19th May 2017 Free Plants

Susan’s Garden—I’m ridiculously pleased when plants reseed themselves in unexpected places. Gravel pathways are the easiest way to propagate plantswithout lifting a finger. I’ve found tiny cedar trees, physocarpus, butterfly bushes, geraniums, coneflowers, penstemon, and columbine all in less than three feet of pathway. If I pull them up early enough, I’ll get the whole root system very easily. Ajuga’Chocolate Chip’, phlox, and thyme can be pulled up in sheets and transplanted around the garden.  

   I’ve been spraying my columbine with systemic insect spray to kill the little green caterpillar that strips the leaves off leaving just stems and buds. You have to spray every plant including the seedlings, or else they’ll be stripped overnight. If you have aphids on your birch trees, consider using a systemic soak.

   Its easy to see dead stems on shrubs like hydrangea now that the leaves have started, so just prune off the tips or prune lightly to shape. Every few years, spirea and barberry can use a hard prune. It will rejuvenate them and allow you to remove the dead

5th May 2017 Cloudy Skies

Fothergilla

I’m taking advantage of the cooler temperatures and cloudy skies, to translant over-crowded beds and divide some of the perennials. When hostas heaves are still rolled up tight, its easy to cut them into nice chunks. Once the leaves get larger, it becomes more difficult to avoid breaking the leaves. I don’t like to divide spring blooming plants now like hellebore, pulmonaria and brunnera, but summer-blooming plants like phlox, helenium and rudbeckias will still flower with barely a hitch in growth if they’re divided now.
   If you have the room, shrub borders can provide you with a continuous supply of flowers. Witch hazel and cornus maas are much more subtle than forsythia, but I appreciate the flowers more. Lilacs, kerria, fothergilla, quince, earlier-blooming viburnum, and azaleas are blooming now. Mock orange, rhododendrons, later-blooming lilacs and viburnums, and physocarpus will start flowering next. Weigela, spirea, and potentilla are easy summer shrubs and rose-of-sharon and hydrangea will take you into late summer. Personally, I couldn’t have a garden with at least one of each of these shrubs.