May 7, 2007

Growing the Perfect Dutch Iris

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Dutch IrisThe dutch iris is a beautiful elegant flower with long stems and vibrant colors. The flowers are popular with many DIY home gardenersand florists.

Dutch iris make a nice addition to a cut flower garden. They can be planted in the ground or in flower pots. They fall under the perennial category.

They can be planted in outdoor beds,pots,tubs and urns.

If you plan to plant them in outdoor beds find a location where the soil drains well. They do not like to sit in puddles of water.  If a well drained area can not be found then you can amend the soil by adding organic material to elevate the level two to three inches to improve the drainage. The materials that can be added are peat moss,compost,ground bark or decomposed manure.

Be sure to locate them in area where they will get a full day of sun.

  • Dig the planting holes 4" deep by 4" apart from each other.  They look like small onions. Plant them pointed side up.
  • Then water them well after planting by soaking the area. If they are planted in a warmer climate they will have foliage by autumn and in colder regions they will have foliage by spring time.
  • After the blooms start appearing you can then cut your iris flowers and put them in a vase and display them in your home.
  • After they have finished blooming keep the foliage so they can gather the nourishment needed for next years blooming season. Keep them watered so that they can grow. When the they become dormant do not water.

If you plan to put them in a flower pot, tub, or urn they will grow tall and slim so it might be a good idea to use large containers.

  • Use good quality,well drained soil and make sure there are adequate drain holes. They do not like to sit in water and it can cause  them to rot.
  • Put them in full sun.
  • Plant them 2" deep and 3" to 4" apart. Plant them with the pointed side up.
  • Water well

If planting in a

12" - 15" pot - plant 9 bulbs

10" pot - plant 7 bulbs

8" pot - plant 5 bulbs

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March 5, 2007

Growing a Magnolia Tree

Magnolias are a beautiful deciduous tree that can't help but be admired when in full bloom.


The Magnolia tree is a native to Eastern Asia and North America.  They are tropical in nature and are evergreen. They are a showy fragrant flower that come in a variety of colors such as white,pink,purple,green and yellow.

Lets talk about how to plant and grow a magnolia tree. The Southern Magnolia also known as the (Magnolia grandiflora) is a tree that grows well in the south. It adapts well to a variety of soils and has very little pest problems. They are often used in landscaping as a single specimen. They make a great background for shrubs. They can grow from 60 to 80 feet when reaching full maturity.

They can be used in a ornamental bed or planted in rows to divide a property line. They grow easily in a sun or shaded area. The southern magnolia likes a well drained, acidic soil.

If you are planting a southern magonlia from a container it can be planted anytime of the year and if it is a balled and burlapped one then it should be planted between the months of August to October. It is common for these trees to shed a large amount of leaves during the first growing season due to transplant shock.

Steps to Plant the Magnolia Tree

  1. Dig the hole two times wide and as deep as the root ball.
  2. When planting keep the root ball level with soil surface.
  3. After breaking apart the clods,backfill with native soil.
  4. Water thoroughtly to settle soil.
  5. Then apply 3 to 5 inches mulch to soil surface conserve moisture / prevent weeds.
  6. Fertilize when tree becomes established and starts to grow.
  7. A guy wire may be needed if planted in a windy exposed area for the first growing season.

The southern magnolia can grow as single tree trunk  or multiple trunks like the "Little Gem Magnolia".

Tree Care

  1. They require one inch of  moisture every 14 days.
  2. Prune in late spring
  3. Fertilize during first 3 growing seasons.

Landscape Uses

  1. Espalier

  2. Buffer
  3. Screen
  4. Shade Tree
  5. Street Tree

They make a great tree to landscape with. One draw back is that they are a messy tree. They drop old fruit, leaves and twigs on a continual basis. On the plus side they are fast growing and have a dense foliage.


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