Searching for Espaliered Quince Trees

Beautifully espaliered quince by andrea_hall (on flickr)
Beautifully espaliered quince by andrea_hall (on flickr)

TheGardenLady received this question from Elizabeth.

Can you tell me where I might be able to find a nursery/source for an espalier? I’ve been trying for years, to no avail, to espalier a quince. I would like to buy one that flowers.

Until you asked for a nursery to buy an espaliered tree, TheGardenLady
always thought that one had to create one own’s espaliered tree by training it yourself. Trying to check out your request, TheGardenLady discovered nurseries that sell already espaliered trees. But unfortunately, none that she called have espaliered quince trees for sale.

Espalier is when a tree, shrub or vine is trained to grow on a single plane and not allowed to deviate from it, that is known as the “espalier” style. Espalier stems from a 16th-century European practice.

Most people choose apple or pear trees to espalier not only to save space but to get more fruit in a small space. And there are nurseries that do sell espaliered apple and pear trees.

Quince can be espaliered but it can be trickier because many of the
shrubs have thorns.  See here.

There are many excellent sites on espaliering so that you might be
willing to try making your own espaliered quince tree.  See e.g. here.

TheGardenLady will continue to ask if there are nurseries that sell
flowering quince that is already espaliered and if she ever finds a place will post it on the blog; but thus far, she has not been able to find any nursery in the states that sell it already espaliered. Because Europe seems to do more with espaliered trees perhaps you can find a European nursery that sells

Mojave Desert Wildflowers

Bluebell Wildflowers - In Joshua Tree National Park by MadeIn1953 (on flickr)
Bluebell Wildflowers - In Joshua Tree National Park by MadeIn1953 (on flickr)

In a departure from the man-made gardens that are often the subject of this blog, this past weekend’s adventure was spent exploring the wildflower displays at two unique spots within the Mojave Desert (see here). Covering southern Nevada, western Arizona, southwestern Utah, and southeastern California, this roughly 25,000 square-mile-large swatch of land is home to hundreds of species of plants; many of which produce springtime blossoms of white, yellow, orange, red, lavender, purple, and blue.

Separated by almost 200 miles, the two unique spots included the southernmost and westernmost tips of the Mojave Desert; respectively in Joshua Tree National Park and the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve-both in Southern California. While the blossoms on the two parks’ namesakes-the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) and California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)-were an obvious motive behind picking the locations, numerous other blossoming species also inhabit these regions.


The first stop of the adventure, Joshua Tree National Park (see here), technically spans two deserts: above 3,000 feet and on the west side of the Park is the Mojave Desert, and below on the east side is the Colorado Desert, which is part of the larger Sonoran Desert. On the border, between the two deserts, lies the Lost Palms Oasis Trail; a favorite among hikers eager to see springtime wildflower blossoms. The 7.5 mile hike takes you from the Cottonwood Spring Oasis to the Lost Palms Oasis and back. With the right amount of fall and winter rains, and warm enough springtime temperatures, the typically parched, rocky, and sandy landscape between the two oases is transformed with patches of color.

This early-April weekend, at least 20 different blossoming species were on display along the Lost Palms Oasis Trail. Most prevalent were the yellows of the Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata), Desert Dandelion (Malacothrix californica), and Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa). Moreover, on the way to the trailhead, when driving from the north end of the Park to the south end, a wonderful highlight was the fields full of Desert Dandelion on both sides of Pinto Basin Road.




Continue reading “Mojave Desert Wildflowers”

Saving Potted Daffodils

Daffodils by Poppins Garden (on flickr)
Daffodils by Poppins' Garden (on flickr)

TheGardenLady received this question from Cecilia.

I have some daffodils in pots and the flowers have already dried out. What do I need to do  to keep them healthy for next year? Or will theybe fine without my help?

When the flowers on your daffodils dry out, cut them off. This goes for daffodils growing outdoors, too. But NEVER cut off the leaves. After flowering the leaves continue to provide nutrients to the bulb. By cutting the flowers off you prevent the daffodil from setting seed. Unless you are a professional daffodil breeder or an avid amateur, daffodil seeds are more difficult to work with so you don’t want the plant to set seed. You want all the energy and growth to go into the bulb for next year’s bloom.

Now with potted daffodils, because the plant was forced- the bulb may no longer be any good. But you can try to save it and hope it is still ok. The daffodil you bought came in a small pot with limited soil which was depleted of nutrients when it was forced and bloomed. So even though the fall is the best time to plant daffodil bulbs, TheGardenLady would immediately plant the flowerless bulbs into the ground with the leaves still on. This way the bulbs may have a chance of living by getting some nutrients from the leaves as  well as from the outdoor soil. Mark where you planted the bulbs after the leaves die, so that you know where to look next spring to see if you saved those daffodils. Remember, plants want to live so that if you give them a good chance, they might comply. But, if they die, you know you tried.

Good luck.

Caring for Sick Peace Lilies

Simplicity by love_child_kyoto (on flickr)
Simplicity by love_child_kyoto (on flickr)

TheGardenLady received this question from Linda.

