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Climbing Wonders

 

Climbing Wonders

In the heat of the summer, here in the Midwest, many of the most beautiful, flowering garden vines are blooming their hearts out.  When I go out on the back deck, the Morning Glories (Ipomoea) are about to start opening their large trumpet shaped flowers, which will last until frost.  Morning Glories are native to Mexico, and were thought to have spirits by Native Americans.  The first one to become popular in modern times is ‘Heavenly Blue’. Some years ago, I planted ‘Heavenly Blue’ in one of my gardens.  Morning Glories reseed, and after a few years, I had pink, dark blue, purple and magenta flowers, coming up every year. Now seeds are available in all these colors, plus red, white and yellow, some with stripes.

Morning Glories are annuals that flower from early summer to frost.  Plant them in full sun, in any well drained, soil and keep the soil moist.  Soak the seeds for 8 hours, in ½-inch water, before planting.   Find a trellis, a fence, or a pole, to give them something to climb.

Hummingbirds and bees will be happy if you plant Morning Glories, but deer will not.

Clematis have been popular since 1862, when Clematis jackmanii, a purple flowering vine, was discovered in the Orient.  Since then several hundred varieties have been developed, with colors including blue, pink, white and deep red.  Most of them are single star shaped flowers, but some have gorgeous puffs, such as ‘Taiga’, a winner at the famous Chelsea Garden Show in 2017, with bright purple blue flowers, and centers of, white tipped petals that curve in.  ‘Rouge Cardinal’, another beauty, has 4 to 6 inch wide flowers of red with small white centers, and I even have one with small, blue, bells, ‘Roguchi’. Clematis is a perennial, and will come back every year on its own.  They range from 3 to 20 feet long, and can be trained along a fence, or trellis.  Plant in full sun, well-drained soil, with the crown 2 inches, below the surface.  Clematis are deer resistant.

Honeysuckles (Lonicera) are an old-fashioned favorite.  They have a strong, sweet fragrance, as well as beautiful, tube shaped flowers.  There are two kinds of Honeysuckle plants, shrubs and vines.  One of the shrubs, Lonicera japonica, has become invasive, around the world.  Vines, however, are not a problem, and there are some gorgeous varieties. The Coral Honeysuckle varieties are native plants.  The flowers are fan shaped, and face down.  ‘Major Wheeler’ is covered with red and gold flowers all summer long.  It grows 6 to 8 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide.  ‘Goldflame’ has bright rose buds that open to yellow flowers, on 10 to 15 foot tall, and 5 to 6 foot vines and ‘Scentsation’s flowers, are yellow and white, and are extremely fragrant. It gets 10 feet tall, and 6 feet wide. Honeysuckles are one of the humming bird’s favorite flowers, and are deer resistant. Plant in full sun, in well-drained soil.

Last, but the best, are climbing roses.  You do not often hear about climbing roses here in the US, but they are common in Britain. You may have seen them, clambering up  English cottages, in British TV shows, like Midsomer Murders, or Downten Abbey, but these roses would only bloom in spring.  Seventy years ago, an English rose breeder, named David Austin, began cross breeding these roses with Chinese roses that bloom all season. The results are spectacular.  Most range from 6 feet, up to 12 feet, but some are even taller. They have a classic English rose shape, with an outside layer of flat petals, and a thick, bowl shaped, packed center, you will not see in the US.  They come in every color, white, pink, peach, rose, yellow and red.  Most have a strong fragrance as well.  These roses have been available in America for many years. Just go online, or order a catalog.  Some of my favorites include, ‘Gertrude Jekyll’, pink, ‘Lady of Shalott’, peach, ‘Zepherine’ deep rose, ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, red. Plant with the crown at ground level, in a hole a little bit bigger then the plant.

For best results, with all garden plants, dig the hole, put a generous amount of Black Gold® Garden Soil in the bottom, then mix some more in the soil you are putting back into the hole.  Sprinkle with Osmacote on the top, and find a place to plant a climber.

