typo that I’m so glad you found. Funny how one little letter makes me sound a me anti-social. It’s suppose to say, “Let’s all learn to get along” I really don’t want to get along with my garden pest. I wish they would just go away – naturally, of course. But because I will not spray, I will just have to try and get along. H.

    P.S. I’m impressed you read all my guide…or at least the last bits. Well done, Grumpy!

  4. tina said

    June 6, 2009 @ 7:20 pm · EditI tell you Helen, after having visited your garden, folks really need to heed your advice because your garden is stunning and you surely know how to take care of it all!

  5. June 6, 2009 @ 7:35 pm · EditHey Hydroponic Garden,

    The rose featured in this post is a hybrid tea, Rainbow Sorbet. I love English roses, but found here at Helen’s Haven,in Raleigh, NC they are just too needy for me. I grown a couple of climbers, Don Juan (which is my fave) and Stairway to Heaven, a good performer, but like Don Juan better. I also grown several other hybrid teas, floribundas, and shrub roses. I have them on an organic spray program, but not matter how you look at it, they are still high maintenance and heavy feeders…still they are home here. For now at least!

  6. June 6, 2009 @ 7:38 pm · EditHey Tina,

    Golly, I’ll have to quote you in a travel brochure for visitors coming to Raleigh! It was great to meet you, husband and son. Amazing how two bloggers can meet for the first time and yak for 2 hours only to be pulled away cuz you had to leave. I’m so looking forward to see you in Tenn.

Comments (6)

This month in the garden – May

GARDENING WITH CONFIDENCE™

THIS MONTH IN THE GARDEN

Mid-Atlantic Region

May Maintenance Guide

INTRO

May brings the end of pollen and summer begins – at least Memorial Day weekend – the official kick off of summer.

2008portland-or-096

CONTAINERS

  • Every garden has room for container gardens. Find some fabulous pots and fill them with whatever you fancy. Know the amount of sun you get and when. It matters when you select your plants. Remember they need extra watering and fertilizing.

BULBS

  • It’s safe now to plant the Amaryllis from Christmas. It will not likely bloom again this year, but should do so next year. Mine from previous years bloom mid month.  Here’s a little Amarylis planting how-to.
  • Now that the soils have warmed, plant Caladium bulbs or those potted and already in leaf. They like it warm and can be damaged by a cool weather, not just a frost. They are also big feeders so they will need consistent watering and fertilizer during the growing season.
  • Actually, any tender summer bulb such as cannas, dahlias, ginger lilies, and tuberoses can be planted now.
  • Oh, the Irises are blooming their little heads off. Recently, I cut some for a friend. She took a whiff and realized for the first time, bearded Irises have a lovely scent. They are nice to bring inside to enjoy the smell. After blooming, cut flower stalks to tidy up the plant.
  • Cut the flowers stalks of daffodils. Try to ignore the leaves as they die a natural death.
  • Add Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) as a natural way to rid this pest.

ANNUALS

  • With the frost behind, annuals can be planted with abandonment.
  • Visit public gardens to see the variety available for planting in our area. The JC Raulston Arboretum is an All-American Selection (AAS) display garden exhibiting the most recent selection winners.
  • Direct sow zinnia seed at intervals to have cut flowers through frost.

PERENNIALS

  • May is not the ideal time for planting perennials, but they are oh, so available. Plan to plant, but pamper. They will require extra watering to help get established.
  • English Ivy is leafing out. English ivy sure seemed like a good idea at the time it was introduced to the USA, but this non-native is very invasive.
  • Seeing the Chinese wisteria escaped in the wild brings a feeling of wonder. Yes, the color and flowers cascading down from the trees is beautiful, but they ain’t supposed to be there. Think twice about planting one. Instead, the American wisteria, ‘Amethyst Falls’ blooming a little later, is a good choice.

TREES AND SHRUBS

  • May is Southern Magnolia’s bloom time. They give so much and we need to do so little for them in return. I like to pluck a Magnolia bloom and float it in a bowl of water near where I read or enjoy the magnolias-21garden at the end of the day. It last but a day, but what a day it is.
  • The Endless Summer Hydrangea is the first Hydrangea to bloom on old and new growth with the ability to rebloom all summer long. I planted my Endless Summer in 2005 and I find the reblooming ability to be weak. Perhaps it will improve with age. To encourage reblooming, cut the blooms for drying or to put in vases for a fresh arrangement. This will also encourage the plant to set new buds.
  • Prune rhododendron and azaleas right after flowering.

