15 April 2018

Tomatoes and Peppers Oh My

Lisa Merrell
Tomato Man's Daugher
Tomato and pepper plants are everywhere right now even though we have another below freezing night tonight. And, I bit the bait at Tomato Man's Daughter on West 91st Street in Tulsa yesterday. The trek was worth the trip because I found what I was looking for and more.

This link will take you to their Plant List for 2018.
Specifically I wanted
Tomato San Marzano
This tomato: San Marzano: "Superb flavor preferred by chefs and home gardeners all over the world. Slightly rectangular shape (3” x 1½”) holds up well on the vine and in storage. Solid meat is great for canning. This is the most famous plum tomato for making sauce." 

Tomato Black Cherry
And, I wanted one cherry type. Lisa recommended BLACK CHERRY "We fell in love with this one the first time we tasted it!!! I think you will too. The complex rich, sweet flavor is just absolutely luscious. Plants are loaded with perfectly round cherry tomatoes with the color and taste of the Cherokee Purple. Customer Penelope Carr shared “Oh my, the Black Cherry, that is a little bit of heaven on the vine! One note, though… it nearly took over Rogers County.” We call these jewels the baby Cherokee Purple."

Jimmy Nardello's 
Pepper plant varieties also abound at the nursery. I bought two of the obligatory  Sweet Banana "Elongated bullhorn. Light greenish/yellow that ripens to red. The old stand-by for frying, stuffing or salads. We eat these by the dozens in the summer."

And, for something different, Lisa recommended
Jimmy Nardello’s Italian Frying Pepper "An incredible pepper, one of the best sweet peppers you’ll ever taste. These are excellent for frying, or roasting. Green to red, long bullhorn type, up to 10” long and extremely productive, too. The Best! Jimmy Nardello of Naugatuck, CT shared his prized pepper seeds with the SSE before his death in 1983. Jimmy’s mother originally brought the seeds with her when she emigrated to the U.S. in 1887 with her husband, Giuseppe Nardello, from the small village of Ruoti in the Basilicata Region of Southern Italy." 

Today I'll prune all the lower leaves from the tomato plants and plant them in potting soil enough to cover all but their leaves on top. By planting time, all the leaf nodes will have produced root to make the plants more sturdy. Then, the peppers will go into larger pots to grow out while the soil warms enough to make them  think they are in Italy. Tomato fertilizers, soil prep and trellis construction is in our future. But the summer salads will be worth every minute of the effort.

11 April 2018

Success With Hydrangeas by Lorraine Ballato

Success With Hydrangeas: a gardener's guide by garden writer and speaker  Lorraine Ballato was recently released by B and B Publications.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading my review copy over the past two weeks. And, after becoming blah about Hydrangeas over the years, I'm fired up again because of Ballato's enthusiasm for these garden mainstays.

Lacecap HydrangeaMicrophylla 'Kardinal'
Here in zone 7 we are in an ideal situation to grow hydrangeas successfully. Our soil is good and our rainfall is bountiful. I have commented that since Hydrangeas have hydra (water) in their name we automatically understand part of their requirements for happiness.

"Success with Hydrangeas" is a 190 page, 7 by 10-inch, paperback that is loaded with useful, practical information. There are plenty of illustrations but it's a lot more than a picture book.

H. paniculata 'Quickfire'
Ballato provides the botanical and common names for the ones you'll find on the market. Macrophylla is the most common variety. Within that variety you'll find lacecap and mophead flower forms in white, blue and pink.

Their unique needs in pruning, water, fertilizer and problem solving such as winter kill are all addressed in a way that builds confidence for beginning gardeners.

You can identify which plants will suit your garden. H. Petiolaris, Japanese climbing, doesn't do as well in very hot climates and enjoys part to full shade in all gardens.

H. arborescens, smooth woodland hydrangea "old reliable", is native to the Eastern US and includes everyone's favorite 'Annabelle' which spreads by suckers.

H. quercifolia Oakleaf
For sunny spots in cold climates, Ballato recommends H. paniculata or pee gee.

Oakleaf, H. quercifolia is an understory variety for the edge of shade with dappled sun. (The book has convinced me I need a couple of these for a special place that has challenged my talents so far.)

Hydrangea mixed container
Part Two is plant care. You will appreciate the trouble shooting advice throughout the book and especially in Part Three where the book covers specifics of fungal and bacterial disease, insects, animal and weather damage.

