Sunday, May 19, 2013

This is NOT a Bonus!

This is NOT a bonus!

Yes, I know you haven't seen me here for awhile. That's what having four grandchildren and being "retired" will do.

It has been an unusual spring so far with many of our plants just loving the cooler, damper weather while our bearded iris have been slow coming and looking for heat. Me, not so much. The tree peonies in our display beds have been blooming quite happily and our herbaceous and Itoh are budding nicely.

Each year someone will ask us about the "bonus" peony growing with his or her tree peony. This is NOT a "bonus"! The tree peonies we sell and the majority you find on the market for sale, are grafted. Tree peony stock is grafted onto a common garden variety root. We always tell people to plant the tree peony a couple of inches deeper than the level it is at in the pot. The tree peony will then set its own roots and the "mother" root will die off. Before this occurs or if the tree peony was not planted deep enough, the garden peony will send up stems and if allowed to grow, will eventually take over and kill off the tree peony which we certainly would not want to occur.

Tree Peony with "mother plant" coming up from the base.

To prevent this, you need to cut the stems completely to the ground. "But they look so healthy!" you may say and "Isn't it nice that I have a lovely pink peony to go along with my lovely yellow tree peony?" NO! You may feel mean snipping away, but your tree peony will be forever ( a good forty years or better) grateful that you have eliminated the intruder from its base. It is a good idea to mound up a couple of inches of soil at the bottom also if you think you did not plant deep enough originally.
Herbaceous Peony Leaves

Knowing what to cut is easy once you are aware of the difference in leaf structure. The herbaceous plant has leaves that are shaped differently and much smoother and shinier as seen in the accompaning photos.

Tree Peony Leaves

Tree Peony Leaves
Herbaceous Peony Leaves

As always if you have any questions, send us an email and we will gladly try to help you with any peony or other gardening inquiries.

Have fun in the garden!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring is here???

Well here we are on day 6 of spring (?) and as you can tell by the above picture of Pittsgrove, winter has decided to stick around longer than most of us would like and for the past few days has caused havoc across a good portion of the US. This time last year, we were relishing temperatures in the 60's and working daily in the garden beds. Yesterday was the first time in ages that John and I ventured outdoors here for any length of time beyond gathering kindling for our wood stove. It wasn't the cold, but the accompaning wind that cut through to the bone that kept us from our chores. We cleaned up more winter debris and started preparing the vegetable garden, but planting has still been postponed to some yet unknown date in the future more amenable to the sowing of seeds and tender seedlings.

This is still the time of year, if weather permits, to get out to your garden beds to finish any cleanup that wasn't finished during our equally uncooperative fall. It's much easier to get those pesky maple leaves and dead weeds removed rather than waiting for warmer weather which then finds all your perennials suddenly appearing and growing like Topsy making your job much more tedious.Whip out those clippers and cut back any perennials that you didn't get to earlier.Your iris won't look very attractive with a heap of brown leaves lying next to them and if you cut away the brown leaves from your helleborus you'll be greeted by some beautiful blossoms waiting to kiss the sky.
Helleborus last spring

So buck up, bundle up, and clean up those flower beds for spring is surely on the horizon. At least that's what the calender keeps telling us.

Think positive thoughts!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hawaii Reunion

Kuoloa Ranch where many movies and TV series Lost have been filmed.

No arm twisting was required when my aunt and uncle (Pagan Dancer-see post from Sept. 15, 2008)
 stated New Jersey was too great a distance for them and Australia would be too far to ask us to travel, and suggested we meet them in Hawaii. Let's see--sub-freezing, snowy Jersey, or 85 degree and sunny Oahu. Not a difficult choice at all.
"Ramona" Cheryl & "Duke"

It was a great reunion as we hadn't been together since 2005 when John and I finally visited with them and the rest of our OZ family in Victoria. My aunt and uncle share our love of plants and gardening, so besides swimming, snorkeling and some great dining out, we explored a number of botanical gardens together.
Mindanao Gum Tree at the Dole Plantation

We wondered at the beautiful variety of flowers, trees and shrubs, some that we recognized from either Jersey or Australia and others none of us had ever seen before.

We were struck by the beauty of the rainbow of colors of the hibiscus and orchids and quite cautious of the fruit of the cannonball tree which would be frightfully dangerous on a windy day.

Cannonball tree at Foster Botanic Gardens

 A visit to an orchid nursery enabled my aunt to show me those she grows at home that unfortunately were not in bloom during our visit.

Admiring orchids

Our walks together throughout resplendent gardens gave us the opportunity to relax and reconnect after being so many miles and so many years apart. Of course our ten days together flew by much too swiftly as is often the case when enjoying yourself with those you love, but we said our farewells at the airport with the promise to plan another reunion with more gardens to explore.

