Blanket Flowers Bloom Long Enough to Blanket Your Garden
All About Growing Gaillardia
Gaillardia, or Blanket Flower, is am easy to grow, short-lived perennial with richly colored, daisy-like flowers. There are over two dozen species of Gaillardia and most are native to some area of North America. Gaillardia pulchella, which is native from southeastern U.S. through to Colorado and south into Mexico, was cross bred with Gaillardia aristata, a prairie flower, to create Gaillardia X grandiflora.
Most of the modern blanket flowers we grow in our gardens are the hybrid Gaillardia X grandiflora
Gaillarida forms a slowly spreading mound. Although generally short-lived, it can reseed and sprawl through the garden. Since the original plants are hybrids, expect some variation from self-seeding.
■ Leaves: Lance-shaped gray-green leaves are sometimes lobed.
■ Flowers: 3 - 5 inches across, in various shades of yellow and red. Some have petals surrounding a center disk which produces florets. Others have trumpet-shaped florets surround the entire disk.
Botanical Name Gaillardia x grandiflora
Common Name Blanket Flower
Most blanket flowers will be reliably perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 - 10, but hardiness does depend on the variety and the growing conditions,
Full sun. Blanket flower can handle some partial shade, particularly in hot climates, but they will get a bit floppy and will not flower as profusely.
Mature Plant Size
12 - 18 inches (h) x 12 - 24 inches (w)
Blanket flowers have a long season of bloom, repeat flowering from mid-summer through fall.
Suggested Blanket Flower Varieties
■ Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun' - 2005 All-America Selections Winner. 3-4" flowers have a red center surrounded by yellow.
■ Gaillardia 'Burgundy' - Wine-red petals with a yellow center disk that ages to burgundy.
■ Gaillardia 'Fanfare' - Trumpet-shaped flowers that shade from soft red through yellow radiate from a rosy center disk.
■ Gaillardia 'Goblin' - Large green leaves are veined in maroon. Very hardy.
■ Gaillardia 'Mesa Yellow' - 2010 All-America Selections Winner. Striking yellow flowers grow true from seed.
Using Blanket Flower in the Garden
Gaillardia are such long bloomers, they work equally well in borders and containers. The bold flowers blend especially well with soft textures, like thread-leaf Coreopsis and cosmos, as well as airy ornamental grasses.
For more contrast, plant with spiky plants like Kniphofia, Crocosmia or daylilies.
'Burgundy' contrasts well with blue flowers, like Salvia and Veronica. All the Gaillardia varieties make excellent cut flowers.
Blanket Flower Growing Tips
Soil: Gaillardia is not particular about soil pH, but it does need a well-draining soil. It will grow in somewhat moist conditions, but heavy clay soil will probably kill it. Once established, Gaillardia is extremely drought tolerant. Poor soils seem to encourage more flowering than rich soils, so go easy on the fertilizer.
Planting Blanket Flower: You can find seeds of many Gaillardia x grandiflora varieties. You can sow them in the spring, but they may not flower the first year. Get a head start by sowing in late summer and protecting the young plants over the winter.
Blanket flower is more commonly grown from purchased plants. Since the plants can be short-lived and they don't grow true from seed, it is best to divide the plants every 2-3 years, to keep them going.
Plant blanket flower any time after frost and keep them well watered until you see them actively growing. Then you can ease up on the water and let them acclimate to your garden.
Caring for Your Blanket Flower Plants
Blanket flower does not require deadheading to keep blooming, but the plants will look better and be fuller if you do cut the stems back when the flowers start to fade.
You will also get more continuous flowering with deadheading, so don't be shy about it.
Divide Gaillardia plants every 2-3 years, to keep them from dying out.
Pests & Problems of Gaillardia
Diseases: Blanket flower plants are usually problem free, but they are susceptible to aster yellows, a virus-like disease that can stunt their growth and cause the flowers to be green. Aster yellows is spread by leaf-hoppers and aphids, so the best thing to do is to encourage predators, like lady bugs. Plants that do get aster yellows should be destroyed. They will not recover and the disease can continue to spread.
Pests: As noted under Diseases, leaf hoppers and aphids can spread disease. Hopefully, you will have enough natural predators around to keep them in check. Otherwise, spray with insecticidal soap.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/blanket-flowers-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa
Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) - Growing a Tall, Late Season Bloomer by Marie Iannotti
Eupatorium purpureum, or Joy-Pye Weed, is an herbaceous perennial native to much of the U.S. Is it a wildflower? An herb? A perennial? Yes. Eupatorium purpureum may go by the common name "Joe-Pye Weed", but it is a prized, late-blooming perennial plant. You may see the species Joe-Pye Weed growing along the roadside, which can be an enthusiastic spreader. Newer varieties are better behaved. There are taller versions, dwarfs, some with darker foliage and some with white flower heads instead of the familiar mauve.
Named after a Native American herbalist, Joe-Pye Weed was used to lower fevers. Most gardeners now use it to attract birds and butterflies to the garden and for its tall, stately grace at the end of the season.
■ Leaves: The lance-shaped leaves grow in whorls around the stem. The otherwise green stem is purple where the leaves attach. Leaves reach about 6 inches in length and are usually serrated along the edges. In some areas, crushed leaves give off a slight vanilla scent.
■ Flowers: The compound flowers are composed of 5 - 8 florets and bracts in dusty rose to mauve, giving the appearance of large clusters. The corolla of each floret is tubular, making them popular with hummingbirds.
Joe-Pye Weed is extremely adaptable, growing well in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 - 10
Joe-Pye Weed grows best in partial shade.
If grown in moist conditions, it can handle full sun, but it does not do well in hot, dry conditions.
The height will vary with variety. Dwarf Joe-Pye varieties grow about 2 - 3 ft. (h) x 1 - 2 ft. (w). Standard varieties reach about 3 - 7 ft. (h) x 2 - 4 ft. (w).