I have a peace lily indoor plant which has sentimental value to me and over the past winter it has contracted a leaf condition – the leaves die from the tip towards the stem.  It’s as though a critter is “sucking” the life from it. It still flowers, but I am afraid as more and more leaves are infected I will lose the battle. Any suggestions?

TheGardenLady has to assume from your brief email that you have not changed anything in your plant’s environment- you haven’t moved your plant or changed the lighting, temperature, humidity or care. Usually most brown tips are caused by low humidity. And I also have to assume that you had not re-potted your Peace Lily Spathiphyllum improperly or put it in poor soil.

Or your Peace Lily might have to be re-potted. Sometimes a plant that has been in the same pot for a long time has a build up of salts in the soil from fertilizers and alkaline tap water. When you re-pot your plant, be sure you do not re-pot it too high or too low and use good potting soil (see here).

Continue reading “Caring for Sick Peace Lilies”

Variegated Hostas under Dogwoods

My Garden in Springtime by zenamoonbeam (on flickr)
My Garden in Springtime by zenamoonbeam (on flickr)

TheGardenLady received this question.

I’d like to plant variegated hostas beneath a pink dogwood this spring. Is it a good idea?

TheGardenLady thinks that planting variegated hostas under a pink dogwood sounds gorgeous. But because dogwoods are being stressed these days, plant the hostas with caution (see here).

Be careful not to plant the hostas too close to the dogwood trunk. Notice that dogwoods in nature don’t like plants close to the trunk. Plant the hostas just outside the tree’s drip line (see here).  Dogwoods have shallow, far-reaching root systems, so when planting the hostas be careful that you don’t damage big roots which are fairly shallow.  Those are roots that are 1″ in diameter and larger.  You don’t want to hurt the tree by damaging the roots (see here).  The younger the tree, the closer you can plant the hostas because the roots will find the ideal places to grow their roots. Don’t pile lots of soil over the dogwood roots when planting anything near the tree.

Remember that dogwood trees like a lot of water. Dogwood roots don’t like to compete for water. Keep your dogwood well watered – Water weekly in the morning during dry periods. Caution: Do not wet foliage. If you are having a drought in your area, as many areas are having, be sure that the dogwood and the hostas get well watered. Since they are shallow-rooted trees, dogwoods are among the first plants to show drought stress. They need supplemental water in the absence of regular rainfall, especially during the summer and fall. Water in the morning, preferably with a soaker hose, to a depth of 6″. Use of a sprinkler is not recommended because it wets the foliage, setting up ideal conditions for certain diseases. But dogwoods don’t like to be overwatered. They don’t want the soil saturated. Dogwoods are feeling lots of stress these days; so you don’t want to add any more stress to the tree you have (see here).

Encore Azalea’s Online Magazine

 Autumn Cheerâ„¢ (Rhododendron Hybrid)
Autumn Cheerâ„¢ (Rhododendron Hybrid)

If you have bought Encore Azaleas, the only patented azalea that is said to bloom not only in the spring, but also in the summer and the fall, instead of contacting TheGardenLady with questions about those azaleas, EncoreAzalea now has an online digital/web magazine that answers all questions related to the Encore Azalea. Check out the site for the advice and information about the Encore Azalea.

Autumn Twistâ„¢ (Rhododendron Hybrid)
Autumn Twistâ„¢ (Rhododendron Hybrid)

Encore Azalea® has launched a new digital magazine that offers gardeners insight into all things related to Encore Azaleas, from planting tips and regional care to spacing suggestions.

Novice and master gardeners alike will enjoy the photos and articles while taking advantage of the easy care tips found in “Blooms.” The digital magazine can be viewed and downloaded here.

“Blooms” also features advice from Robert E. “Buddy” Lee, the inventor of Encore Azaleas and a well-known plant breeder. Lee offers his tips and techniques on soil amendment, planting, mulching, watering, and pruning.

Buddy’s care instructions are also available in Quicktime, or Windows Media format, or as an iTunes podcast. To download these easy-to-use files, visit EncoreAzalea and click the icon on the bottom of the home page.

Best regards,

From your friends at Encore Azalea®

Lori Rubel’s Georgia Vines

TheGardenLady likes to write about nurseries or gardens that sell interesting plants; and if these places can save readers money in this economy, that is an added bonus. One such gardening resource is Georgia Vines What is unique about Georgia Vines is that their emphasis is on selling vines- and many of these vines are very unusual.

The owner of Georgia Vines is Lori Rubel who says that her passion is vines. She said that because she only had an ” urban backyard to work with, I decided many years ago to collect vines because I could grow them vertically and save room.” When Lori moved to Georgia from her home in upstate NY, she discovered “Passiflora- which is something that I could have never grown in upstate NY.” The more vines she got, the more she found were available. ” Lori says that she now has a large collection of about 140 different types of vines. Lori, who loves beauty, became interested in rare and unusual vines as well as other unusual plants. On her website she says “This is my garden of vines, angel trumpets, butterfly plants, and just about everything beautiful and unusual that I am able to find and plant.”

