Daylillies and Iris Perennials Best Divided in August

Daylillies and Iris Perennials Best Divided in August

Flower Gardening
Two Easy-Care Perennials That Need Periodic Dividing in August This year's hot and often humid summer weather doesn't seem like the best time to garden... unless gardeners love irises or daylilies. In early to mid-August, both long-time perennial favorites are in a kind of dormant period. So, that's when gardeners are most likely to succeed in dividing the plants' clumps. The clumps tend to become overcrowded and less productive every three to five years, said Dennis Patton, horticulturist with Kansas State University Research and Extension. "For the most part, we're talking about extremely easy-care plants. To keep them healthy and promote optimum flowering, however, you simply have to divide them periodically," Patton said. During dry weather, the horticulturist recommends watering overcrowded clumps a day or two before digging, just to…
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Appreciating the Winter Garden

Appreciating the Winter Garden

Flower Gardening, Herb Gardening, Year Round Gardening
Two words bring together my feelings about gardening: appreciation and fascination. At the end of December, when time seems compressed and hasty, tasks are many and quiet moments few, the garden gives us time to appreciate a slower, gentler pace. Appreciation means, to me, looking closely at plants, sensing the feel of damp winter air, listening for a chickadee's cheerful song, and reveling in the serenity of a garden. My garden is on Capitol Hill in Seattle, surrounded by houses and city activity, but it offers quiet, a moment to sit in the copper-roofed rain shelter during early dusk and savor the silence falling into the earth along with rain. Touring a nursery will also provide a sense of calm, as you breathe in extra oxygen provided by plants in…
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May Garden Calendar

Flower Gardening, Growing Food, Organic Gardening, Year Round Gardening
Wow... May already. Where did the time go? The gardening calendar for May provides a list of recommended food growing tips and <sigh>gardening chores. As I mentioned in the last calendar update, April and May, about growing organic food, more people garden in April and May than any other time of the year. Winter is over, the hot months of July and August are not pounding you.... it is just a fabulous time to be outside. The date of last expected frost has come and gone (for most). Consult the growing zone maps to determine your garden's date of expected last frost. Okay, okay, I said all that last month, I realize, but if you are far north, you are still waiting.... I realize.  So you northerners (I'm in zone…
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April Gardening Calendar

Flower Gardening, Growing Food, Organic Gardening, Year Round Gardening
The gardening calendar for April provides a list of recommended food growing tips and <sigh>gardening chores. If you haven't started your organic gardening adventure yet, it is HIGH time! April is a wonderful time for growing organic food. More people garden in April and May than any other time of the year. Winter is over, the hot months of July and August are not pounding you.... it is just a fabulous time to be outside. The date of last expected frost has come and gone (for most). Consult the growing zone maps to determine your garden's date of expected last frost. Early in the month there is still time to plant the cool season vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, lettuces, greens and onions. (if you haven't already!) Corn and beans…
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March Gardening Calendar

Flower Gardening, Growing Food, Organic Gardening, Organic Pest & Disease Control, Soil & Compost, Year Round Gardening
The gardening calendar for March provides a list of recommended food growing and gardening chores and tips. It is time to venture outdoors for some serious organic gardening! The biggest focus this month is, "When can I DO something?" If you have been asking yourself this question, the answer is a LOT! March is the month to really get started growing organic food. First thing you really need to know is the last date you can expect frost in your area. Consult the growing zone maps to determine your garden's date of expected last frost. To prepare soil for spring planting you need to know some things about your garden's soil. Do you know your soil type? Your soil's pH? Need to identify your soil type? You can also learn…
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Flower Planting Schedule

Flower Planting Schedule

Flower Gardening
Planting Flower Seeds Recommended Not Recommended This table lists the recommended times to sow flower seeds for typical Zones 8-9. If you are in zone 7, for instance, go back a month, zone 6, a month and a half. If you don't know your zone, check the planting zone maps. And when buying transplants, remember to adjust for the age of the plant (about 1-2 months). This table is also available sorted by botanical name. Common Name Acroclinium (Helipterum)  African Daisy, Cape Marigold (Dimorphotheca)  Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)  Aster (Aster)  Baby's Breath, Gypsophila (Gypsophila)  Bachelor Button, Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)  Balloon Flower (Platycodon)  Bellflower (Campanula)  Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis)  Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)  Blazing Star (Mentzelia)  Butterfly Flower (Schizanthus pinnatus)  Calendula, Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)  California Desert Bluebells (Phacelia campanularia)  California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)  Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)  Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)  Chinese Forget-me-not (Cynoglossum amabile)  Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla)  Chysanthemum (Chysanthemum)  Cockscomb (Celosia)  Coleus (Coleus…
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Botanical Name Flower Planting Schedule