Joe-Pye Weed is a late season bloomer, coming into its own in late summer to early fall.
The Best Joe-Pye Weed Varieties to Grow
■ Eupatorium purpureum "Gateway" - Shorter variety (4-5') with deep maroon stems.
■ Eupatorium purpureum "Little Joe" - A dwarf version (3-4') that looks very similar to the species.
■ Eupatorium rugosum "Chocolate" - A close relative with dark leaves, maroon stems, and white flowers. this is the one we have here....
Garden Design with Joe-Pye Weed
Joe-Pye Weed is usually reserved for the back of a border, partly because it can get so tall, but also because it blooms late in the season. It can hide out behind earlier bloomers until ready for its moment to shine.
With its large flowers, Joe-Pye can become top heavy and flop over. Planting it behind a sturdier plant for the support it is a good idea.
Joe-Pye Weeds height adds an architectural element to a billowy cottage style planting. Contrast it with golden Rudbeckia and goldenrod, for an instant autumn scene.
Since Joe-Pye Weed does best in slightly damp soil, it is wonderful planted alongside ponds and streams, but keep an eye on it, because if the conditions are ideal, it can get out of hand.
Tips for Growing Joe-Pye Weed
Soil: Eupatorium purpureum tolerates most soil pH. It is more particular about having adequate moisture.
Caring for Your Joe-Pye Weed Plants
If planted in a somewhat rich soil, like a woodland edge, Joe-Pye Weed should not need much in the way of fertilizer.
Keep your plants well watered, particularly when first planted and during dry spells. Don’t let the soil remain dry for longer than a few days, especially during hot temperatures.
Joe Pye Weed blooms on the new season's growth, so cut the plants back hard, to about 4 - 8 inches, in the spring.
You can keep your Joe-Pye plants shorter by cutting the stems back by half, in June. Cut back to just above a whorl of leaves. The plant will send out more stems and you should get more flowers on a shorter plant.
Pests and Problems of Joe-Pye Weed
Joe-Pye Weed is not usually bothered by pests or diseases. The biggest problem growing Joe-Pye Weed is keeping it from getting dry. The leaf edges will scorch if the soil is allowed to remain dry for too long. Too much strong sun will tend to yellow the whole leaf.
If grown in a damp area, snails and slugs can be a problem. In rainy seasons, fungus diseases like rust and leaf spot may affect the foliage.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/joe-pye-weed-eupatorium-purpureum-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
One of my favorite plants that isn't known too much about. Prairie Smoke....native plant...try one in your garden.
The distinctive and popular Prairie Smoke is a star of the spring garden with its unique, feathery pink seedheads. The basal leaves are fern-like and deeply serrated, with hairy margins. Each flowering stem holds three nodding, pink bell-shaped flowers. Once these flowers are fertilized the real show begins as the nodding blooms transform into upright clusters of wispy pink plumes. A mass of Prairie Smoke creates a pinkish haze that can last for a month or more. While not truly evergreen, the leaves can persist through winter, turning attractive shades of red and crimson. Plants will spread slowly by rhizome to form a groundcover.
Perfectly adapted to the dry rock gardens, Geum triflorim is also effective planted in groups in a perennial bed, but it does not like to be overcrowded by taller perennials.
Rock garden, deer resistant, drought tolerant, mat-forming. Excellent for hot dry spots, it thrives in any well-drained soil. Wet and soggy winter conditions may cause the plants to die back.
Also known as: Old Mans Whiskers, Purple Avens
taken from https://www.prairienursery.com/store/native-plants/prairie-smoke-geum-triflorum
The silky, flowing styles of the fruiting stage of Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum) never fail to win admirers at first sight. When setting seed, large stands of the plant create a gauzy effect that resembles smoke hovering close to the ground. Blooming in spring to early summer, Prairie Smoke will spread slowly from its roots in well-drained, dry to wet-mesic soils. It prefers full to partial sun and has a native range from the northern tier of the US through most of Canada.
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
We had a great meeting here last week for the Gardeners of North Iowa...thanks to the gals for helping with the lunch, and thanks to my help for getting things ready so I could do lunch and a program. But I was looking thru my notes and I forgot to share with you about the tomato that was given to me that was grafted. Never have heard of grafting tomatoes....so here is the information about how and why you would. I will share pictures with you of the graft and what they use to graft it on a root stock and the tomato is Mortgage lifter. I will be planting this week and watch how it grows and see what the fruit will be like...more on that later....thanks for coming to the meeting always good to see everyone. Becky
History of Vegetable Grafting
Grafting of woody plants has been common for centuries, but herbaceous grafting has only become popular recently in agricultural systems. The cultivation of grafted vegetable plants began in Korea and Japan at the end of the 1920s when watermelon plants were grafted onto squash rootstock. Since this time, this technique has spread throughout Asia and Europe. Currently, 81% of Korean and 54% of Japanese vegetable cultivation uses grafting. The use of this cultural technique is mainly carried out for intensive cropping systems like greenhouse and tunnel production. This method is especially popular for vegetable production in the orient, and the number of vegetables in 1998 was estimated to be 540 million transplants in Korea and 750 million in Japan.This technique has moved to the Mediterranean region as well, where the use of grafting has been proposed as a major component of an integrated management strategy for managing soilborne disease and increasing crop productivity. Grafted tomato transplant production has increased in Spain from less than one million plants in 1999-2000 to over 45 million plants in 2003-2004. Grafted tomato is also cultivated in France and Italy, and over 20 million tomato plants were grafted in Morocco in 2004 as a way to reduce soilborne disease and increase crop production.
