Drought Tolerant Perennials

If you live in an area with little rainfall, fast-draining soil or other conditions that make the soil particularly dry, don’t give up on creating a garden. Massive amounts of water are not your only option. Consider creating a xeriscape, a dry landscape composed of plants that are adapted to harsh growing conditions.  By utilizing plants from various arid regions of the world, you can have a garden that is beautiful and make thoughtful use of limited natural resources. Achillea/Yarrow …

Planting Perennials

Perennials are plants that live three or more years with some species growing much longer.  The foliage of most perennials die back during winter while the roots remain alive to produce new growth and blooms year after year. Care during the first year is critical to success with perennials.  Once established many varieties will require minimal care. Full sun is essential for most flowering perennials. However, some perennials will tolerate partial sun or shade.  Be sure to read your plant …

Perennials for Fall Interest

Fall can be just as exciting as any other time in the growing season. As the days get cooler and the nights get longer, many plants are energized and triggered into their glory. The contrast of autumn perennials among the falling leaves can be magnificent. When a fall perennial looks its best will depend on the variety, the location it is planted and the type of weather we are experiencing. Some plants will begin their show mid to late August. …

Growing Peonies

Peonies are an old fashioned easy to grow herbaceous perennial. They require cool winters to fulfill their dormancy requirements. Peonies perform best in well drained loamy soil with good air circulation and plenty of sunshine and spring moisture. If plants do not get enough sun they will not bloom and may even decline in size over time. The best time to divide or transplant peonies is October. This allows plenty of time for root development and nutrient storage before winter. …

Dividing Bearded Iris

Bearded iris can be divided any time after the last spring frost. However, many iris growers believe the optimal time is 6-8 weeks after blooming. August is a good time to begin. This gives plants time to root well before winter. Extremely hot days (90 +) should be avoided when transplanting. Plant division every 3 to 4 years is beneficial for maximum bloom. With a garden fork lift the entire plant clump and shake or rinse excess soil from roots. …

Dividing Hostas

Division should be done when shoots have quit growing at the center of a mature clump. This will greatly improve the plant’s appearance. Lift the entire clump and rinse excess soil from the roots. This will make it easier to see where each cut should be made. Use a sharp knife to make the divisions. Each division should have at least 2-3 eyes. Spring is the easiest time to divide Hostas because new shoots are only a few inches high and …

Dividing Daylilies

Plants usually bloom better if you divide clumps every 3 to 4 years. Lift the entire clump using a garden fork in early spring through mid-fall. The best time is after they have finished flowering. Start by placing the fork in the ground 6 to 12 inches away from the base of the plant. Gently push down on the handle to pry the clump up and out of the soil. Work around the root ball repeating this process until the …

Poison Ivy

The single most common cause of allergic reaction in the United States is that of Poison Ivy.  In the Midwest it grows as a crawling or climbing vine.  In the far Northern and Western areas of the U.S. and Canada, it grows as a shrub. All parts of the plant can cause severe skin inflammation, itching, and blisters. The roots, stems, leaves, berries and flowers are all toxic; producing a volatile oil called urushiol.  It is rendered inactive by water; …

Health Benefits of Plants

We’ve known for years that plants are beneficial in producing oxygen. Research has now found that plants also produce many other health benefits. Studies show that plants and flowers in the home or office increase our sense of happiness and well-being. This in turn contributes to a calmer more optimistic state of mind. Studies show that hospital patients with a garden view recover more quickly than looking at the walls or into hallways. When we are calm or relaxed we …

Flowers and Their Meanings

There is a language, little known, Lovers claim it as their own. Its symbols smile upon the land, Wrought by Nature’s wondrous hand; And in their silent beauty speak, Of life and joy, to those who seek For Love Divine and sunny hours In the language of the flowers. ~J.S.H. “The Language of Flowers”, London, 1875 Amaranth – Immortality, everlasting love Ambrosia – Love Returned Angelica – Herb of the Angels Apple Blossom – Preference Artemisia – Everlasting Basil – …