Thursday, June 26, 2008

Clematis Vine Near the Front Porch

I replanted my clematis vine this last weekend. It had been in a pot for years since I bought it orignally when I lived in Petaluma. I had to cut it back to the roots before we moved so I could pack it into the car, just didn't have room otherwise and I sure wasn't going to leave it behind.

The vine has always flowered for spring and it is the class of clematis that does not require pruning. It produces huge pale violet flowers in spring that are really gorgeous. The quality of the flowers have been less impressive over the last year or so. This spring the vine had grown back but there were only a few flowers produced. I felt it needed more sun than what it was receiving in the backyard since the vine was leaning towards the sunnier area. I always thought clematis vines needed shade but the nursery owner I bought the vine from said they like their roots cool and the rest of the plant in the sunshine.

I found the perfect spot for it in front of the foxgloves in the corner of the front porch. The vine was planted against the side of the house so you can still see the foxgloves. It wasn't easy planting as it was fairly root bound and we needed to cut away the old plastic pot it had been living in. The leaves on the vine are looking better already, looking much healthier overall. I took the three flat rocks that protected the roots in the pot and placed them around the roots in the ground to help keep the roots cool while the vine enjoys the sunshine. I can't wait to see how the clematis vine flowers next year!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Butterfly Bushes and Roses in Spring

Our butterfly bushes are growing fast now in late spring. Not that there's a lot of heat or sunshine here at the north coast. On the contrary, last week it rained (in June) and it has been fairly cloudy most days since then. But the butterfly bushes continue to grow back and upward getting pretty tall even after the massive pruning from winter. There are flower buds at the top of the newly formed stems growing past the top of the back yard fence. I'm glad to see they are recovering and recovering so well. Now I can feel confident when pruning them when needed.

The pink rose bushes in the front yard are trained to grow up against the fence. Their pruning yielded masses of pale medium sized roses! So many roses that one part of the corner rose bush bent forward with its load of roses. I tied it up as best I could but I can see we need to secure the rose with stronger plastic ties to hold it up. Seems the recent rain made it top heavy and over it went. Luckily the stems are thick and strong so nothing broke in the process.

I'll have to consider cutting this particular rose bush back even further this coming January to keep it from bending forward from the abundant roses. Its not such a bad problem having too many roses though, I'll get used to it.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Cosmos and Geraniums

This last weekend I managed to find a six pack of pink cosmos. I'd been looking for them and had not found any in the nurseries other than a 4 inch pot. I was trying to be thrifty and hoping for a six pack to appear, which finally happened.

Last year I planted a six pack of pink cosmos in my back yard flowerbed. I hadn't had much success with them in Petaluma due to the adobe dirt, just didn't do well overall even with all that sunshine in summer. When I planted them last spring here in Eureka they went nuts and became so huge I had to stake them. Whenever I've seen cosmos planted in Petaluma they were tall and spindely looking. Not so these cosmos, they were huge bush sized plants with thick stems, covered in pink flowers.

I planted two cosmos behind the Johnson's Blue Geranium in the front yard corner near the front porch. This spot does not get full sun all day so hopefully they will do well there in partial shade. They should fill in the space behind the blue geranium well as it has been bare since we took out the pink jasmine vine that was in the disintegrating planter box. I planted another cosmos below the front window between two lavenders that are just starting to bloom. Should be a pretty combination and in this position the cosmos should get full sun. I planted another cosmos near the fuchsia colored rhododendron, which is also in full sun. Lastly I planted the other two cosmos in the center of the flower bed in the back yard, which gets full sun most of the day.

We'll see if the cosmos behave the same way and grow to the three feet tall/three feet wide size from last year. I'm hoping so and looking forward to the large pink daisy shaped flowers they produce.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Rhododendron Blooming

My new rhododendron I planted in the front yard was supposed to be a purple rhodie. Nope, it turns out to be a deep burgundy/fuchsia color. I guess if I had to choose a second color it would have been that one anyway. Early in May we had a "heat wave" for three days, in Eureka that means anywhere from 75 to 80 degrees. My rhododendron was newly planted, during the heat I didn't get out there quickly enough to water and the heat wilted the flowers on the new plant. I was bummed because the rhododendron was full of flowers and they were really beautiful. I reluctantly picked off the wilted flowers and carefully watered the plant. I've been keeping a closer eye on it lately and low and behold it is blooming again! Not in full bloom yet but it is working on it with about a third of the plant in bloom again. For a gallon sized container plant that is pretty good for a new plant. The small rhododendron we bought at the rhododendron festival plant sale this year lost its purple blooms shortly after I transplanted it into its new container. It is doing well I have to say even with the short lived blooms, which were a beautiful purple. There is a good inch worth of new growth on the plant after I deadheaded the spent blooms. I'm hoping to add another rhododendron or two to our front yard in the coming year.

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