Sunday, June 24, 2012

JCHC Garden Tonight

Watered today...

 Liatris is now blooming!

As well as Clematis 'City of Lyon' (or 'Ville de Lyon) and Coreopsis 'Full Moon' below:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dear Iris - Heuchera

Did someone say ‘Heuchera?’  Do I say ‘gesundheit?’


 By KATHY TOLLENAERE, Master Gardener | Jun 21, 2012

The genus Heuchera (pronounced hoo-ker-a) of the family Saxifragacea contains at least 50 native species. These are an herbaceous perennial native to North America commonly called coral bells or alumroot. Plants you find in nurseries will most predictably be modern cultivars. Depending upon the individual variety, coral bells will thrive in zones 3 through 9.
Since the mid-1990s an “explosion” of sorts has occurred with regard to the development of new hybrid varieties. You can find hybrids with varying leaf size, shape, and color as well as flower stems varying in heights (up to 2.5 inches) and blossom color of white, pink, salmon, coral, or red bell-shaped flowers. You might enjoy a trip to an area nursery as well as a search on-line to view the variety of hybrids available. Most plants would be best suited to either the front of the garden or just behind it.

Generally, coral bells do best in light shade or dappled shade, at least during the hottest part of the day. Planting in full sun runs the risk that the foliage may discolor by scorching or die back during very hot spells in the summer. Most of my coral bells receive direct sunlight for up to four hours in the afternoon with dappled shade at other times. I have placed other plants in conditions receiving only dappled shade with very little direct sunlight. As a contrast, however, I’ve given “Green Spice” an especially large challenge, as once the deciduous oak tree leaves appear, it never sees sunlight. It doesn’t flourish as it would under better conditions, but it has continued to do fairly well during the past eight years, and it offers a nice contrast in foliage to the surrounding plants.

For the most part, Heuchera desire well-drained, neutral to rich soil. They do, however, tolerate many soil types. Plants in rich soil will be quite different looking – taller, and lusher, than they would in leaner soil. Under ideal and/or good conditions, these plants have few disease or pest problems. A problem I have experienced is “frost heave,” resulting in a plant that has been forced out of the soil when spring arrives. My answer to that problem seems to have been resolved by either of two solutions: 1) Adding additional soil and leaf mulch in the autumn, or 2) Adding additional soil and replanting in early spring.
Remove the old, unattractive leaves in the spring to encourage new growth. Deadheading (removing) spent flowers and their stalks encourages re-blooming over the course of the summer. Re-blooming is always a pleasant bonus!
Heuchera are truly quite complimentary plants. I do recommend your research and purchase. They don’t take much room! For “richness” in appearance, a gardening approach might be to plant several plants together. I would also suggest not only planting several of one variety, but also to plant different varieties together as a contrast in both leaf and flower. If planted as an “edger,” that is, a row of them at the front edge of your flowerbed, they are quite effective.
Heuchera is not the sound of a sneeze, but I’d accept your “Gesundheit!” any day!

Kathy Tollenaere is a Master Gardener.

A Garden Walk in Washington, IA

Sunday, July 8, 2012 from 1:30 to 5:00 P.M.

(Actually, this is part of my own backyard...)

Five gardens:
Shirley Steele 609 South 3rd Avenue
Gary and Jeanne (Prochaska)Kos  615 West Adams Street
C.J. (Griff) and Vivian Griffith  1512 North 3rd Avenue
Steve and Tammy Roth  914 South Iowa Aavenue
Sunset Park Flower Beds and Log Home Tour

Price $8.00

Tickets may be purchased at any of the five gardens
or in advance at the two shops below:

Wolf Floral - 105 West Washington
Jaz It Up - 121 West Washington

All proceeds for restoration of the DAR Alexander Young Log House

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Garden Tour - Check It Out!

ISU Extension Linn County Master Gardener Garden Walk - Cedar Rapids/Marion, Iowa

Saturday, June 23, 2012 from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
 $5 per adult or $10 per family
Explore 5 diverse Linn County Master Gardener gardens that will inspire you with ideas you can apply to your own garden or landscape or simply provide you the opportunity to tour beautiful private gardens.  Gardens will include ornamental grasses, conifers, vegetables, perennials, containers, rain gardens, raised beds & will range from a facility garden to an acreage garden.  You will also see ideas for landscaping even the most difficult of terrains.   Master Gardeners will be at all of the gardens to answer your horticulture-related questions.

There are Five Gardens, for your inspiration and enjoyment, on the tour.  You may begin at any garden and proceed from there.  Grab some friends and have a Wonderful Day!