Monday, April 30, 2012

Dig It-Heuchera-"Coral Bells"

If you are looking for an easy to grow perennial to add some punch to your garden, you might want to consider Heuchera. Also known as Coral Bells, these hardy, easy to grow plants do well in sun or part shade. Hybridizers have developed outstanding colors ranging from yellow-green to deep purple leaves. Spikey white, pink, or red blooms appear late spring to early summer. The plants range in height from 10-15" and at maturity attain a width of about 15".Heuchera-Miracle

Heucheras are also great plants to use in combination pots, as they fill out quickly and provide great texture and focal points.
Heuchera-Plum Pudding

Other than cutting back the dead foliage in the fall, (which should be done with all of your perennials) Heuchera is really a carefree perennial which will add a unique look to your garden for years to come.
Happy Gardening!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dig It-Age of Victoria Peony

John and I are fortunate enough to own a second home in historic, Victorian Cape May, New Jersey, the original seaside resort. The streets are lined with stately Victorian and Queen Anne houses in colors that would seem out of place elsewhere, but provide a welcoming magic to this quaint town on the Atlantic.

Age of Victoria fits right in with its old-fashioned, yet regal appearance. Blossoms are quite large for a single and its peachy-buff color brings to mind the hats and dresses worn by ladies in the late 1800's as they strolled the shore enjoying the summer breeze.

The plants reach a height of approximately 34-36" and sport large, showy leaves. However, their stems will need support in the garden as they are not always strong enough for the weight of the blossoms.

If you haven't already done so, I would advise a visit to Cape May, one of New Jersey's gems for a step back in time and an experience unlike the rest of the Jersey shore.

Happy Gardening!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Garden Apps-For Those of You Who Are Not Me

Both sons, Jeremy & Garrett have Smart Phones. I don't, because well..... Yeah that's what the sons would say-"Mom, you aren't very smart." They wouldn't be saying that in a derogatory way, but because I'm very slow to pick up on new technology. I was one of the last people in our circle of family and friends to get a dish washer or microwave. And whenever I complain to one of our sons about a problem with our PC or laptop, I get the same answer--"The problem is your computer is 10 years old! Get a new one!"

An article I read in the Star Ledger recently will be of use to both Jeremy & Garrett and for a great many of you, but alas of little use for me. You see my flip phone has no use for Apps, but all of you with Smartphones will find some pretty handy, dandy info at your finger tips to make gardening a little easier in what appears to be approaching an age when the Jetson's would feel at home.

Gardening Toolkit is an app from Applied Objects for $1.99 for iPhone and $3.99 for iPads. You punch in your zip code that will establish your plant hardiness zone and then you can continue on to general guidance for what chores you should be doing each month. Planting advice, plants for attracting bees,butterflies, and hummingbirds, along with recommendations for shade or sun are also provided.
Garden Tracker from Portable Database at 99 cents for iPhones helps you plan a garden for the best of plant health and vegetable yield. The iPad version runs $3.99 and is called Garden Tracker-Bumper Crop. Pest control, watering, and fertilization are also topics that are discussed.

So, one of these days when I approach the expertise of my grandchildren when it comes to technology, I may actually be able to put the above information to use. Until then, I hope there are more of you out there who find this helpful and perhaps if you stop in at Pittsgrove, you can pass along what you have learned:)

Until then, happy gardening!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dig It-Ice Chalet-Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris

Dwarf bearded iris are beginning to come into bloom here at Pittsgrove, although a customer 30 minutes south of us recently told me most of hers had come into bloom the end of March. In any case, the dwarf are the first of the bearded iris to show their blossoms, usually after the daffodils have finished and tulips are beginning.

Ice Chalet (Paul Black-1981) is 6-12" and like other dwarf iris makes a good rock garden or border plant. It is icy white with a bluish cast and a lavender-blue beard. It has an almost translucent quality to it with a sweet fragrance.

Those of you in the area of the Presby Gardens, will be able see many varieties of Dwarf Bearded coming into view long before their taller brothers.

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dig It-Barbara Walther-Historic Iris

Barbara Walther

When someone comes to Pittsgrove Farms looking for a white bearded iris, we immediately go to our Old Faithful, Immortality, which is both hardy and prolific. Our customer goes off happy as can be, especially when told that it is a fairly reliable rebloomer. However, every now and then we will get a comment that Immortality is more cream or ivory, not as "white" which is when we go to Barbara Walther.


Barbara Walther is pure white with a white beard and named for the the woman who was instrumental in getting the property next to hers in Essex county turned into the parkland on which the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens now stand. Barbara Walther as volunteer curator at Presby was personally responsible for turning it into the world renowned iris gardens that it is today.

Barbara Walther

Barbara Walther, the iris, is tall (37") and sturdy and shines brightly amongst groupings of its colorful relatives.