Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bits and Pieces from the Garden

For most gardeners in the Northern Hemisphere January is a very slow month. For me it is exactly the opposite. The main chore is to deleave, prune and fertilize all the roses, but as wasn't that already enough for this amateur gardener, it is also a great month for planting new stuff. Planting new plants now gives them the advantage of settling into the ground during cooler temperatures and theoretically of being watered more sufficiently by our winter rains (if we would have any) than at any other time of the year.

Knowing that my gardening time is very limited I usually try to restrict myself and not buy too many new plants in January, but I couldn't resist this daylily even though I tried hard. I accidentally saw it at Home Depot and from far away I thought it was an amaryllis. Getting closer I realized that it was a daylily offered for a very good price, but I left it there.

A few days later I still couldn't get it out of my head and I started to do some research on it. I must have loved it already because I even could remember its name. My search revealed that 'Frosted Vintage Ruffles' is supposed to be a very good vigorous daylily, which reblooms and is fragrant. On the photos that I have found on the internet its color is also not as bright as the sale photo indicates, which is absolutely fine with me, since in general I prefer more muted colors. Daylilies are also supposed to be reasonably drought tolerant, which is another plus. So I thought paying $ 7.98 for three daylilies, usually you pay that for one plant here, what is there to loose and I went back a week later. They still had them so I thought it is meant to be and got it.

I haven't bought any bare root daylilies up to now and I was a little skeptical what I would find, when I opened the bag. But after carefully removing the plastic bag this it how the content looked. Gosh, the poor daylilies were already sprouting leaves! Really time to get them out!

Separating the roots from each other, there were really three very different sized plants in there.

I potted them up and fertilized them with two table spoons of organic rose fertilizer and watered them in with fish emulsion to give them a head start. I put them in a shady place to protect the pale leaves from our harsh sun (yes, even our winter sun can be quite strong) until they are acclimated.

Unfortunately I broke a lot of the new emerging leaves, even though I tried to be careful. But I hope the daylilies will survive that. I am very curious how my bare root daylilies will do. Have you ever grown bare root daylilies? How did they fare for you? Is anyone growing this particular daylily 'Frosted Vintage Ruffles' and is willing to share your experience with it? I would love to hear from you!

One morning a few weeks ago I woke up to this sight. A tumbleweed in our spa?! Yes, we had a storm, but still, how can that thing make it over our six feet fence? That was definitively a first and I felt reminded of a Western movie...

In the spa it looked relatively small, but when I got it out I was surprised how big the tumbleweed actually was. When you see it in relation to the stairs you might get a better idea of the proportion of it.

Looking at it closely you can see how thorny that thing is. I needed gloves to carry it into the trash bin. Quite fascinating how it defends itself against being eaten by any hungry critters. Even more fascinating is how tumbleweeds propagate themselves. The dead bushy part of the plant detaches itself from the roots and gets tumbled around by the wind. The seeds of the plant are still alive and they are distributed far away from the original location of the plant as the wind swirls the tumbleweed around.

A confused iris 'Platinum' is blooming in the winter time. Of course, I am not complaining!

In the center of the photo you see the Hybrid Tea rose 'Chandos Beauty' before pruning. The rose made a lot of blind octopus canes, which means they weren't blooming at the tip of the cane. You can imagine that I wasn't very thrilled by that phenomenon, but as far as I know there is nothing that you can do about it.

It was pruning time anyway, so I first cut back the octopus canes, deleaved the rose bush completely and started to prune. When I was at the point where the photo was taken, I stepped back and looked at the bush from a little further away and decided to prune it a little bit more down.

Here you see the final result. This year I pruned my Hybrid Tea roses harder than last and hope that will result in bigger blooms.

This rose named 'Bewitched', another Hybrid Tea rose, will not be deleaved nor pruned because the leaves are already its new ones. I planted in October last year and shaped it lightly at that point. After being transplanted into the ground from a five gallon container it dropped all its leaves and a few weeks later it started to leave out again. So it has kind of a head start in comparison to my other roses planted into the ground.

When I looked a little closer I was very surprised to see a bud already. I guess, this will be my first new bloom in 2016 from the roses planted into the ground in case the hungry bunnies don't eat it and my careless Doberman Skylar doesn't break it. The leaves of the rose look a little spindly though. I better hurry up and give it some fertilizer...

See you in the garden!


I am linking to
Rose Garden Malevik


  1. You have a new header photo. Beautiful. First I've heard of the term "blind octupus canes". I had a fewplants get new leaves recently and wondered whether they should be pruned back or not. I couldn't bear to cut some back and other with small leaves I did. It helps to know what a long time rose grower does in cases like that.

    1. Jane, so nice to see you commenting on my blog! Every serious Rosarian would probably start to squirm hearing the term 'blind octopus cane', but I feel it describes the phenomenon quite well ;-). The English David Austin roses are quite famous for doing this here in Southern California, but I had never had a Hybrid Tea rose showing the same habit. I have to see if I can find out more about 'Chandos Beauty' and if other people here in the US have the same problem. I have seen this rose personally in the UK and it was an outstanding performer there. No faults like this that I could observe.

  2. You've been very busy, it's like Spring has arrived there already :) and I've never seen an image of tumbleweed on water before!

  3. I can attest to the drought tolerance of Daylilies- and I have never fertilized one. But then I rarely fertilize anything unless it's in a container.Roses get some alfalfa meal every couple of years. One observation I have with Daylilies is the variability of color.I've discarded many from very reputable growers that simply do not color up the same here as they do in the deep south or the northeast.
    I also prune my roses, step back, and re-prune. Especially the Austins !

    1. ks, I am very happy that you confirm the drought tolerance of daylilies, since I am really making an effort to plant more drought tolerant plants in my garden.
      I also noticed that daylilies almost never show the color the way it is described on the label or on the sales pitch photo (I only bought at local nurseries or big box stores so far). But I am surprised that you have the same experience buying them from reputable daylily growers. Looks like getting the right color will stay a gamble with daylilies...
      I only can prune roses the way you described! That is why it takes me forever :-)!

  4. Yes, you are busy! Lucky you. Those of us in colder climates can live vicariously through you now. ;-) I'll be in San Diego for a family event in March. I can't wait! It will be good to get away from the cold Wisconsin climate just before our spring gets going. That tumbleweed is awesome (but prickly)!

  5. The cool temperatures make it very pleasant to garden this time of year, although it frustrates me that so few of the plants are available during this optimal planting period. I got on a daylily kick soon after moving here and bought lots of mail-order daylilies in bare root. I think it's the best way to get them started but, again, many of the larger US growers won't ship between November and March.

  6. Everything looks so tidy and clean. I love to see pruned roses :) Happy gardening, dear Christina !

  7. Great buy, Christina! I also thought at first that in the picture with packaging Amaryllis! The price is perfect: think. $ 7,98 for three fairly large root is very cheap. We they are more expensive. I always buy daylilies only with open roots. They are very resistant to stress. Last year I bought 2 small root at the exhibition of daylilies in Moscow. The seller wrapped the roots in moss. I lightly covered the ground and they lay for a week until I returned home to Minsk. They are already in the moss started to give new shoots!
    I'm sure this wonderful variety of daylilies will delight you!

  8. Cette hémérocalle récemment accueillie me parait très séduisante et donnera très vite des fleurs. je n'achète que des hémérocalles à racines nues qui reprennent facilement et rapidement. Les jeunes feuilles tendres présentes actuellement tomberont quand les les nouvelles émergeront de la plante. Ce sont les nouvelles qui donneront un beau feuillage et des fleurs feront leur apparition.
    Belle soirée, bonne plantation...Jocelyne

  9. Es precioso, creo que yo plante alguna parecida. Besitos.

  10. A re-blooming, fragrant daylily that looks like an amaryllis! I would not have been able to resist! I have grown lots of daylilies bare-root, got them in the post and they look ever so sorry but they soon perk up as yours will too. Just give them a bigger pot when the roots have come through the holes in the bottom, as they don’t like to be pot bound - or plant out as soon as you can see roots coming through if you want them in the ground. I haven’t got this particular one but I have many similar.

    I have started to prune my roses too, a bit earlier than normal but with the mild winter we had it was necessary. We have had a cold snap of just over a week, but now it’s back to double figures in the daytime. More rose pruning for me this week-end!
    I hope you won’t get tumbleweed popping up all over your garden now :-)
    Have a great week-end, take care, Helene.

  11. Your Daylily is very lovely and I hope it rewards you with many years of blooms. I have grown them here, but with my soil being so acid, they do not like it, so I have not tried them again. Your tumbleweed must have been such a surprise and I do hope that you don't have them growing in your gardens. Always informative to visit your blog - I am learning much about growing roses. Hope you have a lovely weekend. I love your view. xx Karen

  12. The first buds of the roses is what I am waiting for! I have to wait some more since outside we have -15-26 degrees Celsius!

  13. Hi Christina, a tumbleweed! I thought tumbleweeds were limited to deserts and Old West towns, but, then I suppose long ago that would have described where you live! I like your new daylily. There is a Home Depot near me, and I wonder if they carry it on my side of the country. It is exactly the color I want to add to the day lilies I already grow. You remind me it is almost time to prune my own roses. Hopefully we will have some milder temps soon so I can get that done.

  14. I am allways amazed when I look at the beautiful garden you have Christina. How great it must be the the sun is shining almost every day of the year. Overhere everything is weeks earlier as it was in 2015. Only last week we had a little bit of frost. I can't wait untill spring will arrive. Have a wonderful sunday Christina
    Warm wishes

  15. Forgot to tell you what a fantastic header you have on your blog.

  16. Your garden looks so nice and tidy and then you find one morning a thorny tumbleweed in your spa, to bad...haha. You are so lucky with that blooming Iris 'Platinum' in your garden, it's gorgeous.
    Wish you happy gardening Christina with a little help of Skylar.

  17. Daylilies are very tough and while they prefer moisture, they'll survive drought by going dormant. No worries if you break off any leaves. They'll always grow back. :o)

  18. Das ist interessant mit dem Tumbleweed - da hab ich gleich mal
    gegoogelt und wieder was gelernt. :-)
    Liebe Grüße von der Urte