October 25, 2019

Native Bamboo

I have loved this plant for years. I first saw this species of Bamboo when I lived out in the country in Robertson County. Our neighbor down the road had it growing in her yard. I loved it! She shared it with me. It grew into a lovely round clump of bamboo that bloomed beautiful rust-colored tassels late in the summer. It danced in the wind and made me happy!

When I moved from the country into the city of White House, I took many plants with me, including a new start off that native bamboo. It is growing in my shady yard still and is not quite as big as it was in my sunny front yard in the country but it blooms and is still one of my favorites.

I know it's some sort of Japanese Knotweed. All the images I could find were white flowering but the one I have blooms redish orange.  I see it in ditches beside the road occasionally here in Middle Tennessee.

I used to love to sit on my porch in the country and watch the bamboo. On a breezy day, it would literally dance in the wind!

It's canes dry in the late fall and are easy to pull out. They are too weak to use as stakes or other things that actual bamboo is good for.  I usually burn them in our burn barrel or haul them to the street for our limb truck to pick up. The limb truck is one of the perks of living in the city limits! Of course, our city taxes pay for that...might be cheaper to carry them off ourselves, LOL!

If you don't want invasive bamboo check this out
Don't Forget to check out my Gardening Book  on Amazon

October 18, 2019

My Heirloom Plants

These are plants that I have gotten over the years from friends, relatives or moved them with me when I have moved from place to place. Some are even invasive - I don't care, I love them anyway and deal with them as needed. By that I mean I dig them as they get too big or spread too far and destroy the excess.

Here are my favorites starting with the house plants. I take most of these outside in the summer and bring them into the house or greenhouse to winterover. I have no idea where I got my start of the Wandering Jew. I've had them as long as I can remember. I have both a "fuzzy" Jew and Purple Queen. They are both in the same plant family.

Fuzzy Wandering Jew 
Purple Queen
African Violet from my friend Cyndi

The violet stays inside... the sun is too much for them outside.  I have several Violets that have come from friends and relatives.

This Tiger Lily came from my Great Grandmother's farm. I have had it for many years and have moved it with me several times. These bloom and multiply happily every year.

Oxlysis from my mother's garden
My Jade Plant is huge and over 25 years old
Its start came from my dad's accountant years ago. 
Heirlooms are usually more likely to survive than many of our fickle "Hybreds"  that we get in the big box stores.

October 11, 2019

How to Stop Your Dog From Getting On The Furniture

JoJo on the loveseat
Our dog JoJo has become an only child since our sweet Pookie Bear died earlier this spring. JoJo is a hundred pound Lab/Chow mix but he thinks he is a lap dog!

Not only is he as big as a cow but he is afraid of storms! Oh, he has a nice big doghouse in our fenced in backyard but don't think for one minute he will go in there. Ever since his littermate Annie died about 3 years ago, the only way he will go into the dog house is if we shut him up in that part of the yard and it rains.

Yes, we are too lenient but we feel sorry for him and he is such a sweet dog. When he is inside he picks a spot near wherever we are and lays between us and the door.  It's only at night that he will sneak onto the leather couch or loveseat. If he didn't shed so badly, I wouldn't mind but I could make yarn if I had a spindle from all the hair he sheds the floor! 

At my wit's end, I went searching for something to deter him from getting on the furniture. I found this recipe and it works! He won't go near the place where spray it! I do have to respray each day but he stays on the floor. Here is the recipe:

Homemade Dog Off

1 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
20 drops essential oil (orange or citrus-scented)

Mix all in a spray and spray where you don't want to dog to be.

I also found this one but not sure what the alcohol would do to my leather furniture.  Mix water and lemon juice with alcohol (equal parts) and spray furniture. 

I know this works too. It's from Amazon - I've used it.

October 4, 2019

Ivy: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

Mixed Ivy Container
I must confess I have a love/hate relationship with ivy. I love the various color combinations and leaf shapes that ivy has. I have several colors and types in containers in my garden.
  Now there is where the "hate" part comes into play. Do not turn ivy loose in your yard unless you want it to eat your house! Don't even let it touch the ground when it's planted as an accent in a container.
  Seriously, I have seen old homes in my town that are totally covered in ivy. If left to run rampant it can hold moisture against whatever surface it grows on. Ivy also takes root on almost any surface and can weaken or cause wood to rot.
This Basket Is On Our Studio Porch

BUT....I love it in hanging baskets, either alone or as an accent (see my post on Chrysanthemums) I think my favorite Ivy is the green and white one  I'm sure it has a proper name but I probably couldn't spell it if I knew what it was.  Here are a few pictures of Ivies I have and that are for sale each spring at Mimi's Greenhouse. 

Bird Foot Ivy
Mixed Ivies In a Flowering Container

September 27, 2019

Helpful Garden Tips - Maintenance of Perennials

Mary's Greenhouse
As most of you know, I own a small greenhouse business, Mimi's greenhouse. I buy most of the plants that I don't grow myself at Mary's Greenhouse in McMinnville, Tn.  This article was on their website and I thought I would share it here.

(*Disclaimer: Mary’s is a greenhouse grower of plants and we don’t currently offer landscape services. Greenhouse production is different than outside gardening.  For professional advice, please consult a landscaper or full-service garden center.)

