Pruning

Time saving Hedge Trimmer use

I just found a new use for my small, rechargeable hedge trimmer – removing the old foliage from perennials!

I know it is a bit late in the season, but pruning chores just don’t always get done by the timeline suggested!!  When I was ready to prune back the dead foliage on my Southern Shield Ferns, which had spread into 3′ wide clumps, using my hand pruners looked like a big, time consuming job.  So a light bulb went off as I spotted my small Homelite hedge trimmer  with a 6″ long blade(available at Home Depot) sitting on my work bench.  It worked  so well and quickly that I was able to trim back many perennials in a short amount of time, including Coreopsis, Coneflowers, Daisies, Phlox, Asters, Salvia, Herbs, etc.  I do like to leave a couple of inches of the stem showing, mainly so I know where they are in the garden before the new spring growth appears.

So put this fun little hedge trimmer on your spring list of ’need to have’ tools for 2014!  I know you will fun many uses for it to save yourself time with your gardening chores.

Happy Gardening,

Althea

 

No, this is not the roadside weed that causes hay fever – that is Ragweed!

This variety of Solidago blooming in my fall garden is Fireworks.  It reaches 3-4′ tall, but I do the’ Chelsea Chop’ (removing a third or more of foliage) in mid-spring once it is about 2′ tall.  This trimming prevents the beautiful blooms from flopping over.

Plant Fireworks in the back of the garden with earlier blooming perennials in front, such as Daisies, Black Eyed Susan (same color but will be done blooming in the fall) or even sun loving Azaleas.  It looks great with the dark color of the Loropetalum in the background to really show it off.

Enjoy this beautiful day!

Happy Gardening,

Althea

 

 

Hydrangeas are not listed in my book as a perennial, but they sure look wonderful in a perennial garden!  I have may different varieties mixed in my flower beds to add some stability as well as season long color, which changes as the flowerheads mature & begin to dry.

Mophead varieties(macrophylla or serrata) are the varieties I used in my vase of Hydrangeas – specifically Merritt’s Supreme & Preziosa, both change color as the season progresses.

It is best to cut Hydrangea flowerheads with at least 12″of stem on a dry day 4-6 weeks after they have bloomed.  At this point the flower heads are beginning to dry out & don’t need as much water.  I have found for  me the best way to dry them is put them in a vase with a couple inches of water & let it dry up naturally, enjoying the fresh bouquet(I use a large twist tie to hold the stems together at the base of the flowerhead for a full look).  Other suggestions for drying are to hang the stems upside down in a dry area, put them in a vase without water in a dark area for a couple weeks, or even put them in a brown paper bag & ride them around in your car trunk for a couple days!  Try the different methods to see what works best for you.  And remember that you may lose a couple of the blossoms to wilt, but hopefully you have plenty more in the garden – I start with the blooms at the bottom or backside of the plant so I can enjoy the sight of them in my garden for as long as possible!

Happy Gardening,

Althea

 

 

This Fairy Rose (Polyantha) is a wonderful shrub rose that gives pretty little pink clusters of blooms all year long.  I love to cut a few sprays for small vases to bring the little beauties inside.  Very low maintenance as I trim it back to about 2′ in the winter & trim off browned spent blossoms throughout the season.

The Coronation Gold variety of  Fernleaf Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina) is in  it’s 3rd year in my garden and has just exploded with growth & blooms this spring!  This is a very tough drought resistant plant that produces blooms that look beautiful in any flower vase.

Happy Gardening!

Althea

 

This is the perfect time of year to cut a few of your Lenten Rose (Helleborous) blooms for a bouquet to brighten your kitchen table, bathroom or anywhere in your home.  Earlier in the season when I cut a few stems to bring in, they would shed for a couple days as well as droop a bit.  Now that the warm weather has started the drying process, they are just right to cut.  Of course you may have a few that won’t co-operate and stay upright, but overall a vase full of just Helleborous will add a soft and subtle color to any room, especially when placed in your favorite container.

Now begins the time in your garden to remove at the base the large darker leaves that are laying on the ground.  As the season progresses, the blossoms will turn brown, signaling the time to trim off the stem at the base of the plant.

There aren’t many plants that give us so much foliage and bloom for so little work!

Be Happy In Your Garden,

Althea