Friday, June 3, 2011

ABC Wednesday - R and S and Up Comes T!

On such a lovely, sunny day,

R and S went out to play!

They came upon this page and said,

"Let's hang around and READ instead!"

ABC Wednesday Challenge
You might enjoy visiting others that participate in this meme.
Just click on the logo above.

aised Beds ----- Meet 'Rosey Lights' Azalea

The photo below was taken 5/22/07
(newly planted)

Plant your hardy azalea in the Spring. In planning for the heat of the summer, plant your azalea where it will receive direct sunlight for much of the day and partial shade in the late afternoon. After planting, surround the plant with a thick layer of mulch (straw?) which will help retain much-needed moisture, as the plant does not want to dry out.


Azaleas and rhododendrons must have an acid soil. Most of them thrive best at a soil pH between 5.0 and 5.5. Clay soils will require heavier applications of pH-lowering amendment; sandy soils, less amendment. (Soils that are too acid (below pH 4.5) may easily be made less acid by adding ground limestone.)

Rosy Lights 5/11/11
Never plant azaleas so deeply that the plant stem is covered deeper than it had been growing in the nursery. Planting too shallow is better than too deep. Soak well after planting and firm soil around the ball. Most azaleas are shallow rooted and need a heavy mulch to conserve moisture around the roots and to minimize winter injury.

Coarse materials such as partly decomposed oak leaves or pine needles are ideal. Oak shavings, hardwood chips or aged sawdust and sphagnum peatmoss may also be used satisfactorily. Use a mulch hardwood chips about 2 inches deep. A mulch of oak leaves should be 4 to 6 inches deep. Keep the mulch around the plants at all seasons of the year, but don't allow it to be too high on the plant stems during the summer and fall. In winter pile it higher to help prevent winter leaf scorch or bark splitting on the stems.

The two winter enemies of azaleas are sun and cold wind. If hardy types are selected and proper locations are chosen, little or no winter protection is needed. If existing varieties show winter damage, provide some protection. Don't be alarmed when leaves curl and droop on cold days; that is normal.

Discarded Christmas trees may be used to protect plants. Branches can be anchored in the ground to shield the plant from wind and sun. Protection must remain loose and airy throughout the winter. Small plants should not be covered with large mounds of leaves. Masses of leaves may begin to decay and smother the plant beneath them. Leaves may be pulled up around the stems in late fall but should not cover the entire plant. Temporary fences made of lath or snow fencing are effective in providing necessary windbreak and light shade.

'Northern Lights' - 5/11/11

If leaves turn yellow in sections between the veins, but the veins remain green, iron deficiency is the cause. If the entire leaf turns yellow with some browning, other problems are suggested. Chlorosis may result from soil that is not acid enough, poor drainage, nematodes or other conditions that cause root or stem injury.

A little closer...
Iron chlorosis can usually be temporarily controlled by spraying the foliage with an iron (ferrous) sulfate solution or with chelated iron. If iron sulfate is used, apply at a rate of one ounce per gallon of water. If a chelated iron product is used, follow the manufacturer's directions.

A slower but more permanent control can be obtained by applying iron to the soil rather than the foliage. Use 2 pounds iron sulfate per 100 square feet (1/8 cup per 10 square feet) or chelated iron according to directions. Conditions leading to chlorosis, such as poor drainage or alkaline soil, must also be corrected. The application of 1-1/4 cups of iron sulfate per 100 square feet of bed area each fall appears to help harden growth for the winter and also help prevent iron chlorosis.

** Most of the information above was taken from the University of Missouri (click for link).

unny Corner Bed





7/25/08 (Look! There's Sidney!)

May 2011

Siberian Iris

The flowers of Siberian irises are smaller and more delicate than those of the bearded irises. Numerous varieties of Siberian irises are available. They are available in shades of blue, purple, wine-red, pink, white, and yellow. Their flowers are borne atop tall stems in late May or June. The foliage of Siberian irises is narrow (approximately 1/2 inch wide), upright, grass-like in appearance. The green foliage often turns to an attractive yellow or orange-brown in the fall. Siberian iris varieties range in height from 12 to 40 inches.

