Thursday, May 26, 2011

Signs of Spring!

I was out on my walk a while ago and saw this sweet mama horse with her baby colt. Mama horse was grazing on the grass and baby was not leaving her side. I remember those days... when my little ones adored me and wanted to always be near my side. Now some of them have wandered off to newer pastures.

I LOVE spring! It is truly the birth of new life in the plant kingdom as well as the animal kingdom. What signs of spring are you noticing?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Taming the Climbing Clematis Vine

For all of you gardeners who love beautiful Clematis vines in your gardens and don't know how to prune them, maybe my post will be able to answer some of your questions.

Why prune clematis anyway?

  • If left unpruned, clematis vines become overloaded with stems that produce few flowers. More vigorous species and varieties that are left unchecked bear most of the flowers high on top the plants and many times can result in pulling down the structures that are supporting them with their weight.

  • Pruning clematis stimulates new growth, which increases the number of flowers at a level where you can best enjoy them, and takes weight off the plant to keep it from toppling over.

  • Pruning also helps to keep clematis vines healthy. Clematis wilt, or fungal stem rot, occasionally strikes this plant, causing shoots, leaves or sometimes whole vines to collapse and brown, usually in early summer. Pruning back wilted shoots to healthy growth, or, if needed, pruning the whole plant almost to ground level prevents the disease from spreading and stimulates new stem growth from the remaining healthy tissue.

  • Pruning the dense tangle of stems opens the remaining shoots to air and light and reduces the number of leaves that can hold moisture, which encourages wilt and other diseases.
This clematis is from my garden. I believe this variety is called 'Little Duckling' and is a repeat blooming clematis.

There are three ways to prune clematis, thus there are three types of clematis:

  1. SPRING BLOOMERS-vines flower in spring, on growth from the previous year.

  2. REPEAT BLOOMERS-vines bloom in late spring or early summer, then again sporadically, on new shoots and old stems.

  3. SUMMER OR FALL BLOOMERS-vines flower in late summer or in fall, on new growth produced earlier in the season.

As you can see, I've waited a little late to prune my clematis, but it was not high on my list of priorities, considering the weather has not cooperated at all this spring. There were so many other items of business to get done in the garden first.

Follow this link from Fine Gardening magazine Click here(which is where I found the clematis information). It will explain in more detail about which method of pruning that needs to be done on your clematis.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy GBBD May 2011

The last several days have been a joy in my garden to walk around and enjoy the latest blooms and bursts of emerging color. On this May Garden Bloggers Bloom Day I thought I would share a few images. This image is of my 'Bloodgood' Japanese Maple dripping with rain. The leaves are so tender and flaming red. They don't stand a chance in our windy dry summer climate. In no time they will be a little frayed around the edges.

Coral Bells and a reddish pink creeping phlox nestle below the Japanese Maple.

My tulips are just about past their peak of beauty, so I shot a few images of them before they were gone for another year. This variety is 'Pink Impression.'

This beauty is either 'Apricot Impression' or 'Salmon Impression.' I'm not exactly sure because they came as a mix.

This area is my front garden. It is beginning to fill in quite nicely and soon the bare spots will be covered with vegetation.

This area is on the south side of my driveway. My husband and son just cut back the encroaching grass last weekend, so now I can add a few more plants to fill the area with color and texture.

In my fountain garden, lavender-colored creeping phlox spills over the beds and is so beautiful this time of year.

In my backyard, the white candytuft really adds brightness to the bed. The red and purple tulip "lipstick" blend and chartreuse green spirea give this bed a pop of color. Stella Del Oro daylilies in the background have not made their debut yet.

This is the backside of the tulips looking toward the street. Everytime I look out my front window, I smile.

The 'Stawberries and Cream' variegated grass is beginning to emerge and will be a couple feet taller by the end of summer.

Hot pink creeping phlox

I believe this is Dolce 'Peach Melba' heuchera. I have vowed to keep better track of the variety of plants I plant. The tag is somewhere in my house. Can anyone relate with me?

Monday, May 9, 2011

One Project Checked off the Honey Do List!

Considering we've experienced a very wet, cold spring this year, the spring projects just keep piling up! Most weekends have not been nice enough to get out and start "knocking out" the outdoor projects. A beautiful weekend was forcasted last week, so my husband and I decided we had better take advantage of it. This side of our yard has been an eye sore for a while now and needed a bit of sprucing up. The grass was encroaching into the bed and needed to be cut back a lot! I pulled out the garden hose, formed the hose in a curved pattern (that I thought would look best), then my husband cut the lines with a sod cutter and pulled the grass out. Thanks honey! That was not an easy job! It took a lot of muscle POWER!

I'm always looking for ideas to tweek my landscape to maximize its potential. Unfortunately it usually boils down to lack of time and lack of money. Does that sound familiar to many of you gardeners? This project took some time but won't really cost all that much to add a few more plants to help it be more aesthetically pleasing.

My son even pitched in to help out with the bed. His job was to throw the grass remnants in the wheel barrow and dump them in the field behind our house.

Now all I have left to do is lay down some sort of border alongside the grass to help keep it from encroaching into the bed again. Then the fun part comes when I get to decide what to add to this bed to give it four seasons of interest. I'll start making my wish list now!

Now that I think about it, this bed needs a fresh layer of rich dark compost...yes that will finish it off quite nicely.