Thursday, July 19, 2012

Calla Lilly

Every known variety of calla lily produces breathtakingly beautiful, showy, funnel-shape spathes, which are really colored outer leaves that encircle the spadix. The spadix, though small and difficult to see, is a tapering enclosure for the actual flowers. It is the prominent outer colored leaf structure that most think of when referring to calla blooms, which are supported by thick, strong, fleshy stems.
Although all callas are accented by rich green, long, sword- or arrow-shape leaves, many feature speckles or blotches of silver, white or cream, particularly the dwarf varieties.
The largest callas grow as tall as 7-8 feet, while dwarf specimens may be only 18 inches. No matter the size of the callas, all produce stunning, fleshy, waxy, long-lasting blooms, whether cut or allowed to remain on the plant to dramatize a garden setting.

Highly adaptable plants, some varieties of calla lily can even tolerate a mild frost. In United States Zones 6-10, most varieties may be grown outdoors year-round wherever the ground does not freeze. Some of the less cold-hardy specimens should only be placed outside all year in Zones 8-10. However, all of the calla lilies can be successfully grown as house plants.
Strong, sturdy and flexible, the calla manages to adjust to almost any soil conditions as long as the humidity is high enough. The plants will spread far and wide prolifically by means of rhizome offsets, and will quickly fill an area with beautiful blooming ground cover. Although it is possible to grow calla lilies from seed, it is a difficult, painstaking and usually doubtful process that takes a deal deal of time and effort. It is much easier to dig up rhizomes from existing Callas and replant some of them to repopulate another area of the garden.
Calla lilies prefer full sun in cooler climates, and partial shade in warm areas, where they can remain planted year-round. After the leaves wither, northern calla lily rhizomes should be dug up.
Storing calla lily rhizomes is a matter of just burying them in an open container filled with vermiculite, perlite or peat moss. They store easily in dark, dry, cool locations, and will be ready to plant in the spring when the frosts have passed. The rhizomes can also be divided while they are in storage.
When replanting calla lilies, a good feeding of 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 fertilizer should be given. Providing a moist, but not wet, well-drained soil will make the callas feel right at home, and will lavish the garden with spectacular rewards.

Warning for pets...

The calla lilies have but one flaw, which is that all parts of the plants are highly toxic if consumed by people and  pets. All members of the calla family contain a poison known as oxalic acid. If ingestion is suspected, a poison control center should be contacted immediately. Early symptoms of poisoning include irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat, as well as acute and severe vomiting and diarrhea.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Crimson Star Clematis 
How to grow clematis ...


To begin with, they really do want a minimum of six full hours of sunshine every day. Without that, you'll find the number of blooms will decrease and the plant will not be as healthy. Full sun is excellent. If you grow them in the South, you'll find that a light shade will help the bloom colours from fading.


Having the right soil is critical if you want to succeed with Clematis. This plant adores a rich, organic soil that is heavily amended with compost. There is little point in putting this plant into clay soils as it will not thrive. Similarly, hot sandy soils will not allow the vine to grow to its full potential.

Planting Clematis

To plant, did a hole approximately two feet by two feet and approximately twelve inches deep. The soil from the hole should be amended with compost before backfilling the plant. I generally use one shovel of compost for every two shovels of original soil. 

Carefully take the clematis out of its pot. Cut away fibre pots or slide the plant carefully out of plastic pots. The objective is to minimize root disturbance. 

Put the root ball into the hole so the original soil line is approximately three to five inches below your garden soil line. This puts the bud down three to five inches. 


If the plant is dormant and the buds are not swelling or showing green, you can backfill the hole to the original soil level. 

However, if the plant has any active growth or bud swelling that will be covered over by backfilling to this garden soil depth, you can not cover active growth. 

In the case of active growth, only backfill to the original pot soil line. This means you'll grow the clematis in a bit of a hollow for the summer but you'll finish backfilling to the garden's soil line in the fall after the plant has gone dormant. 

Our objective is to get that bud down three to five inches but not to cover over growth that will rot or die if covered with soil. 


Clematis come with a stake in the pot. 