 

About Teri Keith


Garden columnist, Teri Keith, has gardened for over 50 years in her home state of Indiana. She served as a longtime IGC nursery manager specializing in annuals and perennials in Bloomington, Indiana and still gardens with passion. Each year she plants and maintains over 50 flower containers, many gardens, and a large collection of lilacs.

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are a genus of woody perennial shrubs. The majority are small to medium-sized shrubs, and four species and their varieties have found their way into American gardens. Flower forms are variable: lacecap flowers are more or less flattened with small flowers in the center and larger flowers around the edge; mophead flowers are arranged in a dome shape; ball hydrangea flowers are arranges in large, showy balls, and panicle hydrangea flowers are arranged in closely packed pyramidal clusters. Hydrangeas are native to western Asia, South America and eastern and southeastern North America. Hydrangeas can tolerate all sorts of shade or sun conditions, but cannot withstand dry soil conditions.

Hydrangea paniculata (Panicle Hydrangea)

Panicle hydrangeas are virtually indestructible, always a plus in a family with small children or pets.  They are native to southern and eastern Asia. They can grow up to 8 feet, but are usually shorter.  Paniculata does well in full sun to partial shade and is hardy in zones 3-8.  The flowers are on cone-shaped panicles, up to 16 inches long, and they attract pollinators.  Prune the stems back to 6 inches tall in late winter or early spring. Here are some excellent varieties:

‘Moonrock®’ This gorgeous 5-6 foot tall shrub features creamy white flowers with lime green centers. Flowers in late summer but lasts through fall.

‘Firelight®’ This new, cold-hardy 6-foot hydrangea sports creamy white flowers on large panicles that bloom in summer then gradually turn pink in fall.

 

Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Oakleaf hydrangeas are hardy in Zone 5-8. They are an easy to grow shrub and are native to the southeastern United States. Their leaves resemble large oak leaves 4-12 inches long, hence the name.  Height varies from 3 feet to 8 feet.  They don’t need pruning other than removal of dead branches and blooms.  The large panicle flowers appear in May to July and stay on the plant until frost. They grow in full sun to part shade, tolerate heat and like moist, well drained soils.  They attract pollinators, but are not deer resistant. Some of the best varieties are:

‘Gatsby Pink’  has large pink blooms.  It is 6 feet to 8 feet tall and wide, so give it some room.

‘Ruby Slippers’ is a dwarf variety only 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide ‘Ruby Slippers’ made itself into our garden a few years ago.  It has 9 inch flowers that turn deep red, and is a fast growing quick blooming shrub.

Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea)

Smooth hydrangeas are native to the eastern United States.  They will grow in all soils including clay. Smooth hydrangeas like sun to part shade, have few pests and are hardy in zones 3-9.  They have a ball type flower form.  Prune to the ground in late winter. Here are a couple of outstanding varieties:

‘Incrediball’ has white balls up to 12 inches in diameter.  They are 5 feet tall and wide, are long bloomers and will grow rapidly, blooming the first year.

‘Invincibelle’ is a Proven Winner. it has hot pink flowers that fade to soft pink and is a rebloomer from early to late summer.  It is only 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.

 

Hydrangea macropylla (Bigleaf Hydrangea)

This is a native of Japan. Flowers are either mopheads or lacecaps (not both). Mopheads will remain attractive longer. Other than that, they have the same growth and care characteristics. Flower colors depend on soil pH. Soil pH below 6.0 yields bluish blooms; soil pH above 7.0 yields reds; soil pH between 6 and 7 yields blooms of bluish-pink. Hardy in Zones 6-9 and may grow up to 7 feet tall. Prune late fall to early spring by cutting branches back to the first large new bud. They do best in full sun to partial shade  and need moist but well drained soil. They do not attract pollinators, but most information sources consider them to be deer resistant. Here are some excellent varieties:

‘Big Daddy’ prefers full to partial shade. Enormous ball-shaped flowers up to 14 inches in diameter. Shrubs have a rounded appearance and grow 5-6 feet tall.

‘Masja” is a dwarf mophead hydrangea with flowers up to 6 inches in diameter. It blooms in mid to late summer. The flowers maintain their color for a long time, then turn a metallic hue. Leaves may turn reddish in fall. Perfect in containers too.

