Climbing roses will give your garden a unique flair

David Austin Rose Gardens at Sennan Osaka Pref. Japan in Spring 2013
David Austin Rose Gardens at Sennan Osaka Pref. Japan in Spring 2013
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Tall growing, summer flowering Delphinium are easy to grow


If you are looking for a classic perennial flower to give your garden lots of wonderful color, a little height, and long lasting flowers during the summer, then I have the perfect plant for you --the delphinium. The delphinium is a must, if you're planning a country or cottage style perennial garden for your yard this year. If you want cut flowers from your garden, than this plant is the king of all tall-growing perennials and will outlast most cut flowers in your home. If I was to choose one word to describe the delphinium, it would be "glamorous."


Delphiniums will grow best where the summer months are moist; cool to warm temperatures but not hot like the southern part of the country, and where the winters are cold so the plant can go dormant and rest. The plants will grow best when planted in a garden with full sun to a bit of light shade at the end of the day. This plant needs room to grow so when you plant it in your garden, give it two to three feet of growing area in your garden.


Let's start with the soil, because the better the soil is, the larger and more productive the plant will be. Delphiniums prefer a rich, moist, and well-drained soil and will not tolerate heavy clay type soils. If your garden soil is just "soil," you will have to condition it before planting with compost, animal manure, or peat moss or the plant will not thrive! If your soil is on the sandy side or has clay in it, you can repair it to grow this wonderful perennial and your efforts will pay off. Lots of organic matter and garden gypsum  will make any soil ready to grow this plant. A sweet soil will make for a better plant, so add lime or wood ash every spring or fall to keep the soil from getting too acidic.


Delphiniums can be planted in your garden from spring to fall if container grown. They can be transplanted from your garden easily or established plants can be divided in the spring of the year while the plants are still small and the weather is cool. I have not had good luck moving plants in the fall season here in Northern New England because the plants do not have enough time to get established in the garden before the cold weather arrives . A two-inch layer of compost or bark mulch on the garden around the plant helps with hot dry summer's weather to keep the roots cool and moist. This layer of organic matter also helps to keep out weeds and protects the roots during winters that are real cold and when little snow cover is there to protect the plant.


Delphiniums are heavy feeders, so be sure to add compost and animal manure when you plant, and apply around the plant each spring to promote strong growth. I also suggest that you apply Soil Moist granules in the hole when planting, to help hold extra moisture during hot summers. To speed up root development, use a fertilizer that has mycorrhizae when planting, such as Bio-Tone or Ferti-Lome flower garden fertilizer. Once the plant is established, use either of these products in the spring and again in early September to keep plants well fed and strong. If you planted new seedlings or transplants, use the new "Protolizer by Natural Alternative fertilizer every month to develop strong roots.


The reason I have been promoting strong roots is because of the size of the plant and its flowers. The foliage part of the plant will grow 2 to 3 feet wide and just as tall. The flowers will grow on long stems on top of the foliage that will reach 5 to 7 feet tall, so you will need strong roots to support the plant. The plant cannot always hold the large flower spikes by itself, so be prepared to stake the flower stems as they develop. If your garden is near a fence or side of the house it will help protect the plant from strong winds but if in the middle of your garden in an open area you will have to stake some of the taller flower stems or cut them to put into a tall vase for the kitchen table. Did you know that if you cut off the faded flowers or pick flowers from the plant just above the foliage it will re-bloom for you? What will happen is new foliage growth will develop at the base of the plant and in just a few weeks' new flowers will form as long as you remove the old stem right to the ground as the new foliage forms.


The foliage of the delphinium is deep green, resembles a little bit the maple tree leaf, and grows 2 to 4 inches in diameter. The leaves grow up the stem until the flowers begin to form, and each stem made by the plant will make flowers. The flower stem is a tall growing, like a spike or spire covered with individual 1 to 1.5 inch rounded blossoms that are two-toned. Each flower also has a spur in the back of the bloom for added character, and this flower develops off the main central stem from a 2 inch stem.

The plant forms all the buds on these tall stems all at once but opens them from the bottom first and slowly moves to the top. The flower stem resembles a rocket with a 4 to 6 inch base of open flowers, while the tip of the budded stem is almost pointed and narrower before the flowers open up. The flowers will last on the plant for 3 to 4 weeks, and longer if the summer is cool. The flower colors range from shades of blue, lavender, magenta, purple, pink, and white. The flower is unique because each flower has a flower in a flower--and the inner flower is usually a contrasting color; this is called a "bee." This flower is filled with nectar, and butterflies and humming birds love it and will be attracted to your garden.


