Flowers to grow from seeds in the garden. I would say some of them are too hard to grow by seed. What do you think?
Interesting article of course, some of these aren't the easiest to start from seeds, but some are. So let me know which ones you have had luck with starting from seeds? Thanks
Hollyhocks, Delphiniums & Foxgloves, Oh My!
In a garden full of mounding annuals and perennials, the occasional tall spike or spire of colorful flowers is a delightful surprise. Some of our favorite classic plants serve this purpose perfectly, all while charming us into thoughts of our grandmother's garden, filled with exuberant blooms, buzzing bees, and darting bunnies.
Hollyhocks, Delphiniums and Foxgloves are timeless crowd-pleasers. They stand up and stand out, adding height and vertical oomph to beds and borders. Whether you use them as a backdrop or plop them into the middle of a planting for a striking exclamation point, you'll be glad you added these heirloom favorites to your garden this year and beyond. Learn more about each below.
Alcea rosea. These stately heirlooms flaunt tall spires studded with cup-like flowers.
The Single Colorful Hollyhock Mixture includes white to pink to dark maroon varieties.
The Watchman is dramatic, with velvety, purple-black flowers with a green-ivory center.
The Chater's Double Hollyhock Mixture features classic, frilly and fully double flowers in yellow, pink, red, purple, apricot and white.
Creme de Cassis Hollyhock has single, semi-double and double flowers in a deep wine that transitions to pale lilac-pink at the edges.
Direct-sow Hollyhock seeds outdoors after the last spring frost date or start them indoors 10 weeks earlier. They may not flower the first year, yet may self-seed in future years. Give them protection from wind and stakes to support their lofty height. Bee friendly. Biennial. HZ: 3-9. Summer flowering. Height: 6' to 8'.
Delphinium elatum. Featuring old-fashioned, elegant spires of delicate flowers, these cottage garden favorites also make terrific cut flowers.
Our Connecticut Yankee Delphinium Mixture
yields satiny 2½" blossoms in shades of medium blue, purple, lavender, light blue, lilac, dark blue and white on multiple spires per bushy plant. Rarely requiring staking, they are perfect for cutting gardens, naturalized foundation plantings and the back of a mixed border. Tolerant of partial to full sunlight, they are perfect in white-picket-fence gardens that make a house a home, like those pictured in childhood books of old.
Delphiniums prefer cool weather and can be started outside as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Deer resistant. Perennial. HZ: 3-8. Summer flowering. Height: 2' to 3' .
Digitalis spp. A cottage garden favorite from yesteryear, the stately yet whimsical Foxglove adds charming old-world beauty to summer gardens. Humans, bees and beneficial insects all adore them.
•Strawberry Fayre Foxglove (D. mertonensis) is a beauty with numerous large, pale strawberry-pink, tubular flowers on strong stalks that can grow up to 5' tall.
•◦The Excelsior Foxglove Mixture (D. purpurea) yields tall, handsome spires of tubular, bell-shaped flowers in a pastel rainbow of soft red, rosy-purple, pink and cream.
•Start Foxgloves indoors, ten weeks prior to transplanting out, two weeks before the last spring frost date. They prefer rich, well-draining soil with consistent watering. Bee friendly. Deer resistant. Biennial. HZ: 4-10. Spring to summer flowering. Height: 3' to 5'.
More Cottage-Garden Favorites
Cottage gardens are what gardeners' dreams are made of. Lush, slightly wild and full of flowers, they're welcoming, colorful, and exuberant. Here are even more wonderful, old-fashioned flowers that will lend cottage garden flair to your beds and borders.
Matthiola incana, the Gilliflower. Prized for their spicy clove scent, Stock has stalks studded with small, semi-double flowers. Perfect for fragrant garden borders, Stock is also an awesome cutting flower. Annual. Height: 18".
Lavatera trimestris. A stunning, long-lasting cut-flower, Tree Mallow produces cup-shaped, satiny blooms. Cut entire stems with just two flowers in bloom: the additional buds will continue to open for up to twelve days. Annual. Height: 24" to 36".
Consolida ambigua. This cottage garden favorite has 20" spires of densely studded, star-shaped flowers. Larkspur prefers to be directly sown as soon as the ground can be worked in spring. Hardy annual. Height: 2' to 3'.