North Shore Sunset

Aloha for now!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Garden Shows Across the US

I'm nice and cozy indoors while I write, but today here at Pittsgrove the temperature is hovering around 18 degrees so I don't plan to be doing any gardening, thank you very much. As temperatures dip and weather turns nasty, for many cabin fever sets in and winter doldrums ensue. To eliminate, or at least minimize the effects of being cooped up, garden shows that are scheduled throughout many bleak winter days, provide a terrific remedy.

From coast to coast and every where in between, these shows during January through March get us out of our houses and away from the grayness of winter that many of us experience in areas where plants are dormant and trees are leafless overseers. Rainbows of color in display gardens and the scent of fresh soil, such an aphrodisiac to folks dedicated to digging in the dirt, uplift the spirit.

Some of you may just like to wander the shows taking in the beauty set before you. Others look forward to the education provided by lecturers in specialized fields and many will go home with a purchased plant to brighten a window or catalogs to peruse for the newest plant introductions. Whatever suits your fancy, look up the schedule for the garden show nearest you and make plans to get out of the house and into the gardens.

Stay warm and think spring!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pittsgrove Farms Is Alive and Well--So Is The Jersey Shore

I'm not about to compare myself to a genuine author, but over the past few months have experienced what professionals do and developed "writer's block". The thought of blogging at all sent me running into the perennial beds to escape the glare of a blank computer screen. I have realized that my lack of presence online may lead some to believe that Pittsgrove has gone by the wayside. Fret not, dear gardeners, John, Pittsgrove Farms, and I are alive and well. Actually, Pittsgrove is alive, but dormant at the moment, and frankly sometimes John and I get that way on a gloomy winter's day.

Plants asleep for the winter.
It's that time of year when we've cut back our plants, put them in cold frames or under insulation blankets, and cleaned up the garden beds until spring arrives. There will be more clean up over the winter as weather permits as Hurricane Sandy set things back for us outdoors. Fortunately, other than losing a 40' spruce that did only very minor damage and having branches to cleanup, we fared quite well. Which brings me to my next topic-the Jersey Shore.

 I'm a Jersey girl (old broad) born and raised and it was heart wrenching to see the devastation across our beautiful and much maligned state, especially the shore area. What concerns me now is how much we are hearing that Jersey is down for the count, which is far from the truth. I have gotten feedback from merchants in Cape May (unscathed by Sandy) and elsewhere that business is down tremendously because people from out of the area believe the Jersey Shore is no longer a vacation destination. Much rebuilding needs to be done in some but not ALL areas.
Cape May at Sunset

Please keep Pittsgrove Farms in mind when you're looking for iris or peonies in the spring and the Jersey Shore when considering a day trip, weekend get-away or family vacation. You won't be disappointed!

Keep warm and think Spring!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Earthly Delights Part 2

Part of our display at Earthly Delights

Earthly Delights certainly lived up to its name! John and I went into this venture blind having never done a show before. The grounds where the event was held were stunning and Andrea Filippone and her group of volunteers could not have been more friendly or accommodating.

We also met a number of amazing vendors dealing in a fantastic array of plants. It takes a great deal to stump John with plant identification after his many years in the gardening world, but believe me, he saw many plants that he had never encountered.
John speaking with one of the other vendors

Overall the weather was glorious, but Mother Nature did hit us with a couple of heavy rains.The rain had little effect on the vendors or those in attendance-- as gardeners we are all used to her whims by now. There are a number of vendors that we plan to visit on one of our "bus man's holidays" and we hope to see some of them here at Pittsgrove.

This was a "delightful" experience and we were quite glad we decided to attend. Maybe we'll see you there next year.

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Earthly Delights

Earthly Delights... Cultivating the Gardener

Join Us for New Jersey's Preeminent Horticultural Event


John was recently contacted by Andrea Filippone of AJF Design to be a vendor at Earthly Delights . This was something he had not heard of before and told Andrea he would discuss it with me and get back to her. After checking on what this was all about and asking a few of our customers about it, we have decided to go ahead and appear at this event taking place June 1, 2, and 3. I'm sure it will be quite an experience for us and for any of you who also attend. The estate where Earthly Delights will be held looks breath-taking from the photos we have viewed online and we look forward to walking the grounds.

Have no fear, we will still be open that weekend here at Pittsgrove (we'll work that out one way or another) but look forward to seeing those of you who attend for what promises a quite interesting and informative weekend. 

More and more plants are coming into bloom here and each morning, John and I have another surprise awaiting us in one of the garden beds. Peonies are in full color and tall bearded, Siberian and water iris have been popping one after another.

The bird houses are full and butterflies have started to spread their wings. All is right with the world, at least the world of nature here at Pittsgrove.

Hoping your world is also blossoming,