Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring rose pruning tips


Late April into May is the time to prune your roses. We’ll still get some temperature fluctuations but it’s time to inspect your roses and see how they fared through the winter.
Start by pulling back the mulch. It’s best to remove mulch gradually over the course of several days. This will allow the rose to adjust to the change in soil temperature.

Check for cane dieback. Roses, like other trees and shrubs in your landscape took a beating from the sudden and dramatic temperature swing last November. Some roses didn’t survive the winter.

What you’re looking for now is the tender new growth at the base of the plant. Even if you don’t see growth now, don’t assume your rose is dead. Wait a few more weeks to see if growth appears.
You can see on this cane where the green growth begins, so you want to cut past this point. Select an outward facing bud eye and make the cut about a ¼" above the bud eye.
Angle the cut away from the bud eye. Pruning cuts made this way will keep the rose growing outward. Even with mounding for winter protection, roses can experience significant dieback, such as this one.
Cut back brown canes to healthy growth. This may mean you’ll cut the canes almost to the ground, in some cases. Use a good bypass hand pruner for medium sized canes and a long handled lopping pruner for larger canes.
After removing all the brown canes, this hybrid rose is ready for spring.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wondering which rose types to grow?

With 270 varieties including hybrid teas, climbers, David Austin, shrub roses, miniature roses, grandifloras and floribundas, which rose is right for my garden? First of all, roses need a spot of their own, away from trees and other shrubs. The best spot would be in full sun. A good second choice would be a spot where the rose will get full morning sun.
Plan to amend the soil before you plant with Rose Bed amendment or Sheep and Peat. Adding some rose food to the planting mix will get your rose off to a good start. 'Tahitian Sunset '
As far as selecting a rose variety, hybrid tea roses are the most popular, with dozens of color and fragrance choices. 'Traviata' Miniature roses are naturally dwarf roses, a great choice for small gardens.
Floribunda roses generally have smaller flowers than hybrid roses, but they bear many flowers each season. 'Day Breaker'
Grandiflora roses  tend to grow tall and need lots of room to spread out. If you want to cover an arbor or trellis, choose a climbing rose.
David Austin roses are fragrant English roses. They do well here.
Some new David Austin roses are The Pilgrim, Scepter’d Isle, Port Sunlight, Hollow Case and Charles Darwin.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Starting Dahlias indoors

Dahlias are one of the most productive flowers you can grow in your garden.
They come in an endless variety of colors and sizes and can be grown in containers as well as directly in the garden.
Dahlias need warm weather. They don’t like cold soils or temperatures, which means mid to late May before they can be planted directly outdoors. You can get an early start by potting up your dahlias now and then transplanting them after the weather is warmer and more stable, usually after Mother’s Day.
Dahlias are grown from tubers. When you pull them out of the package they look like small potatoes bunched together. Start by selecting at least a one gallon container.

Fill your container about 1/3rd full with potting soil. Add some bone meal and mix it into the soil.

Place your dahlia into the pot, then fill in with more potting soil and then water.
Note the name of your dahlia on a plant label and stick it in the pot. Place your dahlia in a warm, bright spot in your home. A window ledge or under grow lights will do well. Try to keep the soil evenly moist. Avoid letting it dry out.
Soon, your dahlia will send up shoots, indicating it is rooting out. Wait until after the last frost date has passed to plant your dahlias outside. More on transplanting dahlias in later blogs.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tips for understanding Garden Fertilizers



There are many choices when it comes to plant fertilizers. You can buy liquid, granular, water-soluble, slow-release, organic, non-organic, so how do you know you’re giving your plants what they need when it comes to nutrition.
What do all of these fertilizers have in common? Regardless of the type of fertilizer or the size of the bag, the 3 basic ingredients – Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potash will always be listed prominently on the label. An easy way to remember what the numbers do is to think “up, down and all around”.
The first number on the label is Nitrogen. Nitrogen helps the plant with growth above ground (Up).
The second number, Phosphate promotes roots (Down). In addition,
Phosphate helps your plant bloom and produces more fruit. The last number – Potash is important because it benefits the whole plant (All Around).
We’ll use Happy Frog’s Fruit & Flower granular fertilizer as an example. The numbers on this 4 pound bag of Fruit & Flower are 5-8-4.  The middle number is larger than the first number, so this fertilizer will help your plants get bigger roots and more fruit. Finally, liquid and granular fertilizers are both effective. You can use either one or both throughout the growing season. Remember, no amount of fertilizer will make up for poor quality soil. Take the time to amend your soil every year and you’ll get the most out of your fertilizers.