Lupinus polyphyullus. One of the most beloved early summer perennials, with large, upright, densely flowering, colorful spires of sweet pea-like flowers. Although they will not bloom the first season, they are well worth the wait. Perennial. HZ: 4-8. Height: 36" to 48".
Heliotropium arborescens. Heliotrope is a treasured heirloom with dark-leafed foliage, clusters of tiny, deep violet-blue flowers. Heliotrope is prized in old-fashioned nosegays for its heady, vanilla fragrance and lush flowers. Annual. Height: 12" to 24".
Lathyrus odoratus. These nostalgic heirlooms have the sweet fragrance of honey and oranges. Large clusters of dainty flowers are borne on vines that crave a trellis, A prized cut-flower, Sweet Peas love to be cut for increased flower production. Hardy annual. Height: 6' to 8' .
Hibiscus moscheutos. Hibiscus have extravagant blossoms that often match the size of dinner plates. A southern garden favorite, moisture-loving Hibiscus makes a lush, tropical statement with luxurious and brilliantly colored flowers. Perennial. HZ: 5-10. Height: 24" to 36".
Antirrhinum majus. Snapdragons are available in single and double forms and in a variety of colors for border plantings, containers, and cut flower gardens. A childhood must-grow: remember pinching its "jaw" to make its mouth "snap"? Annual. Height: 24" to 36".
Nicotiana sylvestris. A South American heirloom prized for its intoxicating evening fragrance, Only the Lonely is a tall, majestic plant graced with long, tubular white flowers. A long-time favorite of Victorian gardeners. Annual. Height: 48" to 60".
Bells of Ireland
Moluccella laevis. This prized 1570 heirloom produces spires of pale to emerald green, 1" funnel-shaped bells enclosing fragrant, tiny white flowers. Bells of Ireland helps us make gardens into really magical places. Its height and structure are terrific in summer bouquets. Annual. Height: 2' to 3'.
Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate
Polygonum orientale. An old fashioned, cottage garden classic, Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate is an incredible border filler. A moderate self-seeder, you'll most likely find seedlings here and there the second year. The resulting serendipitous combos will surely be wonderful. Annual. Height: 4' to 7'.
Cosmos bipinnatus. A favorite cottage garden annual from yesteryear, Cosmos is an easy-to-grow self-seeder that thrives in virtually any soil. Prized as a romantic cut flower, Cosmos's cheerful, colorful single and double flowers are bee friendly and deer resistant. Annual. Height: 2' to 5'.
Gypsophila paniculata. Old-fashioned and charming Baby's Breath is prized in summer bouquets as a delicate, airy filler with clouds of petite, white, double flowers just 1 centimeter in diameter. Perennial. HZ: 3-8. Height: 3'.
Campanula medium calycanthema. This native Pyrenee mountain heirloom has 2 to 3 stalks studded with long, bell-shaped flowers that really look like so many cups and saucers. Biennial. HZ: 3-11. Height: 2' to 3'.
Verbena bonariensis. This is an outstanding tall, structural garden variety. Each plant has many slender willowy stems topped with fragrant lavender to rose-purple flowers in tight 2" clusters. Tender perennial. HZ: 7-10. Height: 36" to 42".
Love Lies Bleeding
Amaranth caudatus. Quite the little multi-tasker, Love Lies Bleeding is a magnificent ornamental plant with fuchsia flowers on long rope-like stems. It may also be enjoyed as a salad green like Spinach. Annual. Height: 3' to 5'.
Cleome hassleriana. Spider Flowers have very broad, spider-like blooms with variably elongated pistils and stamens that create a fireworks-in-the-garden effect. Once established they are heat and drought tolerant. Annual. Height: 3' to 5'.
This old-fashioned annual is easy to grow and is a standard in summer bouquets and gardens. Its rainbow-hued blooms are incredibly cheerful. Seed directly into the garden after the last spring frost date. Annual. Height: 1' to 4'.
taken from firstname.lastname@example.org
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
What will happen on Wed in your area with the full moon? Here is what we can expect in IOWA, Wed morning. Super Blue Blood Moon
Rare super blue blood moon
The full moon on Wednesday (Jan. 31st) will be special for three reasons: it’s the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit — known as perigee — and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It’s also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.” The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.”