What is the difference in pruning and deadheading?  Pruning usually applies to more woody type plants and accomplishes several things such as shaping, rejuvenation and sustained health. There is more than 1 kind of pruning. General pruning can be used to re-shape the plant(s) and to rejuvenate established plants by removing old stems and stimulating new growth.  Hard pruning usually refers to cutting them way back, sometimes several inches from the ground. Care should be taken in cutting plants this far back. Some research should be done on how and when to do this. Deadheading is cutting back the spent bloom stems. Deadheading can promote rebloom in many plants. It is best that you remove all the debris from around the plant when you cut them back to help with any disease. Although deadheading is important, there are lots of plants that do fine without it.

When is the best time to cut back perennials? Lots of plants can benefit from being cut back immediately after blooming. This can make for a neater and stronger plant. Cutting back can encourage re-bloom in several perennials. Consider applying a slow release fertilizer when you cut them back to help replace their energy stores. To promote good health and help with insects, remove all the debris from your beds.

When and how do I cut back peonies? We recommend that you wait until fall – or just let them die back naturally. The spent blooms can be removed, but it is best to leave the rest of the plant. They are sometimes unattractive in the garden after blooming but the plants need to replenish their energy reserves for the next year.  Peonies can be cut down to the ground as new growth emerges each year. After frost, the dead foliage should be removed to help promote good health.

When do I cut back and/or divide daylilies? Daylilies can be cut back to the ground after blooming.  New growth will emerge and make for a neater plant. If you are going to divide them, it is best to do so after blooming. Consider applying a slow release fertilizer after blooming; this will help them replenish their energy stores for the next bloom cycle.

When do I divide iris? German iris (bearded iris) seem to do best if divided in the late summer to early fall.

When and how do I prune buddlejas?  Buddleias can be pruned in early spring.  If your plants are already leafed out, they can still be pruned; it will just delay the blooms. Most benefit from a hard pruning as buddlejas bloom on new growth. Pruning rejuvenates the plants and usually increases number and size of blooms. Some varieties can get quite large and can be cut back to 12-24”. Deadheading through the summer may extend your bloom time.

When is the best time to divide perennials? As a general rule, perennials do best if divided in the spring or fall as it is usually less stressful on the plant. The spring and the fall are usually milder months and the plants have time to re-establish themselves before summer or winter. It is also best not to divide right before blooming or during the blooming season. Plants can be divided after blooming when you are cutting them back – just be sure to provide ample water should it be hot and dry.

When and how do I cut back hydrangeas? This is not a simple answer because there are different hydrangeas and they have different pruning needs. You need to determine if your plant blooms on old or new wood.  ‘Old wood’ means stems from the previous years’ growth and ‘new wood’ means this years’ growth.  There are lots of new hydrangeas coming to market every year so there are exceptions but here are 2 general guidelines to follow for established plants.

 1) Oakleaf, most mopheads and lace caps (macrophyllas) typically do best if pruned right after flowering and then left alone except for culling dead limbs, etc. as they bloom on old wood.  They start forming the next year’s blooms in the late summer/early fall. Pruning helps rejuvenate established plants and you can remove about 1/3 of the stem lengths. Pruning every year isn’t necessary in most cases. You can deadhead spent blooms through the blooming season.

2) Other species such as arborescens (Annabelle and similar) and paniculata types (Limelight or Little Lime, etc.) bloom on new wood and can benefit from a pruning once a year. Pruning these varieties helps strengthen the stems and produce bigger flowers.  A typical pruning can be done in the winter months and removes up to 1/3 to 1/2 of the old growth.  These types can be pruned back to about 12” above the ground if needed after our killing frosts. Pruning can also be done immediately following blooming. Some varieties will re-bloom if deadheaded during the growing season.

Consideration should be taken when planting hydrangeas. Allow them plenty of room to grow. Many varieties, especially the older ones, can get large. If they have ample room to grow, pruning is not as big of an issue.

How do I prune my roses? The correct pruning techniques depend on the type of roses you have. Here are 2 general guidelines to use as a reference bearing in mind they may need to be modified a bit depending on variety, age of plant and other factors.

1) Most hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, some climbers, and some shrub roses (like Knock Out) bloom more than once and can be pruned the same way.  Typically, these types of roses bloom for a time and then rest before re-blooming. Plants can be shaped up in early spring (mid-February to March) and then can be deadheaded through the growing season. Cutting the spent flowers encourages re-bloom in many varieties.  The first pruning in early spring should remove all the dead and weak canes, any suckers coming up from the root stock and about 1/2 of the plant’s height. To promote good health, be sure to remove all debris. Tidiness also seems to help with rose rosette.

2) Some climbers and heirloom roses bloom only once a year. It is best to cut back immediately after blooming so that you don’t cut off next year’s blooms. These roses can start forming the next year’s blooms in late summer and fall. All dead or weak canes should be removed. Old flowering canes should be removed as needed to make room for the new shoots coming up.

Additional online information: Buddlejas – gardenseeker.com Roses- www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/flowers/hgic1173.html; https://extension.illinois.edu/roses/prune.cfm Hydrangeas – hydrangeashydrangeas.com, ucanr.edu/datastoreFiles/268-86.pdf, www.provenwinners.com 

September 20, 2019

Ways to use Chrysanthemums you may not have thought about

I was tired of the ferns that were hanging on my front porch. I wondered how Chrysanthemums would look in a hanging basket. I bought six little pots of yellow mums, potted three each in two baskets, added some ivy cuttings (Ivy roots in no time), planted a sprig of purple wandering Jew for contrast and hung them on the front porch. I like them and so do the Hummingbirds!

There are many ways to use Mums and my internet buddy, Mike Mcgrority just sent an email with this really good post "Little Known Ways With Mums" I thought you might like it too. Now go out and get creative with mums!