Friday, June 26, 2009

Pittsgrove Takes a Break

Garrett and John making a display bed for dwarf bearded iris

Wow, I can't believe spring has gone and we are officially into summer! It was great reacquainting with visitors from the last couple of years and meeting new folks here at Pittsgrove. I swear we have the most interesting and warm-hearted people stop in to wander the gardens and talk plants, birds, the weather, what have you. Makes me smile just at the thought.
Vehicle Boy and The Fairy Princess hard at work
We put in a lot of work throughout the spring, adding new display beds and freshening the growing beds. We even put Vehicle Boy and his sister The Fairy Princess to work---you can never start them too young. Ask Jeremy and Garrett who grew up in the garden center business and knew how to correctly make change on a cash register by the time they were 8 years old (and no, the register was not set up to tell them what change to give!).

John and Sassy relaxing at the pond after a hard day's work
We're packing away our tools and garden gloves for a couple of weeks to do a little relaxing. Starting in mid July anyone who would like to come out for a visit can contact us and arrangements can be made. We'll be around on a more regular basis again in September when we do some of our major planting and divisions. Blog posts will continue and we'll be giving pointers on doing divisions and getting your plants and gardens ready for winter. You can also continue to email us with any gardening questions you think we may be able to answer. Until then, have a great summer and have fun "playing in the dirt".

Happy gardening!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dig It-Sinfionetta Louisiana Iris

I commented to a visitor to Pittsgrove that the frogs seemed to be the only ones appreciating all the rain we have continued to have here at the farm. She then pointed out that our Louisiana iris sure seemed to be loving the wet, wet weather we are experiencing. I must agree as they are flourishing everywhere we have them planted.

Sinfionetta (Raabe, 1986) certainly has been happy and its true blue blossoms are easily identified from the ponds and planting beds. Like other Louisiana iris, Sinfionetta is a swamp or water plant, but if kept well watered it will happily grow in a garden bed. Averaging a height of 36", it does well in full sun to part shade and blooms in early to late summer, with good flowering habit.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dig It-Hatsu Kagami-Japanese Iris

This lavender pink Japanese iris is one of the first to appear of the Japanese varieties, and like them, makes a great addition to that wet spot in the yard where nothing else seems to grow. That's a good thing here at Pittsgrove since we've had our own version of the "begets"----April showers beget May showers, beget June showers! I'm getting a little worried about what awaits us when I turn the calender page after June 30. In July we may be building an ark!

Anyway, Hatsu Kagami (Hirao '92) reaches a height of approximately 3'. Since our bearded and Siberian iris are pretty well finished blooming for the season (except for rebloomers) it is a pleasure to see this attractive splash of color appear amidst the sea of green in the yard.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Iris That Like Wet Feet

It has been raining so much here at Pittsgrove, that even our frogs are confused and don't know where the pond ends and the driveway begins! Getting any work done has been quite a challenge. No true gardener will let a little rain stop one from weeding (heck, that's when weeds are easiest to pull), or doing a bit of pruning, but after the third try at weeding our daylily beds yesterday, I gave up since a drizzle kept turning into a down pour.

Sinfionetta with Black Gamecock
The Louisiana, Japanese, and pond iris that we grow are in heaven, delighted to have their feet wet, and have started blooming all over the place. Our bearded iris on the other hand, must feel as though they are going through their unique form of iris waterboarding! The poor things must wonder when they can come up for air. (I know---there she goes again referring to plants as if they were human.)

Easter Tide-Louisiana

Took a soggy walk out to our spring fed pond to see if anything new was in bloom since I had been out there a few days ago. Wow--Sinfionetta, a blue Louisiana iris, sure shot up since last season and is towering over the Black Gamecock. One of these days I'm going to end up falling into the pond I'm sure since I like to get up close and personal when taking pictures and believe me the footing out there is a little precarious.
Acadian Miss-Louisiana Iris
As our bearded iris go out of bloom, it is always exciting for us to see the next wave of color come in with the Louisiana, Japanese, and Spuria. June will be filled with new hues in the gardens; I just hope I don't need hip boots to go from bed to bed! Inner Beauty-Louisiana

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dig It-Garden Treasure-Intersectional Peony

Everyone who comes to Pittsgrove wants to know what that big yellow bushy thing is in the garden. What they are referring to is Garden Treasure which is an Intersectional (Itoh) peony, a cross between an herbaceous and tree peony. Intersectionals have the flower of a tree peony, but bloom later and much longer, with buds that continue to open up to four weeks. If given the room, Garden Treasure will grow up to 5' across and 2 1/2-3' high with dozens of yellow, lemon scented flowers and make a nice cut flower if you dare to cut them.

Don Hollingsworth of Hollingsworth Nurseries introduced it and it has earned many medals and awards, including the Certificate of Merit from the American Peony Society in 1984 and three time Grand Champion at the American Peony Society Annual Exhibit.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dig It-Sarah M. Napier

Sarah M. Napier (Vories, 1930) is one of multi-faceted gal. (Forgive me. I'm one of those people who attribute human qualities to non-humans-be it plant or animal!) This voluptuous looking peony as a fragrance which one visitor to Pittsgrove described as reminiscent of the multiflora roses which once grew in her grandmother's garden. I sniffed it and was taken back to my Nana's porch in Taylor Center, Michigan where I spent entire childhood summers. Multiflora roses covered the trellis next to Nana's front porch, providing shade from the hot sun.

My very English grandmother would have loved Sarah M. Napier as Nana was an avid gardener who introduced me to the love of "playing in the dirt". As prim and proper as she was, she was in her glory down on her knees (as arthritic as they were) working the soil. She was composting long before it was the accepted practice of today and her gardens were nurtured with care.

The double bloom Sarah M. Napier would have made a fine addition to one of Nana's garden beds which emerges With its burgundy color leaves which turn a rich green as spring advances, to its silvery bright pink blossoms which have a distinctive marbled appearance, the double Sarah M. Napier would have made a fine addition to one of Nana's garden beds.

Happy Gardening!!! Cheryl