For us in Iowa, the Super Blue Blood moon will be visible right before sunrise on Wednesday, with the best viewing from 6:15 to 6:30 am. At 4:51 a.m. CST the penumbra — or lighter part of Earth’s shadow – will touch the Moon. By about 6:15 a.m. CST the Earth’s reddish shadow will be clearly noticeable on the Moon. The eclipse will be harder to see in the lightening pre-dawn sky, and the Moon will set after 7:00 a.m. as the sun rises.
If you miss the Jan. 31 lunar eclipse, you’ll have to wait almost another year for the next opportunity in North America. The next lunar eclipse will be on Jan. 21, 2019, which will be visible throughout all of the U.S. and will be a supermoon, though it won’t be a blue moon.
taken from http://www.iowachase.com/rare-super-blue-blood-moon-coming-wednesday/
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Owls are not common backyard birds, but they can be highly desirable guests and are incredible to hear and observe when they do visit. With the right preparation, any birder can learn how to attract owls to the backyard on a regular basis.
Why We Love Owls
Owls are some of the most beloved raptors, and their silent flight, large eyes, mournful calls and nocturnal behavior makes them both magical and mysterious.
Because owls are not highly active during the day, a backyard owl can coexist with other backyard birds, and as excellent hunters, they can help control squirrel and rodent populations. Smaller owls may also help control large insects, and owls will occasionally catch reptiles such as snakes and lizards as well. Because they do not eat birdseed, these birds are also inexpensive to attract compared to birds with hearty appetites for costly seed or other foods.
There are more than 200 species of owls in the world, but only a few are comfortable enough to become backyard species. The most common backyard owls include:
■ Barn owl
■ Barred owl
■ Eastern screech-owl
■ Great horned owl
■ Western screech-owl
Depending on the local habitat, regional owl ranges and how attractive the yard is for these birds of prey, other owls may also become backyard visitors.
How to Attract Owls
As with attracting any birds, the key to attracting owls is to provide their four basic needs: food, water, shelter and nesting sites.
■ Food: Owls will not visit bird feeders, but it is possible to provide a steady food source for these hunters. Because owls eat mice, voles, gophers and similar small rodents, backyard birders who have mice nearby are more likely to attract owls. Leaving grass uncut, adding a brush pile and leaving seed on the ground will make the yard more mouse-friendly, which in turn makes the habitat more owl-friendly. Avoid using poisons or traps to eliminate mice or other prey, and let owls take care of the problem instead.
■ Water: Owls get the vast majority of the fluid they need in their diets from the prey they consume, and they are not frequent visitors to bird baths. In hotter climates and during the summer, however, owls may visit slightly larger, deeper bird baths to drink or bathe. Providing this type of water source in a quiet, secluded area is more likely to encourage owls to visit.
■ Shelter: Owls need somewhat dense, mature trees with good trunks to roost during the day, preferably in a shaded, secluded area. Both coniferous and deciduous trees are suitable if they are a good size. Empty owl nest boxes are also good alternatives to natural shelter, but providing natural spaces where the owls can feel safe during the day is the best way to encourage them to roost nearby.
■ Nesting Sites: Hollow trees are most owls' preferred nesting sites. Smaller owl species that are more likely to be common in backyard may also use large nest boxes that are positioned 10-20 feet above the ground on a large tree. Barn owls may also use abandoned buildings for nesting, and leaving a barn or shed open for the birds to access can give them a great place to raise a brood. Nest boxes should be put up by January or February for owls, since these birds nest much earlier than other backyard species. The boxes should be monitored to be kept free from wasps, squirrels, rodents, raccoons or other birds or guests that may discourage nesting owls.
More Tips for Attracting Owls
If your yard is owl-friendly but you still have trouble attracting these nighttime raptors, there are additional steps that can help make the yard even more appealing.
■ Leave large, bare branches and dead trees intact as much as possible to provide perches and roosting spots for hunting owls.
■ Create a rustic, natural section of backyard habitat with little pruning or maintenance where owls can feel more comfortable, especially for nesting or roosting.