Delphiniums look wonderful as individual specimen plants in your perennial garden or in mass plantings. Just remember that they grow tall, so plant them in the back of your garden or flower bed. To help hold large plant together I use peony hoops to support the plant and its flowers. If you check with your local garden center or nursery, they can help you select from the many new hybrids plant varieties that will grow shorter in height. The Pacific hybrids will grow 4 to 5 feet tall, have huge double and semi-double flowers on them, and come in many colors. Century hybrids grow just as tall--4 to 5 feet--but the flowers are smaller and more delicate looking. There are some smaller varieties growing to 3 feet. Also look for the Blackmore and Langdon hybrids with extremely large flowers and mixed colors.


To avoid disease problems when growing the delphinium, give the plant plenty of room to grow and prevent overcrowding in the garden. Good air circulation around the plant will prevent possible disease problems and NEVER water the plant from above the foliage. If you had disease problems with this plant in the past, do not plant new ones in the same area, as the fungus problem can stay active for up to 3 to 5 years in your garden. If disease problems develop on the plant, use Serenade organic fungicide to control the problem.


If you have leaf miners or borers in the stems, use Bayer Tree and Shrub insecticide to cure the problem and if caterpillars find the plant, use Captain Jack by Bonide, an organic insecticide, to control them. This is a wonderful plant and every garden should have this plant in it for spectacular summer color. Enjoy!!! 



Early summer flowering Evening Primrose 


One of my favorite perennials for a sunny flower garden is the evening primrose--and it's not even a member of the Primrose family, it's just the plant's name. I will always remember the first time I saw this plant because it started my love for gardening.

I was on my way home from the corner store with a loaf of bread for my mother when I noticed one of my neighbors working in her garden doing a bit of weeding. I went into her yard to say hello, when I noticed several large clumps of bright yellow flowers in her garden. I asked her the name of those flowers, told her how beautiful they were and remembered saying that my mom would like some for her garden, too.


We talked a bit about her garden, until I remembered that my mother was waiting for the loaf of bread, so I said goodbye and headed home. As we finished supper that night, there was a knock on the screen door and there was my neighbor with a container filled with evening primrose plants she had thinned out of the garden for my mother. She said to my mother, "Paul thought you would like some of my evening primroses for your garden, so I dug a few plants for you." My mother had a big smile on her face, and soon the three of us were in the garden planting those evening primrose plants I had admired in the neighbor's garden.


Let me tell you about this plant, and why you should have it in your garden. Evening primroses are easy to grow and love the sun, but will also grow with a bit of light shade. The plants love a well-drained soil--even a soil on the sandy side will do. I will tell you that once they are established in your garden they will tolerate dry soil and are quite drought-tolerant. I have some plants in a garden bed where the soil is not very good and often gets snow dumped there with road salt and they do just fine--real tough plants. They will not tolerate wet spots at all, though; every time I planted them along the side of the house every plant near a gutter downspout quickly died.


Evening primroses, contrary to their name, flower during the day time, not at night, but I have been told that there are some varieties that do flower at night. These plants open up their buds at sunrise and close at sunset, each flower lasting only one day, but the plant will produce flowers for 6 to 8 weeks in a well-kept garden. The flower buds are 1 to 1.5 inches long, resemble a closed umbrella in shape--long, and narrow--and are a soft red. When the flower buds open, you're in for a real treat because the flower petals are bright yellow, look almost like silky sateen, with a bit of sheen to them and in the shape of the poppy flower. Each flower has 8 petals and the center is filled with bright yellow pollen sacs, making this 1 to 2 inch flower very unique looking.

The foliage of the evening primrose is lanced-shaped, 3 to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide, with a point on the tip of the leaf. The leaf closely resembles the leaf of the zinnia garden flower and it does have a bit of sheen to it as long as there is moisture in the soil; when the soil is dry the sheen fades.


The new growth will have a bit of red on the stems and foliage when it first develops. If you rub the mature leaf you will feel a slight fuzzy hair growth on it also. The plant will grow 12 to 24 inches tall, depending on your soil and available moisture. The plant will spread with its fibrous roots very easily, so it can be divided in the spring or fall for friends and family. The plant also starts new seedlings with the many seeds pods the flowers produce during the summer months. When you plant evening primroses in your garden, give them room to grow as they will spread from 1 to 2 feet wide.


The evening primrose is very hardy and will tolerate temperatures down to 30 degrees below zero. If you can apply a thin layer of bark mulch or compost on the garden bed 1 to 2 inches thick the plant can grow almost anywhere in the country. Your soil quality will determine the height of the plant and the amount of flowers on the plant during the summer, so prepare it properly before planting. If you can add compost, animal manure or peat moss with Soil Moist granules when conditioning the soil, your plants will thrive and the flowers will continue to develop from late June right through August.


