Thursday, February 02, 2017

Clematis ‘Diamantina’

Clematis ‘Diamantina’

Clematis is one of the vines we always get requests for but not many people know how to grow it.  After 30 years of trying I have to admit I am still a bit stumped but have developed some general rules for success. One thing that these plants seem to like is a ‘hot top, cool bottom.’ Which implies exactly that, the roots like to be shaded by other shrubs or mulch but the leaves need a lot of sun to flower properly.

Each type of Clematis seems to have it’s own likes about flowering on new wood or getting cut back completely. Often times the varietal names are lost so you have to guess what they want. My way is to wait until spring and see what part of the plant has been killed by winter and prune to that spot. It is also a plant that I install slightly deeper then most other plants. Covering one or two buds under the soil seem to help it establish stronger.

This 2010 introduction is from Raymond Evison, who has been breeding and introducing Clematis for over 50 years now. They have some very distinctive and showy types. Raymond seems to be one breeder that doesn’t rush varieties to the market, which is a welcome change.

Clematis is generally a pain in the butt to grow but is one of those plants if it likes the conditions it grows very well. If it doesn’t like them it struggles and eventually peters out. They are also subject to Clematis wilt, which often takes the plant out just before it flowers. The only way I have found to slow the wilt down is with a couple of well timed fungicide applications early in the season and that doesn’t always work. In general you can help the plants by watching your watering timing and keeping the area around the stems clean (good fall clean up). The fungus kills the top but usually leaves the roots alive.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sombrero Hot Coral Coneflower

Sombrero Hot Coral Coneflower
Echinacea x purpurea 'Balsomcor'
(ek-in-AY-shee-a) (pur-PUR-ee-uh)

I am actually starting to plan my spring now. I have been working for an organic landscaping company and learning about some different ways to take care of plants. One customer wanted their perennial border spiffed up and the owner loves bold colors. Echinacea is always a “go-to” plant for me and it does well in borders. It seems to be able to grow organically. 

This very blog has railed against all the Coneflower breeding that has been going on down in Atlanta, but the market seems to shake out the lame attempts at new cultivars. I really try to keep an eye out on gardening trends but my strategy is mainly to wait before adopting new ideas. This coneflower has been out for a couple of years now and seems to be sticking around. Most of the time it really gets to be about availability and this plant is available. It certainly meets the bold color specification. The color is one seldom seen in the garden.

Here is a link to a page with some new flower varieties for 2017. Can you see the color trend?  I guess I would try that PUFF Vanilla Coneflower. I have found the white ones a little harder to grow.

New Garden Flowers for 2017

I have a written work I’m finally trying to bring to market. That is taking up a lot of time but I will try and update this space a little more often.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

White Waterlily

Nymphaea cv.

Considering I shot this waterlily picture indoors with Karen’s 35-70, 2.8 Nikon lens it came out pretty good. I could have probably used a little more exposure.

This flower kind of represents a growing trend of indoor water features that seem to keep popping up. Previously confined to greenhouses or conservatories they are now merging into people’s houses. We were taking care of two of them last year and had a bit of a learning curve on them. When this flower bloomed it was a small personal victory and despite the environmental conditions it was growing in.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Aspen Dahlia

Semi Cactus Dahlia
Dahlia 'Aspen'

We grew this Dahlia a couple of years ago and last season it was again a good performer. It looks a bit like a pinwheel especially with some wind. The twist in some of the flower petals is somewhat variable and that adds to their charm. ‘Aspen’ was taller than advertised peaking out about 36 inches (91cm).

I haven’t been crazy about white flowers lately but these Dahlias are really a pure and bright white.