Friday, December 29, 2006

Garden Success and Failure. I'm sure every gardener has her/his share of success and failure in the garden. We learn from our mistakes, right? mmmmm

I'm posting a few of my successes and a few of my failures. Any comments would be welcomed. Misery and joy love company!


Tuberose -Double Flowering Tuberose Polianthea Tuberosa. I bought a few bulbs early in 2004. I potted them and put them outside in May. They never flowered. I brought them in in fall and put them out again in May. No flowers. Last fall, I brought them in and let them dry back - treating them like the amaryllis. I re-potted them and put them out in spring. 2006 again no flowers. This year I put them in the garage to dry and overwinter. In spring, I'll plant a few in the ground and some in a pot. 2007 may be my last year for the Tuberose!

Sweet Pea - Ferry & Morse seeds. This may be partially a success story. I don't have a lot of full sun garden areas. I planted seeds in May in a spot next to our fence where they would get the most sun. But, I let them climb on the cleome for support which gave them more shade . I had only a few flowers. Next year I'll try some sort of trellis or plant them in the middle of the yard.

Seedbalz - Cosmos & Bachelor Button. There were no Bachelor Buttons. I think the few Cosmos that came up were seeded from last year's plants.

Impatiens cuttings. Each year I lose a few cuttings. This year I lost all of them. They start out fine, bloom & look great. Then they get tiny white spots and eventually the leaves curl up and the plant dies.

There were a few more failures - but let's not dwell on that. On to better things -


Coleus Cuttings. I had 8 flats to plant out in May (including some impatiens & begonias). Coleus have become my favorite annual. I used them in pots, in dry/part shade and to accent perennial color or form.

Canna (pictures posted October 16) - The original tubers were a gift. They grow easily and have a tropical impact on a long blank garage wall - and they multiply like rabbits!

Euonymus - Variegated Emerald Surprise (I think) - upright shrub. I conquered the dreaded scale. A few years ago the bushes were sparce and one of them bit the dust. I've been spraying regularly with water/baking soda soap solution and this summer they were full and healthy.

General Garden Design - I really like the way the garden looked this summer. But - the best garden is always next year's.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Holly. We call this Ali's Holly. I have a plant named for each one of the grandchildren. Ali was a wonderful Christmas present in 1997. And that year we transplanted a holly in her name. Every year around Thanksgiving Ali, and whoever else is around, decorate it for Christmas with red bows and gold garland.

It's become a family tradition. Sometimes - no, make that most times- the decorating is accompanied by complaining & grumbling. It's cold, it's windy, it thorny, you know what I mean. But, it's always satisfying when finished. -- especially after the first snow fall.

Happy Hollidays!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pointsettia. I bought a pointsettia from a co-worker's daughter's fund raiser. It's large & very nice. The bright red bracts are perfectly beautiful BUT I think it might have gotten a "chill" in either delivery or on the ride home. The bracts are beginning to look limp. I cut the bottom out of the green decorative foil for drainage. The soil feels neither too wet nor too dry. I tried to be very careful on the trip home because I know how little tolerance pointsettias have for cold. The next few days will tell.

I bought one from the same source last year. It was perfect and cheery for weeks. I put it outside in the shade this summer and fed it several times with fish emulsion solution. I brought it in in fall and put it in a room with natural light but not much artifical light. I forgot to trim it this summer so it's fairly large. The bracts are now turning red. If the new one doesn't survive the old one will take it's place

There is an excellent blog in the Allentown PA newspaper, The Morning Call - . An article on pointsettia has lots of information and tips. The blog is written by Penn State Master Gardeners at the Lehigh and Northampton County Cooperative Extension. There are always tips, information and links for gardeners.