Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Iris Cristata-Dwarf Crested Iris

In the past, a number of people have asked us if iris grow in the shade and we have always answered that all of the iris we were growing required sun, that is until now. This year at Pittsgrove, we are trying our hand at Iris cristata also known as dwarf crested iris. These prefer shade to part shade, grow 6 to 8 inches high, and spread very nicely without becoming invasive.
The cristata are native to America and grow all over the mid-Atlantic states, but are not seen in New Jersey very often. The flowers are white, or come in shades of blue/lavender. These little plants need a well-drained location in rich, loose soil and will form dense clumps. Their roots are very shallow, therefore require just a pinch of mulch..
These iris are great for that shady spot, rock garden, along walks and or a path in the woods.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gardening with Mickey and Minnie

When planning our family vacation to Disney World (something Pop Gulish had been urging since the Fairy Princess was born 5 1/2 years ago!) we did not realize it would also become somewhat a bus man's holiday as it happened to coincide with the 17th Annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Throughout Epcot, whimsical topiaries and sculpted gardens developed by various landscaping and gardening groups provided eye candy for young and old alike. We particularly enjoyed seeing the myriad of Disney characters from swashbuckling Peter Pan, to waltzing Cinderella, to fanciful ostrich ballerinas. Naturally, John and I had to be photographed in front of farmers Mickey and Minnie. The favorite of our Fairy Princess

Vehicle Boy was delighted to watch the trains at Germany's garden railroad. (Watch for a future blog post regarding garden railways when I discuss a new venture of our friend, Jim Shepard of microscaping.com). Our boy was quite content to view the miniature village while the rest of the family wandered the shops.

The Living Wall was an example of gardening that is starting to pop up in hotels and malls across the nation and something you are likely to see more of in the future.All of us were fascinated by the fruits and veggies being grown experimentally in the greenhouses at "The Land", especially pumpkins growing in air rather than on the ground. Seeing all the wonderful produce made us look forward to harvesting our own in the hopefully not too distant future.
Splashes of color everywhere and the sweet fragrance of roses and violas make our family anxious to see spring arrive back home. We thankfully were not affected by the horrendous storm that hit this past weekend, March 13 & 14, which caused so much damage in flooding and downed trees throughout the Northeast. Jeremy and Christina had a tree come down, but luckily it only damaged some wires, not the house. The 15" of snow we left behind when we began our vacation has now been replaced by sunshine and clear skies, so it looks like we'll be out in the gardens for the next few days. Hope that's where you are too!
Think spring!