■ Avoid extensive exterior lighting such as illuminated water features, flood lights or spotlights, even with motion sensors. Owls hunt more effectively in darkness and will not visit well-lit yards.
■ Keep pets indoors after twilight and during nighttime hours. This will keep the pets safe from hunting owls and keep pets from scaring away the mice and other rodents that the owls will hunt.
■ Take steps to prevent bird window collisions on large windows that might be a danger to hunting owls.
While these tips can help you attract owls, it is just as important to avoid some behaviors that can harm these birds.
■ Do not release cage mice or other small pets with the intention of providing supplemental food for owls, and do not buy dead mice or offer other meat to tempt owls. These types of pets will not survive outdoors, and owls must hunt live prey to meet their nutritional and behavioral needs.
■ Avoid frequent use of recorded owl calls that can agitate the birds and distract them from the hunting or nesting activities they need to survive. Too many calls may also simulate excess predators in the area, which can deter other birds from visiting.
■ Remove all types of netting from your yard at night, including soccer or hockey nets and the netting from basketball hoops. Flying owls can get tangled in these nets, causing distress, injuries and even death. Seasonal decorations, such as outdoor decorative cobwebs, are another threat that should be removed to protect owls.
With patience and careful planning, it is possible to attract owls to enjoy up close in your backyard.
Take from https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-attract-owls-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Thanks for checking this blog, and I promise tomorrow I will post a new blog. This has been a busy weekend with family and volunteering. I don't know what will happen when I am in the greenhouse all the time. That will be soon. I heard from Larry's sister Evelyn from Australia and I have to tell you she said they were having a very hot summer. She was going out to water plants. Hard to realize they are in summer when we are having so much winter. Our turn will come that is a promise for hot weather. So have a good day...be safe...and enjoy. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
I fell in love with this bush at the greenhouse. Early spring bloomer....do you have it in your garden?
Flowering Almond Bush
Which Shrub is Right for Your Landscape?
It would be difficult to over-estimate the importance of the role that landscaping shrubs play in the homeowner's yard. Along with trees, they have often been called the "bones" of the landscape, because they furnish structure. But, unlike many trees, shrubs will generally not take up too much space in your yard. There are also not as difficult to transplant, should you change your mind at some point regarding just what the structure of your yard should be.
The problem is, with a great number of selections available, beginners often need help choosing between all of the different varieties. What are the best landscaping shrubs for you, personally, to grow? Read on and get inspired.
Note: All of the plants discussed in this article are cold-hardy to at least USDA zone 5.
Pink Flowering Almond
The pink flowering almond (Prunus glandulosa) is a beautiful option, but the argument against this shrub is that it is a one-hit wonder, giving you color only in spring. Once its spring flowers drop off, the bush has little to offer. But its benefits may outweigh this drawback:
■ It grows quickly.
■ It hold up well during dry periods.
■ It puts on a spectacular floral display in spring.
Some shrubs have one special quality that sets them apart. They may not give you multi-season interest, but this special quality makes them must-haves. One such plant is the common lilac bush (Syringa vulgaris). What makes it so special? The smell given off by its blooms is the closest thing to a superpower that you will find in the plant world. If fragrant flowers are not enough to convince you to grow a bush that offers nothing outside of spring, here is another selling point for the plant: The flowers that it puts out in spring are pleasing to the eye, as well.
Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) may be the ultimate four-season shrub. It is at its peak in fall, when it gives even the best of the fall-foliage trees a run for their money. It bears large flower heads in summer. Even during the winter and spring, it is not without interest, due to its interesting peeling bark.
There are all sorts of ways to categorize the different varieties of shrubs. The most basic groupings are:
■ The deciduous shrubs, which are known for their flowers.
■ The evergreen shrubs (note that some of these bear pretty flowers, too).
Among the best deciduous kinds are the various types of rose bushes. The rose has been a favorite for centuries. Like lilac shrubs, its flowers often combine good looks with a great smell. The only thing that has kept even more gardeners from growing this popular shrub is the thought that roses are hard to grow. If this thought has stopped you from growing rose bushes, rest assured that some types of roses that are easy to grow are now widely available at nurseries.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/best-landscaping-shrubs-
Till next time, this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Heuchea Melting pot
Heuchea Lime Marmalade
I will post some of the new Heuchera or coral bells for the shade garden this year. The pictures do say the story that is for sure.