(in the Sunny Corner Bed)
'Ruffled Velvet'
May 2010 (Planted Fall 2009)

May 2011

Getting a little closer....

Siberian irises perform best in moist, well-drained, fertile soils. However, they will tolerate poor, dry sites. They can be grown in partial shade to full sun. Siberian irises are usually planted in spring or late summer. However, container grown material can be planted any time during the growing season. Space plants about 18 to 24 inches apart.

May 2010
(planted Fall 2009 - much more shade)
To aid establishment, water Siberian irises once a week during hot, dry weather. Water when needed for at least one full growing season. Plants seldom bloom the first year after planting. Siberian irises should be blooming well by the third or fourth year. They will eventually form large, well-established clumps.

Established Siberian irises don't require a great deal of care. Plants can be lightly fertilized in early spring with an all-purpose garden fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, and also immediately after bloom. A 2- to 3-inch-layer of mulch around the plants helps control weeds and conserves soil moisture. If possible, water once a week during hot, dry weather. Cut back the dead debris in late fall or early spring.

May 2011
(Another treat is the Meadow Rue "next door!")

Siberian irises don't have serious insect or disease problems. Division is rarely necessary for Siberian irises. Divide Siberian irises when clumps become crowded or when flowering decreases. Clumps can be divided in early spring at the first sign of growth or immediately after bloom. **

**Information taken from Iowa State University (click for link).

Next, T appeared (he'd felt left out),
We cannot have that be...
T must be included (without a doubt),
So with R and S, now comes T:

Miss Tiarella

Tiarella’s common name is "foam flower", but this delicate shady lady is anything but common. She likes her roots moist, tucked into a bed of organic humus. Beware of soggy soil in winter, however, which will do her in. She comes from the Saxifragaceae family and sports dainty feathery flower stems from white to several shades of pink in spring. While native forms spread by runners, hybrids form large clumps which can be divided after a few years.

(most of the flowers are very similar)
Leaf forms range from rounded to variations of deeply lobed or cut. Several available species include "cordifolia" (heartleaved) and "trifoliate" (three-leaved). The cordifolia form of this plant will spread by runners. Hybrids form large clumps for dividing. There are many hybrids available, with striking coloration of the leaves and patterns along the veins. "Heronswood Mist" is an exceptionally nice one. The new leaves emerge pink and turn mottled shades of greens, pink, and white, as they mature.

'Black Snowflake'
Given the right growing conditions, the Tiarella is a virtually maintenance free perennial. Slugs are its worst enemy. Tiarella is a great companion plant to hostas, columbine, solomon’s seal, violets, huechera, and ferns. Because it’s low growing (generally 6-8") it looks great toward the front of a border.
'Heronswood Mist' (My favorite)

When dividing your Tiarella babies from the mother plant, carefully separate the individual plant segments you see coming off of the main stem. When planting the divisions, it is critical to keep the crown of the new plants at or just above soil level. If the crown is buried beneath the soil, the plant will rot. Within a few weeks you’ll have small leaves emerging from the crown, and roots will form below the soil.

All a tiarella needs is a small space in the front of your shady perennial garden border and you will enjoy a colorful spring surprise. **

**Information taken from Washington State University's Clark County Extension.

Tiarella in my gardens: Black Snowflake Heronswood Mis Iron Butterfly Neon Lights Pink Skyrocket (the last variety I acquired - May 2008)

and Mr. Tricyrtis

Plants in the genus Tricyrtis are called "toad lilies," and these little Asian gems have quickly gained a foothold in todays gardens - deservedly so. Tricyrtis are extremely hardy perennials that send up mysterious, orchid-like blooms in the fall, a time when most plants have had their season and the garden takes on a somewhat barren look. We could put them in the low maintenence category, but they will also respond to a little kindness and attention. One things for sure, they do require shade, deep shade if you are south of the Mason-Dixon line. They love a good, moist soil rich in organic matter. If they don't get their required amount of shade and moisture, their foliage will not show its true beauty. These are also wonderful companions to hostas, hellebores, and woodland lillies which share the same habitat requirements.
There are about 20 species in the genus Tricyrtis, which makes its home in Liliaceae, the lily family. They are mostly Asian natives, ranging from Nepal through China to Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Phillipine Islands. The greatest number and diversity is from Japan.

