Mini Iris Problem

Mini Iris by jamesrjohnson

TheGardenLady received this question from Debbie.

My favorite “mini” purple irises have very little blooms this year? Do I need to expose the roots? More sun perhaps?

From the sounds of your letter, your favorite “mini” purple irises have bloomed for you in the past. You don’t mention if the plant seems healthy or not. I hope you checked to see if there is a problem with the plants’ health. If the plants look healthy, then we will make other suggestions.

If the irises bloomed before in the same location they are in now, then the roots were planted at the proper depth. ( You didn’t say if you had moved them to a new location. If you had and they are not blooming, you might have replanted them too deep.)

How many years have you had them in the same spot? Has the location gotten darker because of a tree that might be shading the irises? I find that my irises bloom much more profusely in the sun than in an area where there is shade.

Did you cut the iris leaves after they bloomed last year? You must NEVER cut off any leaves. You must ALWAYS leave the leaves after blooming to enable  the plant to build up the energy it needs to bloom the following year. But you should have deadheaded the flowers – cut off the stem where the flowers died so that they don’t set seeds. This is a minor type of pruning and encourages more flowering the next season.

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Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air (Video Clip)

Hummingbirds are amazing little creatures, so fast and ephemeral.  Yet they are also so difficult to see for very long with the naked eye.  This YouTube video is a clip of a PBS Nature program called Magic in the Air, which gives us more than a fleeting glimpse of these captivating animals.  See the full video here.

Ann Johnson Prum is the cinematographer and as you learn in the video she uses hi-speed computer-controlled cameras to capture these tough-to-capture energetic hummingbirds.  It’s beautiful to watch.  Enjoy.

Wine and Roses Weigela

Wine & Roses Weigela by Cheezylu

TheGardenLady received a question from someone named Nicky who lives near TheGardenLady and who has seen TheGardenLady’s garden.

You have a beautiful specimen in your garden that is in bloom with lovely pink blossoms and dark leaves (reddish). It has the general size of a flowering almond, but seems to be a different specimen. May I ask what this is.

The plant that Nicky was asking about is the Weigela called Wine and Roses.

The Weigela is a pretty shrub that makes an excellent hedge or it can be a specimen plant, as TheGardenLady has. Besides the pretty flowers that hummingbirds and butterflies are supposed to like, Wine and Roses is especially interesting because the of the purple color of the leaves. The plant was named after the German scientist Christian Ehrenfried Weigel and doesn’t seem to have a common name.  See here.

The Weigela is an easy shrub to raise. It will tolerate some shade, though Wine and Roses prefers sun to get the darkest purple leaf color. It is a low maintenance shrub that seems to have few pest or disease problems and is deer resistant. The deer had nibbled on my Wiegela when it was a baby, but doesn’t seem to be bothered by anything now that it is larger. Still to be on the safe side, I give all my plants a spray of Liquid Fence.  See here.

The Wiegela is easy to propagate by stem cuttings, so if you know anyone who has the plant, ask for a branch or two to start one for yourself.  See here.

Wine and Roses Weigela by Rosie’s Whimsy

Roses in TheGardenLady’s Garden

Welcome to TheGardenLady’s garden. I will be posting some photos of plants in my garden. I had hoped to send you photos as each plant flowered. But the season is passing quickly and so many of the flowers, like my Jacob’s Ladder-Polemonium and bleeding hearts-dicentra have already finished blooming in my yard. So I am posting photos of some of my roses.

This year TheGardenLady’s roses are blooming their heads off. They are so lush with flowers that the branches can barely support them.

There are two Knock Out Rose Rosa ‘Radrazz” and the Pink Knock Out Rose, Rosa ‘Radcon’.  I have had these roses for a few years. The last two years I have pruned these two rose bushes in early spring. I mulch the bed they are in with aged horse manure. I see that the roses get water if there is a heat wave or drought. When I water I let the hose run near the roots and soak the roots. I do not spray water over the leaves.

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Downloads of Nature Walks

What can you do when you can’t get out into your garden?

Our friends at How to Cope with Pain wrote this week about a website Peaceful Walks, which offers downloads of nature “walks” for sale.  As How to Cope with Pain says, these won’t replace getting out into your garden or the outdoors, but they are beautiful photography and relaxing to watch.  Here is a review.

Do You Dead-Head Encore Roses?

Gotta love those knock-outs!!! by perennialpal

TheGardenLady received this question from John.

Are you supposed to cut spent flowers on Encore Roses? Some say you are and others say don’t. Which is correct?

Cutting spent flowers is referred to as dead heading. Dead heading is like a minor form of pruning. People do it to most perennial flowers so that the plants look neater and it forces more flowering.

However, that being said, the Knock Out Roses are bred for easy maintenance and one of the things they have eliminated is making it necessary to deadhead. On their website it says “All seven members in The Knock Out® Family of Roses are self-cleaning so there is no need to deadhead.”

