What a week can make in a difference with the Iowa weather. Cold, wet, cloudy this morning compared to last Saturday. Sunshine, there was wind but is was warm, and 70 degrees. Have to be very thankful that Open House went so well with great weather. But looks like starting on Sunday, sun will be out, warmer temperatures so it will be gardening time again. I am using the time getting ready for the next project"Learning Centers." Will talk about them more as I work on them. I am still planting, moving plants out, making sure all are labeled, having help with it all plus watering. So things are good.
Becky what is your favorite tree? Have to say this time of the year I would say Lilac.
It brings back many memories of growing up on the farm, and mom would have several lilac trees and they smelled so good. I would love cutting them and bringing them into the house.
Here are some facts about lilacs. Lilacs symbolize love. Aside from Roses, there is no flower as beautiful and aromatic as Lilacs. Of the two, Lilacs have a stronger, more intoxicating scent which carries quite a distance. The term “Lilac tree” can be mistakenly attached to any of the many varieties of Lilac bushes. Lilac shrubs/bushes grow from six to twenty feet tall. True Lilac trees, like the Peking tree Lilac and the Japanese tree Lilac, both from Asia, may reach heights over 30 feet. Lilacs are native to Eastern Europe and Asia. The colonists brought them to America in the 17th century. Lilacs can vary in shape and/or form. Some may be rounded, vase-like, tall and spreading, tall and straight or a combination of these shapes. Flowering varies between mid-spring to early summer and, unfortunately, normally only lasts about three weeks or so, depending on the species and the weather (the warmer the spring, the earlier the blooms). Lilac flowers span a wonderful array of colors (white, violet, blue, Lilac, pink, red, purple and some even bi-colored. You prune Lilacs immediately after the enjoyment of the fragrant blossoms in the late Spring/early Summer. Found that very interesting to do. Because if you don't prune, the blooms will always be on the top of the bush or tree. Lilacs were grown in America's first botanical gardens. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew them in their gardens.
We have two kinds here
The Lilac 'James Macfarlane', blooms two weeks later than Syringa vulgaris types. The true single pink flowers bloom freely. It is extremely hardy and adaptable. This lilac has an upright shape. The large clusters of deliciously scented flowers bloom in May and June and are attractive to butterflies. Lilacs should be grown in fertile, humus-rich, well drained soil.
Lilac, Miss Kim Light Purple or Lavender Flowers Blooms in Early Spring Extremely Hardy Used for Hedges, Screens, or Individually Grows 8' to 15' High with a 6' to 12' Spread Zones 3 to 7 What do you think about lilacs? Any memories to share? Till next time this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Plant half of the bulb out of the ground. That will give you these big onions. Plant completely in the ground will produce the green onions.
Today talking about my favorite onion, and when I started this I thought white onion but now I don't know? What is your favorite onion to grow and to use in cooking?
Types of Onions:
Common Slicing Varieties: White and Yellow, or Spanish onion
Purple onion -a favorite with it's mild taste, is easier on the gastro-intestinal system Scallions or Green Onions: Grown for it's long stem, and little or no bulb.
Pearl Onions or Pickling Onions: You guessed it, for pickling
Shallots: A mild tasting, small bulb
Leeks: Like a scallions, it is mild, yet distinctive tasting. The stalk is eaten.
Vidalia Onion - defined more by where they are grown, than the variety
I will try each of the onions that I have here along with the shallots, garlic to see which one is our favorite. Larry enjoys green onions so will have to get them in the ground for him. Then next year I can tell you which is my favorite.
Long Day or Short Day Onion?
Most onion varieties begin to form a bulb, when the temperature and hours of daylight reach certain levels. "Long Day Bulbs" begin to form a bulb, when there is 14-16 hours of daylight. Long day onions include Sweet Spanish onions and Walla Walla onions. Long day onions do better in the north, while short day bulbs are good for growing in the south. "Short Day Bulbs" will begin to bulb when there is 12 - 14 hours of daylight hours. Short day onions include Yellow Granex, Texas Grano, Red Burgundy, Yellow Stuttgarter type, and White onions (Ebenezer).
I have to tell you I am learning so much in doing this daily. Writing short articles is fun, interesting and I do learn too. Hope you are learning and enjoying what I am writing. Let me know if you have any questions, share and like if you do because then more and more will get to see what I write. Thanks for that. Till next time, Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
One of my favorite annuals is the nonstop begonia. It has been around for a long time. I remember my mom growing them, and how pretty they were. The double blooms look like a rose, and when in full bloom they are loaded with blossoms.
The origin of the begonia was commonly thought to be in Brazil, though some were found in Mexico at an earlier date and the Chinese used them in the 14th century. However, the first person to document the discovery of the begonia was a Franciscan monk, Charles Plumier, who found fibrous begonias in Brazil in 1690. He was on a search for medicinal plants and named the plant after his favorite botanist, Michel Begon, the governor of Haiti. Plumier passed away soon after the discovery and so the documentation of the plant did not go further until the 1800s. In 1821, begonias were found in soil that was sent from Brazil to Berlin Botanical Gardens. Then, in 1856, orchids were shipped from India to England and among the orchids was a strange plant with interesting patterned leaves--a Rex begonia. Later on, different varieties of the plant were found in the Andes Mountains. Richard Pierce documented most of them and found unusual colors like yellow, red and orange.
Nonstop begonias are a type of tuberous begonia (Begonia x tuberhybrida), sturdy bloomers that add a bright spark, even in partial shade or low levels of sunlight. The plant comes in a range of colors, including various shades of red, orange, pink, yellow, apricot, salmon and white. Plant Nonstop begonias in a flower bed, hanging basket or patio container.