Named for 17th century German botanist and physician Johann Heinrich Von Heucher, the heuchera has enjoyed a surge of interest as gardeners increasingly rely on ornamental foliage for their landscapes. Also known as coral bells and alum root, a native plant that began as a member of the herbal garden has taken center stage in the flowerbed. The flowers of coral bells are small in size, yet exert a significant effect on the wildlife in your garden: both butterflies and hummingbirds will visit the nectar-rich blooms in late spring and summer. Explore ten heuchera varieties that could form the beginning of a new collection in your woodland garden.
Heuchera Melting Fire
'Melting Fire' heuchera plants feature deeply ruffled foliage that varies from crimson to purple, depending on the season and light exposure in the garden. Dainty white flowers characteristic of the genus appear in late spring on 18-inch stems, and may endure for two months.
Dark-leaved cultivars like 'Melting Fire' are prone to leaf scorch in full sun areas. Afternoon shade will protect the leaf margins from browning, and regular moisture during dry periods help all heuchera plants to thrive.
Heuchera Lime Marmalade
Every shady garden spot needs a shot of chartreuse to inject energy into the landscape, and heuchera 'Lime Marmalade' fulfills that role. This gorgeous variety doesn't darken or fade over the season, but will retain the bright green color that make its flowers an afterthought. 'Lime Marmalade' also forms a pleasing mound in your summer containers, providing a green foil for pink or purple plants and flowers.
The presence of contrasting veins on many heuchera varieties expands their color palette, and is in part responsible for the introduction of scores of new cultivars in recent years. The lime green foliage with red veins of 'Electra' offers up fun possibilities in garden design: pair it with a red wax begonia or New Guinea impatiens to accentuate the veining.
taken from taken from https://www.thespruce.com/best-heuchera-varieties-
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
We are sitting here in winter storm watch, winter storm warning so for us the last thing we are thinking about is pruning. But for some of my followers it is their spring time, so it might be a good time to read about pruning. Keep this as a reference for the trees and shrubs you have so you know when to prune.
Most plants benefit from some sort of regular pruning and maintenance. It keeps them healthy and encourages fresh, new growth. The trick is in knowing when to prune what.
A great many flowering and fruiting plants prefer to be pruned while they are dormant, in late winter through early spring. However, there are some, like spring blooming trees and shrubs, that will start setting new buds as soon as the old buds have fallen.
These will need to be pruned shortly after flowering, or you risk pruning off the new buds with the old. And then there are other plants that need to be continually pruned and deadheaded, to remain vigorous and in flower.
Start with the Right Pruning Tools
Whatever plants you have, the first thing you need to consider is the best tool for the job. Sharp, clean tools not only make the job of pruning plants easier, they are crucial to keeping your plants healthy. The four basic tools required for pruning most plants are hand pruners, loppers, shearers, and saws. Here’s a breakdown of which pruning tools are appropriate for your pruning tasks.
Figuring Out When to Prune Your Plants
When to prune can be confusing but pruning at the wrong time is rarely fatal. Pruning at the wrong time of year may result in fewer flowers and fruits, but it usually won’t harm the plant in the long run. The exception to this is pruning too late in the season and encouraging a lot of tender new growth that will be killed back with the onset of winter weather.
When to Prune Flowering Trees, Shrubs, and Vines
Perhaps the most confusing group of plants, when it comes to pruning times, is flowering trees and shrubs. A general rule of thumb is to prune summer and fall flowering trees and shrubs in the dormant season (late winter / early spring) and to prune spring flowering trees and shrubs soon after their flowers fade.
The confusion comes with plants like hydrangeas, roses, and clematis because some of these flower in spring, some in summer or fall, some flower repeatedly. Here are some guidelines for figuring out when your particular variety is best pruned.
Most trees and shrubs benefit from annual pruning. It keeps them in shape, gets rid of dead and diseased wood and encourages new growth. Spring may seem like the ideal time to do this and we are all certainly ready to get out in the garden and start to clean things up. But not all trees and shrubs should be pruned early, especially some of the flowering ones.
