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Showing posts from October, 2017

A Few Winter Tips

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When taking cuttings of cold hardy perennials for rooting over the winter, you can use your bare bed space to keep them outside.

 Instead of putting the containers on top of the soil where you have to keep them watered, plant the containers in the ground. The soil will keep them warmer, rain and snow will keep them moist and they can easily be covered late winter for getting jump start on growth.
  I also use this method for planting seeds (in clear plastic clamshells) that need cold stratification to germinate.

  In these two are Agastache and Chinese Parasol tree. Over the next couple of weeks  they will have lots of company.

  If winter sowing seeds is new to you, here are a few sites
 - http://wintersown.org/
 - https://getbusygardening.com/winter-sowing-seeds/
 - https://www.facebook.com/groups/wintersown/
 - http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/11/winter-sowing-101-6/
 - https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-winter-sowing-1403095

  The basic idea is that perennials need and …

Pine Cones - How-to Treat for Crafting and Gardening

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If you have pine cones on your property it is tempting to use them for 1) seasonal crafts and 2) to top newly planted fall crop beds (keep out neighborhood cats and dogs).

There is more than one method to kill the insects and mold living in pinecones but I have always used the oven rather than the chlorine bleach or vinegar methods.

Heating them in the oven for 30 minutes at 250-degrees F not only makes them better (debugged) household decorations, it causes them to dry out and expand to be a bit larger as the sap melts and the moisture evaporates. The melted sap adds a little sheen, too.
Collect the number of pinecones you need for beds and/or crafts.
We filled a wheelbarrow in 10 - 15 minutes in our back yard, picking up the in-tact ones and leaving the broken and moldy ones.

We're collecting for newly planted beds at a local school plus tiny ones for holiday table decorations.

We constantly pull pine tree seedlings from our flower beds but if you want to grow trees from the …

Water Primrose is Ludwigia peploides glabrescens

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During a visit to Spaniard Creek Park  yesterday we saw an aquatic plant that was attracting hundreds of fall pollinators including bees, wasps, butterflies, and skippers. The patches of flowers were covered and abuzz to the point that we all squatted down to watch.
It turns out that this source of insect pollen is none other than Creeping Water Primrose. The South American variety is Ludwigia hexapelata and the US native variety is Lusdwigia peploidesglabrescens.

South American Water Primrose is so invasive in fact that in many states there are programs to eradicate it to prevent its clogging irrigation channels, rivers and lakes. In addition it is well known as mosquito breeding heaven. The native variety, L peploides is called aggressive rather than invasive.

Illinois Wildflowers says "This perennial plant is ¾–2½' long. It either floats on water or sprawls across the ground. The stems are light green to red (often the latter), glabrous to sparsely pubescent, and terete. …

Layer Perennials to Make More Plants

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Lots of perennials can be layered to make more plants. While some recommend doing it in the spring, I've had good luck starting the process in late summer and early fall, too.

Basically, what you'll do is select a lower branch of a healthy plant and put it on the soil. Once you know where on the branch the soil will intersect, you remove all the leaves from that area and scar it by scraping the outer bark near a leaf node.

That leaf node/scarred area is placed on the soil and gently pressed in. To keep the rooting site in contact with the soil put soil or newspaper on top then anchor it with a rock.

 You can also pin the branch's leaf node area to the soil after removing the leaves and slightly scarring it. Called simple layering.

Some recommend air layering by wrapping the stem but that method has never worked for me.

Plants to consider layering method include roses, Beautyberry, Blackberry, Snowball shrub, Pyracantha, Hibiscus, Holly, Laurel, Lavender, Creepers, Forsyt…

Get Ready for Next Year This Fall

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I'm collecting seeds almost daily now. This week Jon grabbed the seed pods of the Chinese Parasol Tree. The Five Star Hibiscus has to be checked a couple of times a week so the seeds don't just drop to the ground.

Fall is such an exciting time of year. The migrating birds are returning, garlic is planted, daffodils are peeking out of the soil for a sunshine snack and I'm planning next year's gardens.

 In addition to collecting seeds and visualizing where I'll plant the seedlings next year, I'm deciding what to take clippings of to overwinter in the shed. I'm already digging lilies, dividing the bulbs and replanting them around the various beds.

Soon it will be time to divide the Hemerocalis - Day Lilies.

What will you be collecting to make next year's garden gorgeous?