Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I grow'em on the east side of the garden in full sun. The harsh afternoon sun of summer is filtered through the tall shrubs and trees nearby. Mulching the soil provides extra freeze protection to roots in the winter and guarantees their return next spring.
Princess lilies need little care after planting. I feed'em a handful of granular 10-10-10 around each plant in late winter. Give them a weekly irrigation for 1/2 hour or more during summer dry spells. Plants grow short and compact and are also suitable for containers on the deck or patio.
Currently, there are 17 varieties, richly colored in whites, yellows, pinks and reds. This spring I will be adding 1 or 2 new Princess lilies to the perennial flower border .
Monday, December 28, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
This past weekend Northeast Tennessee as well as most of the coastal eastern U.S. was hit by heavy snow, 7 inches and more of heavy, wet clinging snow. Many of my neighbors lost electric power, telephone and cable.
A driveby survey of tree damage around the neighborhood found that the following tree species suffered the most breakage (in order of severity):
- Chinese (Siberian) elm
- Silver maple
- White pine
- Weeping cherry (pictured)
- Topped trees
- Bradford (callery) pear
- Red maple
- Dead or dying trees
- Sycamore (London planetree)
- Southern magnolia
- Sweetbay magnolia
- Yoshino cherry
- Select a tree species that is reliably storm resistant. Expect some limb breakage on any tree species, but fast growing trees like Chinese elms and silver and red maples, and those that are not properly maintained, suffer the most damage. When homeowners properly prune landscape trees every 5 years, storm damage is considerably less.
- Old mature trees, which have outlived their expected life span, should be removed and replanted with younger specimens. For example, Chinese elm, silver maple and white pine reach full maturity within 40 years. Bradford pear has a short replacement time of 15 years. Pruning maintenance on all landscape trees should be every 5-7 years.
- Topped trees suffered considerable limb losses as the weakened re-growth is exceptionally susceptible to breakage. The topping of trees is never a recommended practice. In my opinion, if a large tree threatens your home, personal property or utility lines, either seek care advice from a professional arborist or have the tree removed by a licensed and bonded arborist.
- Previously dead or dying trees pose a bigger hazard during in a storm.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Modern day cultivars are usually hybrids. Lovely spikes of purple (B. australis), lavender blue (B. minor), white (B. alba), bright yellow (B. sphaerocarpa) and bicolors appear in May or June and each species blooms for 4-5 weeks. Its blue-gray foliage and sturdy upright shrubby form are assets in the summer garden.
Baptisia is heat and drought tolerant and almost invincible to diseases and insects. Plants grown in partial shade may appear stretched or leggy, requiring some staking. Few flower spikes are produced in shady areas.