Early spring bloomers set their flower buds the fall before.
Pruning them early in the spring would mean pruning off the buds and losing some, if not all the blossoms. It is also one of the most common answers to "Why don't my plants bloom?. A general rule of thumb is to prune spring flowering trees and shrubs right after they bloom and to prune later flowering trees and shrubs in the early spring. This helps guarantee the plants will have time to set new buds and that they will flower for you next season.
Most of the time losing an entire season of flowers is not what you want. However there are exceptions. When you need to rejuvenate an old tree or shrub and make extensive cuts, it’s much easier to prune when you can see the shape of the plant. In that case it would mean pruning while the tree or shrub is dormant, before it leafs out and the branches are masked by leaves. Trees and shrubs that are in need of a good shaping can do with sacrificing a few blooms for one year, to be invigorated by a spring pruning.
Pruning during a tree or shrubs dormant season offers a couple of additional perks that are worth considering. Any kind of pruning stresses a plant. If you prune while the tree is trying to actively grow, it is even more of a burden. Dormant pruning allows the tree or shrub to deal with healing the cut, without having to worry about producing leaves and flowers or sending out new growth.
Another plus is that winter pruned plants are less susceptible to insect and disease problems. Pruning creates an open wound. Although the tree or shrub is perfectly capable of healing itself, it can take several days. In the meantime, that open wound is an invitation for insects, bacteria and fungal spores to get inside the plant. Since most insects and diseases are not active in cold, winter weather, the tree or shrub has time to recoup without the extra stress of fighting off a potential problem.
Although there are rules of thumb, there are no hard and fast rules. To help you out, here is a of list of commonly grown spring flowering trees and shrubs and the best time to prune them.
Trees and Shrubs to Prune in Late Spring/Summer, After Bloom
These trees and shrubs adhere to the rule of thumb to hold off on early spring pruning and wait until the flowers fade. You'll have a couple of weeks grace period, after flowering, to get this pruning done, before next seasons buds begin being set.
■ Azalea (Rhododendron species)
■ Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)
■ Bridal Wreath Spirea (Spirea x vanhouttei)
■ Flowering Crabapple (Malus species and cultivars)
■ Forsythia (forsythia x intermedia)
■ Hawthorn (Crataegus species and cultivars)
■ Hydrangea, Bigleaf (Hydrangea macrophylla)
■ Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
■ Magnolia (Magnolia species and cultivars)
■ Mockorange (Philadelphus coronarius)
■ Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
■ Rhododendron (Rhododendron species)
■ Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora)
■ Slender Deutzia (deutzia gracilis)
■ Weigela (Weigela florida)
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/flowering-trees-and-shrubs-
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Longest Lived Perennial Flowers
In the gardening world, annual flowers generally refer to those that complete their entire life cycle in one growing season, and perennial flowers are those that return year after year. However, not all perennials are created equal. It's frustrating to design a new flowerbed around your favorite perennial flowers, like delphiniums, Shasta daisies, and pincushion flower, only to see them peter out after three or four years. Other perennial flowers are notorious for their longevity. These are the specimens you see in old neighborhoods, planted when the homes were built, and still blooming decades later. Choose these, and use the money you'll save in subsequent growing seasons for lush hanging baskets or container gardens.
Balloon flowers deliver that coveted shade of blue that blends well in any garden design, without the finicky needs some blue flowers exhibit. A native of China, these flowers endure a wide range of temperatures and conditions in full sun or partially shady gardens. Compact varieties that don't need support are the easiest to grow, including 'Apoyama' and the container-ready 'Sentimental Blue.' Once settled in, balloon flowers rarely need to be divided, and don't require deadheading, although shearing may produce a second flush of blooms at the end of summer.
Black-Eyed Susan Rudbeckia
Sometimes confused with daisies, Rudbeckia plants are the later-blooming, longer-living cousins in the Asteraceae family. Although the classic gold flowers of plants like this 'Goldsturm' variety are common in garden centers, you can find gorgeous burgundy and orange toned varieties, as well as fluffy doubles that act as enduring stand-ins for lookalikes such as zinnias or dahlias.
