Horticulture Report: Winter Flowers

Mid-Winter MadnessErica carnea…..Winter Heath

A dwarf evergreen shrub native to the European Alps which persist even under the snow. It often blooms at Christmas (“Winter Beauty”). Flowers are borne individually on the stem in masses of bell-shaped blossoms. Colors range from creamy white, rich pink, to deep ruby red (“ Ruby Glow”). Plant in well drained humus-rich soil. It needs partial shade in hotter areas. Prune yearly to prevent “legginess”.
Height 12-18”, spreading to 3 feet, so give it room.  USDA Hardiness Zone: 2 to 10

“They are adorable, these clumps of winter heather. Actually they seem to welcome the snow, for it enhances their sweet complexions.” Beverley Nichols, Down the Garden Path

Grandpa Ott’s Morning Glory

Ipomoea purpurea  (Grandpa Ott’s Morning Glory)

Plant Type: Annual (twinning vine)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sowing Method: Direct sow seeds in spring (first soak seed in warm water for 24 hrs, then nick the seed)
Bloom Time: Summer until frost – 12 weeks
Flower: Royal purple trumpet with deep pink “star”.
Plant Height: 13-15 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Soil: Average well drained soil
Attributes: Attracts Humming Birds, Hardy, Easy to Grow, Re-seeds freely, Covers fence or trellis in a profusion of lovely flowers.
USDA Zones: 3-10

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California Giant Zinnia

             Zinnia elegans (California Giant Zinnia)  
California Giant Zinnia

California Giant Zinnia

Plant Type: Annual
Bloom Time: Early Summer to Frost
Flowers: Large 4” – 5” Double Flowers
Plant Height: 30” – 48” tall
Vibrant Mixed Colors: Orange, Red, Yellow, White, Cherry, Pink, Scarlet, Purple
Exposure: Full sun
Soil: Loamy – Well Drained
Attributes: Excellent Cut Flower, Easy to Grow, Long Lasting, Attracts Humming Birds & Butterflies, Drought Tolerant, Very Showy especially in mass plantings, Terrific for Drying.
USDA Zone: All

 

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Submitted by: Carlotta Lucas

Water-Wise Gardening

Russian sageThe City of Ashland has created an informational  website to help reduce water usage in yards & gardens.

Click here to visit the site:
Water Wise Landscaping in Ashland

Once you’re at the website click the tabs located at the top of the page to view the following features.

Start with Garden Resources which is the gateway to the site. There you will find the table of contents: Getting Started, Irrigation, Design and Maintenance.

Garden Tours & Garden Gallery showcase local properties and supplies the viewer with visual examples of water-wise plantings.  Within each photo there is a white box; click the box to obtain detailed information regarding the plant.

The Plants is organized by Firewise,  Lawn Alternatives, Drought Tolerant Plants, Ornamental Grass, Deer Resistant Plants, Screens & Hedges. Each category presentsa list of plant suggestions. You can also search for plants based on: plant type, size, color, sun requirements, soil type and blooming season.

The Watering Guide provides watering guidelines, watering tips and common irrigation challenges.

This well designed site contains vast amounts of plant information, check it out and be inspired!

by:Carlotta Lucas

5 W’s for Fertilizing

                                                                    Article by Kelly Brainard, Owner Ashland Greenhouse

“There are always so many questions about fertilizing.  I would like to go over some of the basics, especially since early spring can be a key time for taking care of fertilizing needs. Always ask yourself:
The type of plant you are focusing on (perennials, annuals, vegetables, ect).
What type of fertilizer to use based on season and the plant(s) you’re fertilizing.
When do you apply fertilizer?  Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter?
Where is the best place to apply fertilizers?  Topically or to the root zone?
Why is this necessary?  What are the benefits of fertilizing?

Since we could write a book on everything mentioned above let’s keep it brief and relevant to what we should focus on in early spring.  This is a great time of year to focus on perennials.  Most perennials prefer a well-balanced or all-purpose fertilizer (all three numbers on the packaging are identical, i.e. 3-3-3 or 16-16-16).  Perennials fed in early spring develop strong root systems which in turn produces larger, healthier plants.  Apply granular fertilizers to the soil around the root zone.

For annuals that are tough enough to be outside early and continue blooming throughout the summer, like petunias and verbena, apply well balanced or slightly higher nitrogen fertilizers. This gives them an extra boost, encouraging growth.  You can successfully use either a granular or foliar fertilizer.  Foliar fertilizers tend to react faster than granules since they are taken up by the plant through the leaves but need re-application more often.  For annuals I like to use granular fertilizer applications in the spring and start using weekly or biweekly applications of liquid fertilizer in the summer. Remember as a rule of thumb – ALWAYS apply fertilizers in the morning. It is less stressful for the plants.

Vegetables are a completely different beast when it comes to fertilizing.  There are numerous techniques when it comes to fertilizing your vegetables.  If it’s grown for leafy greens then apply fertilizers heavier in nitrogen. If it’s grown for the fruit apply fertilizers heavier in phosphorous.  Nitrogen promotes healthy, green foliage and too much of it can discourage fruit development while phosphorous promotes bud and flower growth which encourages more fruit.

When in doubt about fertilizing don’t hesitate to ask a fellow gardener. Some of the best advice is the advice that we share with each other!”

Source: http://AshlandGreenhouses_April2014Newsletter