Wrong Plant Wrong Place

When we first moved into our house back in 2007 and were discovering what our garden had in it we found very little.  A nandina, a couple cedars, some reblooming daylilies, and a teeny tiny spirea were all the plants that were there. Not much to start a garden with but I was excited about the challenge.  The spirea had been cut back to nearly nothing.  It was so small that when it sprouted colorful yellow and red tinted leaves I wasn't sure what it was.  I dug up the little shrub and replanted it in another spot along our sidewalk so that I could plant tulip bulbs in the spirea's original location.  That was five years ago. Today this is how that little itty bitty spirea now looks: My spirea is now at least 3 feet around.  I'm sure that you noticed that the sidewalk to the left has…

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These Blue Berries Aren’t Blueberries!

The blue berries I'm about to show aren't from any blueberry bush but are from the Arrowwood viburnum!  This viburnum is one of my favorites (but really, I think all viburnums are my favorites).  Viburnum dentatum has white flowers that appear in spring and are a great source of nectar for bees and butterflies.  The glossy green leaves persist until fall when they change color but before that we get these beautiful blue berries. The birds love the these berries!  It's rare that the berries last more than a week or two as they quickly get gobbled up by the hungry mockingbirds.  This viburnum is a native and provides a valuable food source for wildlife. I've written about viburnums several times before so I won't go into great detail about them but I will mention that they are fairly easy to propagate either from seed, cuttings or division.  Viburnum dentatum…

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Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Mohawk’

I wish you could smell the garden right now.  If I could bring you the scents of my garden through this post I would.  What's making my garden so fragrant?  A combination of two plants: Viburnum x burkwoodii 'Mohawk' and the irises! The combination of the two is bringing a honeysuckle like fragrance to the backyard.  I'm a huge fan of viburnums and my 'Mohawk' is a great one! Its beautiful white flower clusters appear and spread a fragrance that envelopes a good portion of our backyard.  The flowers will eventually turn into dark reddish to black fruits perfect for the birds to feast upon in late summer and fall (if they last that long).  'Mohawk' is a result of Viburnum x burkwoodii being back crossed to a Viburnum carlesii. A Plant Propagation Note Viburnum x burkwoodii 'Mohawk' will propagate from cuttings taken in early spring through summer.  Hardwood cuttings…

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Doublefile Viburnum ‘Shasta’ Spring 2012

There are few shrubs I like better than viburnums and truly the 'Shasta' Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tormentosum) is one of the more beautiful selections of viburnums. The viburnum pictured below is in its fourth year of growing in my garden and has never looked better!  Loads of white lacecap flowers cover the branches in a two row fashion which lends to its name.  In the fall this viburnum is supposed to have reddish colored berries but so far I haven't seen any.  This is most likely due to not having a pollinator viburnum close enough for cross pollination.  Propagating a 'Shasta' Viburnum Viburnums respond very well to cuttings or to layering.  Read this post for more complete information on propagating a viburnum. There are several different cultivars of doublefile viburnums that grow to varying heights and widths.  The 'Shasta' viburnum grows about 6 feet tall but can reach widths…

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5 More Plants I Want in Every Garden!

On Monday I posted about 5 Plants I Want in Every Garden.  In case you missed it the post was about plants that should I ever move I will plant again in the new garden.  As several of the commenters pointed out it's hard to just pick five!  So today I'll add four more to my list.  Neither this post, nor the last one list these plants in any order of preference.  Every plant has a purpose and each has its own unique attributes that make it worthwhile in my garden and while I have favorites, I don't have a favorite! So here are five more, maybe these posts will get you through until your mail order garden catalogs arrive! Salvia    Salvia is all over my garden.  The 'Caradonna's in front, 'May Night' by the mailbox, Salvia greggii in the back, Salvia coccinea in the self sowing areas, Salvia…

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‘Winter Snowman’ Camellia in Bloom

Last year I planted two 'Winter Snowman' camellias in the front garden. I was hopefully that they would bloom last year but alas it was not to be! But they have started blooming this year! The first of the white camellia blooms opened today.  It wasn't fully open when I snapped the picture but I just couldn't wait to share it.  There are quite a few other buds on the same plant that soon will turn the front garden into a feature garden!  Well, it would if the weeds were gone, the mulching done, and the stars were aligned correctly but you know how that goes...there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done. 'Winter Snowman' camellia is a hybrid of Camellia sasanqua and Camellia oleifera. It's hardy in zones 6-10 and gets about 12 feet tall.  Because of where this camellia is planted it will definitely…

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20 Butterfly Bushes

This week I went to my mom's house to do a little digging.  Back in the late spring we noticed small butterfly bush seedlings beginning to sprout in the pathway's of her vegetable garden. As they grew large enough to transplant the weather became hot and transplanting wasn't a great idea. Then my father passed away and just about everything gardening related was set aside until later.  Now it's later and these 20 butterfly bushes that sprouted from seed have been transplanted into a variety of pots. Fortunately for me there was very little digging. The plants sent roots across the surface of the soil and were completely blocked from getting a grip on the soil below because of a weed blocking fabric. Unfortunately for the butterfly bushes the roots have grown sideways!  It will take some time but the roots will eventually correct themselves in their pots. The bushes…

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Camellias, Two for the Price of One!

When you garden cheap (or try to) you look for all those little tricks that will help save a few dollars. Plant propagation is one of my favorite tricks but here's another money saving trick that pops up from time to time: multiple plants! Sometimes plant propagators stick more than one cutting in a pot to increase the odds that a pot will be filled with at least one plant. It's a time saving technique that prevents the propagator from having to go back and redo a planting. It's not the greatest thing in the world for plants since there are two or more competing (for nutrient and water) plants in the same pot which will then be planted together - unless you catch it! Today while planting my 'Yuletide' Camellia sasanqua the root ball fell into two pieces, literally.  It fell into two pieces. I wasn't trying to divide…

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A Short Plant Propagation Update

I wish I could say I had thousands of plants sitting in the backyard from my plant propagation experiments but unfortunately I've just been too busy to do much this year. That isn't to say I'm not happy with what I've accomplished. Sometimes the uniqueness of the experience is much more valuable and satisfying than quantity produced.  What I'm especially pleased with are the rooted cuttings I potted up today. I've been keeping several cuttings in my propagation box that were probably ready to come out days if not weeks ago. My propagation container sure looks like a mess doesn't it? It's a hodge podge of various perennials and shrubs. Ideally I would divide each container by type and variety but when space is an issue - or time for that matter - shoving them all in the same spot will just have to do! Inside this former salad container…

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Propagating Blueberries through Cuttings – My First Attempt

Last week I acquired three blueberry bushes in a secret deal from my local big blue box store. OK it really wasn't a secret since they were offering them for half off to anyone. But what they don't know is that those three blueberries bushes I bought for $15.00 (Total) might become 50 one day, that is if I can get the plants to root from the cuttings I made over the weekend.  There are two big advantages to taking greenwood cuttings of blueberries. First, and most obvious, you might be able to make a few extra blueberry bushes. Second, each new cut will spur new growth and since blueberries flower and produce fruit on the previous season's growth it should encourage a higher yield. Here's how I made my blueberry bush cuttings: I took 4-6 inch greenwood stem tip cuttings from two of the same variety of blueberry bushes.…

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