Botanical Name Flower Planting Schedule

Flower Gardening
This table lists the recommended times to sow flower seeds (by botanical name) for typical Zones 8-9. If you are in zone 7, for instance, go back a month, zone 6, a month and a half. If you don't know your zone, check the planting zone maps. And when buying transplants, remember to adjust for the age of the plant (about 1-2 months). Recommended Not Recommended This table is also available as a flower planting schedule sorted by common name. Botanical Name Ageratum (Floss Flower)  Aguilegia (Columbine)  Alcea rosea (Hollyhock)  Ammi Majus (Queen Anne's Lace)  Antirrhinum (Snapdragon)  Armeria (Thrift, Sea Pink)  Aster (Aster)  Calendula officinalis (Calendula, Pot Marigold)  Campanula (Bellflower)  Celosia (Cockscomb)  Centaurea cyanus (Bachelor Button, Cornflower)  Centaurea moschata (Sweet Sultan)  Chysanthemum (Chysanthemum)  Clarkia (Godetia, Clarkia)  Cobaea scandens (Cup and Saucer Vine)  Coleus hybridus (Coleus)  Collinsia heterophylla (Chinese Houses)  Convolvulus (Convolvulus)  Coreopsis (Coreopsis)  Cosmos (Cosmos)  Cynoglossum amabile (Chinese Forget-me-not)  Dahlia (Dahlia)  Delphinium (Larkspur,…
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Harvesting and Drying Sunflowers

Harvesting and Drying Sunflowers

Flower Gardening, Growing Food, Seed Saving
There's more to harvesting and drying sunflowers than many growers realize. How soon you decide to harvest them will depend largely on energy costs, temperatures, and whether you prefer them to dry naturally. Ideally, your sunflowers won't be exposed to insects and diseases, and the temperature will be warm enough to allow them to dry on the stem. However, those circumstances are rare. In reality, most crops will be vulnerable to some level of pests and diseases. And depending upon where you live, the temperature can cause your sunflowers to freeze. In this article, I'll explain some of the benefits of harvesting your sunflowers early. I'll also describe how they're dried and why the moisture in the air can affect your crops. Benefits Of Harvesting Early With energy expenses escalating,…
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How To Grow African Violets Successfully All Year Round

How To Grow African Violets Successfully All Year Round

Flower Gardening, Indoor Gardening
The African violet (Saintpaulia) first headed the pot-plant popularity polls about twelve years ago and has held the top spot ever since, with each year bringing an increasing number of friends. Varieties of this gesneriad are numbered in the thousands, and it is one of the few florists' plants which blooms throughout the year. Natural light will vary with the season, increasing in spring, decreasing in fall. As light increases you may have to increase the shading on your greenhouse, and vice versa. I have shading on the outside of the greenhouse and two thicknesses of tobacco cloth inside. The thickness of this cloth is not varied with the seasons, but I add or decrease shade on the outside of the house. Low light intensity reduces the number of flowers…
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Storage Tips For Sunflower Seeds

Storage Tips For Sunflower Seeds

Flower Gardening, Seed Saving
The manner in which you store your sunflowers can play an important role in the preservation of your seeds. For example, if there is excess moisture during storage, it's possible for the moisture to freeze the seeds, causing breakage. This happens often when they're harvested early and stored without proper drying. Harvesting them early can help limit the potential for bird damage and shattering, but the seeds must be dried before storage. In this article, I'll provide a few tips for storing your sunflowers properly to prevent them from being damaged. Tip #1: Measure Moisture Accurately Because storing your seeds when they contain too much moisture can cause problems, you'll need to use a moisture meter. However, if your seeds are less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the meter will not…
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