Archive for August 2009

Cutting Garden – Part 2 – Dahlias   Leave a comment

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Another great plant for late summer cutting is dahlias.  Like gladioulus, they require a little work in that you have to dig them up in the fall.  I also find it helps to plant them in a pot in the spring, so you can get a little jump on the warm weather.  Then when it’s warm enough, transplant to their garden location.  This one is Thomas Edison, and it makes beautiful cut flowers.  Again, the more you cut the more you get.  So plan ahead for those dog days of August when the garden is looking a little tired, and plant some dahlias to brighten up your backyard and dining room table.

Posted August 28, 2009 by cindyeo in dahlia

Cutting Garden – Part 1 – Sweet Peas   1 comment

 

sweet peas

Over the years I’ve learned what garden plants give you the most bang for your buck and I thought I’d highlight a few here.  Right now I’m picking sweet peas every couple days.  It’s taken me many years to perfect growing them, and I still haven’t perfected them, but I have learned a couple tips I’ll pass along.  We always hear about sweet peas being a cool weather, spring flower.  Maybe down south, but in New England it takes until August for them to grow big enough to flower.  I used to grow them, only to have them get about 2 feet tall and whither away in the heat.  Then one year I planted them in a part of my garden that only gets morning sun… and they thrived!  So now I’ve learned that’s the secret, they need the cool afternoon shade.  This year I ordered a seed collection from Select Seeds which contained 5 varieties – Cupani’s, America, King Edward, Black Knight, and Miss Willmott.  I think the photo is King Edward.  I presoaked and planted all the seeds, had some leftovers that wouldn’t fit around the trellises, so I planted them in a pot.  They didn’t all come up, even though I planted the fattest, presoaked ones, but luckily I had the extras in the pot, which transplanted better than I expected (I also always had trouble starting them indoors and transplanting them out, then I read that they don’t transplant well, so now I direct seed them).  I lost all my garden pea plants to the bunnies in the area, but the sweet peas survived, and now I have a bouquet of flowers every 3 or 4 days.  They don’t last very long as cut flowers, but the more you cut, the more you get, so I always have more.  And if you have a whole bunch of them together, the fragrance is wonderful.  Not so noticeable with one flower.  I highly recommend you try sweet peas for fragrant bouquets.

sweet pea bouquet

Posted August 25, 2009 by cindyeo in sweet peas

Gladiolus Will Brighten Your Late Summer Garden   Leave a comment

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Gladioluses have to be my favorite flowers.  For someone like me who lives in a freezing climate, they are a little bit of work.  But they are so worth it.  Don’t buy the bag or box of 25 multicolored bulbs in the spring from Lowes or Home Depot.  Instead, buy the beautiful, vibrant, colors that you can only get from a nursery that sells them individually, or from a mail order catalog.  I have found the mixtures are the cheapest, dullest colors.  To get the beautiful colors, you have to look a little harder.  Plant them in the spring, right around the time of your last frost.  For me, in zone 6, that’s at the end of April.  I dig a trench about 6″ deep, sprinkle in some bone meal, and throw in A LOT of gladioli.  I used to follow the planting directions that say 4-6″ apart.  But then you just get a  whole line of soldiers that don’t look very good.  So now I plant them very close together, but just one row, so they have some room in the front and back.  Around the end of July you will start to get beautiful stalks of flowers.  If you buy early, mid, and late varieties, you’ll be enjoying them for a longer period.  Mine last about a month.  You may have to stake or tie them up, or just do what I do – cut them and bring them inside to enjoy!

Come fall, you have to dig them up and store them in a cool basement for the winter.  Although last year, because I had a thrip problem, I left mine in the ground, assuming they would die and I would replace them in the spring.  I planted the replacements in a different area, so the thrips wouldn’t get into the new ones.  Wouldn’t you know, the old ones came up again, even after being overwintered in the ground, and the thrips are not a problem this year.  Could leaving them outside all winter have killed the thrips?  I don’t know, but I had more than enough glads this summer.

Posted August 14, 2009 by cindyeo in garden, gladiolus