Monday, April 30, 2012

"Tulips for Tomorrow"

Tulips for Tomorrow

Tulips sing the arrival of springtime to gardeners throughout the world.   Tulips offer a kaleidoscope of colors for all to enjoy—some are early bloomers while others are late.  When my late-blooming, red-orange tulips emerge, I know most tulips are finished for this spring.  These three late-blooming beauties have appeared in my garden every spring for several years.  (I snapped this photo today, April 30, and they appear to be at their peak.)

Although tulip blossoms are gorgeous, their foliage is not spectacular; however, it is important that gardeners allow foliage to remain in the garden, even after petals have fallen and you have removed the stems from each bloom. The foliage will continue to photosynthesize for a month or two, producing sugars (carbohydrates) which will transfer to each bulb beneath the surface.  These carbohydrates are stored in the bulbs until next spring when they provide the energy to push new leaves and blooms to be enjoyed again.

 When foliage is dry and brown, the photosynthesis cycle is complete so leaves can be removed and placed in your compost bin.  Allowing tulip leaves to remain in place until dry sets the stage for large, lovely tulips for tomorrow! 

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hatched & Happy in the Hoop House :)

According to Wikipedia, the Red Admiral Butterfly  (Vanessa atalanta) usually winters over in Texas.  However, in early April we discovered several Red Admirals flying around in the LAMMSCAPES!  hoop house; I’m quite certain they wintered over right here in Jackson, Wisconsin.

 As we go about our springtime tasks in the hoop house, it is a pleasure to witness these butterflies flitting about, enjoying warm spring days. They appear to be hatched and happy, and eager for more warm, sunny weather (aren’t we all !!)

Although this photo was taken in my home garden during summer, it is the same Red Admiral species that inhabits North America, parts of Asia and Europe.   Red Admiral is one of many butterflies that visit Wisconsin, and gardeners often observe these beauties sunning themselves on the petals of brightly colored blooms in our gardens.  

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Don't Give Up on Me!

The song entitled “Don’t Give Up On Me” is a suitable theme song for several perennials, shrubs and trees which thrive in our Southeastern Wisconsin area. While shrubs and trees like forsythia and magnolia herald the arrival of spring with a flush of colorful blooms, many other genus and species remain dormant, exhibiting NO signs of life in early spring. 

Often the crispy, crinkly foliage has persisted through winter, as shown on this photo of smokebush (genus Cotinus) during April.  It is not dead—just dormant.  Late-emerging plants often surprise gardeners when their buds begin to push much later than other plantings.  A few examples of late-emerging plants: 

Blazing Star, Gayfeather  (genus Liatris)  flowering perennial
Butterflybush (genus Buddleia)  marginally hardy perennial in Zones 4,5
Bluestar (genus Amsonia)  flowering perennial
Buttonbush (genus Cephalanthus)  flowering shrub
Bottlebrush Buckeye (genus Aesculus)   flowering shrub
Smokebush (genus Cotinus) flowering shrub
White Fringetree (genus Chionanthus)   small flowering tree (15’ -20’)

Various ornamental grasses (Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Fountain Grass and others) are often latecomers in exhibiting spring growth.  Don’t give up—give them additional time before digging and transporting to your compost pile!

Trees in the genus Quercus are typically late to emerge, so while you are inspecting for signs of new growth on your oak trees, your oaks are whispering, “Don’t give up on me!”

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture