The National Garden Bureau, the non-profit information and marketing arm of the gardening industry, has chosen the hydrangea shrub as one of this year's "Year of” honors.
For dramatic color and presentation in the garden, the hydrangea shrub is a real winner. While hydrangea are native to Asia and the Americas, the hydrangea was first cultivated in Japan. Many varieties are zone hardy and can be successfully grown in NW Wisconsin. Some varieties can be grown in pots.
The classic Bigleaf hydrangea likes early day sun and afternoon shade, they provide big bloom heads in a variety of colors from pink to blue dependent on the pH and minerals in your soil. Lowering the pH to acidic may be all that is needed to make the natural iron in the soil change a pink bloom to a blue. Use aluminum sulfate to change the pH but with care as too much can affect the foliage and surrounding plants. Endless Summer is a popular variety of Bigleaf hydrangea. Prune after blooming in late fall to control the size of the shrub. Where winters are harsh, pruning the stems to the ground may be advisable.
Where there is more intense sun and drier conditions the Annabelle variety, a Smooth hydrangea, will give you white to creamy, sometimes pinkish, flowers. This variety blooms on new growth so prune to ground or a few inches above in late fall or early spring to avoid leggy and drooping stems. The blooms on these plants can be so large and heavy they can be weighed to the ground or forced to the ground by heavy rain. I have used removable wire edging fence around the plant to help support the heavy blooms.
For a dramatic cold hardy variety with large cone shaped flower heads try Panicle. This variety grows tall on woody stems and can be shaped into a single stem small tree (best if purchased as a tree). Popular varieties are Vanilla Strawberry and Limelight. While some varieties of panicle can be pruned to the ground, for larger shrubs or tree shape, this variety should not be pruned to the ground except for unwanted, dead or diseased stems.
The Oakleaf variety is better suited to zone 5 and warmer climates. This variety can be grown in pots and wintered indoors in NW Wisconsin.
Hydrangea bloom from mid to late summer and into the fall. The bloom heads make wonderful additions to large bouquets of cut flowers or a bouquet by themselves. Some varieties also make wonderful dried flower bouquets. Cut the blooms at the peak of color as some color will be lost in the drying process.
For more information on hydrangea, check out:
Article by MGV Pam Davies
Photos by National Garden Bureau
Here's our next installment of Kids in the Garden! Did you know that you can compost with worms? It's called Vermicomposting and Master Gardener Volunteer Cheryl is here to teach you how she cares for her super composting worms. Her worms take food waste and newspaper and turn it into a super nutritious amendment for her garden soil.
I recently read On Flowers by Amy Merrick.
Amy Merrick is a rare and special kind of artist who uses flowers to help us see the familiar in a completely new way. Her gift is to revel in the unexpected—like a sunny spring arrangement housed in a paper coffee cup—and to overturn preconceptions, whether she’s transforming a bouquet of supermarket carnations into a breathtaking centerpiece or elevating wild and weedy blooms foraged from city sidewalks. She uses the beauty that is waiting to be discovered all around us—in leaves, branches, seedpods, a fallen blossom—to tell a story of time and place.
Merrick begins On Flowers with a primer containing all her hard-won secrets on the art of flower arranging, from selecting materials to mastering pleasing proportions. Then she brings readers along on her journey, with observations on flowers in New York City and at her family’s summer home in rural New Hampshire, working on a flower farm off the coast of Washington State, and studying ikebana in a jewel-box flower shop in Kyoto. We learn how to send flowers like a florist, and how to arrange them like a farm girl. We discover the poignancy in humble wildflowers, and also celebrate the luxury of fragrant blousy blooms. Collected here is an anthology of floral inspiration, a love letter to nature by an exceptional, accidental florist.
Amy shares bouquet ideas. She helps you pick out the perfect vessel to display your bouquet. She encourages you to get creative with what kind of plants and flowers to add to your bouquet.
Amy is full of positive energy and this read will have you smiling.
Take a break, sit in the garden, pour some ice tea and enjoy paging this delightful book.
