WINTER GARDENING TIPS Amaryllis...How do I get them to bloom again? FROM: http://www.usna.usda.gov/Gardens/faqs/AmaryllisBloom.html
1. Keep it cool through the holidays. Enjoy your amaryllis for the maximum time possible by placing it in a location with diffuse light and cool indoor temperatures in the 60°F range. Keep it barely moist. When you water, be careful not to get the portion of the bulb that sticks above the soil wet. If you have a large bulb, you may get two or three flowering stalks that bloom over a period of several weeks. 2. Cut the flower stalks. When the last flower has faded on each of the flower stalks, cut the flower stalk near the top of the bulb. Be careful not to injure the leaves or any emerging flower stalks. Don’t be alarmed if a large amount of sap runs out of the hollow flower stalk when you cut it. This is normal if the plant has been well watered. 3. Increase light, water, and fertilizer. It’s now late winter, and your amaryllis is now in its growth phase. Your main objective is to encourage leaf production that will help the bulb bulk up for next year’s flowers. It’s hard to give your amaryllis too much sunlight at this time of the year. Move it to the sunniest location that you can manage. A sunroom or greenhouse space is best, but a south-facing window will work until spring comes. Fertilize it monthly with a liquid fertilizer, and never allow the soil to dry out completely. 4. Move it outdoors in spring. As soon as the weather settles and all threat of frost is gone, move your amaryllis outdoors. Don’t be alarmed if many of the leaves wither and die in the adjustment period. Wind and exposure to more sunlight may cause some of the older leaves to die; new ones will grow. Choose a sunny area where you can water the plants daily. A deck or patio works fine, and the glossy strap-shaped leaves are a good textural foil for many other plants. Fertilize the plants every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer or apply a slow release fertilizer. 5. Decide when you’d like your amaryllis to bloom. If you want flowers for the holidays, you’ll need to begin its dormant period by mid August. Withhold water, and move the pots to a location where they can be kept around 55°F. Most people don’t have a space that they can keep this cool at the height of summer, so you might have to let the seasons determine bloom time for you. You can leave your amaryllis outdoors well into autumn. If you do, stop fertilizing it in late September and bring it indoors before the end of October or earlier if a heavy frost is forecast. You can bring it indoors in the pot or remove the bulb from the pot and wash the soil off the roots if you like at this time. 6. Keep it in cool storage until the bulbs signal they are ready to go. Amaryllis usually lose all or most of their leaves during their dormant period, although it is not necessary for all the leaves to wither for the bulb to reach complete dormancy. Keep the bulb on the dry side. Check the bulb every week; after eight to ten weeks of cool storage, you should notice the tip of the new flower stalk emerging from the bulb. If you shift the bulb to a warm spot (70-80°F) for three weeks, you will encourage leaves to emerge at the same time the flower stalk is developing, but a warm treatment is not needed for floral development. You can repot the bulb in fresh soil at this point. Be careful not to bury the bulb too deeply. At least one third of the bulb should be visible above the soil surface. Don’t plant the bulb in a pot that is any more than two times the diameter of the bulb. When you repot it, you may notice smaller side bulbs that can be broken away from the main bulb. These can also be potted and grown on in a sunny spot. They will not bloom this year, but may bloom after two or three years of growth. 7. Start it warm and water tentatively. Water your amaryllis thoroughly right after you repot it, and allow the soil surface to dry a bit before watering it again. Place it in a warm spot to stimulate root growth. A sunny spot is best. If you try to rebloom your amaryllis in dim light conditions, the flower stalk will grow long and your amaryllis will be more prone to breakage or tipping. Wait until the first flower has opened to move the plant to a location with subdued light and cool temperatures to preserve the flower as long as possible. 8. Repeat. You can keep your amaryllis indefinitely, and if you can provide the right conditions for growth and dormancy, your bulb will get larger and multiply itself over the years. Large bulbs may produce as many as three flower stalks and some bulbs may bloom twice a year.
THE INSIDE STORY…I’m Dreaming of a “Green” ChristmasBe “green" this holiday…It might be just what you are looking for. Have you considered purchasing a living conifer for your holiday tree? It just may be the freshest tree you could ever have. Traditionally many families purchase pre-cut trees from their local nursery or they might even venture to a tree farm and cut their own…but think about a living tree that you can later plant into your landscape and remember all the good memories. These trees require special care and preparations to insure that they will survive in your yard. Choose a tree that fits the needs of your family. If the tree is not already planted you will need to make sure that the root ball is in a bucket or planter that will keep the roots protected and makes it easier to water. These trees should be kept indoors for a short limited time…7-10 days. Warm, dry air can quickly destroy the life of your tree. Minimize the number of days that your tree will spend inside your home, place in a cool room out of direct sunlight and away from a heat source…your radiators or a wood burning stove or fireplace. Use led lights. They produce less heat, are more efficient and save energy.Make sure to keep tree’s rootball moist and well watered.Before your transplant your tree, move it into an unheated space for several days (a garage works well) and allow your tree to acclimate to the outside temps. It is a good idea to have your hole pre-dug and lined with hay or leaves to keep it from freezing. If the ground has frozen, keep your tree in a sheltered area with a thick covering of compost to protect the rootball through the winter months for a later spring planting.
