2012-03-13

Biennials, slow but sure in my Book.

A biennial plant is one that takes two years to complete its biological cycle. In the first year the plant grows leaves, stems, and roots only, then it enters a period of dormancy (over the colder months).
Purple Bells

The stems remain compact and the leaves are low to the ground, often forming a rosette. Many biennials require a cold treatment, or vernalization before they will start to flower.
During the next spring or summer, the stem of the biennial plant grows very quickly, or "bolts". The plant then flowers, producing fruits and seeds before it finally dies.


Double Hollyhock
 

Because of the longer wait til bloom time of these slow but sure bloomers, 
many commercial growers propagate them and vernalize them, and sell them  "ready to bloom" or even labeled as "annuals".

Clary Sage

Examples of Biennials:

Sweet William    Foxglove    Hollyhock
Canterbury Bells    Money Plant    Forget-me-not
Parsley    Caraway    Clary Sage


Foxglove is not recommended for areas with small children as all parts are toxic if eaten.

2012-03-02

Got the Old Flower Bed Blues . . . ?

As we all know, time changes many things, including the plants and trees we have planted around our Homes.  The landscape of one's yard is full of living-changing things.  Often times ignored for months or even years the plants outside your door require updating depending on several factors.

Four O'clocks

Plants are all different. Some live for a single season or a few seasons, some endure for a decade, and still, a few last for up to a century.  Most hardy landscape shrubs have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years before they need replacing.  Even with regular maintenance, trimming, hedging spraying and fertilizing most plants will still need to be replaced.


Impatiens




Annuals
These are without a doubt, high maintenance plants.  They complete all parts of their life cycle in one growing season, usually providing viable seed for the next season.  Because of the short time frame, most annuals produce very showy flowers to attract pollinators to ensure there existence.  Most gardeners have a favorite flower akin to their childhood memories, like sweet peas, zinnias or sunflowers.  The popularity of these plants has created a niche that fills home centers and nurseries alike with trays and flats filled with sprouted seedlings in bud and bloom.  Seed is still available to plant, but most people prefer to plant the started plants instead.

My Top Shelf of Annuals:
( in no particular order )

Snapdragons    Stocks     Zinnias     Dianthus
Cosmos     Marigolds     Petunias     
Alyssum    Four-O'clocks     Nasturtiums     Sweet Peas
Sunflowers     Heliotrope     Impatiens     Violas

Next week I will be looking into Biennials and Perennials to consider.

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