Posted on April 23, 2016 by Gloria Ballard
I planted several transplants of foxgloves in a garden bed last year and they bloomed and grew well. I thought they were annuals and would die when winter came, and I was surprised to see that they have come back. What can you tell me about them?
Foxgloves, with their low-growing foliage and tall, dramatic flower spikes, are biennials, blooming in their second year, or short-lived perennials, according to the National Gardening Association. In a garden bed that contains foxgloves, the foliage begins to appear in spring, and by late spring or early summer they are usually ready to bloom. Continue reading
Filed under: Biennials, Shade garden | Tagged: Digitalis purpurea, flower spikes, foxgloves, shade gardens | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 16, 2016 by Gloria Ballard
I planted a perennial garden several years back. In the past two years, the Shasta daisies have spread and are taking over the whole garden. I have dug several up but the roots are numerous. Should I just spray them to kill them?
When you read comments about Shasta daisies on garden websites, it’s clear that gardeners either love them or hate them. Love them because these daisies (Leucanthemum, in botanical nomenclature) are easy to grow and bloom reliably year after year; hate them because they can be aggressive and can, indeed, muscle out plants that are more well-behaved.
Filed under: Perennials | Tagged: aggressive plants, Leucanthemum, Shasta daisy, summer flowers | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 9, 2016 by Gloria Ballard
The columbine that I planted about three years ago usually starts coming up in March, but it hasn’t started growing this year. Could something have killed it?
Although it self-seeds , columbine is a short-lived perennial.
Columbine (Aquilegia is the botanical name), with its lacy leaves and bell-shaped flowers, is a nice addition to spring gardens. It’s a relatively short-lived perennial, however, that owes any sense of longevity to a habit of prolific self-seeding. The original plant may last only two or three years. Continue reading
Filed under: Perennials, Spring flowers | Tagged: Aquilegia, Columbine, foliage, leaf miners, powdery mildew | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 1, 2016 by Gloria Ballard
Spring — however capricious it may be — has arrived, and it’s time to head back outdoors, keeping an eye on the weather. Gardeners in Middle Tennessee, Zone 7a, where The Garden Bench calls home, are anxious to get the season started. Warmer areas are already in full swing; if it’s cooler where you are, it’s getting close!
Here’s what’s on your garden to-do list for April. Continue reading
Filed under: Garden Tips & Tasks, Seasons, Spring gardening | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 26, 2016 by Gloria Ballard
This year I’d like to grow potatoes in our raised bed garden. Can the seed potatoes be planted this early in the spring?
Potatoes in bloom.
Growing your own potatoes is a good way to try varieties that you won’t find in the grocery store, but make sure you get the timing right. Potatoes that are planted in soil that is too wet and cold won’t grow, but if the likelihood of a hard freeze is no longer a danger in your area, then now is a good time to plant them. Continue reading
Filed under: Kitchen gardens, Planting and Growing, Vegetables | Tagged: blooming, Potatoes, raised beds, Solanum tuberosum, tubers | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 19, 2016 by Gloria Ballard
Last year I planted lemon verbena in a new herb garden because I loved the fragrance. I thought it was a perennial, but it seems to have died over the winter. Will it come back this year?
Lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora) is a tender perennial, which means it may survive a mild winter in some areas, but it will succumb to extended periods of below-freezing days and nights. The Herb Society of America notes that this herb is marginally hardy in Zone 8 – that’s where extreme minimum temperatures might be about 20 degrees, so you can see that it prefers warmer climates. It is native to Argentina, according to the HSA.
Even so, it’s worth adding to the garden for its delicate lemon fragrance and its culinary uses. Continue reading
Filed under: Herbs | Tagged: Lemon verbena, lemon-scented herbs, tender perennnial, USDA Hardiness Zone Map | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 12, 2016 by Gloria Ballard
I covered my daffodils in the fall with a heavy layer of pine straw. The leaves have come up but they are not budding or blooming. Is the pine straw too acidic for these plants?
After a long winter, we look forward to the daffodils blooming in spring, and it’s a disappointment when they don’t produce the flowers we expect.
The failure to bloom is not due to pine straw causing acid soil; daffodils – or jonquils, as we sometimes call them — tolerate a range of soil types, as long as it is well-drained and moderately fertile, and some varieties actually prefer slightly acid soil. A lot of garden experts suggest mulching daffodil beds with a light layer of pine straw. Small, early blooming daffodils may not be able to penetrate a thick layer of mulch.
So consider some of the other possible reasons daffodils don’t bloom: Continue reading
Filed under: Bulbs, Spring flowers | Tagged: bloom failure, blooms, Daffodils, dividing daffodils, fertilizer, pine straw mulch | Leave a comment »