Do not remove this stake on newly planted clematis

Removing the stake can easily lead to the plant flopping about in the wind and breaking something you don't want broken. Remove the stake in the late fall as part of your garden cleanup (you do clean up your garden don't you?) :-) 

Shallow Rooted Protection

Clematis are shallow-rooted vines and keeping those roots cool and evenly moist (protected from the hot sun's rays) is our gardening objective. The easiest way to do this is to mulch the plant. Add three to four inches of organic mulch (not rocks) around the base of the plant. Keep the mulch eight to twelve inches or so away from the base of the vines to avoid any rot and mouse damage. (mice sometimes hide in overwintering mulch and chew off tender bark for lunch) Organic mulch is used because as it decomposes, it provides nourishment for the clematis. Rocks do not decompose quickly enough to be of benefit to the plant. :-) 


Do water at least weekly and do water deeply. Remember this plant likes even moisture so check under the mulch during the heat of the summer to ensure the soil is damp. Do not plant this vine where the ground is wet as winter wetness will rot it off. 


These vines are heavy feeders. I like to use compost every spring with several shovels full being applied around the base of each plant. And when the new vines are two to three inches long, I'll usually give them a boost of fish food emulsion. 

The nitrogen in the liquid emulsion really gets those vines growing. I note that feeding a high nitrogen chemical food (a little too much nitrogen) may stop blooming rather than enhance it because you'll grow huge vines at the expense of flower production. 

Trellis Support

Clematis is a vine so they do need some kind of support in most garden settings (I have grown them and simply let them wander around and over the perennials; it is an interesting thing to do). 

You'll require trellis or arbors for support or even nearby shrubs. I once used a Beautybush as a support for a yellow-flowering C. tangutica and after three years you couldn't see the shrub (it had died because the clematis shaded it out). 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


How can such a tiny flower give off such a tremendous scent? Tiny lily-of-the-valley sends up its lovely little sprays of bell-like white or pale pink flowers each spring. Allow it to spread a little (which it does, so much that it can be a problem) and it will perfume the whole area with its distinctive scent. It also makes adorable, tiny bouquets. It makes a good groundcover in small areas.
Lily-of-the-valley prefers shade and moist soil. In sunny or dry conditions, its leaves will brown. It can easily become invasive, so it's smart to put it in an area where it will be difficult to spread too far, such as a blocked in by a driveway or sidewalk

Lily of the valley needs to be in  part sun and part shade. It grows about 6-12 in. high and 6-12 in. wide.
 This  plant can be used in  containers,beds & borders, slopes, groundcover.  These pretty little flowers have  attractive foliage, they are fragrant, they deer resistant, and easy to grow.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Flowers

Just wanted to share  some pics. of my Daffodils and Hyacinths

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Its  started... The bulb blooming season, these little beauties called Crocus popped up like overnight!

Snow crocuses are aptly named, as they are the earliest of spring flowers. Crocus plants can be found bursting into bloom, while snow is still on the ground. These hardy flowers will begin to grow with a warm spell in late winter or early spring. If it snows again before they bloom, or during bloom, that's okay. They will be unharmed. It only takes a few days growth to blossom into the first bright colors of the year. 

Did you know? The word "Crocus" is Latin for Saffron. Knowing this, it should not surprise you that Saffron comes from the stigma of the Saffron Crocus. But, it takes thousands of flowers to get an ounce of Saffron.

How to grow Crocus ...  
Plant crocuses singly, or in groups. We do not recommend planting a large number of them close together, as they will rapidly multiply. In a year or two, that small group will become a major clump of attractive plants, regardless of how many you plant together. Fortunately, Crocus tolerates overcrowding.
Plant Crocus corms in the fall. Select a sunny location where the soil is not too wet or soggy over winter and during spring. Most importantly, select a spot where you can see them from a window of your house. You don't want to miss the first show of the year!
First work the soil, adding compost to provide a rich bed for growth. Mix into the soil a generous portion of bulb fertilizer. Plant corms singly, or in groups as desired. These small corms can be planted using a trowel, a bulb planter, or just pushing them into soft soil to the proper depth of about 2 inches from the top of the corm. Add a thin (not thick) layer of mulch on top if desired.