Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Update

The garden is growing everyday and this has been a really pretty spring in Nashville. I haven't worked in the garden too much lately as I've been out of town and working on other projects around the house, e.g., cleaning my wood deck and outdoor furniture. It's still technically too early to plant anything tender, though I doubt we’ll get another frost.

I can’t wait to get my Hollyhock seedlings into the ground; there are now only five left, but they are thriving! Also, I’ve started looking around for veggie starters and haven’t seen any yet. But I’m sure in a few weeks I’ll have my pick of tomato and pepper varieties.

Right now, I’m just enjoying watching everything leaf out and come out of the ground. My peonies are now over a foot tall. I completely forgot about my Baptisia, until they poked through the soil (I think they bloom yellow). My Dogwood tree in the front yard is starting to bloom (white) and the Hellebores are still going strong!

My Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus) are now leafing out too. This always surprises me because they are one of the last woody plants to leaf out every year and it always makes me nervous that they may be dead. Throughout the early spring I do a scratch test on the bark to make sure it’s still green and confirm that they are still alive.

All of my Rose of Sharon are progeny of my grandparent’s Rose of Sharon. While this plant comes in a variety of bloom colors, mine bloom white to pale pink with a much darker center (see picture). This is literally one of my favorite flowers, and quite a low-maintenance plant to boot.

Ultimately, Rose of Sharon’s may reach 10-15’ in height and half that in spread. But it’s very easy to prune them into whatever shape you like. Also, their environment will play a role as they tend to be much denser in form and better blooming in full sun. I have seem them do well in partial shade too, though their appearance in more spindly. They work well as a single specimen or in a grouping.

This is a great old-fashioned shrub that I think is becoming more popular as people discover all of its assets. There are two main types of Hibiscus; one is a hardy woody shrub, the other more tropical type usually has larger blooms but needs to be cut back to the ground every year. I would recommend researching the colors/varieties and even seeing them in bloom before purchase. Or you can take your chance on seeds, which are usually plentiful in the late summer.

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