Propagating Grape Vines with Greenwood Cuttings

I'm always looking for new plants to experiment on to see if I can get them to root.  Yesterday I took some cuttings from a grape vine at my mom's house.  Grape vines are pretty popular with home gardeners who want to grow their own food in the backyard so I thought I'd give them a try.  I haven't successfully rooted grape vines before so these cuttings are somewhat of an experiment! These are most likely from a Concord grape. How to Root Greenwood Grape Vine Cuttings First I trimmed off a few branches that needed removed.  Grapes need frequent maintenance pruning to get them to grow in a form that will maximize their fruiting!  From those trimmings I selected several 3 node sections. On the top node of the grape cutting I retained one leaf and because of its size I cut it back significantly to reduce water loss.…

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Powdery Mildew and How to Fix It!

This Sunday's weather was gorgeous.  A little cooler than we've been having but a great day to get out and get some big jobs done.  I spent much of the day mowing and preparing the vegetable garden then went around taking pictures of the gardens.  Things are coming along nicely but there was one issue I'm not too pleased about: powdery mildew!  I found the white powdery looking substance on my coral honeysuckle.  Mildew of course is brought on by warmth and wetness.  We've had both of those in good supply this spring.  Most of the time powdery mildew is a summer issue for us. Treating Powdery Mildew To treat my powdery mildew issues I'll be using neem oil and a baking soda solution.  I'll alternate the two on a weekly basis until the signs have diminished.  Neem oil is made from the neem tree and is a good organic…

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5 Neat Native Plants!

Native plants have many advantages over exotic plants.  I thought for today's Friday Fives Post I would mention five native plants that are pretty neat to have in your garden.  First though let's define the terms native and exotic.  Exotic plants are those that are not indigenous to your region.  They've either been brought from other place by seed or in plant form.  In many cases exotic plants can be awesome plants in the landscape.  I think often people get confused between exotic plants and exotic-invasive plants.  Sometimes exotic plants do too well in an area and begin to dominate which of course is also when they become a problem.  They can choke out native forage plants that animals need to survive and may not have the necessary features to adequately nourish our wildlife. There are several advantages to planting native plants in your garden.  Native plants feed and nourish…

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Virginia Creeper – The Other Red Vine in Fall!

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is one of those beautiful plants for fall color that unfortunately gets mixed up with one of similar appearance but of very ill repute: poison ivy (Rhus radicans).  The difference has traditionally been summed up in the phrase "Leaves of three let it be, leaves of five let it thrive!"  Physically speaking, that's the difference between Virginia creeper and poison ivy, Virginia has five leaves where poison ivy has three. Sometimes Virginia creeper will begin with new leaves in groups of three which often can lead people into believing it is poison ivy.  Look for the mature leaves which should have a grouping of five.  Both Virginia creeper and poison ivy have some stunning fall color but there's only one of the two I would allow in my garden. I find poison ivy in all the gardens and pull them when they are small.  I wear…

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Taking Advantage of Aerial Roots

You all know how much I like making new plants, but you should also know that I really like it when plants make it easy for the propagator! Many plants do just that by creating aerial roots that normally will be used to grab onto surfaces and climb. Vining plants (of course) are especially good at this like my Winter blooming jasmine. It's also known as Jasminum nudiflorum and is an especially awesome plant because it blooms when nothing else is! Our Jasmine has bloomed both in February and March before many other plants were ready to start the spring show. If you look along the stem of the Jasmine you will see a few roots extending from one of the nodes. These are the aerial roots that are normally used for grabbing onto structures and give the plant the ability to climb up and through other plants. Propagating Winter…

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My Favorite Native: Honeysuckle!

This time of year the native honeysuckle growing on my arbor is one of the showiest flowers around. Tons of flowers are covering the controllable version of lonicera. The native honeysuckle goes by the name of Lonicera sempervirens and not Lonicera japonica. I have the exotic foreigner too but it came with the garden! And it's been ignoring my eviction notices. The difference between the two is their growth habit. The native honeysuckle grows at a pace where the garden can actually keep up with its maintenance. The only drawback is that the native honeysuckle doesn't have the characteristic honey sweet fragrance, but I've talked about native honeysuckle before.  Check out that link above for more on the native honeysuckle but for the rest of this post I'll just show you some pretty pictures! Any objections? No? Good! (You really didn't have a choice anyway ;)) This variety is called…

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Sweet Autumn Clematis

It's that time of year when the fall plants begin to start their show. One such plant is the Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora). This non-native clematis grows prolifically through the summer and gladly will climb any structure it meets then blooms in the fall. I picked up two of these on the discount racks and even though I know they can be invasive I gave into the temptation to plant it. The reason why is easy to see - the massive amounts of blooms! (which means massive amounts of seed) One is in our back deck garden and the other is planted up by the mailbox.  Sweet Autumn clematis attracts the bees and the butterflies and adds an almost honeysuckle like scent to the air. In the picture below a single clematis was planted next to our deck and covered much of the railing as well as two hooks…

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Coral Red Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

Coral Red honeysuckle or Lonicera sempervirens is the honeysuckle you want - I mean really want- not the other kind. You probably have honeysuckle somewhere near you right now. It's white, smells pretty good, and it may even be right behind you as you read this, don't look! It knows you are there, it's waiting to spread and take over everything when you aren't looking - or even when you are it really doesn't matter! That honeysuckle that fills the air with it's heady fragrance isn't from around here. It's an overseas immigrant (from Asia) who is naturalizing itself and pushing out it's American cousin Lonicera sempervirens. Don't encourage the foreign invader, instead plant the native honeysuckle! The only thing it lacks is the fragrance of the foreign flower. Hummingbirds love coral red honeysuckle, it looks great, it's very tame, and isn't hard to propagate if you want more. Don't…

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Winter Blooming Jasmine – In March!

They call it winter blooming jasmine, and last year it really was. I suppose that technically this year it still is but with spring fast approaching it's almost too late to call it winter, almost. The first bloom happened several days ago but more and more blooms are rapidly opening. Its lateness in flowering is probably due to the extremely cold temperatures we had in February. Despite the tardy blooms seeing color of any kind right now is an exciting event since the flowers and buds on all the plants are fresh and new. Winter blooming jasmine (Jasmine nudiflorum) is a zone 6-9 plant that is really very easy to grow. It's tolerant of poor soil and will eventually grow into a 6-10 ft. tall bush-like shape. Propagation is about as easy as you would expect with a vine plant. Layering works well because anywhere the plant touches the ground…

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How Big is a Moonflower Bloom?

How big is a moonflower bloom? Let me show you! If you use the lens cap of my camera as an indicator this moonflower bloom on our arbor is roughly 6-8 inches in diameter! Below the moonflower is a purple sweet potato vine. I think the dark foliage and bright white blooms look great together. Perhaps this year I'll attempt to train the sweet potato vine to climb the arbor with its white blooming cousin rather than sprawl on the ground everywhere. Of course it does look good sprawling!

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