ARM CHAIR GARDENING...IN JANUARY
It’s January, it’s cold outside, and there is snow on the ground. It sounds like a bleak forecast - especially if you don’t ski.But yes there is hope.Believe it or not….this is the perfect time to do a little armchair gardening.You ask…”What is ARM CHAIR GARDENING?” Prepare your favorite cup of tea and find a comfortable arm chair and begin to plan you summer garden.Now is the perfect time to organize what you want to include in your garden for the next growing season.Start looking at all those seed catalogs that have started filling your mailbox.There are seeds, bulbs, flowers, herbs and shrubs for you to ponder. Read, Look and Imagine the Possibilities!Here are a few catalogs you might want to consider.
PLANT TIPS: INDOOR PLANTS This information is from the website of: The New YorkBotanical Garden, LuEsther T. Mertz Library, Plant Information Service
Poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima –
-Give your plant a minimum of 4 hours of sunlight a day. -Water when the top layer is dry to the touch.Water until water drains from the bottom of pot.Discard excess water after 15 minutes. -65 -70 degrees during the day and 55-60 degrees at night for best growth conditions. -Feed plants started from cuttings, with a water soluble, all-purpose liquid fertilizer twice a month during the growing season (March through September). -Move to the next size pot only, when roots fill container. Use one part sterilized houseplant potting soil with one part coarse builder's sand or perlite. -Keep Poinsettia in a sunny location to coax bloom. Bring outside for the summer and pinch back the growing tips to promote bushiness. Bring back in before first frost and give 14 hours of darkness per night until bracts show color -Darkness must be uninterrupted. Keep night temperatures low and remember to give plant light each day.
Florist's Cyclamen, Cyclamen persicum -Bright light all day with one to two hours of full sun. -Water from below, tubers easily become waterlogged. If watering from above, keep water out of the center of the plant. -65º during day; 50º at night for best growth conditions. -Fertilize every two weeks with a water soluble, high phosphorous, liquid food after the dormant period (March to May) is over. -Grows easily from seed under fluorescent lights for 14-16 hours per day. Start seeds in winter for flowering in a year. -When dormancy begins, separate the yellow leaves from the tuber. Hold off on watering and re-pot tubers into a mix of equal parts sterilized houseplant potting soil and perlite. Plant with the tuber 1/2" above the soil. Resume normal watering. -Cyclmen grows best under very cool, bright condition with a relative humidity above 50%.Coax Cyclamen into dormancy by holding back on watering after flowering period.
Christmas Cactus, Schlumbergera x buckleyi -Very bright light conditions with at least two hours of winter sun. -Water thoroughly when top half of soil feels completely dry. After 15 minutes remove all excess water from the holding saucer.\ -To encourage cactus to set buds in autumn, keep night temperature consistently between 45º and 55ºF. Prevent bud drop, avoid drafts and large temperature fluctuations, and keep humidity high and water correctly. -Weekly feeding of dilute soluble fertilizer high in potassium during growing season, between March and September, will benefit Christmas cactus. When flower buds have formed discontinue fertilizing. -Christmas cactus grows best in clay pots in a soil mix of one part shredded peat moss, one part sterilized houseplant potting soil, and one part sand. Propagate by taking 3-4" stem cuttings in spring or summer. Dip hardened-off cuttings in Rootone -Removal of spent flowers and stem tips after flowering promotes branching and more flowers. -Christmas cactus can be coaxed into bloom if night temperatures are kept cool ( 50-55ºF) If night temperature is 55 to 70ºF, 13 hours of uninterrupted darkness must be given for buds to form. Cover plants with black cloth during the night.