Grafting can take place on a number of crops. However, because of the added expense, it is typically associated with melons, cucurbits, and members of the Solanaceae family such as eggplant and tomato. Tomato grafting became popular in the 1960s as a way to reduce certain diseases caused by soilborne plant pathogens such as Raletonia solanacearum . Currently, however, grafting is used to offer not only protection from certain diseases, but also tolerance to abiotic stress like flooding, drought, and salinity
The first grafts in the early 20th century were made in order to diminish attacks by infectious organisms, such as Fusarium oxysporum on watermelons. However, research has shown that this technique can be effective against a variety of fungal, bacterial, viral, and nematode diseases. Furthermore, many researchers are looking to utilize specific rootstocks as an alternative to methyl bromide-a soil fumigant that has been widely used until recently. Grafting has been highly effective at overcoming abiotic sources of stress, such as soil salinity, temperature extremes, and excessive soil moisture. Grafting has also been utilized to reduce the effects of flooding in areas where a wet season may occur.
Grafting tomatoes with tolerant rootstocks has been highly effective at producing a saline-tolerant plants. Research indicates that several rootstocks prevent the translocation of sodium and chloride into the shoot. Many of the most economically important vegetable crops like tomato, squash, cucumber, and watermelon are highly sensitive to thermal stress in the roots throughout vegetative development and reproduction. Whether using rootstock tolerant of hot or cold temperatures, the use of temperature tolerant rootstocks often leads to the extension of the growing season in either direction, resulting in better yield and economic stability through the year. Although the vegetable grafting is typically associated with reduction of disease or abiotic stress, yield is often increased without the presence of these identified sources of stress.
In tomatoes, increases in fruit yield are typically the results of increased fruit size.Research has shown that possible mechanisms for increased yield are likely due to increased water and nutrient uptake among vigorous rootstock genotypes. Conductance through the stoma was improved in tomato plants when grafted onto vigorous rootstock. Nutrient uptake for the macronutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, were enhanced by grafting.
Tomato Grafting Methods
There are a variety of methods for grafting vegetable crops. Cleft grafting occurs when a V-shape is cut into the rootstock and a complementing wedge-shaped scion is inserted. The graft is then held with a small clip until healing occurs. Approach grafting involves notching opposing sides of the stems of the rootstock and scion, and then using a clip to hold the stems together while they fuse. Once the graft has healed, the original scion is then cut off of the desired rootstock and the unused rootstock is detached from the scion. Micrografting is a new technique that has been recently integrated into micropropagation production for hybrid tomato. This method uses micropropagated scion shoots that grafted onto 3 week-old rootstock seedlings. The most common commercial technique for grafting tomato is tube grafting. Tube grafting takes place when the scion and rootstock are severed as seedlings and reattached with a small, silicone tube or clip.This technique has been highly effective as it can be carried out when plants are very small, thereby eliminating the need for large healing chambers while increasing the output. Tube grafting has been adopted as the primary method for vegetable grafting on the farm as it can be easily carried out with small healing chambers with typical success rates ranging from 85 to 90 percent.
Approach Grafting is done by cutting opposing and complementary notches in the stem of the rootstock and scion. The complementary notches are fit together and held with a spring clip or some type of tape. Once the graft union has healed, the root system is cut from the scion plant and the shoot is removed from the rootstock plant.
Cleft Grafting is carried out when the plants are slightly larger, and a V-shaped cut is made in the stem of the scion. The scion is then inserted into the rootstock, which has a vertical slice cut down the center of the stem. The rootstock and scion are then held together by a spring clip while the graft union forms.
Tube Grafting or Japanese Top-Grafting is carried out when the plants are very small and the rootstock and scion are held together with a 1.5–2 mm silicone clip or tube.
taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato_grafting
Interest in tomato grafting is high among gardeners these days. Grafted plants can be expensive and sources of supply are few. Learning how to do it yourself not only saves money but gives you unlimited options for what varieties you choose to graft. With a little practice, you can become skilled at this worthwhile technique. The benefits of learning include a more productive and disease-resistant tomato crop.
This blog post covers the steps that go into the process commonly called “head grafting,” also known as Japanese grafting, because this is where the technique was first developed. This method allows you to graft your chosen tomato variety (the scion) with rootstock. Rootstock does not produce fruit or foliage but is vigorous and resistant to diseases.
Materials for Grafting Tomatoes
1) Silicone grafting clips (the most popular sizes are 1.5 and 2.0mm);
2) A new, straight edged razor blade;
3) A spray bottle filled with water;
4) Rootstock seeds (we offer a certified organic variety called Estamino that is vigorous and produces well-balanced plants);
5) Scion seeds (heirlooms are popular for grafting because their production can be uneven and they have no disease resistance)
6) A clear plastic bin with lid to hold a tray of grafted plugs.
Plant Your Scion and Rootstock
Your rootstock and scion plugs may grow at varying rates. The first time around, estimate it will take 21 days from seed-planting to stems on each plant that is large enough to graft. Through trial and error, you will find the ideal timing so that the diameter of the scion stem matches the diameter of the rootstock. Your grafts will not all be successful. It is recommended that you plant 2-3 times as many scion and rootstock plants as you think you will actually need.
The scion is ready when it has 2 or 3 true leaves. When you are ready to begin, prepare a clean working surface with all your materials at hand. Make a mental note of your placement of the scion tray and the rootstock tray and make it a habit to put them in the same spot (one left, one right) whenever you graft — you don’t want to confuse them when you begin cutting. Finally, wash your hands. You don’t want to inadvertently introduce harmful organisms to the cut surfaces.
Remove one rootstock plug from the tray. Look it over carefully and decide where to cut. The cut shouldGraft Tomato Plants At Home always be just below the cotyledons (the small set of leaves first from the bottom) and at least 1/2" above the soil line. Use your razor blade to remove the cotyledons. Then cut just below them at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees. After cutting, slide a silicone tube over the cut end of the rootstock. The tube should fit firmly for the best results.