Part Four is where Ballato's landscape and garden writing experience really show through to illustrate how many ways and places Hydrangeas can be used in your home garden beds. I don't think I had ever considered Hydrangeas as likely contenders for container plant combinations before.

This is a book you'll buy and keep for reference throughout your gardening years. Of course, you'll end up loaning it and never getting it back but it's only $20 - $25 at online booksellers so you can easily replace it.
Plant Addicts root hydrangea cuttings





07 April 2018

Burning Bushes

Garden blogger, professor, and small animal veterinarian, Dr. James K. Roush, gardens in Manhattan Kansas. His blog, Garden Musings, won an excellence award, 'Best Midwest Garden Blog'.

His recent post about burning down a juniper shrub because it housed rats is well-worth a click. Check it out at this link for your garden smile of the day.
Burning it Down


Dr. James K. Roush

If you are in the market for more blogs to follow Roush has a list of the ones he follows at this link
Roush's Blogs I Follow and they are not the same old blogs you see promoted everywhere.

03 April 2018

Plant Care for Gift Plants

I can't improve on this thorough piece by The Garden Helper on how to care for houseplants you received for Easter. They give general advice, illustrations and links to more information.
Flowering plants are one of those great gifts that are just as fun to give and they are to receive.
They will bring smiles to the recipient and to all who see it for a long time to come.
Most of the flowering plants given as Springtime or Easter gifts can be planted outdoors once the weather warms a bit, but you will have to provide special care for these plants to ensure that they are kept happy and healthy until then.

There are a few steps you should take to keep your gift plants healthy during their time in the house.
If the pot is wrapped in foil, cut the foil off the bottom of the pot to prevent over watering.
Set the pot or planter on a shallow, pebble (or marble) filled tray of water to provide humidity.
Do not place your plant close to heat sources, or in between a closed curtain and the window.
Provide sufficient water according to the needs of the particular type of plant.
Mist occasionally and remove dead flowers promptly.

Popular Flowering Gift Plants

Easter Lily Plants

Some or all parts of this plant may be toxic or poisonousThis plant grows best with full sun for most of the dayThis plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringWhite flowering plantRed flowering plantPink flowering plantYellow flowering plantA photograph of Lilium is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Easter Lilies prefer a bright window, with fairly cool daytime temperatures of 60-65 degrees F. Easter Lilies prefer well-drained soil which is kept moderately moist, but avoid over-watering. In late May or early June you can transplant your lily outdoors.
More information on Growing and Caring for Easter Lilies
Easter Lilies

Azalea Plants

This plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant may not tolerate any direct sunlightThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsHummingbird PlantSome or all parts of this plant may be toxic or poisonousWhite flowering plantRed flowering plantPink flowering plantYellow flowering plantblue flowering plantPurple flowering plantorange flowering plantA photograph of Azaleas is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Azaleas like bright but indirect light, cool temperatures and moist soil. You can plant it in the garden or leave your Azalea in it's planter, place it outside in a shady protected area. In the fall, bring it back indoors and you may get a second flowering.
More information on Growing and Caring for Azaleas.htm
Pink Azalea

Caladium Plants

This plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsYellow flowering plantA photograph of Colocasia esculenta is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Caladium is a frost tender, perennial tuber which is grown for its colorful foliage rather than flowers. The leaves are usually a combination of different shades of red, pink, green, white.
More information on Growing and Caring for Caladiums
Caladium bicolor

Chrysanthemum Plants

This plant grows best with full sun for most of the dayThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringWhite flowering plantRed flowering plantPink flowering plantYellow flowering plantblue flowering plantPurple flowering plantorange flowering plantBurgundy flowering plantA photograph of Chrysanthemum is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Chrysanthemums are just about the easiest of all of the perennials to grow. They will survive for a long time as a house plant, provided they receive sufficient light and water.They can be planted outdoors any time after all danger of freezing.
More information on Growing and Caring for Chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemum

Cineraria Plants

This plant grows best with full sun for most of the dayThis plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsThis can be grown as a House PlantNo DeerSome or all parts of this plant may be toxic or poisonousWhite flowering plantRed flowering plantPink flowering plantblue flowering plantPurple flowering plantPurple Flowers on a Cineraria PlantHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Cinerarias are tender perennials that are only hardy in USDA zones 9-11,so they are most grown as annual plants, in greenhouses or as short lived, flowering house plants. They form 12"-24" tall, mounded clumps of bright green leaves which create a nice accent for the vividly colored flowers.
More information on Growing and Caring for Cinerarias
A Blue Flowering Cineraria Plant, Pericallis hybridus