Hybrid tulips and hyacinths are attention hogs in the spring garden, but these are some of the shortest-lived perennial bulbs you can plant. Instead, choose hardy daffodils, which will multiply over the years to form a handsome naturalized colony in flowerbeds or wild parts of your property.
Daylily Orange Daylilies
Have you ever noticed a wild clump of daylilies on the side of a highway or back country road? This should give you a clue to the tenacity of the versatile daylily. If you like orange hues, try a hybrid like the more civilized 'Orange Crush' shown here. Or, branch out to many shades of the rainbow, as you can get blooms in all shades except for pure white and true blue. Drought tolerant and nearly pest-free, some consider daylilies to be an essential part of any blooming landscape.
Unlike the pelargoniums sometimes referred to as geraniums at the garden center, true geraniums are hardy perennials that will grow and return in the unforgiving climates of Siberia and Alaska. In addition to the delicate flowers, gardeners also appreciate the ornamental foliage of some varieties, which features divided leaves with dark colored bands.
You may have noticed the fluffy stems of liatris in your cut flower arrangements, and wondered where the exotic looking flowers came from, but cultivars like 'Floristan' pictured here couldn't be easier to grow. The North American wildflowers still grow on prairies and grasslands, nourishing butterflies and bees with nectar-rich flowers that bloom from the top down. Grow in full sun and average soil in USDA zones 5-9.
Pulmonaria plants like this 'Mrs. Moon' cultivar will already be blooming before many perennials have even emerged from the soil. Depending on the variety you plant, you will see petite white, pink, or blue flowers complemented by highly ornamental foliage with interesting white freckles. Give it ample moisture and rich soil, and watch a few plants multiply into a dozen over the seasons in your woodland garden.
Peonies take a few years to get established in the garden, but the wait is worth it. Just ask any bride who pays a premium to include these softball-sized, fragrant blooms in her bouquet. Plant them in well-drained soil, in a sunny spot, and keep the eyes just below soil level to ensure many years of spring blossoms.
Include a selection of these easy perennials in your deer-resistant garden for late spring to early summer blooms. Although not invasive, irises do need dividing every few years to maintain vigor. Share a few rhizomes with friends, and they can enjoy the same three-foot flower spikes in their floral arrangements as you.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/longest-lived-perennial-flowers-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Ducks are omnivorous birds and constant foragers, always looking for their next bite. But do ducks have teeth to chew the different nuts, seeds, insects, grains, fruits, mollusks and other foods they eat? Understanding the different parts of a duck's bill and how each structure helps these birds eat is important so birders know why ducks eat the way they do.
How a Duck's Bill Is Special
Ducks don't have teeth the same way other animals–tigers, wolves, sharks, cows, pigs or even humans–have teeth to break up and chew food extensively.
Ducks do, however, have several different adaptations and specialized bill structures that help them manipulate their food and eat more easily.
■ Spatulate Shape
Ducks have an elongated, flattened bill shape.This spatulate shape helps the birds crush food similar to teeth, but without the same strength for pulverizing tough foods, and ducks don't chew repeatedly as they eat. The spoon-like spatulate shape also helps ducks filter food from water or mud. The overall size of a duck's bill and how much it is flattened varies between species and helps determine what foods ducks eat. The flatter the bill, the more plant material such as algae, seeds or aquatic grains in the duck's diet, while sharper bills, such as mergansers' bills, are specialized for eating more fish. Some other birds also have a spatulate tip to their bill, such as the spoon-billed sandpiper and the roseate spoonbill.
The lamellae are thin, comb- or fringe-like structures on the sides of a duck's bill, just inside the edge of the bill, and can look like serrated teeth. These structures are slightly pliable and are used for filtering or straining food from mud or water. Most dabbling ducks have at least some lamellae, but the length, number and spacing of the fringe is different for different species. The lamellae are not usually visible unless the duck's bill is open or there is some injury or deformity on the side of the bill that exposes the lamellae. In addition to ducks, geese, swans and other waterfowl, flamingos also have prominent lamellae.