Next, examine your scion plugs and select one with a stem diameter that matches your rootstock. Remove all but the top leaves to reduce transpiration while the graft is healing. Cut at an angle matching the angle of the rootstock, either about 1/3" above or below the cotyledons. You want an exact fit between the scion and the rootstock.
Align the scion with the rootstock and slide the scion into the tube so the two cut surfaces meet cleanly. The grafting tube should hold the scion and rootstock together firmly.
Move the grafted plant to a clean cell tray. Spray the grafted surface with a fine mist after completing each graft to prevent it from drying out. Keep them in the shade and away from strong wind currents while you proceed with additional grafts.
Healing Grafted PlantsGrafting Tomatoes For Gardening
Next comes healing, a critical part of the process. If all goes well, your grafted plants will heal in 4 to 7 days. Ideal conditions for healing are high humidity — upwards of 100% — and steady warmth, with temperatures between 82 and 84 degrees. For the first 24-48 hours, keep the plants in total darkness to prevent transpiration from the scion. Thereafter, they need moderate light roughly equivalent to the intensity of two side-by-side fluorescent tubes.
If you have a greenhouse, these conditions can be met by placing a table beneath a bench and covering it with plastic to retain humidity. Or you can put your grafted plugs in a propagation chamber for the first 48 hours and then beneath a shaded bench and misters for the duration. Home gardeners need a similar arrangement. The easiest solution is a clear plastic storage bin with a lid, the type found at many hardware centers. Choose one large enough to hold your plug tray with grafted seedlings.
While your plants are healing, too much water applied to the soil can create a thin layer of water on the grafted surface. This moisture can create a barrier which interferes with the union between the scion and rootstock. The best way to water during the healing period is to mist the graft union at regular intervals. If you are using a clear storage bin, fill the bottom with about 1/2" of water before you put your grafted plants inside. This should provide enough moisture and create a high level of humidity inside the container. Make sure the lid on your container has a good seal. If in doubt, tape over any openings. Approximately one week after making your grafts, you should begin to expose your plants to more light and increased airflow by gradually opening the lid. The entire process will take about two weeks.
The grafting tubes will fall away from the graft as your tomato plants grow. To prevent the introduction of disease, do not reuse your grafting tubes.
One final note: When you transplant your grafted plants into your garden, keep the graft line at least 1/2" above the soil surface to prevent the introduction of disease.
We wish you success!
taken from https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/how-to-graft-tomatoes-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org
You want a great flower for butterflies...native plant, and easy to grow....try this one...
Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea) are Garden Favorites By Marie Iannotti
Purple Coneflowers are quintessential prairie plants. They are hardy, drought-tolerant, long-blooming, and are being cultivated in an ever-widening range of colors. It's hard to find a garden without at least one variety.
Echinacea is a native North American genus with about 10 species. Not all make great garden plants. Echinacea purpurea is by far the most popular coneflower. It has a more fibrous root system, rather than the long tap root and woody crown found in other wilder species, and is more adaptable to garden conditions and more forgiving of dividing and transplanting.
The common name "coneflower" refers to the way the petals angle backward, away from the center, forming a cone.
■ Flowers: Coneflower's daisy-like flower is actually made up of several small flowers. The petals are sterile and are there to lure insects toward the many fertile flowers in the central disk or cone. These flowers are rich in nectar and very popular with both bees and butterflies. Flowers used to only be some shade of purple or lavender, with a dark center cone. Much hybridization has been taking place and you can now find petal colors ranging from white to green through yellow, orange and deep reds.
■ Foliage: Growth starts with a clump of basal leaves, which eventually send up flower stems in mid-summer. The leaf shape depends on the variety. Many have oval leaves with a wide base, but some from dry, western areas often have narrow leaves.
Most coneflowers will grow well just about anywhere and are labeled USDA Hardiness Zones 3 - 9. You may want to give them a little winter protection their first year, but once established, they are rugged and hardy.
Mature Plant Size
Size will vary greatly, depending on the variety and growing conditions.
Most will fall in the broad range of 2 - 4 ft. tall by 16 - 24 inches wide. There are also dwarf varieties, like "Kim's Kneehigh" which only grows 16 - 18 in. tall.
To get the most blooms and the sturdiest plants, plant purple coneflowers in a spot that gets at least 5 hours of full sun a day. They will tolerate partial shade, but plants may flop or strain to reach the sun.
Coneflowers start blooming in early to mid-summer and repeat bloom through frost. They may take a break after their initial bloom period, but they will quickly set more flower buds.
Purple Coneflower Growing Tips
Soil: Most coneflowers grown in gardens prefer a neutral soil pH of about 6.5 to 7.0.
Although they thrive best in a soil high in organic matter, too much supplemental fertilizer can cause them to become leggy. The new hybrids need more TLC than the species.
Growing from Seed: Coneflower hybrids tend to be sterile, but the species are relatively easy to grow from seed. If you'd like to save seed, wait until the cone has fully dried. It will be darker in color and stiff to the touch. The seeds are attached to the sharp spines. You don't need to separate them, before storing or planting.
You could plant the whole cone if you like, although you'll want to divide the many seedlings you'll wind up with.
Different varieties of coneflower will cross-pollinate. If you grow multiple varieties and collect the seed yourself, you may well wind up with some interesting crosses.
The seeds germinate best with some cold stratification. The easiest route would be to sow them outdoors in the fall, either in the ground or winter sown in pots. If you are going to start seed indoors, simulate the chilling period by soaking the seeds in water and then placing the slightly damp seed in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 8 - 10 weeks. Then take them out and plant as you normally would. They should germinate within 10 - 14 days.
Planting: If you don't want to start your own seeds, there are plenty of varieties available for purchase as plants, especially through mail order.
Plants can also be divided or grown from stem cuttings.
Coneflowers can be planted in either spring or fall. It is recommended you plant the new cultivars in the spring, to give them time to become established.
