Saturday, August 8, 2009

Blooming Bearded Iris Peak

By Kent Higgins

After the first crop of rose blossoms, a light feeding of a balanced fertilizer is beneficial for additional blooms. By correct cutting of blooms, it is possible to do the necessary pruning during the season. Make a slanting cut with a sharp knife just above the bud from which you want the next shoot to develop. Normally, cut back to the first live-leaflet leaf on the stem, and always leave at least two of these on a stem. The leaves are necessary food manufacturing organs of the plant, and are very essential to good growth and development.

Peonies and Iris. These two crops are the two most showy and versatile plants of the southern garden during May. As you know, peony buds are present as the tender herbaceous shoots unfold from the soil. Many peonies are "blind- have no buds - or have only a very few present. This may be due to poor soil, lack of feeding during the previous season, or disease.

Botrytis blight is usually the worst disease and causes buds to blast or have budrot." Clean culture and the use of a fungicide will prevent this happening. Ants may be observed on the peony buds, but are not harmful unless they are there because of aphids: then spray for aphids as they can do a great deal of harm. By removing the side shoots, the size of blooms may be increased however, most peonies are so large as to be out of scale, so disbudding is not practiced except for producing exhibition flowers.

According to outdoor planters the bearded irises reach their peak or bloom during May and truly repay for their space and care. Feed iris and peonies this month while they are actively growing. Outdoor planters give each clump of plants one cup of a complete plant food. Do not apply it directly to the crown of the plant, but as a side dressing. Both plants tolerate lack of moisture, but will respond beautifully to thorough soaking during the flowering period. Prevent crusting of the soil by shallow cultivation or use of mulches. The foliage of both plants is used to good advantage by many floral artists.

Summer Flowering Bulbs. This includes quite a list of very colorful garden plants that bloom at a time when there may be a lull in the production of color in the garden. Plant clumps of gladiolus corms around the garden area for spots of color. By arranging the corms as the five-spot on a domino with two inches between corms, the plants will brace each other. Cover to a depth of six inches to prevent their being blown over by winds. For a rich reward, try the all-American varieties.

About the Author:

No comments: