It was a close call last night. They called for temperatures
to drop to 38˚
but that did not keep the e-mails and calls from coming in.
Oddly enough, last year at this very
same time we did have a frost and we did not send out a frost
alert. I was wrong last year but not this year. So for now I am
batting .500. It seems that there
always has to be one last scare. Just enough to make you wonder
whether or not you should cover the annuals you have already
planted. I have purchased many annuals but have not had an
opportunity to get them planted. Left them out last night and
everything looks fine. The extended lows look safe so maybe that
was it. No more wondering whether Jack Frost will make one last
appearance. My suggestion - plant on!
are not going to believe it. After 11 years we are selling our
house. I am excited about our new house and am sad about the
fond memories we are leaving behind. We have so enjoyed this
house. Kevin, Morgan and I were the first three to live here.
Then Noah and Jake were born and oddly enough this once big
house is starting to seem small. Another chapter in our lives. I
am looking forward to planning where my next great gardening
spaces are going to be. This move is our last (I think) so for
the next 20 or so years I have quite a bit of time to create. I
really am looking forward to working and creating something as
beautiful as I have created here.
Oh Say Can You
Savvygardeners all across the metro will be out this weekend
buying bedding plants, vegetable seedlings, and all manner of
transplants for the garden. Keep in mind that some plants
actually prefer to have their seeds sown directly in the garden.
vegetables these include: beans, beets, carrots, celery,
peas, squash, and turnips.
- Among flowers:
alyssum, aster, bachelor's button, cosmos, marigold, morning
glory, sunflower, sweet pea, and zinnia.
seeds, read the directions, watch them grow!
The Division Decision...
Division is a necessary chore in maintaining most
perennials. A few plants never like to be disturbed, and should
not be moved or divided; Aconitum, Baptisia, Dictamnus, Eryngium,
Helleborus, Limonium, and Papaver are good examples. Most others
will need division every three to four years or so. You'll know
it's time to divide when a dead center forms in the crown area
with a ring of plants around it; blooms are fewer and smaller; or
growth simply appears crowded.
rule is to divide the plant in the non-bloom season. Midsummer
bloomers should be divided in spring when plant growth is two to
three inches in height. Fall bloomers are divided in late August
or early September when plants are semi-dormant and temperatures
are showing a cooling trend.
Use a spade
to dig the clump and cut off divisions. If you don't want to
divide an entire clump, divisions can be cut from the edge of a
clump using a spade and trowel. Some plants have tough, thick
root systems that are a challenge to divide. Hosta, Hemerocallis,
and Astilbe fall in this category so don't be discouraged if you
find the going a little tough.
Hydrangeas are wonderful. Especially when
they bloom. You're not alone if you are sometimes (or often)
frustrated by otherwise beautiful and healthy-looking hydrangeas
that just won't bloom. There are
reasons for this of course. Here are the likely ones:
Some bloom on old wood, some on new season's growth.
For example, the popular 'Annabelle'
varieties bloom on new growth and are consequently best
cut back hard in the early spring. By
contrast, the Bigleaf hydrangea will grow
in Kansas City but will not
usually flower because the flowers develop on old (last
season's growth) wood. Since flower
buds lack the cold hardiness of the foliage buds, they are
often killed by our cold winters.
While they will do all right in partial shade or full
sunlight, too much shade could keep them from flowering
Fertilizing with high nitrogen fertilizers
will limit blooms. Try using a fertilizer with less nitrogen
"N" and more Phosphorous "P".
Showers For Flowers...
April took a long time to live up to
it's traditional billing and has finally
graced us with much needed showers. Hopefully we will
continue to get the inch of rain per week that our gardens need.
Unfortunately most years bring us long periods of dry, hot
weather requiring diligent watering to keep our flowers looking
If staying on
top of watering isn't your idea of a good time you can always
choose your flowers accordingly. A drought-tolerant flower
garden should include the following:
For a more
complete list of drought-tolerant flowers that grow well in the
Kansas City area
It's Raining Worms!
If you've been outside and noticed small
worms falling from the sky you're not alone. All over the metro,
worms are falling from oak trees. These worms are actually the
larvae of a gall midge. The larvae came from eggs that adult
midges laid on the flower clusters of pin oak in early spring.
Newly hatched larvae feed on the flower clusters and then move to
the leaves as they unfurl. Eventually, the larvae drop to the
ground in order to pupate. Adults emerge early the next spring to
start the cycle all over again. The midges apparently cause no
Looking for a good excuse to plant a tree?
How about in celebration of Arbor Day? That's right, April
28th is National Arbor Day.
National Arbor Day website for
more information about this holiday and
More Growin', More Mowin'...
us have fallen into the habit of mowing the lawn every week.
This time of year however the grass is growing so fast that you
probably need to mow it a bit more often. Remember that you
don't want to cut off more than 1/3 of the height of the grass in
any single mowing. In our yard that means mowing twice per
week. It won't last long and the extra investment in time will
yield a healthier more durable lawn when the summer heat sets in.
memories, and man memories bring nostalgic pleasure. We would be
wise to plan for this when we plant a garden."
~ Thalassa Cruso