How do I care for a live Christmas tree that will be planted outside after the holidays? Start by digging the hole where the tree will be installed after the holiday. Select the proper site (sun, shade, soil drainage, etc.), then dig the hole. Store the soil from the hole in a location where it won't freeze - a garage or shed might work though cover the soil with mulch or leaves to reduce the chance of freezing. It's also possible to fill the hole with mulch or leaves to keep the surrounding soil unfrozen should you need to enlarge the hole or do a bit of last minute shaping. Next, select a fresh tree from the nursery or garden center. While the tree is outside, keep the root ball moist and protected from freezing. It may be wise to cover the root ball with mulch or leaves. Over a period of a few days, move the tree to the garage or a covered porch before bringing it indoors to acclimate it to warmer conditions. Reverse this process when the tree is ready to move back outside to plant. Keep the tree inside for only a few days, and in the coolest location inside to maintain the plant's dormancy. Keep the root ball moist at all times, but not waterlogged. It may be wise to stand the tree in a large galvanized tub or bucket to avoid muddy water spilling onto the floor. Plant the tree as soon as possible after the holidays. Follow good planting procedures: water it in thoroughly and mulch. If the plant will be in a windy location, consider staking it through the remainder of the winter. * Prepared by: http://plantfacts.osu.edu/faq/listing.lasso
Protect your evergreen trees from Holiday Vandals! Several years ago, Cornell University developed a spray for evergreens to thwart would-be tree thieves at holiday time; this mixture may interest you. Cornell Arboretum caretakers treat their trees in early December by coating the branches with "Pink Ugly Mix." The solution does not injure trees or soil, and lasts through December unless weather conditions are unusually rainy. It dissolves over time with exposure to the elements. "Pink Ugly Mix" was developed by Gerardo Sciarra, a veteran gardener at Cornell Plantations. Sciarra was disheartened coming to work to sometimes find jagged stumps where magnificent evergreens stood the day before. So Sciarra developed and perfected a non-toxic solution that makes trees "look bad for their own good." This solution temporarily discolors trees and makes them unappealing to tree thieves. Of course, this may be unappealing in your landscape and you will have to weigh the pros and cons of making trees pink and ugly for a time! Any landowner or homeowner can follow this recipe. Ingredients for this solution include a gallon of water, 15 ounces of hydrated lime, 4 ounces of an anti-desiccant, such as "Wilt-Pruf," and two ounces of red food coloring. Mix ingredients together in a large pail; stirring the solution is very important, both before and during application. The solution can be applied with a tank sprayer, broom or large brush. Weather conditions at the time of application should be dry and above 32° F, otherwise the solution freezes before it dries and it slides off the tree. Additional food coloring may be added to make the solution a brighter shade of pink, if desired. * Prepared by: http://plantfacts.osu.edu/faq/listing.lasso
Pot et Fleur
Pot et Fleur
POT ET FLEUR ...If you can't garden outside, then why not garden indoors! Create a miniature garden in a basket.This is a great way to display potted plants with a garden effect.They will last longer than cut flowers and may be changed out as blooms fade or seasons change.
Materials: Interesting Country Basket or Bucket Basket Liner Pebbles Spaghnum Moss Moss Covered Branches Rocks
Instructions: In a lined basket add some pebbles and then your potted plant materials.Group tall items either in the center (for an all around design) or in the rear (for a one sided design).Place smaller items according in size from tall to short as you would in your outside gardens.Let Ivy droop over the side of the basket to give dimension to your design.Try to mix up plants (vertical and horizontal) this will create interest.When the basket is full cover the tops of the pots with a blanket of spaghnum moss to hide your mechanics.Tuck a bit of moss into the side of the basket for fun. Add a moss covered twig or two.
Care: Water plants individually as they are in separate pots.Take care not to over water because of the lack of good drainage.Place in a cool location to promote longevity. Change out plants when blooms fade to keep arrangement fresh looking and new.
Sucker growth at base of the fruit tree
Water Spout Branches
WINTER GARDENING…Pruning your Apple Trees
Choose a bright sunny day, temps in the 30’s, calm winds.Grab your pruners, and loppers and hand saw…check to make sure that they are in working order. Sharpen or replace any dull blades.Find a drop cloth for trimmed braches and head outdoors to your orchard.Pruning your dormant fruit trees is one of the first jobs you can complete in the late winter in your garden. (1). Look for any dead wood and remove.Living wood will have a green color just below the bark.Dead wood may have a black center. (2). Cut and remove sucker growth that may have grown up around the base of the tree…especially important on grafted tree (3). Look for any branches that are touching each other.Trees need to be open for air circulation.Good air flow will cut down on fungal problems.Remember the old farmers adage when pruning your tee…A bird should be able to fly through easily (4). Next check for water spout branches (these are long, straight branches growing upward) these generally sap your trees of energy and will not produce fruit. (5). Limit the height of your tree.It will make harvesting fruit in the fall that much easier.If your tree has been allowed to overgrow…this process should proceed over several years.Do not remove excessive amount in one year. (6). Step back and check your tree for an overall pleasing appearance (7). Spray with a dormant oil spray to kill any over winter insect eggs that may have been laid on your trees.