ROSES

  • Roses are in full swing right now. Let your roses flush out and take shorter pruning tactics in May so they grow taller. This is usually good advice for the first couple of cuttings. Then you can prune at will remembering to cut at an angle at the next 5 leaflets. Remember, Roses are heavy feeders – both food and water. I fertilize once a month and give each rose about 5 gallons of water each a week or about an inch a week. Water at the base of the plant and in the morning to help discourage black spot.

HERBS

  • Plant an herb garden! If not for you, then for your garden friends. The Tiger Swallowtail butterfly larvae love parsley and fennel. Let those ‘green worms’ eat it all. Or plant enough to spare. If you don’t want them, call me at 781-0199 and I will rescue them to my gardens.
  • May, in my garden, is Lavender peak bloom time. Each May, I’m lavendar-april-27-2008-0621reminded of why I grow Lavender. It can look ratty many month of the year. After it flowers, cut back and shape.

FERTILIZER

  • To encourage flowering, a fertilizer low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus is best. The fertilizer’s 3 main ingredients are N-P-K with N for Nitrogen, P for Phosphorus and K for Potassium. 10-10-10 means there is an equal proportion of each N-P-K. Hydrangeas like a low N and a high P, thus a combination of 10-40-10 would be ideal. My general rule of thumb to remember what the numbers mean is to start with the first number and apply from the top of the plant to the bottom. As such, N – is for the green; P – is for the bloom; and K- is for the root.
  • To refresh your understanding of pH, pH refers to the acidity of the soil and is measured by the number of Hydrogen ions present in the soil. pH is a logarithmic scale based on the power of ten. As such, pH of 6.0 is 10 times more acidic than pH of 7.0! Thus, even a little change in pH can make a big difference. A pH of 7 is neutral, less than 7 is acid, greater than 7 is alkaline. Most plants like a pH between 6.5 and 7. All hydrangeas like it more acid than most plants.

MULCH

  • Keep your gardens cool, less thirsty, and reduce the amount of weeds,  top dress your garden beds of mulch. I can write volumes on the benefits of mulch. I am really mulch crazy. I believe in the power of mulch.
  • For my Roses, I use mini-nuggets, but for my perennial gardens, I used composted leaf mulch.
  • Picking up a load reminds me of how important it is to make sure your yard waste is separated from your trash. This is not only good stuff once it is composted, but the conservation practice is in all our best interest! Confessions of a Stainable Gardener – Part 3 Mulch

WEEDS

  • Spring is prime growing time for weeds too.  The best advice is to stay on top of them with a weekly weeding event.

WATER

  • Now that we are past the last frost, irrigation systems are firing up. My appeal to you is not to water if you don’t have to. Most people OVER water, not underwater.
  • Remember, don’t water because it’s Tuesday or Saturday or any particular day of the week. Water when the top 2 or 3 inches of soil feels dry and then only if the plant looks thirsty.

WILDLIFE

  • Keep your wildlife coming back for more. Fill your feeders, replenish the water in the birdbaths, don’t spray pesticides.

FOR YOUR CONTINUAL EDUCATION

  • For Your Continual Gardening Education, look for garden tours going on this spring, summer, and fall. There is also a fantastic winter garden tour at the JC Raulston Arboretum in February each year. Garden tours are a great way to see how others use certain plants and garden accents, and they can give you endless ideas. If you are new to this area, this is a must for practical purposes and pure pleasure. Garden owners opening their garden are putting their hearts on their sleeve to share with you their passion and giving back to the gardening community.  Support our local gardeners who are giving us so much. During the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tours also benefiting the JC Raulston Arboretum, you may be surprised to know all the notable gardeners and garden writers who come. Even some the most veteran gardeners attend, those who are smart enough to know there is always someone new to learn from and new pleasures to be found.

philbrookraleighyoest-47

Guide and photos by Helen Yoest

Gardening With Confidence

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