Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fall Blooming Plants Early This Year

I've noticed a trend in my garden this year.  Due to a warmer, wetter spring everything has been really early.  My fall blooming plants are already blooming, and quite a few of my summer plants are done.  Blooming in my garden right now are black eyed susan, obedience plant, and hibiscus.  I wonder what's going to be left in fall?  I hope my monkshood and my fall blooming crocus don't start blooming soon, or I'll have nothing to look forward to.

Monday, July 26, 2010

All Is Not Lost

If you have read my blog or are a fan of my Facebook page, you know that I recently had a very large hail storm go through my gardens.  Hail is the kryptonite to my hosta's superman.  It's hard to look around the garden and see all the damage the hail has caused.  The hail, which was about 2" in size, also sent leaves and branches flying everywhere which caused even more damage.  I threatened my husband that I was so distraught by all the damage I was going to move out to the Oregon coast for the rest of the summer.

However, before I jumped the next airplane to Oregon, I am reminded that plants are very resilient.  If I really look around I realized that all is not lost. My hostas may not look well for the rest of the season, but some plants took a beating and just kept on going.  The wildlife doesn't seem to care about the huge holes in my plants, finches are in abundance along with bees, butterflies, sparrows, spiders, robins, and, of course, chipmunks.  It wasn't like I was going to be having any garden walks any more this year.  What was I so distraught over?  Heck, if I unfocus my eyes the hostas even look whole again.
The old door from my grandma's house

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What to do about hail damage on hostas

If you have been following my Facebook page, Twitter, or blog this week you know that Wednesday we were hit with a very large hail storm.  I wasn't home at the time, and when I returned an hour after the storm had passed I still had 2" hail stones all over my yard.  Many of my hostas were shredded, like the one below.  This one is in a very protected area, but because of straight-line winds the hail, leaves, and branches damaged it.
So what do you do with hostas that are hail damaged?  The first thing is to keep them watered well.  Because of their lack of leaves, they are more apt to dry out.  Hostas are usually building up their energy this year for their leaves next season.  So it's important to keep them healthy even if they don't look their best.  Next, what to do with the leaves?  If it's earlier in the season, you can pretty much remove all of the damaged leaves and a new flush of leaves will reappear.  Later in the season it's better to keep the damaged leaves on the plant.  You could remove a couple really badly damaged leaves, but make sure to keep enough leaves on to feed the roots.  Next year your hostas will come back, hopefully bigger and better.

Planter before hail

Planter after hail                                          

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Slug & Earwig Control

It's been a very wet summer here in Wisconsin. With all the moisture my worst garden enemies have found their way into my garden. Who are my worst enemies in the shade garden? Slugs and earwigs. Eeverything is so wet and it rains practically every day, there is really no good way to control them this year. So what are some ways to control slugs and earwigs?

non-chemical - 1. You can put shallow dishes of beer in the soil, which you will have to empty in the morning. 2. Some claim that copper tape keeps slugs off of hostas. 3. You can go outside at night with a flashlight and find them, throwing them in ammonia or smashing them (I like to feed them to my pond fish)..  4.You can spray a 10% ammonia 90% water solution on your hostas on and on slugs.

Chemical- You can use sluggo, which is supposed to be safe with children and pets.

non-chemical - earwigs are hard to get rid of in the garden. 1. You can do things like bury old hoses or rolled up damp newspaper, and in the morning you will find all kinds of earwigs which you can shake into soapy dish water to kill.    2. You can pick them off your plants at night and throw them into soapy water.

Chemical- 1. I have used a solution called Monterey Insect spray in the past. It contains spinosad, which is a naturally accuring chemical. However it is known to be harmful to bees, so either don't use it or be very careful to spray while bees are not around.   2. I have not used Sluggo Plus or Sevin, but either of these products is also supposed to work with earwigs.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Juneau, Alaska warmer climate than Wisconsin?

I was very surprised last week when I visited Glacier Gardens in Juneau, Alaska. Japanese maples in the garden, in Alaska? Japanese maples are marginal plants here in Wisconsin, so I didn't expect to see them in Alaska. Yet here they were. So here I was in Juneau, Alaska standing in the midst of a rain forest surround by upside down trees with beautiful gardens built into their old roots.
One of the women working in the greenhouse was originally from the Southern Wisconsin area.  I asked her about how the winters in Juneau compared to Wisconsin winters.  She said that the winters were milder in Juneau.  Another worker told me that they received more rain than they did snow in winter.  He said they might receive an average of 100 inches of snow each winter, but most of the snow was washed away in the rain within a day or two.  He told me they could grow plants in zone 3-6.

We left Glacier Gardens that day, and we drove about 8 miles down the road to Tongass National Park. What's in Tongass National Park?  The Mendenhall Glacier.  From rain forest to glacier in only a few miles, how cool is that?
I certainly had thoughts of moving to Juneau after learning of their warmer climate.  Just not sure if I could deal with the 50-90 inches of rain yearly, or the fact that Juneau is land locked.  Our bus driver told us that they only way to get to Juneau was by boat, plane, or birth canal.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Seed GROW Project July Update

My nasturtiums are getting bigger.  No blooms just yet.  The red things you see in the background are actually my first tomatoes from my garden.  I just returned yesterday from 12 days in Alaska.  It was beautiful there, sometimes I had to pinch myself to remind me that everything around me was real.  The photo below was taken outside of a lodge near Mt McKinnley.  I was there right after summer solstice, so they had almost 24 hours of sunlight.  Combine that with cooler weather (60-70's) and they grow some very large plants in a very short amount of time.  I would ask what certain plants were, only to find out they were the same thing I had in my own garden...only super sized!
"I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project. Thanks, to Renee's Garden for the seeds."