So though it is not necessary to deadhead spent roses from my Knock Out Roses, TheGardenLady will cut off the remains of the stem end of the roses that have died, but only for aesthetic reasons.

If you’d like to read a previous post on the issue of dead-heading Knock Out Roses, check this post out.

2010 Garden Conservancy Open Days

Garden Conservancy Open Days in Mattituck & Cutchogue, NY by justmecpb

This is the time of year to visit the Garden Conservancy Open Days private house gardens.  Please don’t miss taking advantage of this opportunity to visit America’s best private gardens. You are in for a treat. If you love visiting gardens, you get a peak at some of the most wonderful gardens in this country. If you want to landscape your property, you can get out to see how others have done it. If you want to just see novel plantings or to find something new for your garden, don’t miss these Open Days in your area. The Open Days are available in 20 states across the nation and in the District of Columbia.

The 2010 Open Days season began in early April and extends through the end of October. Usually you can get to see a few gardens on one date since many gardens are in the same area. Go online to see some of the dates.  See here.

Gardens are open in California on May 22nd. Philadelphia has some gardens open on May 23 in the Chestnut Hill area. Portland, Oregon has Open Days on June 5th.  Chicago, Il has Open Days in July. I have just mentioned a few of the open Days.

There is a small entrance fee that helps to support the Garden Conservancy Program.

Hollister House (9) by

The Garden Conservancy has done more than any other national institution to save and preserve America’s exceptional gardens for the education and enjoyment of the public and by your visiting the Open Days Garden, you are helping to save and preserve these exceptional gardens. They support great gardens such as the Hollister House Garden one of the most beautiful English style gardens in the United States. How do they do this? One example happened in 2005 when George Schoellkopf signed an agreement with the Garden Conservancy and Hollister House Garden Inc. binding him to donate the entire property, including house, garden and twenty-five acres, either during his lifetime or through his will, to Hollister House Garden Inc. This magnificent garden is in the Litchfield hills of Conn.  See here.

If readers of TheGardenLady blog have visited or visit any of the gardens during Open Days, please let us hear what you think of the gardens. Your photographs would be greatly appreciated. So please send them for all to see.

Frugal Landscaping

TheGardenLady’s Curb

TheGardenLady can say with confidence, you do not have to hire a landscaper to create your own garden. And you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a beautiful garden. I have created my own garden. And I cannot tell you the amount of compliments I get for my garden. Just yesterday, one neighbor told me what an inspiration my garden is. She is inspired to start a garden. Another neighbor, came over for advice on plants for a garden at his new home. I have done the work on my garden by myself; though now that I am getting too old to dig that much or carry and lay the mulch, I have someone help me. But I still dig holes, plant, weed, feed and water.

Remember that everything doesn’t have to be done in one day. Your planting schemes can evolve as mine have. TheGardenLady keeps on enlarging her beds each year to put in more plants. It is a work in progress so that every year it is beautiful in a new way.

TheGardenLady doen’t spend a fortune on plants. In fact, I am most frugal when it comes to getting plants. The reason for frugality is that plants may die or they may be eaten by deer or rabbits or voles and even if they are perennials, they might not return the next year for some reason, maybe because of a severe winter. If I were to spend a lot of money on the plants and the plants were to die, I might feel upset. If I don’t spend much for my plants, I have only wasted my own time and effort – and that is still cheaper than going to a gym. Most of my plants come from family and friends. If these die, my friends who are gardeners understand. And if their plants die, they can always come back to me to get some of their plants – usually because they have to be divided and given away anyway.

Friday’s Flower Power / Deutzia gracilis by Rainer Fritz

Many plants are bought at spring garden sales at this time of year. The Master Gardeners often have garden sales of plants donated from their own gardens. That is where I bought a Katsura tree Cercidiphyllum and my Deutzia gracilis. If the Master Gardeners sell the plants, you know the plants are healthy and hardy for your area and the Master Gardeners will give you directions on planting what you buy.

Many public gardens have plant sales. Some plant sales seem to be ongoing like at The Garden in the Woods near Framingham, Mass. or The New York Botanical Garden. And some public gardens like Bowman’s Hills Wildflower Preserve in New Hope, PA have both spring and fall sales. The end of the season is a great time for really good sales. Most nurseries want to get rid of plants so they don’t have to keep them over winter. And if you know what you are buying you can get great buys at local stores. I saw a sale at my super market for miniature rose bushes. At under $2.00 a small pot, I bought 5. I planted them and they have rewarded me for the last few years with loads of flowers. I later learned that these miniature rose bushes are among the hardiest of roses.

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Can Hay Help with an Oil Spill?

In this video CW Roberts employees demonstrate how hay can be used to help with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

TheGardenLady would like to know if this method will really work to clean up that massive oil spill. If this is Mother Nature’s way of a simple cleaning device, why not use it. If any scientists read this blog, please let the readers know your thoughts. And if it might work, please let all government people know.