You will need to take off the single blooms because if you don't then at the end of the season that is all you will have. When you pick them up here I will show you which are the single blooms. One of my members from Gardeners of North Iowa, told me that it was the female blossom as I was calling it the male. I thought it was great fun to say we are picking on the male, but I was wrong. The single bloom is the female as it is trying to form a seeds so it can survive. So all the energy of the plant is going into that seed and that is when the plants take on the look of being lanky and not producing other blooms just the one so it can survive. Give these plants a thought for an area that is in shade. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty, Iowa
Can you see the anthers that looks like a wishbone? It is white in the middle of the bloom.
Torenia Wishbone plant is one of my favorite flowers for the shade.
Torenia's bright and quirky upturned flowers give rise to many common names. If you've ever seen one looking at you, you'll understand the name 'Clown Flower'. The name 'Wishbone Flower' comes from the way the anthers arch and join at the tip, when the flowers fist open. Visiting bees break the wishbone while pollinating. And 'Bluewing's should tell you that the original Torenia plants on the market, Torenia fournieri, had blue-purple tips on the petals. snap dragon-like flowers.
Torenia is a profuse blooming annual that starts flowering early in the season and keeps up the show through fall, with minimal deadheading. Most varieties form a mound that eventually trails down the sides of pots. Torenia is deer resistant and very attractive to hummingbirds. Flowers: Tubular flowers with two lips. The lower lip is divided into three lobes, often with a bright, yellow dot in the center lobe.
We have several different cultivars of this torenia here.
torenia kauai mix
torenia moon series magenta moon
torenia summer wave bouquet gold
Maybe give these a try in your garden. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty, Iowa
Baptisia False Indigo
I am going to start a series of some of my favorite plants either annuals or perennials. Here is the first one. Baptisia It never blooms in the small pot but if you would see it in the landscape you would have it in your garden. This tough, dependable, long-lived perennial makes an impressive statement in the garden, growing as much as 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. The most common species, also known as blue false indigo, has spires of blue flowers in late spring and early summer and was used by early American colonists as a dye plant. So that leads to a favorite story. This plant was the first cash crop as colonists they would pick and send the blooms to England and trade for tea while the English would use the blooms as dye. It was native to the New England states.
Baptisia blooms spring and early summer, its bluish-green, clover-like foliage is topped by spires of pea-like blooms. The plant grows slowly at first, but after a few years forms an attractive, upright mound up to 4 feet across. A mass planting of baptisia in full bloom is a striking sight. As the blooms fade they transform into attractive gray-black seed pods. Both the flowers and the seed pods are attractive in bouquets. So give this plant a try and maybe a place in your landscape. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty, Iowa
All I can say is thanks to all that came to the Open House. As an event for our business, it went very well. I have to thank all of my help for pulling off this event. I couldn't have done it without all the help. I made the food, but have to thank friends and neighbors for providing homemade bars for this event. Thanks to them. We served Sloppy joes, and pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, pasta salad with fresh vegetables, and a friend made coleslaw. I had my homemade salsa there with chips, and homemade pickles. Again thanks that all helped, and all that came. But no worry....
Racks are still full because we can bring out of the greenhouse. So if you didn't make it to open house NO worry plenty of plants are here. Have planting to do yet, but that is good because now I have room to have more planted.
Couple of gardening hints. When you plant carrots, mix radish seed with them. The radishes will be up and gone in 27 days, so that will help thin out the carrots and let you know where the carrots are planted.
One more tip: As the onion matures, pull the soil away from most of the bulb, so that only the roots and the lowest part of the bulb are in contact with the dirt. It will look as if the onion is sitting on top of the soil, as it should. This will aid in the drying process by keeping moist soil away from the papery skins. Also will make the onion bigger. Give it a try or even don't plant the onion very deep leave some of the bulb out of the ground. To ensure healthy bulbs, rotate the crop yearly. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty, Iowa
All of these are perennials.
Air plants, which will be talked about in future writings. Large display of them.
Awesome weather, awesome gardeners, awesome help, awesome event...It was another awesome day for open house. We will have another day of open house today. Do you think I will think it is AWESOME. Thanks to all of you that came, if you come today thank you. But remember this is the start of the gardening season...and we have plants for you. Can I say AWESOME plants. I will write more tomorrow. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa having an awesome time.
First day of Open House went well. As always took some of the morning to get things organized for the meal, for the guests but we did it. NOW today should go like I have it planned. I was up at 2 to cook, now finishing that up. Hopefully will have pictures to post tomorrow about this event. AND for us it is an event. I will write more later...till then, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Stop in and have dinner with us. This is a great time for fellowship, sharing and catching up with lots of neighbors and friends.
Perennials here from Swift's Greenhouse Gilman. Check
Trees here from Christmas tree farm, Wisc Check
Air plants here from Florida Check
Plants out of Becky's Check
Racks all full of flowering plants Check
Front of greenhouse cleaned up check
East greenhouse ready for the gardeners for the noon meal. Check
Food warming up. Check
Door prizes for all check
So looks like we are ready for you the gardener to come and see what we have. We have a full menu for our meal. 2 different kinds of meat, potato salad, 3 more salads, baked beans, homemade bars made by friends of the greenhouse, Come hungry and have a look what this year will bring to help with your gardening needs.
Here we go. See you in Dougherty. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse Dougherty, Iowa
The start of our 27th year of growing plants, and 31 years of selling. Looking forward to seeing you at the greenhouse.
This says it all. Amy our daughter designed the post card, and her sister Jennifer took the picture thanks GIRLS...love the work. Yes for 31 years have been selling plants, and growing for 27 years. Have to love it, and I love growing plants but the best part is growing them for you and seeing you each year. Thanks for the business. See you soon in Dougherty, till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty
Hi! My name is Becky and I am a Master Gardener. I own Becky's Greenhouse in Dougherty, Iowa.