Fertilize spring and fall with Flower-Tone or Pro-trust flower fertilizer. When the plant is in bloom fertilize every other week with Fertilome Blooming and Rooting Soluble Plant food 9-59-8 or Neptune's Harvest fish and seaweed fertilizer to encourage bigger and more flowers on the plant. The plant is drought tolerant but if the weather gets hot and dry watering weekly will help keep plant more productive and in constant flower.


Insect and disease problems are rare and the plant is usually pest and insect free all year long, a real plus. In the fall cut the foliage of the plant to the ground and if it's beginning to get out of control, dig up and remove what you do not want. Fall is also a great time to transplant or divide the plant for friends and family. Pick the seed pods from the plant in the fall and place them in a paper bag to dry. As the pods dry they will explode, ejecting the seeds, and the paper bag will catch the seeds. Scatter the seeds in open fields to create wildflowers living in the tall grasses. Honey bees and butterflies love the flowers and they will be drawn to the garden all summer long. Also some varieties of the evening primrose are fragrant.


Plant evening primroses in rock gardens or as perennial borders, use as edging along a walk way, as a ground cover in soils that are not rich or thick in depth, and in containers. If you have a sloping hillside and are having a problem with erosion, plant evening primroses every 18 inches and apply bark mulch 2 inches thick. In just a couple of years the plants will fill in the area and your hillside will not move again, and you have the bonus of yellow flowers all summer long. Don't forget they will tolerate road salt, so plant them along the road for a unique roadside garden flower.


The Latin name of this family of plants is Oenothera fruticosa--common sundrops, not to be confused with the common garden primrose called Primula. This is one of the reasons that all plants have both a Latin name and English name, to prevent confusion, as the same plant can have several common names depending on where you live.


Evening primroses have many new hybrids available today and your local garden center will have pink, white and yellow colors available in their perennial flower section or you can purchase seeds from seed catalogs or on the internet. Plant the seeds directly in the garden in the early spring, and most of the time they will flower the first year, even in infertile soil. You must try this plant. Enjoy!



75 Most beautiful british gardens
75 Most beautiful british gardens
Summer flowering Day Lilies get better every year

As the summer weather begins to warm up and the soil begins to dry out, is your perennial garden beginning to wither away and lose all of its early color? If you live in a town that always has a water ban, if your soil is on the sandy side and watering is a problem, then I have a great perennial plant for you...the daylily. Daylilies love the sun and because of thick fibrous roots that can store water for long periods, are the perfect drought resistant plant for you. Daylilies are so easy to grow that they are today one of the most popular plants to grow for summer color.


Daylilies are not true lilies and the flowering stem has no leaves. The flower stem is round, strong, smooth and tall, often raising the trumpet-like flowers well above the grass-like foliage. All the foliage is at the base of the plant and grows in the shape of a fan. This foliage is grass-like, growing 12 to 18 inches tall and less than an inch wide. It is deep green in color; the center of the leaf blade is pleated to create the perfect gutter-like system to catch and move rainfall directly to the base of the plant.


As the plant matures the fans of foliage will thicken and produce a thick clump of soft foliage that weeps over on its tip and sways back and forth with the slightest breeze. Each fan of foliage is capable of producing multiple stems of trumpet-shaped flowers from June to September, depending of the variety you select. Most varieties will bloom for a 4 to 6 week season, but there are new hybrids that will rebloom on and off for most of the summer. Each of these flower stems can produce 6 to 10 flower buds, with only one flower blooming at a time; as one flower fades a new bud will open, keeping the stem in bloom for many days. The flower stems develop at different times on the plant, creating an almost continuously flowering plant for many weeks. This truly amazing flower is shaped like a trumpet 3 to 6 inches in diameter.


The best growing daylilies live in a soil that is well conditioned with peat moss, animal manure, or compost before planting. This will keep the plant's roots growing evenly in a soil that is moist most of the time and allowing the plant to produce more flower buds during the summer season. I always add Soil Moist granules and use a fertilizer that contains Mycorrhizae when planting. Look for Bio-Tone made by Espoma or Dynamite slow release pellets. When the weather gets hot and dry be sure to water once a week for a very productive plant. The plant does love the sun but if the garden can get a bit of late day or midday shade for a couple of hours, the plants will flower longer during the season.


There is one garden task that all daylilies need, and that is to remove any seed pods that develop on the end of the flower stalks. When that stem is finished flowering, please remove it to the base of the fan of foliage. The seeds that are produced in these pods will not produce seeds that are the same color flower as the plant is. Also, if you allow the seeds to mature in the pod and the pod ripens and explodes scattering the seed in your garden, the new seedlings that develop will not be the same color and they could choke out the hybrids you were growing there.


