Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hydrangea and Heaths in the Late Summer

As summer starts to wane I enjoy watching the small hydrangea flowers turn from brilliant blue to blue and purple mix. I have two blue hydrangeas one of which is positioned near the back gate of the back yard. This hydrangea is a good two feet tall this year having grown in the past two summer seasons from a small cutting purchased at the local nursery. The hydrangea is doing very well this year and seems to like its partial shade location. The soil in Eureka tends to be acid so hydrangeas, fuchsias, rhododendrons and other acid lovers do well here. I have another small hydrangea planted in the shade border in the back yard. This hydrangea is not growing much, I think there is too much shade for it in the border. I will be moving this plant in the fall to the front yard. There is a side area that is fairly shaded. I will be digging up crocosmia bulbs from that location since they are established in the front yard and taking over just like they did in the back yard. I'm hoping this spot will not be too sunny for the hydrangea. I'm happy with the amount of growth of the blue hydrangea behind the gate this season and hoping it gets much bigger next season.

The heaths I planted last October are doing very well in the late summer season and blooming with large bell flowers. I definitely want more ericas blooming in my garden, they are lovely to look at and provide some flowers and color interest in fall and winter when not much else is blooming in the garden. The heaths I have now are flowering in summer, I will look for some winter heaths at the Heather farm sale in October this year. My plan is to plant up my barrel in the back yard with heaths and heathers to create a year long interest in the barrel. Plants and bulbs haven't done very well in the barrel so far. I will be digging up the bulbs from the barrel and transplanting them into the long border against the greenhouse this fall. I will need to find a good variety of colors in the flowers and leaves to create a striking display in the barrel. I can't wait for the October sale to buy more heaths and heathers for the barrel and am hoping the gallon pots of plants are available for a low price again this year.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Digging Up Crocosmia Bulbs, Ferns and Calla Lilies

My husband dug up the widespread amount of orange crocosmia bulbs along the side of our back yard this past weekend. The previous owner planted the Montbretia bulbs in the front yard and the result has been hundreds of bulbs along the side of the house moving towards the back yard area. I planted crocosmia bulbs in a flower bed in Petaluma and they started to take over the flower bed very quickly, much the same as the allium in the Petaluma yard. I decided it was safer to dig up the bulbs and keep an amount to plant in a big container where they would be contained better. We still have some crocosmia bulbs in the front yard, these small amount of crocosmia bulbs will be dug up in the coming weeks. As pretty as the orange flowers are they do not compare to the overtaking of the side of the house and spread into the back yard. I find they are easy to dig up but very hard to contain once they start spreading. The crocosmia bulbs would work fine for a large flower bed but for our yard they spread too quickly overtaking other plants as they go, so digging them up seemed to be the best solution. I will plant up a container full of the bulbs so I can still enjoy their blooms in their contained environment.

My husband also dug up a few calla lily bulbs and a fern from the side of the house. I will plant up the calla lilies in a shady area in the back yard, possibly under the holly trees with the other calla lilies there. The fern I planted in with the foxgloves in the shade border behind the deck in the back yard. We have some other ferns of the same variety that will be relocated to this area so it will be comprised mostly of foxgloves and ferns. It is a perfect place for both plants since the foxgloves grew a good eight feet or more, two feet higher than the foxgloves in the sunny front yard. This particular fern grows very large when it likes where it is planted. It will take a few years for the fern to get established but it is a beautiful fern that will accent the foxgloves perfectly in the shade border.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Creeping Raspberry Cuttings and Passionflowers Blooming

After a failed attempt at rooting creeping raspberry cuttings in my greenhouse I am trying again to root another six pieces of the plant. My greenhouse as I mentioned before is not really a greenhouse simply a building without screened windows. Cuttings do not do well in the greenhouse I'm finding, it is too hot during the summer so the plants do not thrive and root. Cuttings will be rooted outside on my table on the patio for the time being. So far cuttings are doing reasonably well there and better than in the greenhouse. I plan to leave my cuttings of lavender and creeping raspberry on the deck throughout the fall and winter months and hope for the best. Both plants are hardy, it is just a matter of good roots developing without frost killing off the cuttings. We'll see how it goes during the winter months ahead for my new cuttings. Creeping raspberry is an evergreen ground cover I'd love to have established in my yard.