Tricyrtis species are all herbaceous plants growing from a rhizomatous rootsock with fibrous outer roots. Supposedly they're very easy to grow from seeds. Try sowing the seeds in 4" pots with a layer of medium grit on the top to discourage lichens and mosses from growing. I put the pots outside in the woods in late fall and let nature handle the stratification. The seeds germinate mid-spring and usually flower the first year. Tricyrtis are also easy to propagate clonally by cuttings. They are nodal rooters, so be sure that you have at least one node in your cuttings.

'Taipei Silk'

'Shining Light'


'Blue Wonder'

The most commonly available Tricyrtis in the U.S. is T. hirta. Its a highly variable plant with hairy stems that can reach a height of 12"-24". The flowers are usually spotted in different shades of purple.

'Moonlight Treasure'

'Tojen' has performed well in the garden. Its probably an interspecific cross between T. hirta and T. formosana, or as it is sometimes known, T. stolonifera. 'Tojen' has a lovely pastel tone to its flowers of pinkish blue. **


'Lightning Strikes'
**This information came from Garden (click on the link).

Btw: This post and its content is property of Shady Gardener at this address: www://

Not Shady - Just Shady G! ;-)


Rosey said...

I like how you combined some letters together. I may have to do that when I take my daughter to college in a few weeks and times get busy!
Your blooms are so beautiful.
Thanks for your comment on my blog.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Rosey, I noticed I'd begun this post in mid-May...about time I finished it! ;-)

Big step - taking your daughter to college! Best wishes to you all.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Toad lilies are the best! I wonder what happened to mine? I also love Siberian iris, mine are in prime bloom now also. My azalea buds were eaten by deer, however, so it's super nice to see yours!!

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Fun & beautiful post. Interesting about the planting depth of azaleas, perhaps mine would be happier I lifted it a little? Your Irises are beautiful, I have never seen pure white before. :)

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Monica, One cannot garden without tragedy... What are you doing about your deer?? Do you have the dark purple Siberian Iris? They're so striking!

Rebecca, Thanks! :-) You might lift them (if they're not very big, anyway) with a garden fork and let soil "sift" under the roots. I'm pretty sure 'Anniversary' came from Great Garden Plants. They do a very good job of sending their plants.

Roger Owen Green said...

Glad you didn't leave T off. He would have been teed off.
lovely shots, and a lot of work.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Patsi said...

Loving your tips. The RST is cute and it.
Haven't seen my foamflower or toad lilies yet. The plants are looking good but no flowers.

Patsi said...

Forgot but you have a good memory.
Yes, hubby was the one that used RED plastic 2 years ago.

Christine said...

Wonderful flowers, beautiful, spring is late here, and the heat is just starting now. We will see the blooms in a few weeks.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I love all of your flowers! I finally moved my tiarella and this year it bloomed and looked as pretty as yours always do. I tried planting two Tricyrtis last year and I don't think either came back, I'll have to enjoy yours instead.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Roger ... think you're right. lol

Hi Patsi, I was so curious about that red plastic. Must not have impressed your hubby, in that he's back to using black?

Hi Catherine, "Proper placement" (and finding it!) makes the world of difference, doesn't it? I moved a Hakuru Nishiki dappled willow and it's growing like crazy now! :-)
I'm glad your tiarella responded!!

Rosemary said...

Great tips especially enjoyed the azalea and rhodo..

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Christine, I'm wondering how I missed your comments earlier...glad you could stop in to visit! :-)

Hi Rosemary, I'm going to print this post so I can "paste it in my book!" ;-) Hopefully you found something helpful.

joey said...

A BIG beautiful post, Shady. Great advice with lovely photos! Happy June gardening fun friend :)

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Joey, Thanks for your sweet compliment! :-) Happy June gardening to you, too!! (Are you getting more rain?)