Crossing Daylilies

Daylilies are one of the easiest plants to learn how to hybridize. The large flowers with easy to get to pollen make it a simple matter to transfer pollen from one flower to another.  There are a couple simple things you need to know before you start hybridizing daylilies. The first is where the pollen is and the second is where to place it!Important Daylily Parts for HybridizingThe two parts of the daylily flower you need to pay attention to are the stigma and the stamen. The stamens are 6 stalk like parts that emerge from the flower. On the end of each stamen is the anther which is where you can find the pollen. It's easy to see if you are doing this in the morning. In the afternoon I have noticed they tend to close and make the pollen harder to get to so the morning is the…

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How to Buy Mums (Hardy Chrysanthemum)

OK, you might be thinking to yourself that this headline "How to Buy Mums" is about a topic we don't even need to discuss. Really, how hard can it be? You go to the nursery, pick out a full bushy plant full of blooms. You walk to the check out counter buy it and go home to plant it. If that's what you think then let me add one more thing to the purchase of your mums, don't buy the plants when in bloom! The Secret of How to Buy Mums The secret to long lasting chrysanthemum blooms in the fall is to buy your plants from the nursery when they are still in tight buds. If you look around at all the other mums on sale you can identify the colors you like then purchase plants that have little to no blooming. That way when you get them home…

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Tough Plants – Salvia nemorosa

While the winter is still in gear I thought it might be helpful to begin reviewing some of the toughest plants I have grown over the years. I've grown a lot of them (and killed a few of them along the way). In my garden it has to be a tough plant to survive over the years. Today I'm going to mention one of my all time garden favorite perennials: salvia. I'm not talking about the annual salvia that a lot of folks use as a bedding plant. I'm talking about the Salvia nemorosas of the world. The 'May Night' salvias, the 'Caradonna Salvia', or the 'East Friesland' salvias are the toughest salvias I have grown. All three of these salvia varieties have been planted in my garden and all three have survived neglect, transplanting, drought, rabbits, and deer. Let me be clear here, I don't take care of my…

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5 Heucheras and How They Perform

Over the years I've accumulated quite a few heucheras for my garden.  Heucheras or coral bells are becoming more and more popular as a wide array of unique cultivars continue to come on the market.  You might even think that heucheras are relatively new to the horticultural world when in fact they've been tinkered with by horticulturalists since the late 1800's.  Heucheras are native to North America and can be found naturally from the west coast to the east coast.  Heucheras thrive in rock gardens and in dry shade where other plants might not be so happy.  Heuchera breeders are working on developing more sun tolerant heucheras as well as heucheras with larger flowers. As a general note I'm fascinated with them.  Foliage colors range from green to amber to brown to purple while the bell shaped flowers general stay between a mid range pink to white in color. Today…

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Garden Shed Plant Propagation Update

This year was the first year I've been able to house my cuttings in the garden shed. It's been great so far. There's no heat but the plants have been protected from the coldest of the winter lows. Essentially I've moved them 1-2 heat zones south without having to leave my yard. Here's a look at the garden shed plants:Several hydrangeas are sending up new foliage. Hydrangeas are so easy to root - a great beginning propagator plant.The Japanese maples that were grown from seed overwintered very well. I'll keep them inside the shed until I'm sure they can safely survive outside. I'm concerned about late winter and spring frosts.This lilac cutting was either an offshoot of another plant or a cutting. I can't remember which I took the picture of but either way they are all doing fine right now. Lilac suckers can be removed from the mother plant to…

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What Looks Good with Coreopsis?

You didn't ask but I thought I would tell you anyway, coreopsis looks great with just about everything! Over the last two years I've acquired several types of coreopsis and experimented with it in different combinations and found it plays well by itself and with others. Here are few coreopsis companions from my garden. "Moonbeam" Coreopsis Here on the left is one of our two 'Moonbeam' coreopsis plants beginning to bloom. Even when not in bloom the threadleaf coreopsis plants look cool just because of their feathery, fern-like foliage.  Coreopsis 'Sunfire' and Red Yarrow (Achillea) This is perhaps one of my favorite combinations. This seed raised coreopsis (I believe its a descendant of coreopsis 'Sunfire') blends well with the red of the Paprika yarrow (achillea) next door. These two companions are growing and thriving in the rain garden. Achillea is one of those plants that you can divide and divide…

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Propagating Perennials: Russian Sage, Salvia, and Coneflower

Spring is a great time for what? PERENNIAL PLANT PROPAGATION! OK, I get excited about making new plants and I wanted to share a little of what I've been working on in the garden. Spring really is a great time to take cuttings of your perennials, in fact it might be the best time. If you have never tried propagating a plant perennials are a great place to start. They root very fast and will give you an instant sense of satisfaction of doing something amazing! If you would like to read up on how to propagate plants through cuttings take a look at one of my previous posts: The Basics of Cuttings. Here's what I've been working on: Propagate Salvia nemorosa ('Caradonna' and East Friesland') About a week or so ago I took cuttings of two kinds of Salvia nemorosa, 'Caradonna' and 'East Freisland'. I took internodal cuttings (which…

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