Reprinted from the Spooner Agricultural Research StationFacebook page.
Have you been out to enjoy our Teaching & Display Garden? Station staff and Master Gardener Volunteers work tirelessly every year to bring you this beautiful garden to visit and learn from. In this video, Kevin Schoessow takes you on an aerial tour of what it looks light right now. You will see some familiar beds and catch up on what's new this year. As always, our garden is open for self-guided tours at any time. We just ask that you follow proper social distancing and keep your group small so that all may feel safe while enjoying the garden.
For the Love of Sweet peas!
Sweet peas are one of my very favorite flowers to use in fresh cut bouquets. The fragrance of a sweet pea is amazing. They look like a butterfly in a bouquet.
Here are a few tips regarding growing your sweet peas.
It is very important to help your sweet peas climb. Have some sort of a structure to help them climb.
Another fantastic trick is using paper twists to help hold the plant in place as it climbs up.
You can see my simple white paper twist on my birch pole, helping train that vine to climb up.
I have sweet peas climbing along side a wall. In this photo you will see I have used fence posts, twine and my paper twists to help train the sweet peas to climb.
The paper twist trick as helped me train sweet peas, rewarding me with lovely long stem blooms to use in bouquets.
Remember the more you pick sweet pea the more they will bloom.
You are invited to a Zoom program.
When: June 17, 2020 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Composting is where it all begins. Learn the basics of composting to enrich your soil to benefit the plants you nurture whether they are flowers or vegetables. The program will cover the benefits of composting, ingredients for a compost pile, the types of compost bins, and how to use the finished compost.
The National Garden Bureau, the non-profit information and marketing arm of the gardening industry, has chosen the iris as one of this year's "Year of” honors .
For ease of growing, zone hardiness, and strikingly dramatic color in the garden in late spring, you can’t go wrong with iris. Named for the Greek goddess of rainbows, the variety and color of blooms is vast with up to 300 varieties in propagation.
Bearded, beardless and Dutch irises are the three main types of iris. My favorite is the old fashioned standard beardless iris my grandmother grew from which my yellow irises originated. But I also love my bearded white irises and of course the violets to deep purples of the Dutch type Russian and Siberian irises.
Bearded and beardless Irises grow from rhizomes planted just below the surface, barely covered by soil. Plant in the fall for a good chance at spring blooms. Old rhizomes will sprout new rhizomes from which new plants and blooms will grow. When iris become too densely packed, dig them up, break the new rhizomes off the old and discard the old. You can trim back both the foliage and the roots to about 3 inches or so for easy handling and replanting. Replant the new and expect blooming the next spring.
Irises likes full sun to part shade. Plant in well-drained soil. Examine your plants mid-summer to early fall for any sign of iris borers. Withered and premature yellowing of the plants may indicate infestation. I press down on the rhizomes to check for softness. Rhizomes should be firm to the touch. If soft rhizomes are detected, it is best to dig up the plant and discard it checking adjacent plants for signs of softness. If just the old rhizome is affected, break off new rhizomes and replant those.
For more information on how to grow irises, the varieties available and the amazing range of colors, check out:
Article by MGV Pam Davies, photos by National Garden Bureau
While in-person programming is not possible, we are offering short videos on Horticulture topics. There will be topics using the the Spooner Agricultural Research Station as a backdrop and other short videos on garden subjects.
Our Kids in the Garden summer series for kids will have a different look this summer. We plan to release educational gardening videos for kids (and adults too!) regularly throughout the summer of 2020. Follow along and please DO try these at home!
You can access the listing of videos on our Video page or go to the main menu and hover over "Blog" to find the video page. Access to this page can be found on our home page.
UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Roseann Meixelsperger provides information on Hummingbirds.
Kevin Schoessow, UW Extension Area Agriculture Development Educator provides a short video on growing garlic.
Subscribe to this blog and receive new posts in your email!!
Use the link below and follow the instructions. You will be asked to verify your subscription. If you do not receive the verification email, look for it in your spam folder.
|North Country MGV||
Make an entrance