If you have the wild orange daylilies growing near your garden, the bees can carry the pollen from the wild plant onto the hybrid growing in your garden. If this happens, the wild pollen is stronger than the hybrid and orange plants will develop, quickly choking out your hybrids. Most of the daylilies will drop the faded flowers without making a seed pod, so pick off the faded flowers or let them fall from the flower stem, but be sure to remove any seed pods that do develop.


If you want new plants, divide them in the early spring or in the fall of the year when they finish flowering. To make a new plant, divide the clump of foliage into single fans of foliage; each fan will make a new plant identical to the clump it originally came from.Space fans of foliage 12 to 18 inches apart; cut back the foliage by one third from the top and plant in a conditioned soil that you will keep moist for several weeks until you can see that the plant is well established. Cover the soil with 2 to 3 inches of bark mulch or compost to keep weeds out and the coil cool and to better hold water around the roots of the plant.


I think that most of us have seen the wild-growing orange daylilies growing on the side of the road. A lot of us have seen the dwarf yellow flowering hybrid daylily called 'Stella de Oro' planted in every parking lot where a big box store is located. This year look for the new varieties of hybrid daylilies at your local garden center; they com in every color but blue and true white. You will also find some double-flowering varieties, many two-tone varieties and even some that are fragrant. If you're worried about not finding what you're looking for in color, do not get worried, as there are over 40,000 cultivars to choose from and more new plants each year.


When you look for daylilies here are the four things you will need to know: 

Number one, there are three types of daylilies: the old fashioned daylilies, the hybrid daylilies called "tetraploid," with thicker, larger flowers in brighter colors that are stronger growing than the old fashioned daylilies. And the reblooming /recurrent types that bloom more than just the normal 4 to 6 weeks; they will flower all summer long.

Number two, daylilies bloom at different times of the year from June to September, so try to select early, midseason or late blooming varieties for continuous color in your garden. 

Number three, always ask for plants that are hardy for your planting zone when you order on line or the internet, as some varieties are better suited for heat and some for a colder climate. 

Number four, ask about the height of the plant and flowering stems. Example--dwarf plants will grow under a foot tall; low will grow 1 to 2 feet tall, medium 2 to 3 feet tall and tall over 3 feet tall.


Plant daylilies in perennial flower beds, along a walkway as a border plant, near spring-flowering bulb that will go dormant as their leaves turn brown in June, and they are wonderful when used in plantings on steep banks to replace grass that could be hard to mow. You will love daylilies because they have very few problems with insects or disease and because they grow so strong any damage on the plant is quickly replaced with new foliage in just a few weeks. Daylilies, especially the wild orange varieties, will do well when planted on the side of the road to control erosion problems and will tolerate road salt.


One last thing to know about daylilies is that they are loved by butterflies and hummingbirds, so place a hummingbird feeder in the garden and sit back to enjoy the show as these unique creatures dance in your flower garden this summer. Enjoy!



"Sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste."
William Shakespeare


Elton John's gardens with Rosemary Verey
Elton John's gardens
with Rosemary Verey



Frogmore Stew





Frogmore Stew


If you're looking for a fun meal this summer other than the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill consider this stew.  Your friends and family will love it and you can put it together in just 30 minutes.  A wonderful combination of seafood and vegetables you can eat with your hands.  Add a glass of wine or cold beer and sit back and enjoy the summer weather.




5 quarts of water

cup of Old Bay seasoning, found in the spice section of your supermarket

5 pounds of small red potatoes or cut large red potatoes in 2 inch pieces unpealed

6 large onions quartered

2 pounds of Kielbasa or hot smoked link sausage if you like a bit of heat, cut into 1 inch pieces

6 ears of fresh corn cut in half

4 pounds of unpealed and uncooked large shrimp.  If frozen thawed

Cocktail sauce, salt and pepper, melted butter and lots of napkins


Cooking Directions:


1} Bring the 5 quarts of water to a boil, and add cup of Old Bay seasoning to a rolling boil  in a large covered pot.


2} Add you potatoes and onions and return to a boil and cook, uncovered for 10 minutes.


3} Add you Sausage pieces and corn, and return to a boil.  Cook for 10 minutes until potatoes are tender.


4} Add you shrimp and mix with other ingredients and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink.  Drain if desired or save the broth for sipping its wonderful flavor and serve with Cocktail sauce and melted butter.  


5} If you want you can also add 1 pound of the small Bay Scallops or large Sea Scallops that have been quartered at the same time to add the shrimp to the pot.  (optional)  


6} If you have access to fresh live crabs, add one crab per person when you add the corn to the pot, (optional) Enjoy! 


Award Winning Roses
Award Winning Roses



Garden Journal

        Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.


Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95!  special!        Supplies are now limited!


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