Cyclamen Plants

This plant grows best with full sun for most of the dayThis plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsWhite flowering plantRed flowering plantPink flowering plantPurple flowering plantA photograph of Cyclamen persicum is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
The most important criteria for success with growing a Cyclamen are cool temperatures, fresh air, and ample moisture. They won't last long if the temperature goes above 65° during the day and 50° at night. Cyclamen said should be watered daily to keep the soil moist.
More information on Growing and Caring for Cyclamen
Cylamen

Dish Gardens and Terrarium Gardens

Dish gardens should be planted in open, shallow containers. You can use bottles, jars, aquariums, fishbowls, or even brandy snifters for Terrariums. The size is only relevant to the extent of how many (or few) plants it will be able to support.
How to create and care for Dish Gardens
How to create and care for Terrariums
Dish Garden

Gardenia Plants

This plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant may not tolerate any direct sunlightThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis can be grown as a House PlantWhite flowering plantA photograph is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
If you are growing your Gardenia as a potted plant indoors, keep it out of direct, hot sun, and allow it to only get bright light.
Gardenias should be planted in well conditioned soil containing peat moss and compost.
More information on Growing and Caring for Gardenias
Gardenia

Gloxinia Plants

This plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant may not tolerate any direct sunlightThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsThis can be grown as a House PlantWhite flowering plantRed flowering plantYellow flowering plantPurple flowering plantorange flowering plantGreen flowering plantA photograph is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Gloxinias come in a wide range of colors, with variations in both foliage and flower forms.
They are tuberous plants which are usually grown as houseplants, but may also be grown in containers in a shaded part of the garden.
More information on Growing and Caring for Gloxinias
Red Flowering Gloxinia

Hydrangea Plants

This plant grows best with full sun for most of the dayThis plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsWhite flowering plantPink flowering plantblue flowering plantA photograph is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Hydrangeas can be transplanted outside in a sunny, protected location.
Unless the pH of your garden's soil is close to pH of the soil in the planter, you can expect the flower color to be different next year!
More information on Growing and Caring for Hydrangeas
White Lace Hydrangea

Lily of the Valley Plants

This plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant may not tolerate any direct sunlightThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsNo DeerSome or all parts of this plant may be toxic or poisonousWhite flowering plantPink flowering plantA photograph is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) bulbs will bloom in just 3-4 weeks if potted up at 65°.
Outdoors, the Lily of the Valley's sweetly scented flowers bloom in early spring. They like partial to full shade and is perfect for your shade garden.
Lily of the Valley

Peace Lily Plants

This plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis can be grown as a House PlantWhite flowering plantA photograph is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Peace lilies prefer bright filtered light, but will survive in low interior light. Peace lilies do best in a warm environment (68°-85° daytime temperature) with a 10° nighttime drop. When watering, it is very important to use room temperature water!
More information on Growing and Caring for Peace lilies
Peace Lily

Primrose Plants

This plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant may not tolerate any direct sunlightThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsWhite flowering plantRed flowering plantPink flowering plantYellow flowering plantblue flowering plantPurple flowering plantGreen flowering plantHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden HelperA photograph is available
Primroses provide you with early spring blooms in almost every color of the rainbow.
Primroses may be grown indoors if you are able to provide them with cool night temperatures of 50°-60° F., high humidity, filtered sun and moist soil.
More information on Growing and Caring for Primroses
Primula sieboldii

Reiger Begonia Plants

This plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant may not tolerate any direct sunlightThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsHummingbird PlantThis can be grown as a House PlantWhite flowering plantRed flowering plantPink flowering plantYellow flowering plantorange flowering plantA photograph is availableHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
With proper care, Reiger Begonias will remain in bloom for several months.
Rieger Begonias need bright, filtered light, with maximum light in winter. An east window is usually ideal.
More information on Growing and Caring for Reiger Begonias
Begonias

Flowering Bulb Plants

Many Spring flowering bulbs may be potted up to give you an early bloom indoors, however the flowers may also bring with them a bad case of Spring Fever. Once the bulbs have finished flowering, remove the spent flowers and stems but continue to water and provide light for the foliage.