From the February 2007 NEWSletter..
CHOCOLATE!It’s not always in a heart shape box for Valentine’s Day! Think about a ….ChocolateGardenby Marie Hofer, Gardening Editor, from the HGTV.com - website.
There can be a world of chocolate in your garden. I'm not talking about the plants that look milky brown and have chocolate in the name--'Chocolate Ruffles' heuchera (brown foliage) or the 'Chocolate Soldier' columbine (brown flowers) or even 'Chocolate Chip' ajuga (new leaves are brown). No, we're talking about walking through the garden and smelling chocolate. A sniff of the plants below can be very satisfying. Unfortunately though, if aroma makes you hungry, you'll need to carry a chocolate bar with you. The only two of these that are edible (the geranium and the mint) have only the vaguest of chocolaty flavors.
Chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata). The chocolaty aroma that wafts from these dark-eyed daisies is best in the morning. A wildflower that's native to the Southwest, the chocolate flower thrives on minimal water. In moist, humid climates, try planting in containers; that will also allow you to place the plant where you can best appreciate its fragrance. This hardy perennial is short-lived but freely reseeds. Chocolate-mint geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum 'Chocolate Mint'). Scented geraniums come in apple, pineapple, orange and even pink champagne, so obviously a chocolate-mint was needed too. The foliage, not the flowers, carry the fragrance. Enjoy as an annual during the growing season and then bring inside for the winter. Chocolate mint (Mentha x piperita 'Chocolate Mint'). Call the fragrance on this mint nine parts mint to one part chocolate. Like others in its family, this mint spreads aggressively via rhizomes. If you want to keep it inbounds, plant in containers or install ground barriers. Mint is tolerant of almost any soil, but in moist, rich soil, growth will be rampant. Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus). Velvety, black-maroon flowers give off a wonderful chocolate scent from midsummer to fall. This plant needs full sun and well-drained soil with even moisture. In spring, plant tubers three feet apart in full sun. In the fall, treat as you would a dahlia; lift and store for the winter. Enjoy the aroma but don't eat: this plant is toxic. PLANT RESOURCE: Mountain Valley Growers- Website: www.mountainvalleygrowers.com
Witchhazel (Hamamelis sp.)
Witchhazel (Hamamelis sp.) unfurls its spidery flowers in either fall or deep winter (and sometimes even spring), depending on the species and cultivar. Winter: Naked, the witchhazel shows off its wide spreading, crooked branches and multi-stemmed, shrubby habit. Some of the intermediate hybrids (H. x intermedia ) begin blooming in late January, the Japanese and Chinese witchhazels a month or so later. Summer: The rounded oval, scalloped-edged leaves are dark green, three to six inches long. Fall: Foliage is colorful in all witchhazels. The spider-like, fragrant yellow flowers of the common witchhazel (H. virginiana ) often get outdone by its yellow leaves. You can also find cultivars of H. virginiana that drop their leaves before the flowers form. Culture: Site in full sun or shade; provide moist, well-drained, acid to neutral soil or organic, alkaline soil. Mature size: 15 to 20 feet high and wide. Zones: H. virginiana, 3 to 8(9); H. mollis, H. japonica and H. x intermedia, 5 to 8.
Sparkleberry (ilex serrata x verticillata)
COLOR FOR YOUR WINTER GARDEN - WINTERBERRIES Colorful berries can brighten your garden landscape through the winter months.Even after a hard frost and snow cover the berries will hang on and add color and drama to your winter garden. Not to mention the food that they will provide to our winged friends when the going gets tough and food supplies are at a minimum.
WINTERBERRY …Great red berries are beautiful in the garden.They are an added bonus to flower arrangers in the winter.Ilex verticillata is a twiggy species and will grow about 10 feet tall.Plant accordingly for its height.Color will last through most of the winter if the birds don’t gather them up first.There are many other varieties of winterberry…”Red Sprite” is compact and grows aboutthree to five feet tall.“Shaver” will grow about five feet tall.Winterberry prefers moist, acid soils.USDA Zone 3-9.
“SPARKLEBERRY” is a colorful hybrid (ilex serrata x verticillata)this particular species will grow 12- 15 feet tall, and can tolerate drier soils.WINTERBERRY “AFTERGLOW”, has great orange to red-orange berries on a bush about 10ft. tall.“BERRY NICE” has really bright red berries that can be seen from a distance!
Another great choice for the winter landscape garden is “WINTER KING” Green Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King”).Hawthorns grown slowly, but this variety will reach 20 – 25 feet tall with a wide canopy.USDA Zone 4-7.
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