Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dividing Irises ... Rosemarie Style

I divided my first irises! This is exciting because 2 years ago I didn't know an Iris from a dahlia; and after dividing them all I became the proud owner of about 30 tall purple bearded irises.

This all happened last weekend when the weather was luckily much cooler than the 100 heat index we're having now. My dear neighbor said to divide them after they bloom; and I followed the dividing directions from my book North America's Favorite Plants.

The large grouping of Irises are in the backyard underneath the kitchen window. The last 2 years they have bloomed beautifully, but only a few of them bloom and they fall over. we staked them this year and it helped, but I read in the Tribune that they need dividing if they're all jumbled and falling over. So I went ahead last weekend and started dividing. The picture to the left are when they were in bloom.

1) Here's what it looked like when I started:

2) First I pulled them all out of the ground and noticed that there were just massive rhizomes growing. It was very crowded and I have a ton of roly pollys in the dirt (I have no idea if they are good or bad for the plants)

3) I cut the rhizomes apart, discarded diseased looking things like the book said and then I was left with about 30 or so individual plants. You can see where I was sitting in the circle of cut plants!!
I did find some rotting in the rhizomes, like holes where insects ate the plants. Case in point, the picture here:
4) Fianlly, I chose the stalks I wanted to keep, cut them back and replanted them. I planted 9 in the old spot and then planted clusters of 3 throughout the front and backyard giving the rest to my mom. I hope she's planted hers!!

The only problem I am finding now is that they keep falling over because I read they the rhizomes should be close to the surface. I find myself every few days, replanting them.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Cottage Living

It was my day of today, so we checked out Cottage Living's Idea Home.

They built this beautiful 2700 sq ft cottage (on a 50 x 150 lot) with wild lanscaped front and back yards. I thought it was really lovely because it looked manicured (with the brick pavers) but the plants they used were wild and carefree - sort of the english garden outline with wild flowers.

I love this huge vase/urn they have in the front yard and it's iridescent colors. My mom's advice -- if you put something in the garden, make it BIG!

I posted more photos of the house and gardens on my main blog site here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pots and Trellises

At the end of June, I finally got around to making some pots and I am proud to say that they are all still living. I have a bad habit of killing plants in pots. They obviously like where they are and it seems that I haven't forget to --cough cough--water them.

I went to Home Depot and found some really beautiful gerberas and dahilias and paired them up with ................ I have the sticks somewhere.

I also bought a trellis for the poor climbing roses that were hanging out, literally! They look much happier now.

And by some luck of the italian, I found this old beverage crate in the shed and so I put some petunias in them. I know ... snooze petunias ... but they have a sort of je ne sais quoi. I'll get more creative next year.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Another weekend in the garden.

It finally got to be in the high 80’s this weekend; my dear neighbor, the gardener (MDN from now on) said it's the reason some of our plants have been blooming for so long (i.e. oxeye daisies). At the same time, the weather is tricking certain plants (the sedum) to start blooming. MDN trimmed all her sedum down so they wouldn’t flower yet, as she said, “These are supposed to be my fall flowers.”

Still, despite the hot weather, we still managed to get a few tasks done.

1) Matt applied our 2nd application of cornmeal to the lawn. It still looks good but our mower (a push one non-motorized) cuts too short so we started noticing a few patchy spots. MDN told me about scott's patchmaster which is the seed in recycled paper for the bare areas.

2) I took out a diseased bush from the front. We had 2 identical bush plants (unfortunately, I can't remember their name and I never took a picture of them; obviously I never had much love for them). This year they both caught some disease and barely grew leaves so earlier in the season Matt and I pulled one of them out, and this weekend, I tackled the other one.

3) I bought and planted another Astilbe. Last yr, our Astilbe didn't flower. That was our first summer and I didn't ask any questions. This year is a different story. They are beautiful and HUGE! I fell in love with them because I’m not discovering many shade perennials that have color and I’m having a hard time adjusting to several different shades of green hostas. I planted it between the fringed bleeding hearts in the front circle.

4) I discovered a hydrangea bush growing in the front circle as well. It has a pretty pink pom pom which I am pretty sure I would have noticed last year if it had bloomed, so I'm sure it didn't. I decided (like I have any idea what I'm doing) that it was getting crowded by other plants so I moved it back some. It’s doing fine so far, but it may not get enough sun here. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to move it again. In the picture above it's hiding between some very tall wild sunflowers that have yet to bloom (I planted them in 2005).

5) Finally, I cut back the crazy daisies. I think they are oxeye daisies and they got really tall and fell over after a storm and never rose back up. I noticed that there were more of them than last year and I read that these spread fast and are good for a “wild” garden. I don’t think that’s the location they’re in now! I trimmed them all back this weekend and my Note to self: is to move them somewhere else and replace with dianthus, hydrangea, something else that loves sun.

That’s all for now – next up: Dividing Irises!