Friday, June 13, 2014

Knockout Roses

Red Knockout Rose

The natural inclination of The Knock Out® Family of Roses is to grow to about 3' wide x 4' tall, but they are easily maintained at a smaller size through pruning.  They are ideal for growing in mixed borders, in containers or as a hedge. 

Just like other roses, The Knock Out® Family of Roses perform best when planted in full sun.  The soil should be well drained and fertile.

Plant the roses 4 feet apart to allow for room to grow and good air circulation.    

To keep the flowers coming feed your roses with a fertilizer blended especially for roses.  This should be done after each bloom cycle.  There is no need to remove faded flowers because these roses are self cleaning – another task you can remove from your to do list! 

Prune in late winter or early spring, while the plant is still dormant.  Remove any dead or damaged wood, do a little shaping if necessary, and take out some of the interior stems to improve air circulation.  Every 2 or 3 years remove about one third of the old branches to stimulate new, fresh growth.  If you are trying to keep the roses at a certain height, you can cut them back hard with hedge shears.  No need to worry about usual rose pruning rule of cutting back to an outward facing leaf bud – just lop them down to the desired size.  I've even seen Knock Out® Roses spring back beautifully after being cut down to 6-inches. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Irises grown in a natural setting

Louisiana Iris

Louisiana irises are adaptable to most parts of the country.  Although the preponderance of the irises found in the wild occur along the Gulf Coast, two of the five species are indigenous as far north as Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.  Experience with Louisiana in colder climates has been good.   There is a very successful public planting of Louisiana irises in Highland Park in Rochester, NY, for example, a spot some might have thought too cold.

The low and wetland origins of the native species should not imply that Louisiana irises require aquatic culture.  They do love water and thrive in ponds and boggy settings, but Louisiana`s also grow and bloom exceedingly well in typical garden beds. These irises should not be allowed to dry out during periods of drought, however. They will stay green and grow through hot weather only with ample moisture.
Louisiana irises should be grown in half to full sun.  Less than a half day of sun will diminish bloom.  It is highly advisable to avoid close competition with large trees or plants with extensive root systems that would use most of the soil moisture.  In hot climates, unless the irises are in ample water, full sun may stress the plants at certain times of the year.
Louisiana irises can be mixed with most smaller ornamental plants.  They also can be grown in beds consisting entirely of irises, although iris-only beds may not be as attractive in late summer as the foliage begins to die back in preparation for the new growth cycle that begins in the fall.  Any yellowed foliage can and should be removed to improve appearance and encourage new growth.

Siberian Irises

Siberian Iris (Iris Sibirca) are a most outstanding, maintenance-free species of plants. These graceful, but rugged plants bloom in late spring and maintain their beautiful grass-like foliage all season. After bloom, the mature seed pod and stem are excellent in dried arrangements. They prefer sun to part shade in evenly moist acidic soil. Not enough good can be said about Siberian Iris. They are rugged, vigorous, smothered with bloom. Not fussy about soil, they take a wide range of conditions, quickly forming large clumps. Resistant to iris bores and drought tolerant once established. Give them plenty of water until established. They love mulch, just like daylilies. This very hardy iris grows in zones 3-9.