Monthly Archives: April 2009

Finally, Tulips II

This shows the Tulips a lot more open than they were in the first post about them.  Thought it might be good for you all to get to see them showing some more color than they were…..

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Finally, Tulips!

I have been impatiently waiting for my late blooming tulips to open up.  They are finally starting to show some color and the wait was worthwhile.  I will try to get up another picture later in the week as they are showing even more color.  This picture was taken by the talented staff at Elevation Creative Studio.jh-mayad-pic

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Filed under Spring Bulbs

April Perennial Hit List

Time flies and it is a little bit more difficult to get things posted here with Spring in full swing.  I wanted to make sure I got my thoughts on Perennial care for April actually up during the right month.  April is the month when things are really starting to get crazy in your perennial beds.  Most plants have peeked out of the ground and many are in bloom now!  Following the steps below will help things from getting to far out of control.

1.  If you haven’t finished all of your Spring maint. needs such as pruning back dead foliage from the past year you want to make sure and get that finished up.  In the process go ahead and remove any leaf residue and mulch that was built up or left in place to protect your plants.

2.  Now is a great time to look at thinning out perennials that are overgrown and dividing plants to expand your beds.  If the plant already has a decent amount of growth you can cut it back to a few inches with no harm to the plant.  This will make it a little bit easier to move around.

3.  Make sure you have your fertilization taken care of or get it done soon.  Existing plants can be treated with a good general fertilizer such as Espoma’s Plant Tone, or top dress your beds with a very thin layer of compost.  This can be worked into the ground with a gardening fork in between you plants to help get the benefits a little more quickly; this will give you the dual benefit of aerating your soil.  When installing new plants or transplanting existing ones I like to use a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote as well as a soluble fertilizer such as Ferti-Lome’s Blooming and Rooting.

4.  Pre-emergent for weeds in your beds needs to go down now as well.  Nothing is 100% effective but proper application three times a year will cut back on the amount of hand weeding that you have to do a great deal.  If you already have any offenders (like I do) you can carefully use a general herbicide such as Roundup to kill them before they go to seed and cause even more of an issue for you next year.

I hope these help out and if you have questions about how to take care of a specific plant let me know.  Have a great Spring; all of your hardwork will pay off.

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Filed under Garden Maintenance, Perennials

Dumbarton Oaks

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I had the great pleasure of visiting Dumbarton Oaks in Washington DC this time last year.  For those of you possibly headed that way it is a must see.  The Federal style home was originally built in 1801 but began it’s transformation into it’s current state in the 1920’s.  During that time the home was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bliss.  They renovated the home extensively and worked with famed Landscape Architect Beatrix Farrand to transform the surrounding grounds into the stunning garden that it is now.

In 1940 the couple turned ownership over to Mr. Bliss’ alma mater Harvard.  Dumbarton Oaks is now in operation as a research library with a focus on Byzantine History, Landscape and Horticultural studies and Pre-Colombian History.  The gardens are open to the public, and well worth seeing.  I was particularlly interested in the use of Forsythia trailing over the sides of the brick wall and steps (1st picture).  In the second two photographs you can see the strength in using a well defined sight line.

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Filed under Garden Design, Travel

Pruning your Boxwood and Taxus

Now is a great time for you to think about trimming your Boxwood and Taxus.  With Boxwood just starting to push out there spring flush of growth trimming the new growth can be trimmed before it hardens off or allowed to flush out to fill in.  Either way the trimming done now will be mostly covered up by the foliage that flushes out now. Now is also a good time to go ahead and get an application of fertilizer down.  I like to use Espoma’s Holly Tone.

One of the biggest problems I see is from incorrect pruning.  Most people tend to trim the sides straight up and down.  This allows the top of the plant to shade out the bottom and prevent in from being able to photosynthesize and produce growth.  We have all seen (Taxus especially) plants that look like a globe on a stick because of this.  When you trim the sides of a hedge or any evergreens for that matter you want to make sure that you trim at a slight angle.  This makes sure the bottome of the plant gets enough sun to stay full and healthy.

In the drawing below you can see how the pruning should look in section.  The photograph shows the proper angle to hold your shears at while trimming.  If you have any questions please let me know.dsc_0006

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Filed under Boxwood Care, Pruning