 

About Teri Keith


Garden columnist, Teri Keith, has gardened for over 50 years in her home state of Indiana. She served as a longtime IGC nursery manager specializing in annuals and perennials in Bloomington, Indiana and still gardens with passion. Each year she plants and maintains over 50 flower containers, many gardens, and a large collection of lilacs.

 

Summer Garden Tasks

by Mike Darcy

The spring season of 2022 will not go down the annals of ideal gardening weather here in the Pacific Northwest. We had record rain and cool, (cold), days and nights which delayed the typical planting season for many gardeners. Warm season vegetable crops like tomatoes, squash, beans, etc. were delayed until late May and early June. Many gardeners also delayed buying their hanging baskets and flowering annuals as well. While this cool and rainy weather put the garden season behind the usual schedule, it did not take long for plants to put on vigorous growth and now it appears that they are where they should be for July.

There are lots of tasks for July but most important is to enjoy your garden and don’t get overwhelmed.

With container gardening, keep in mind that potted plants will dry out much faster than if they were in the ground, Usually, daily watering is necessary especially for hanging baskets. Adding Black Gold Just Coir to the soil surface of pots will help to hold moisture. Also, check pots to be certain that they are draining adequately. I’ve found that drainage holes can get plugged and it may be necessary to take a piece of rebar or heavy wire to unplug them.

It is not too late to add some color to your garden. Most garden centers carry summer blooming annuals, and these can easily be potted in your own containers for some instant color. No one has to know that you just planted them! Be sure to use a potting soil that will help hold moisture. I like to use Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Mix, because with pumice or perlite, it will also ensure good aeration.

 

Dahlias will be coming into bloom this month and should continue through the fall or until there is a frost. Keep the flowers picked for continuous bloom. Earwigs seem to prefer dahlia flowers over many others and if you see the flower petals being eaten, that is probably a sure sign of earwig damage. Take a flower apart and you will probably see them. Control as necessary, always following label instructions. Dahlias need regular summer watering and if the soil constantly dries out quickly, add Black Gold Garden Compost Blend. Tall growing dahlias usually need to be staked

As the name suggests, Hydrangea is a moisture loving plant. While some can grow in a full sun location, I’ve found they do best with some afternoon shade. They are quick to wilt with lack of moisture, but also quick to bounce back. A mulch of Black Gold Just Coir, especially during the summer months would be beneficial.

Some of the smaller fruited tomatoes may be beginning to ripen. Be sure tomato plants have good drainage and adequate water. Tomatoes have an extensive root system so water them deeply. If they stress for water, they may drop the fruit. Plants often get very dense with growth, and it is a good idea to thin some of the branches and leaves to increase air circulation which can help prevent some diseases. While it is too late to plant tomatoes, if you did not get a spring vegetable garden planted, make plans for a fall one in mid-August. While the crops will vary from spring, there is much that can be planted for a fall harvest.

 

 

Take some time to enjoy your efforts. I like to have a walk through the garden in the early morning and just enjoy the peace and quiet. I have many plants that attract hummingbirds, and it is a delight to watch them in action. I have other plants for attracting bees and other insects as well as an assortment of birds and several sources of water for all. I strive to be respectful of our planet.

 

 

 

About Mike Darcy


Mike lives and gardens in a suburb of Portland, Oregon where he has resided since 1969. He grew in up Tucson, Arizona where he worked at a small retail nursery during his high school and college years. He received his formal education at the University of Arizona where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture, and though he values his formal education, he values his field-experience more. It is hard to beat the ‘hands on’ experience of actually gardening, visiting gardens, and sharing information with other gardeners. Mike has been involved with gardening communications throughout his adult life. In addition to garden writing, he has done television gardening shows in Portland, and for over 30 years he hosted a Saturday radio talk show in Portland. Now he writes, speaks, gardens and continues to share his love of gardening. To be connected to the gardening industry is a bonus in life for Mike. He has found gardeners to be among the friendliest and most caring, generous people. Consequently, many of his friends he has met through gardening.