gabriola garden

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Poppies Galore, Clematis Growing and Blooming

In the last day or so there was a veritable poppy explosion. That single, solitary poppy bloom I wrote about last week has multiplied into ten large, orange-red poppies and another seven blood-red poppies. Both are the non-drug variety of Poppy (Papaver orientale), with the latter carrying the name “Beauty of Livermore.” The orangish-red Poppies with their huge, satiny flowers are known as “Allegro.”

We’re a little late planting the bulk of our vegetables, but we did go to our local garden shop to purchase the seedlings of a variety of Peppers, Cucumbers, Sorel, Kale, Zucchini, Lettuce, and some surprises. I’ll write more about our veggies next week. Sara advised me not to put them into the ground just yet, because the garden shop was out of slug bait.

“Those tender young shoots are an open invitation to slugs,” explained Sara. If you leave them there overnight, you’ll have nothing left in the morning and you might as well just throw the plant away.

The butchered Butterfly Bush called Border Beauty, which provided such wonderful blooms and fragrance last summer is still struggling to push forth some shoots from its woody appendages. I’ll never forgive myself for suggesting to Sara that she severely prune this plant. A more merciful pruning would have been preferable.

Instead, fragrance this year is being supplied by a wonderful bush covered with delicately scented blooms, called “Miss Kim Lilac” (Syringa patula). It’s a five foot bush, with dark green foliage, whose buds were deep purple before opening, but now that they’re fully open they’re sort of icy purple, almost whitish in the sunlight. This plant prefers full sun, and is particularly known for its honey suckle-like fragrance.

Also, Sara’s Pink Rose plant has issued forth its first bloom, with many more buds on the way. We don’t know the name of this Rose, since it was a gift from a friend who has since moved away and we lost touch. The Pink Rose has a very mellow but deep fragrance, sort of like heady Turkish perfume. It had an attack of Black Spot early on, but repeated sprayings of Scorpion Juice have knocked out that insidious fungus.

In addition, I made sure that it was watered generously with a mixture of Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice, to strengthen its roots. The beneficial fungi, bacteria, and microbes in these great Advanced Nutrients products colonize a plant’s root system not only to strengthen it, but also to enable it to absorb nutrients more efficiently. On top of that, they also fight off harmful fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms.

Sara’s five varieties of Clematis took off like gangbusters from the Iguana Juice Grow, as did most of the vegetation in her flower garden. Now that we’ve switched to Iguana Juice Bloom, one of the varieties of this “queen of the climbers” has opened several buds and it’s giving us a taste of what’s to come. The early bird in the bloom department is called “Nelly Moser” (Clematis x lanuginosa).

They say that a newly planted Clematis vine needs two years to get established. Also, it doesn’t like to be moved once settled into one place. So we did everything wrong with one Clematis (“Polish Spirit”—Clematis viticella). Initially, Sara planted it with a Poppy in a container, which was the wrong thing to do and neither plant seemed happy.

Then she separated them and planted the Clematis into one of her flowerbeds next to our courtyard. But of course in order to do so, she had to move it, and it didn’t like the move. Late last summer it did provide us with one or two blooms, but this year it is sporting many more buds and is trying to reach the sky!

Another thing about the various Clematis is that they like to be firmly attached to their support structure, whether that’s a trellis or the wooden wall of our courtyard. I suspect “Polish Spirit” finally feels at home, because of the way it’s climbed almost past the rafters of the courtyard.

The other Clematis varieties that Sara grows are “Etoile Violette,” “Montana,” and “Jackmani Superba.” I am still concerned about the Tulip Breaking Virus getting other plants sick, so I checked into the diseases that plague Clematis. The good news I found was that Clematis has not been proven to be susceptible to any viruses.

Fungi, however, do attack Clematis. If the plant is not securely attached to its support structure, the stems can be damaged through being battered by the wind. Damages stems mean wounds are created, which are an open invitation to a wide range of fungi to attack the Clematis plant.

Young plants are more prone to this kind of infestation, than older ones. Due to the fungal onslaught, the plant loses vitality and wilts. Clematis Wilt is the generic term used to describe this condition.

Clematis Wilt usually happens just about the time the buds are due to open. For this reason I’ve added an extra measure of Barricade to the watering mix, in order to allow the Potassium Silicate in this product to strengthen the cell walls of our Clematis varieties. Stronger cell walls mean less of a chance for a parasitic attack to succeed.

I also spray all five of Sara’s Clematis plants regularly with Scorpion Juice, as well as applying Scorpion Juice to the root zones, in order to impart an induced systemic immunity to many pests and pathogens, including the aforementioned fungi.

Now that Protector is back in circulation, I’m also using that product on our Clematis, in order to prevent Powdery Mildew from establishing a foothold. Protector contains Potassium Bicarbonate, which is highly effective in not only preventing the Powdery Mildew fungus from infecting our plants, but also in fighting off the infection once the fungus has attacked. It is non-toxic and does not leave a residue, as do fungicides.

One bit of good news is that the Etoile Violette Clematis is highly resistant to fungal infections. If a fungus should attack your Clematis plants, therapeutic pruning is called for. It is important to remove and destroy the affected stems. Cut off an additional one inch segment of the stem, since the fungus can hide in seemingly healthy tissue. Soon, new shoots will appear. At most, the blooming period will be delayed by this pruning process. Clematis Wilt will seldom kill the entire plant.

Other perennials starting to bloom in Sara’s flower garden are the yellow-orange Candelabra Primrose (Primula x bulleesiana) whose flowers are arranged in layers or tiers on tall, upright stems. This ornamental does not like summer drought—it is happiest in moist soil.

A lovely addition to any eclectic garden is the Woodfield Hybrid Lupine (Lupinus Woodfield Hybrids) whose cone shaped spires come in many different colors, including red, pink, purple, yellow, and white. These plants prefer deep, rich soil that’s slightly on the acidic side. They reach heights of three or four feet and this plant is harmful, if ingested.

Sara’s garden is becoming a truly magic place, thanks to our 100% organic plant nutrients, additives and root colonizers, provided by Advanced Nutrients.

posted by Tim at 12:08 PM


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