Ducks have a small bump on the tip of the upper mandible of their bill, called a nail. The shape, size and color of the nail can vary, and may be the same color as the rest of the bill or could contrast with the main bill color. The nail is useful for digging through mud or debris and helps ducks uncover small roots, seeds, worms and other foods. Geese and swans also have nails on their bills. For some duck species, such as lesser scaups and greater scaups, the nail can be a useful identification clue as well.
■ Grin Patch
The grin patch is a sneer- or smile-like curve on the side of a duck's bill that exposes the lamellae for easier filtration and feeding. The patch may be a different color than the bill, making it more visible, but the overall purpose of the grin patch is not thoroughly studied. Not all ducks have a grin patch, and it is more common on geese and swans than on most ducks. A grin patch is also seen on some penguin's bills.
Ducks Don't Really Chew
Despite the different bill structures ducks have that help them eat, these birds don't really chew their food. Instead, small nibbling or chewing motions help ducks position morsels inside their bills so they can swallow each bite whole. Softer foods may be broken up by those motions, but ducks aren't chewing deliberately.
Birders who want to feed ducks at a local pond can take into consideration the fact that ducks don't have teeth to make feeding the birds easier. Because ducks swallow their food whole, it is important that any food offered to the birds is small enough to swallow without causing choking or other difficulties. Choosing the appropriate foods to feed ducks, such as birdseed, cracked corn or small vegetables like peas or corn is essential, and these foods are also more nutritious.
Ducks can also eat larger foods, such as grapes, more easily if they are cut into smaller pieces. Unhealthy foods such as bread, cookies, chips or popcorn should not be offered to ducks because these foods are "junk" to the birds, and are more difficult for toothless bills to eat.
Birds don't eat like we do, and they don't have teeth in the same way that humans and many other animals have teeth. But learning about a duck's bill and how it feeds is a great way to understand why ducks behave the way they do and what foods they can eat most easily.
Taken from https://www.thespruce.com/do-ducks-have-teeth-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Ok I got it, the amount of hits are done so I will not talk about succulents for awhile. Here is an interesting Hibiscus. Anyone grown it and looks interesting. Doesn't climb so can be planted in a pot. BUT for us the zone is 5a so here it would be questionable.
Hibiscus ‘ColorChoice Sugar Tip Gold’ (Spring Meadow Nursery/Proven Winners)
This new variety of Sugar Tip rose of Sharon has bright, golden-yellow foliage variegation and showy lavender-purple double flowers. This is a seedless selection that prevents the spread of unwanted seedlings.
Colorful foliage all season, and fluffy pink blooms in summer!
Fabulous and eye-catching from spring to fall, Sugar Tip rose of Sharon offers unique brightly variegated creamy-white and bluish-green foliage. It produces loads of clear pink, double flowers and does not produce seed. This is a beautiful semi-dwarf rose of Sharon that saves space and looks great all summer.
Top reasons to grow Sugar Tip® rose of Sharon:
- Variegated foliage adds beauty and interest before and beyond the bloom time
- Pure pink double flowers don't set seed - no nuisance seedlings to pull up!
- Unusual semi-dwarf habit is perfect for flower gardens and landscaping
Shrub Type: Deciduous
Height Category: Tall
Garden Height: 60 - 72 Inches
Spacing: 60 - 84 Inches
Spread: 48 - 72 Inches
Flower Colors: Pink
Flower Shade: Pink
Foliage Colors: Green
Foliage Shade: Variegated
Container Role: Thriller
Light Requirement: Sun
Maintenance Category: Moderate
Blooms On: New Wood
Bloom Time: Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
Water Category: Average
Summer color, hedges or screens, perennial or shrub borders, specimen and containers. May be planted in a container as a patio plant and then transplanted into the ground in fall.
Grows in any soil unless it is either very dry or very wet. Prune in late fall or early spring. Can be heavily pruned. Prefers medium moisture. Fertilizer in early spring by applying a slow release fertilizer specialized for trees and shrubs. Follow the label for recommended rate of application.
taken from https://www.provenwinners.com/plants/hibiscus/sugar-tip-rose-sharon-hibiscus-syriacus
till next time, this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Hi! My name is Becky and I am a Master Gardener. I own Becky's Greenhouse in Dougherty, Iowa.