Be sure to allow for good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.
Caring for Your Coneflower Plants
Coneflowers are often listed as drought tolerant, but they will do much better with regular water.
You can leave the plants standing through winter, to feed the birds. Shearing them back in the spring will result in bushier plants that bloom longer into the season.
Deadheading is the primary maintenance required with coneflowers. They are prolific bloomers and keeping them deadheaded will keep them in bloom all summer. Luckily each flower remains in bloom for several weeks.
Flowers start blooming from the top of the stem. As the initial flower fades, more side shoots and buds will form along the stem. Keep the plants deadheaded and you'll keep getting more flowers.
The newer cultivars seem to do best if you allow them to grow and flower without much deadheading or pruning the first year. Do not cut them back in the spring until new growth appears.
Pests and Problems of Coneflowers
For the most part, coneflowers have very few problems. As long as the plants are given plenty of room for good air circulation, they should not be bothered by fungal diseases. If you should see mildew or spots on the leaves, simply cut them back and let them fill back in.
Keep an eye out for aster yellows, a systemic plant disease that causes growth deformities in the flowers. It can affect hundreds of different flowers, not just those in the aster family. There is no known cure and it is spread by a leafhopper, so affected plants should be removed and destroyed as soon as possible, to protect nearby plants.
Garden Design Tips for Coneflowers
Coneflowers tend to spread rapidly, forming large, wonderful swathes. They combine especially well with other native prairie type plants such as ornamental grasses, yarrow (Achillea), butterfly weed (Asclepias) and Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium), but probably the best combination is with Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia).
Both tend to bloom throughout the summer, creating an easy-care carpet of blooms.
Since coneflowers are so cold hardy, they are also good choices for containers. You will probably need to divide them at least annually, or they will start to die out in their centers.
Suggested Varieties to Grow
Where to start? There are new varieties every year. Some make the cut and some disappear quickly. The 3 listed here have been popular for quite awhile, but also take a look at the many new coneflower introductions.The yellow petaled Echinacea paradoxa was used to develop many of these brightly hued coneflower hybrids. They don't tend to be as widely adaptable as Echinacea purpurea, being prone to root rot. Although they are marketed everywhere, they can have difficulty surviving winters in zones 5 and below, especially if they did not acclimate well during the summer. Newer hybrids are favoring Echinacea purpurea's fibrous root system and show more promise.
■ Echinacea purpurea "Magnus": Deep purple petals with orange centers. Very adaptable.
■ Echinacea purpurea "White Lustre": Rich, creamy white petals.
■ Echinacea tennesseensis: Narrow, deep mauve petals and greenish pink centers. Tennessee coneflower has petals that point upwards. It was crossed with traditional plants to hybridized a flat flower head.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/echinacea-purple-coneflowers-
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Lilies on a wagon. I had a close up picture but it came out upside down, so have to figure out how to get it right side up.....I can do that, I can do that....
This is a picture of what is blooming at the greenhouse. Lots and lots of lilies that would look great in your garden.
Everyone loves lilies. With large, showy blooms, lilies add striking elegance to the yard and garden from early to mid-summer. Grown from bulbs, lilies are perennial flowers that will return year after year and require minimal care, provided that you plant them in the right place.
Lilies have six plain or strikingly marked tepals (“petals”) and are often trumpet-shaped, sitting atop a tall, erect stem with narrow, long, lance-shaped leaves. They come in many beautiful colors, including pink, gold, red, orange, and white.
Asiatic and Oriental lilies are the most popular garden lily varieties. Asiatic lilies bloom first in early summer (in June), right after peonies. They are not fussy as long as they are grown in well-draining soil. They are the shortest type of lily (about 2 to 3 feet tall) and come in many colors, from pastel to tropical. They don’t have much of a fragrance, but they do add bright color to the garden. It’s the Oriental lilies that have that famously strong fragrance. They are tall and stately (4 feet), and tend to grow more slowly, often blooming about the time when Asiatic lily flowers are fading (mid- to late-summer).
What are “True Lilies”?
True lilies grow from bulbs and are of the genus Lilium. Daylilies (Hemerocallis), despite having “lilies” in their name, are not true lilies. Daylilies have many leaves that grow from a crown, whereas true lilies generally have only one stem or shoot that grows from the bulb. Similarly, peace lilies, canna lilies, and calla lilies are not true lilies. Learn more about “true” lilies.
When do Lilies Bloom?
Lilies tend to bloom from early summer to fall, depending on the type. By carefully blending early, mid-season, and late varieties into your garden, you will enjoy their magnificent blooms from spring through first frost. At home in both formal and naturalistic settings, most lilies also take readily to containers. Plus, they make great cut flowers!
asiatic lilies come in a range of bright, beautiful colors.
When to Plant Lilies
•Plant lily bulbs in the fall, a few weeks before the winter brings freezing temperatures. Bulbs planted in the autumn will have well established roots in the spring. The bulbs benefit from a winter chill to produce big blooms.
•We do advise planting in spring in areas with particularly harsh winters. Container-grown lily plants can be planted anytime during the summer.
•Buy the bulbs close to planting time. You don’t want to buy the bulbs in the fall and wait until spring to plant them.
How to Plant Lilies
•Select a site with soil that drains well. How can you tell? After a good rain, find a spot that is the first to dry out. Water trapped beneath the overlapping scales on the lily bulb may cause rot, so a well-drained site is essential.
•Lilies need lots of sun. For dependable blooms, lilies need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. If it’s too shady, the stems will attempt to lean towards the sun or get spindly and fall over.
•Lilies are best suited for Zones 3 to 8. They do not thrive in Zones 9 and 10 without a period of refrigeration; they need a cold, dormant period.
•Most of the popular varieties prefer acidic to neutral soil, but some are lime-tolerant or prefer alkaline soils (e.g., Madonna lilies).
•Loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches. The deep planting encourages the developing stem to send out roots to help stabilize the plant and perhaps eliminate the need for staking. Also, deep planting keeps lily bulbs cool when temperatures soar.
•Enrich the soil with leaf mold or well-rotted organic matter to encourage good drainage. Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.
•Plant the bulbs 3 times as deep as the height of the bulb and set the bulb in the hole pointy side up. Fill the hole with soil and tamp gently.
•Space bulbs at a distance equal to three times the bulb’s diameter (usually about 8 to 18 inches apart, depending on the variety).
•For a good effect, plant lilies in groups of 3 to 5 bulbs.
How to Care for Lilies
•During active growth, water freely—especially if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
•Keep lilies mulched so that their roots are cool. The mulch should feel moist, but not wet. Read more about mulching.
•Apply a high-potassium liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks from planting until 6 weeks after flowering.
•Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch.
•Stake tall lilies.
•Lilies do not bloom more than once per season, but you can remove the faded flowers so that the plants don’t waste energy making seeds.
•After the lily blooms, you can also remove just the stem itself. However, do NOT remove leaves until they have died down and turned brown in fall. It’s very important not to cut back the leaves until the end of their season because hey help provide nourishment to the bulb for next season’s blooms.
•Cut down the dead stalks in the late fall or early spring.
•Before winter, add 4 to 6 inches of mulch, simply to delay the ground freeze and allow the roots to keep growing. Leave the mulch until spring once the last hard frost has passed. See your local frost dates. See your local frost dates.
•If your region doesn’t have snow cover, keep soil moist in winter.
•When lily shoots grow through the mulch in the spring, start to remove it gradually.
•Divide plants every 3 to 4 years as new growth begins in the spring. Just lift the plants and divide the clumps. Replant the new bulbs adding some compost.
•Gray mold is sometimes a problem, especially in a wet, cool spring or summer. Make sure lilies are not crowded and have plenty of air circulation.
•Viruses, spread by aphids, may be troublesome, although some cultivars are virus-tolerant.
•Red lily beetles, slugs, and snails may occur.
•Deer, rabbits, voles, and groundhogs may eat entire plants. If these critters are a problem, plant the bulbs in buried wire cages to protect them from getting eaten.
Displaying Lilies in Vases
•Lilies make wonderful cut flowers. However, avoid cutting off more than a third of the stem, which can reduce the plant’s vigor and longevity.
•If you are growing lilies strictly for cut flowers, consider planting them in a designated cutting garden, where you can plant fresh bulbs each year.
•When cutting lilies, choose those with buds that are just about to open, with a bit of the flower color showing. The higher up buds will open as the bottom ones fade.
•Just one lily stem in a vase can be a show-stopper.
•As soon as you get lilies inside, trim the stem ends an inch or so, making a diagonal cut with a sharp knife.
•If you worry that the orange pollen of lilies might cause stains, simply snip off the stamens in the flower’s center.
•Before arranging in a vase, remove the lower leaves on the stems so that no foliage will be underwater.
•A good lily arrangement will last two or more weeks. Change the water every few days.
•To help prolong the flowers’ life, add cut-flower food to the water. Lilies require only half the amount of food recommended for other flowers.
There are many types of lilies which bloom at different times. You can enjoy lilies all summer long if you plant bulbs from different varieties.
Asiatic lilies are the earliest to bloom and the easiest to grow. With their upward facing flowers, they bloom early to midsummer. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9, Asiatic lilies come in pure white, pink, vivid yellow, orange, and red. Intense breeding has erased much of the Asiatics’ fragrance, but in spite of their lack of perfume, they are a favorite with floral arrangers.
Trumpet lilies bloom mid-summer. Tall with trumpet-shaped flowers, they are hardy in Zones 5 to 9. Trumpet lilies grow many blooms (12 to 15 per stalk!) and have a wonderfully heady, sweet fragrance.
Trumpet Lilies bloom mid-summer and their blooms are deeply fragrant. Just a few plants can perfume your entire garden.
Oriental hybrids end the season, blooming in mid- to late summer, just when Asiatic lilies are beginning to fade. From tiny 2-footers to towering 8-foot-tall giants, Orientals are always a striking choice (the shorter ones are great for patio beds or container gardens). Adored for their intoxicating fragrance that intensifies after dark, Oriental lilies produce masses of huge white, pink, red, or bi-color blooms. They make wonderful cut flowers that will fill even the largest of rooms with their spicy scents.
Wit & Wisdom
•The name “lily” can be misleading because lots of other plants use it besides true lilies. Daylilies and water lilies aren’t lilies at all, and neither are lilies-of-the-valley or lilyturf. With so many other plants using the name “lily,” it seems that identity theft has been around since long before the use of computers and credit cards!
•Easter lilies can be planted in the ground in the spring. They may survive several years if you mulch them heavily in the fall, especially in northern regions. If they survive, they’ll bloom in late summer.
•In a flower bed, lilies prosper in the presence of low-growing plants that protect the lilies’ roots from drying out.
Sun Exposure Full Sun, Part Sun
Spring, Summer, Fall
Orange, Pink, Red, White, Yellow
Hardiness Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Special Features
taken from https://www.almanac.com/plant/lilies
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa
Yes you will with the picture....it is a bleeding heart. We had Gardeners of North Iowa here last night. 28 of us and we had a good time. We served a meal, and I had a program after the meeting....so it was very good. I am tired today with all of the days of heat and humidity and then getting ready for the gardeners.
So we have white bleeding hearts, old fashioned pink, and the valenine varieties here. They would look really good in your garden. Here the information about them.
Bleeding Heart Flower Care – How To Grow Bleeding Hearts By Becca Badgett
(Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Blooms of the bleeding heart plant (Dicentra spectabilis) appear in early spring adorning the garden with attention getting, heart shaped flowers borne on arching stems. Attractive bluish green foliage emerges first as the plant wakes from dormancy and flowers of the bleeding heart may be pink and white or solid white as with the bleeding heart cultivar ‘Alba’.