Because all gardeners love to share their passion with others, a couple of years ago Lori was encouraged by her grown sons to set up a website and share the vines and her passion and knowledge of vines with others.

And what makes Lori’s Georgia Vines a place to save money is that she sells many of the vines and plants as seeds but does NOT charge for postage anywhere in the US. (She does have a small international postage fee.) And many of the potted plants have no postage charge.

If you fall in love with any of the rare plants on the Georgia Vines site and want to order them, be sure that the plants will grow in your area (see here).

What’s Blowing Your Way

PhotonQ-Beauty on the Horizon of Complexity by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE (on flickr)
PhotonQ-Beauty on the Horizon of Complexity by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE (on flickr)

TheGardenLady just wants to let her readers what’s in store.  Tomorrow there will be a post on Lori Rubel’s Georgia Vines.  And in 4 days from now, TheGardenLady will be posting an answer to a reader’s question about planting hostas under a dogwood.

So keep reading and asking questions.

Hummingbirds are Arriving

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (female) by rwolfert (on flickr)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (female) by rwolfert (on flickr)

TheGardenLady is sure that one of the reasons you like to have flowers is because you hope to attract or already attract hummingbirds to
your garden (see here).

People keep track of when they arrive in your state. For example, they are already starting to arrive in New Jersey (see here)

And sometimes when they arrive they need you to help feed them by putting up hummingbird feeders (see here).  You can buy hummingbird feeders in your local hardware store. Or you can make your own hummingbird feeders (see here).

Remember hummingbirds are territorial. Once they find your garden they will return each year. If you want to attract more hummingbirds, place more feeders throughout your yard. But don’t forget, YOU MUST CLEAN the feeders frequently so the birds don’t get sick.

Continue reading “Hummingbirds are Arriving”

Encore Azalea – Possible Cold Damage

12-20-08 - Encore azalea by jennymunro (on flickr)
12-20-08 - Encore azalea by jennymunro (on flickr)

TheGardenLady received the following question about Encore Azaleas.

We live in Belews Creek North Carolina. We planted 3 Encore Azaleas last spring, they bloomed all summer and fall, they lost their leaves in the winter and now we have no leaves, or buds. The limbs are bare but green, I have cut several and checked for dead signs but have found only green. This is spring and was looking foward to seeing their flowers. Any help will be appreciated.

Here is the answer from Encore Azaleas.

Cold damage can take a while to show up, causing the bark to split which interrupts the transport of water and nutrients throughout the shrub. Loss of foliage, especially during extremely cold weather, may occur, but doesn’t necessarily mean that the shrubs won’t bounce back.

If you have not already fertilized this spring, use a slow release granular fertilizer that is right for your area. Make sure the mix is well-balanced – the three numbers on the packaging are the same or similar. These numbers indicate the amount of nitrogen (promotes plant growth and for foliage), phosphorus (promotes blooms), and potassium (strengthens roots and stems). If your fertilizer contains more nitrogen than phosphorus, your azaleas will concentrate on growing rather than blooming.

Cold Hardiness
In a recently completed three-year cold hardiness study undertaken by the University of Tennessee, 19 of the 23 varieties of Encore Azaleas trialed in USDA Zone 6 demonstrated positive results.

Five varieties (Autumn AmethystTM, Autumn CheerTM, Autumn RoyaltyTM, and Autumn RubyTM and Autumn TwistTM) consistently exhibited solid cold hardiness throughout Zone 6A.

Autumn Sangria and Autumn Sweetheart showed success in protected locations in Zone 6A.

In Zone 6B, 18 varieties consistently exhibited solid cold hardiness:
Autumn AmethystTM, Autumn AngelTM, Autumn CarnationTM, Autumn CarnivalTM, Autumn CheerTM, Autumn ChiffonTM, Autumn DebutanteTM, Autumn EmbersTM, Autumn EmpressTM, Autumn MonarchTM, Autumn PrincessTM, Autumn RougeTM, Autumn RoyaltyTM, Autumn RubyTM, Autumn SangriaTM, Autumn SunsetTM, Autumn SweetheartTM, Autumn TwistTM (Autumn BelleTM, Autumn MoonlightTM, Autumn SundanceTM were not trialed.)

As your Encores mature and get more established in their environment, they will be better able to withstand cold temperatures. Young plants are more susceptible to sudden, drastic drops in temperatures, and sustained cold weather (25 degrees or below).

Cold Protection
Mulch well (about 4 inches deep) in the fall. Reduce water for a month or so before the first frost. Then, after a couple of hard freezes, water well to provide moisture. This will help the plants to go dormant, or “harden off”.

As you would with any outdoor ornamental plants, Encore Azaleas may need some extra protection during sudden freezes and extremely cold weather. Sudden, drastic drops in temperature are more damaging than a gradual decline, especially to newly planted shrubs.

Burlap, old blankets, or sheets (any cloth material) can be used to cover upper plants. It is recommended that you drive stakes in the ground around your Encore and drape the cloth cover over stakes. Foliage in contact with the cover can be injured, so try to minimize cover contact with plant.

I hope you find this information helpful; keep me posted on your progress and let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.