Friday, June 30, 2006

Clean Up Your Flowers

The last day of June - already - where did the month go?

My weekend will be filled with BBQ's and getting a few things done in the yard.

When I moved into this house seven years ago, I had a sun filled back yard and put in those perennials that loved sun. Last year at about this time, all of those plants were moved out, since the very back of my yard was now shady since the rose covered gazebo and a couple of trees were now casting shadows. I replaced those plants with shade loving perennials (See the list from a couple days ago if you want to know exactly what those plants are).

It’s been a year and everything looks great, but it is time to fill in with a few more. So, this weekend, I will be planting a few more hosta, some astilbe and a few other yet to be determined shade loving plants. Now that I have Harley (my bulldog) around, planting takes much longer as he has to help.

I will also spend some time deadheading--my ramblin' red climbing roses and any other annuals that may need this done.

It is important to keep cutting the dead flowers of your plants so they don’t spend their energy trying to produce seeds. You want all the energy going back into the plant. So there are my plans for this long weekend - eating, planting and deadheading. Oh yea, throw in some dog walks and rollerblading too.

Enjoy the weekend and have a great July 4 Holiday.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sun Loving Perennials

Yesterday I gave you my list of 5 shade loving perennials. I believe in equal time for all sides, so here is a list of 5 sun loving perennials. This is from the segment that aired last night.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when planting perennials.

-Plant in groups of 3-5 or more. Groups of identical plants planted together create impact and add interest.

-Don’t forget plants that create winter interest such as the various ornamental grasses.

-Even with the sun loving perennials look for plants with interesting and unique foliages.

Echinacea (Coneflower)
Perennial Geraniums
-Johnson’s Blue
-Karl Forester Grass
-Limerock Ruby
-Vintage Wine

-Royal Candles
-Red Fox
-Crater Lake Blue

I’ll be back again tomorrow with my weekend list of things that I’ll be doing in my yard and garden.

Make your day a good one!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Shade Loving Plants

What a string of nothing but incredible days - perfect for any outdoor activity. It’s been awhile since I have thanked Dave Dahl and everyone else in the weather center. Like I said once before, they get blamed for the bad weather, so why not give them a kudos for the good weather.

In last week’s segment, I talked about 5 perfect plants for shade - but since time didn’t allow getting into the details here is the list of the 5 with some specific varieties. There are countless more varieties that could fall into each category. These are just a few that I like since the all have great foliage. Since most of the shade loving plants don’t have the impressive flowers that sun loving perennials do, I look for shade loving plants that have unique colors, shapes and textures in their foliages to create more interest.

-Color Flash
-Visions in Red

Coral Bells
-Crimson Curls
-Plum Pudding
-Swirling Fantasy

-Winter Glow

-Berries and Cream
-Cotton Cool
-Raspberry Splash

-Paul’s Glory
-Regal Splendor
-Robert Frost
-Wide Brim

That’s all for today - I’ll be back with some more tomorrow.

Make it a great day.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Happy Belated First Day of Summer!

As we head into these first days of summer, my endless summer hydrangeas have burst into bloom. This plant came onto the market with much fanfare and hoopla a few years ago. I planted several back then, a few did not survive the first winter, but the remaining ones all came back this year and are doing exceptionally well.

There are a number of other hydrangeas that I have in my garden that due extremely well such as the compact peegee, annabelle, and Kyushu.

The most important thing to keep in mind if you are growing any hydrangea is that the plants name starts with "hydra" meaning water. To flourish and look good they need lots of water. I have nicknamed my endless summer hydrangeas - endless watering hydrangeas - but all the watering is worth it when I look out and see all the blue clumps of flowers.

As we head into the weekend, grab the garden hose; give those planters, shrubs and lawns a big drink of water to keep them going.

Make this first weekend of summer a good one - I’ll have more for you next week If you have full sun in your garden and are looking for some perennials that perform well and can tolerate those conditions watch EYEWITNESS NEWS at 6:30 on Wednesday for my list of 5 great perennials for full sun.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Grow Great Crematis

Back on June 1, I mentioned that my Ramblin Red Climbing Roses were starting to bloom. I can now say they are at their peak and are nothing short of absolutely spectacular this year. Like I mentioned before, the metal gazebo has been completely covered with these beauties.

Next to my house, I have some of the same type of roses planted with purple clematis mixed in.

The contrast of the rich red of the roses and the deep purple of the clematis make a rather regal combination. The key to growing great clematis is slightly alkaline soil that is rich in organic matter with good drainage, full sun to just a little shade and good mulch such as wood chips to keep the roots cool. With minimal care they will give you years of color.

