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Rose Planting Time (Maybe) - February 27th




Many stores in the area either have roses in stock or will have them in stock soon.  Some box stores have had roses on display for several roses.  Stores that have rose inventory naturally say go ahead and plant.  Roses in pots ready to plant or bareroot roses not showing new growth are fine to plant now.  If the plant is showing tender new growth you had better think twice before planting.

If the plant has new growth beginning to show even a light frost will burn and kill that new growth and likely damage the plant. A cool wind will also damage or kill the new growth and may burn the tips of limbs.

Personally, I would not plant a rose that was showing new growth before I was sure there would not be a late frost.  This means I would not plant before very late April or early May.  Mother Nature can be fickle in central Virginia.

Now, on the other hand, if there was a particular variety or pretty rose that I wanted I would buy it early and bring it home and keep it protected until I thought it was safe to plant out.  The best plants sell out early.

There are a number of things to consider when buying a rose.  Do you want a climber, fragrance, lots of bloom, bloom size or a compact plant?  Here is a list of the different roses and some basic differences to help you choose the type that fits your garden needs.

CLIMBERS: Vigorous, sprawling plants that are usually supported by an arbor, fence or trellis in order to remain upright.

FLORIBUNDAS: Free-bloomers that flower heavily.  Flowers usually appear in large clusters.  One of the best roses for landscaping.

GRANDIFLORAS: Vigorous bushes that produce large nicely formed flowers usually in clusters rather than one to a stem.  ‘Queen Elizabeth’ is a classic example.

HYBRID TEA: The most popular type of rose bush.  Produces beautiful long-stemmed flowers that are ideal for cutting.

MINATURE: Small in leaf and stature.  Big in the amount of bloom.  May grow anywhere from 4 to 36 inches high but make great landscape plants.  They are great in edgings or in containers.

OLD GARDEN AND SPECIES ROSES (ANTIQUE ROSES): A huge group of roses that vary in plant habit and flower type.  Many of them bloom only once a year.  Many have fragrant and/or uniquely formed flowers.

POLYANTHAS: Small, compact shrubs producing large clusters of flowers.  Good landscape plants.

By picking the right plant for your location and need you should get many years of enjoyment out of your rose.  Plant in a sunny location in well drained soil, water though the first growing season, add a little fertilizer and your plant should be happy.

As always if you need help or have questions and the personnel at the store where you are buying cant answer your questions satisfactorily, BUY SOMEWHERE ELSE.

Hydrangeas: Plant-Grow-Prune February 1st, 2019



This blog may be a little ahead of the season, but I recently got in a discussion with some ladies concerning their hydrangeas.  Most of it concerned their hydrangeas not blooming.  There are a lot of reasons why the plants did not bloom at all or only bloomed lightly.  I will get into this problem a little later.

Hydrangeas can be beautiful plants and may be used in many different ways.  They do well in containers, make excellent border plants and can be used as a single planting for a focus point.  Nothing is prettier than a hydrangea in full bloom.

Much of the research I saw talked about how easy they are to grow and how well they perform. Maybe that I am the wrong one to write this article because I have never had good luck with them.  I am going to try a couple this summer and see if they do better for me this time around.

Hydrangeas tend to do best planted in rich porous, somewhat moist soil.  Most prefer full morning sun with partial afternoon shade.  Big leaf hydrangeas tend to do well even in all day light shade.

There are several different kinds of hydrangeas.  I am not going to get into all the botanical names here.  I think for the purpose of this article all we need to look at is the fact that some types bloom on old wood and some bloom on new wood.  If your plant is very old it likely blooms on old wood, but not necessarily.

Pruning hydrangeas can be confusing.  The most common varieties are the bigleaf hydrangeas and oakleaf varieties.  These bloom on the previous stems or old wood.  Flower buds form in late summer and bloom the following spring.  They should not be pruned after August 1.

If you have a plant that’s old, damaged or has been neglected prune it all the way to the base.  You will miss next seasons bloom but that’s a start to rejuvenate the plant for future enjoyment.

Plants that bloom on new wood should be pruned hard on a yearly basis.  Make sure you prune before the new flower buds are formed.

Hydrangeas benefit from fertilization once or twice in the spring.  Being heavy bloomers mean they need plenty of food.  Remember, blooming to a plant is akin to childbirth to a woman.

Established plants should not need to be watered.  The roots are deep enough and spread out enough that they can obtain enough water out of the soil.

A large hydrangea in full bloom can hold a tremendous amount of water in a heavy rain.  It may hold several gallons of water.  This causes the plants to bend and sometimes they don’t come back during that season.

Some blue or pink hydrangeas can be made to change color.  The variety nikko blue being a good example.  If its blue and you want to change it to pink simply apply lime around the roots and it will soon change to pink.  If its pink you can make it turn blue by adding an acid forming product to the soil.  Not all pinks or blues will change colors but there are several that will.  That information should be on the plant tag.

The most common reasons for hydrangeas not blooming are to much sun or to much shade, incorrect pruning or plain old neglect.  The last being the hardest to correct.  Also, remember that plants have a life span just as you and I do.  A 20 to 30 year old hydrangea, that’s been neglected is going to be very difficult to restore to full glory.

I hope this helps a little.  A full discussion on hydrangeas would take a lot more time and space than I have here.

If you have questions on other subjects I would love to hear from you.


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Plant of the Week - Liberty Holly

Liberty Holly 

Liberty Holly

Dense, evergreen shrub with dark lustrous green, deeply serrated leaves that are set along dark stems. In the fall, clusters of bright red berries decorate the foliage. Use in mass plantings or as a hedge to add interest to the landscape.

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