This past weekend I did some trimming of the climbing roses and trimmed parts of the hedges, little spurts of growth on both that I was able to cut off to keep things trimmed up before fall arrives. I plan on cutting back the hedge one more time before it gets cold so it looks good through the fall and winter months when hedge growth is dormant. The passionflower vines on the front yard fence are producing more flowers this season, I counted fourteen flowers on Saturday. I plan on not trimming back the passionflower vines on the fence until spring, this way the growth will provide good coverage of the vines during winter. The first year we were here the passionflower vines were hit with a hard frost that killed the vines back to the stems. The vines came back fine by spring and other than a short delay in green leaves performed as usual for spring and summer months. Now that I know a hard trim in spring and a good amount of weekly soaking hose works best for these vines on the coast I have the formula to keep them flowering a bit. I would add fertilizer to the base of the vines but I'm afraid we'd get even more rampant growth of green leaves instead of flowers. I may try adding fertilizer this come spring and see if it helps the growth of flowers. I find Passionflower vines, at least here on the north coast, take trial and error to get good results.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Upright Fuchsia Cutting and New Passionflower Seedlings

One of the four semi-hardwood fuchsia pieces my neighbor gave me looks like it is rooting already. This particular cutting is the biggest of the semi-hardwood pieces she gave me and was planted directly in the long back yard border where gorgeous two toned pink fuchsias are planted on either end of the border. The original fuchsia from the neighbor's yard has giant sized flowers of dark purple and red and are really beautiful. This past weekend I gently pulled on the cutting stem and it seemed rooted. I noticed some new bright green growth forming all over the stem. I'm hoping this cutting does well since the original plant is a large upright and the new fuchsia would look great in the center with the two-toned pink fuchsias anchoring the border on either side. The fuchsia cutting is a good two feet tall and was placed behind a newer heather with pale pink flowers. Eventually this heather should become good sized and add some softness underneath the new upright fuchsia. Once this new fuchsia is established and growing next season I will take cuttings and root them in water for new plants. I'm excited to see how this new upright fuchsia will perform next summer in the garden.

While working in the garden this weekend I went on a hunt for passionflower seedlings to add to the trellis boxes in the front yard. The passionflower seedlings are all over the front yard lawn but they are very small spindly looking seedlings of three to five inches tall from the purple and green flowered passionflower vines on the front fence. These passionflower vines also managed to seed in the back yard near the back fence. We have a flower border that needs to be torn down and is mostly dirt and rock for the moment. I found two larger passionflower vine specimens there that were a good foot long with large leaves. I decided to dig the passionflower seedlings up and see if there was enough root system to transplant them to the front yard trellis boxes. Happily I found these seedlings easy to dig up with a large root system already established. The roots of the passionflower vines looked like small sized carrots. I had no idea what the root system was like for these vines since any passionflower vine I've encountered here was already in place when we moved here. I planted one of each of the seedling passionflower vines in the trellis boxes. Currently I have a darker purple flowering passionflower vines in the boxes but some of the vines are dying off this season and unfortunately these vines don't produce many seedlings. The new vines look like they will be vigorous, if they are anything like the ever growing evergreen passionflower vines on the front fence they should grow well there. If the passionflower vines flower in the trellis boxes I'd be very happy but even the added green of the leaves would help the display for next summer since its looking poorly this year. Here's hoping the new vines take root well and get growing for next season.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Orchids, Lavenders, Foxgloves and the Summer Garden

Saturday was spent potting up cuttings of lavenders into bigger pots and re-potting my orchid plant. The usual fog was missing today and the sun was out this weekend with windy gusts blowing through the length of the back yard. The eight foot plus tall foxgloves in the shady back yard border were spent and needed to be removed. I cut down the stems and divided the dried seed pods on the stems into smaller sections to throw on the ground in the flower bed. Having done this in the past I sometimes gain a new plant along with the natural seed pod drop of the foxgloves when they finish flowering.

I have four remaining rooted cuttings of the six Goodwin Creek Grey lavender I potted up in a six pack. Two of the four cuttings have a good root system established while the other two lavender cuttings have a small root started. I decided to re-pot the lavender cuttings into four inch pots to give the plants more room to grow during the rest of the summer season. If all goes well they will be ready to plant out next spring. The photo to the left shows a full sized Goodwin Creek Grey lavender planted in our back yard.

The three small Munstead lavenders are growing slowly under the climbing roses. One of the Munstead lavenders even flowered this year. The area could use a few more lavenders added to fill in the space under the roses in the front yard fence. The Munstead lavenders when fully grown are good sized plants. If the new Goodwin Creek Grey lavender grow in the front yard as well as they grow in the back yard in time the lavenders under the pink roses will be quite a display.

I re-potted my orchid plant into a larger plastic pot to put into a ceramic pot left by the previous homeowner. The ceramic pot is broken in places but it is such a pretty container I decided to add something to it. I placed a plastic pot with the orchid inside the large ceramic pot, it seemed like a perfect choice for the orchid's new home. The orchid produces small dark pink two to three inch flowers every summer. The orchid has grown from the original 4 inch plant to a good sized specimen. The root ball was very tight in the original ceramic pot it was planted in years ago. It has needed to be re-potted for some time now with the root ball growing above the pot rim. The new pot is probably a good twelve inches and will provide the orchid with some much needed space to grow into. This summer was the first time the orchid did not bloom so re-potting was an absolute neccessity. The orchid has new dirt to grow in and some time released fertilizer in the mix for feed. I really don't know much about orchids but this one has grown just fine without liquid feeds weekly so I'm hoping the time released food will work well for it in the new container. The long blades of the orchid looks great in its new home and the plant will continue to live on the deck near the hot tub.

Stumble Upon Toolbar