Enjoy the day.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Dealing With the Storm

I hope your weekend was a good one. Friday and Saturday brought some much-needed rain, but in many areas it brought some hail and storm damage. Friday night I left my home in south Minneapolis where it was just raining to meet some friends in downtown Minneapolis for dinner. I was surprised to see all the leaves from trees in the streets of downtown due to hail damage.

If you experienced hail damage, there are a few things that can be done with your plants.

Perennials (those plants that come back year after year) should be cleaned up and fertilized with a granular fertilizer to ensure that they continue to grow and recover. Don’t cut all the leaves back since even damaged leaves will still produce energy for the plants. They will just look a bit unsightly for the rest of this year. Large leaved perennials such as hosta take the most beating during a hailstorm.

Annuals should be cleaned up and again fertilized only use a water-soluble fertilizer on those since the plant will take it up a water-soluble fertilizer faster. If your annual plants look really bad (no leaves at all left) or you need them looking good right away, you may want to consider replanting. Annuals can still be planted and in fact will perform very well during the warm weather - just keep them watered until they are well established.

Trees and shrubs should recover from hail damage - they will just look a little naked from the leaf loss for the rest of this year.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Harley the Bulldog

Some time ago I mentioned a distraction or maybe it was something that was keeping me from getting my yard projects done. In the world of TV, that is called a "tease." So, that being said - here is the latest addition to my yard and garden. His name is Harley. I’ve had him for one month and he is now six months old.

Don’t let the picture fool you - he is not that tough. He is all bulldog and with that comes stubbornness and lots of attitude. I can report that after one month, we are having a good time and all is going well - he is just a 32 pound sweetheart who loves everybody and every other dog that he has met.

I knew that a few plants would be lost along the way now that he has the run of the backyard and I was right - a few hostas along the fence between my neighbor’s yard and my yard are gone. Other then that, everything else looks fine.

Almost every dog owner with a yard has problems with lawn spotting caused by dog urine. Luckily, I have been able to train Harley to take care of business in one area of the yard that is covered with wood chips. I put the soaker hose in that area a couple times a week to wash everything down. There are countless things that I know people do to help with the lawn spotting problems from feeding the dog a special diet, pills for the dog, using lime or gypsum on the lawn, etc.

Shortly after Harley arrived I found out about a new product called Guard Dog - Lawn Protectant.

I have used this for the last month for those times when Harley decides to take his break in the lawn rather then in the wood chipped area and so far it seems to be working very well. I have a few spots in the lawn in those areas that I missed, so I can tell that it is working in the areas that I spray it on.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ugh! Slugs!

Last night I noticed the first small holes in my hosta leaves. These irregular shaped holes are caused by slugs.

Slugs feed at night and can rarely be found during the day. They need cool, damp and shady locations to live and that’s what makes the shade loving hosta a perfect place for them to hang out. They generally will not kill the plant, but leave them unsightly by making holes in the leaves.

There are a number of commercial products available such as Sluggo which works very well. A natural way to control slugs and trust me - this one works is to take a small plastic saucer or container and bury it in the ground so the rim is level with the soil. Open a can of beer.

Any type of beer will do since the slugs are not fussy and I have tried them all (on the slugs that is). Pour the beer in the container. The slugs will be attracted to the smell of the beer and crawl during the night to the container, fall in and die a happy death. In a few days dump out the contents and start over.

I’ll have some more posted here tomorrow including the latest addition to my home (and garden).

Friday, June 9, 2006

Attention Getters

As we head into the weekend, I plan on taking it easy, with no plans to do much in the yard other then some watering as needed.

Back on May 18, I talked about the fact that I really don’t have a "favorite" plant. Like I said before, there are lots of plants I really don’t like for one reason or another, but I don’t have a tried and true favorite. Here are a couple more that have caught my attention right now.

My Japanese Tree Lilac is blooming right now in my yard. You can find this tree in a clump form similar to a birch clump or as a single trunk tree. I have the single trunk version. It generally blooms during the first couple of weeks of June. The large creamy cloud like blooms are very fragrant.

Perennial geraniums are in my opinion an under utilized plant in the perennial garden. They bloom in the spring - look good all summer and can tolerate partial shade to full sun. There are countless different varieties. Like all perennials, they look best when planted in a grouping of three or more.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Pruning Evergreens

Last night I pruned the arborvitae hedge that runs between my house and my neighbors house.

Now is the time to prune most evergreens. I planted this hedge 6 years ago and it is now about the height that I want to maintain it at. I never got around to giving it a light pruning last year, so it had gotten some what out of hand. As you can tell from these before and after it got a major haircut (pruning) this year. I will probably go back out tonight and do some touch up work on it.

Speaking of pruning, you still have time to get those spring blooming shrubs (lilacs, rhododendrons and azaleas) pruned, but you need to do it soon.