How to Grow Bleeding Hearts
Care for bleeding heart includes keeping the soil consistently moist by regular watering. The bleeding heart plant likes to be planted in organic soil in a shady or part shade area.
Work compost into the area before planting the bleeding heart plant in fall or spring.
Organic mulch breaks down over time to supply nutrients and helps retain moisture. Growing bleeding hearts need a cool, shady area for optimum bloom in warmer southern zones, but farther north this specimen may bloom in a full sun location.
An herbaceous perennial, the bleeding heart plant dies back to the ground as the heat of summer arrives. As the bleeding heart plant begins to yellow and wither away, foliage may be cut back to the ground as a part of care for bleeding heart. Do not remove the foliage before it turns yellow or brown; this is the time when your bleeding heart plant is storing food reserves for next year’s growing bleeding hearts.
Bleeding heart flower care includes regular fertilization of the growing bleeding heart. When foliage emerges in spring, time release plant food may be worked into the soil around the plant, as may additional compost. This is an important step in growing bleeding heart, as it encourages more and longer lasting blooms.
Many are surprised that growing bleeding hearts is so simple. Once you are aware of how to grow bleeding hearts, you may want to use them to brighten dark and shady areas.
Seeds of the growing bleeding heart may add more plants to the garden, but the surest method of propagation is to divide clumps every few years. Carefully dig up the roots of the bleeding heart, remove roots that are dried up and divide the rest. Plant these into other areas of the garden for an early spring show.
taken from https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/bleeding-heart/bleeding-heart-care
till next time, this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com
SO on to the D's perennials....dianthus, sweet wiliam, pinks all of these names.. We have short varieties, we have tall varieties, and they all look nice in your garden not mine.
It’s easy to get confused when shopping for dianthus plants for the garden, as the genus encompasses plants that behave as annuals, perennials, and biennials. While each of these has their place in the flower garden, if you’re looking for the heirloom pinks your grandmother grew, you should make room in your landscape for the perennial dianthus flower.
Get to Know Dianthus
Dianthus barbatus is a biennial type of dianthus, while D. plumarius, D. superbus, and D. deltoides are perennials in the garden.
If you’re puzzled by the common name “pinks” when you look at the variety of dianthus colors on the market, examine the fringed edges of the petals closely. A pair of pinking shears would give you a similarly ragged edge on a piece of cloth, hence the nickname. The name “cheddar” refers to the Cheddar Gorge in England where pinks have naturalized. In addition to Cheddar pinks, dianthus also goes by the common names of clove pinks, gillyflower, and sweet William (which most often refers to the biennial dianthus).
Kate Middleton did not corner the market on choosing clever flowers for her bridal bouquet when she added the blooms of Sweet William to her arrangement. The name doesn’t derive from the prince, or any other man named William; rather, it is a derivative of the French word that means “little eye.”
Many Dianthus plants feature handsome bluish-grey foliage that is showy in its own right when the plants are not in bloom. The foliage is narrow, even grass-like. Plants may exhibit a mounded shape, an erect habit, or a trailing habit. Blooms are heaviest in the spring, with some rebloom into fall possible.
Dianthus blooms may be single or double (think little carnations), but all have the same jagged-edged petals. Flower colors include white, lilac, red (but never a hint of orange), and all shades of pink. Plant heights vary from five inches to three feet tall.
Dianthus Planting Tips
Dianthus flowers may be perennials in zones 3-9, although hardiness varies between varieties. Full sun is important for thriving plants, so choose a location that gets at least six hours each day.
Stem rot can be a problem in dianthus plants if the soil doesn’t drain well. If your soil is heavy clay, consider containers or raised beds for your plants. Dianthus plants like neutral to slightly alkaline soil pH. If your soil pH is below 7.0, correct the acidity with an application of dolomitic limestone. Fireplace ashes can also increase the soil alkalinity. Mulch is fine to keep weeds under control, but to avoid rot don’t let the mulch crowd around the crowns of dianthus.
Deadhead dianthus after flowering to promote rebloom. Dianthus plants are light feeders, and a shovelful of compost worked into the soil once a year is enough to nourish the plants. Even the perennial dianthus varieties are short-lived in the garden.
Garden Design With Dianthus
The mounding shape of dianthus plants and long blooming time makes them welcome additions to the container garden. Place dianthus plants at the front of your garden beds and borders where you can appreciate the pleasant clove fragrance. Add some dianthus plants to your butterfly and hummingbird gardens, as the flowers attract both with their nectar.
Include dianthus plants in your alpine or rock garden. The plants thrive in the quickly draining soil of these landscapes. Choose heirloom varieties of dianthus for your cottage garden. Try the ‘Pheasant’s Eye,’ variety from the 17th century. Dianthus is a safe bet for gardens bothered by deer, as it is a deer-resistant plant.
Unfortunately, the same doesn’t hold true for rabbits. Plant some dianthus in your cutting garden. They add fragrance to petite arrangements like nosegays and tussy-mussies.
taken from https://www.thespruce.com/perennial-dianthus-flower
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Continuing with C's in perennials....had 3 boys here yesterday helping and we had a good time. They were good workers for being 6th grader, 4th grader, and a 2nd grader....get them young RIGHT.....
Coreopsis verticillata SIZZLE & SPICE™ ‘Hot ...
USDA Zone: 5-9
Threadleaf Coreopsis forms a spreading clump of very delicate, ferny foliage. This selection, part of the Sizzle & Spice™ series, bears loads of starry, dark red flowers with gold centres, early summer into the fall. Clipping off faded flowers will encourage buds to form all season. Excellent for cutting and mass planting. Great for edging in the sunny border, or planting in mixed containers. Tolerates heat and humidity. Easily divided in early spring. Good drainage is necessary. USPP#28522: unlicensed propagation prohibited.
Optimal Growing Conditions
Appearance and Characteristics
Plant Uses & Characteristics
Accent: Good Texture/Form
Flower Head Size
taken from http://www.perennials.com/plants/coreopsis-verticillata-sizzle-spice-hot-paprika.html
Golden yellow flowers with bronze red centers are produced over a tidy, mounded habit.
attracts: Bees Butterflies Resists:Deer
Height Category: Short
Garden Height: 12 - 14 Inches
Spacing: 12 - 14 Inches
Spread: 12 - 14 Inches
Flower Colors: Red
Flower Shade: Golden yellow with bronze red centers
Foliage Colors: Green
Foliage Shade: Green
Container Role: Filler
Light Requirement: Sun
Maintenance Category: Easy
Bloom Time: Early Summer , Mid Summer , Late Summer
Hardiness Zones: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
Water Category: Average
Soil PH Category: Acidic Soil
uses: Border Plant
Coreopsis is native to North America. It is easy to grow, thriving in any well-drained soil with average moisture and full sun. This species requires deadheading to promote continuous blooming.
taken from https://www.provenwinners.com/plants/coreopsis/uptick-gold-bronze-tickseed-coreopsis-hybrid
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org
purple star clematis
snow queen clematis
Here is another c perennial.....clematis.
Purple Star 4-5" vivid violet flowers with a distinctive white stripe center, gives a star effect to Clematis Venosa Violacea. Blooms in July to September.
Gracefully meandering over fences, trellises or through shrubbery, Clematis supply vertical interest. Every perennial garden should have at least one of these incredible
Plant 4' apart
Mid-Summer to Early Fall
Full Sun to Mostly Sunny
Soil Condition: Normal
Features to Note Beneficial for Pollinators
Blooms for 4 Weeks or More
Clematis General Information
Clematis are prized for their incredible flowers, most as large as your hand. "Queen of the Climbers" will train onto trellises, fences or arch over doorways. Stunning when used alone or when several colors are mixed. Grower's tip: Truest colors require full sun, as any shade will introduce purple tones. Flower color and bloom size may vary while the plant is establishing. They don't tell you to make sure that the roots stay cool when you plant clematis. They go in the full sun, but put mulch, or another plant around it's feet to keep the roots cooler. Rule of thumb with pruning is interesting.
Clematis Plant Care
Pruning Type 3 - This group blooms later and from new growth. These should be pruned in February or March as new leaf buds begin to show low on the plant. Also remove all dead material above the buds and clean out any old or mildewed foliage at this time. If intertwining Clematis, pruning will be easier if you select varieties with the same pruning type.
This is article taken from https://www.bluestoneperennials.com/CLVV.html
Common Name: clematis
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 7.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White/mauve with red anthers
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut
Grow in fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Vining hybrids are best sited in locations where the flowering parts of the vine are in sun to part shade but the roots are shaded. Some light afternoon shade is usually beneficial in hot and humid summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Clematis vines need a trellis or other support on which to grow. Roots should be kept cool, shaded and uniformly moist. Root areas may be shaded with perennials, annuals or small shrubs. A thick root mulch is appreciated. Do not allow soils to dry out.
'Snow Queen' is pruned as Group 2. See pruning instructions below.
Clematis is a genus of over 250 species, most of which are woody to semi-woody deciduous vines climbing by twining leaf stalks or in some cases trailing over support, but in a few cases grow as freestanding or sprawling herbaceous perennials and small deciduous or evergreen shrubs. Most have flat, cupped or bell-shaped flowers. Some plants feature ornamental fluffy seed heads in autumn. Plants bear opposite, simple to compound leaves which are usually deciduous but sometimes evergreen. Compound leaves range from lobed to trifoliate to biternate to pinnate to bipinnate. Clematis is native to both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres including Europe, the Himalayas, China, Australasia, North America and Central America.
Plants are often divided into three groups based on pruning needs.
Group 1 – Flowers only on old wood (previous year). Prune after spring flowering.
Group 2 – Flowers on both old and new wood. Typically, little pruning should be done for woody-stemmed members of this Group. If cut to the ground or pruned in fall or spring, flowering will be reduced or delayed but not prevented.
Group 3 – Flowers only on new wood. Can be cut to the ground in fall or spring.
Genus name comes from the Greek word klematis which is an old name applied to climbing plants.
'Snow Queen' features profuse, showy, overlapping, 6-7" diameter, white-sepaled flowers with pink-flushed margins and deep red anthers cover this vine in summer. Bloom on this cultivar comes primarily from the previous year's stems in late spring to early summer, but also occurs in a second flush later in the summer on the new (current year's) growth.
No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to wilt/stem rot (can be fatal), powdery mildew, leaf spots, rust and viruses. Potential insect pests include aphids, vine weevils, slugs/snails, scale and earwigs. Watch for spider mites.
Clematis can be trained to climb a wall, trellis, fence, arbor, porch, lamppost or other stationary structure. They provides good architectural height and framework for small gardens. They can also be planted to sprawl over and through shrubs, scramble over old stumps or simply as a ground cover in conjunction with other flowering perennials. Containers.
picture is from this site also
Sunset is a delightful clematis to grow containered on your patio or deck. The compact plant produces a profusion of blooms in shades of soft red, accented by a buttery center. Grow ‘Sunset’ with clematis Reiman and Sano-no-Murasaki for a combination that makes you think of glistening gemstones. HEIGHT | 6-8 FT. SPACING | 24-36
Interesting to put into a container if it grows only 6 feet....might have to try that.
taken from http://clematis.com/?s=sunset
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com
Hi! My name is Becky and I am a Master Gardener. I own Becky's Greenhouse in Dougherty, Iowa.