What's Coming Up 182: Peonies & ants, realistic maintenance, redbud cutback

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The bud says it all about this issue: Full of promise, pretty when opened, intriguing to lots of different critters! 

What's Up summary of this week's news

Janet Macunovich and Steven Nikkila help you grow

Issue #182, May 27, 2012

Scroll this Summary of the What's Up news.

Each title takes you to a fully illustrated article.
This week: 20 new articles with 101 new images

What's coming up this week

Top stories of plants and procedures.

Peonies to go: Hold the ants!

For peonies in a vase: Snip them in bud -- no ants taken in, none required.
Bonus: Peony plant stays healthier when it's deadheaded, and why.
Tips for better cut flowers: Clean water, separation from bananas, no one-sided light and leaving the best to seed your garden.


Container gardens that look great all summer

A primer for planting well and tending container gardens so they just keep getting better right into fall. Start with a light, airy soilless potting mix, water well, and then fertilize like a pro and deadhead ruthlessly.


Keeping up with garden work: Simple, realistic approach

Fallen behind, or just overwhelmed on a regular basis? Track your work in a small, important area, use that to make a realistic estimate of what-all you can do, then apply. Examples in a small garden, large project and regarding individual plants. With tips for finding garden help.

What's going on in Janet & Steven's gardens

Cut back a redbud, renew gold conifers

Redbud wants to be 30 feet tall, we can allow 15-20. Illustrated how-to.

Gold Mop false cypresses reclaimed from being too tall, foliage-thin and awkwardly shaped.


Hold the pruners: Frosted trees need another week

Many Japanese maples and other frost damaged trees now have all new foliage. Most are still in the process of pushing new growth from bare wood. Give plants yet another week before pruning as more bare wood may revive.

We are keeping a chronological report and damage lists on GardenAtoZ.com and on our Forum.

We feel very sad for those who thought the earlier frost damage was death and removed a tree before it could re-leaf.


It's what's down deep that counts: Sledging rocks for veggies' sake

You plant the tomato only a few inches deep but it performs based on an 18-inch root run. How we perforated a buried rocky hard pan to make a grand new vegetable bed.


Foreseeing water woes: Water bill will reflect trees' loss and re-leaf

Some big trees lost all their leaves to frost, produced another set... and used double the water. A tree draws heavily, from a big area. Look now at which understory plants need supplements.

Green thumbs up and down

Ah, clean gloves... ugh, wet mulch

Can the joy of spare clean gloves cancel out the burden of heavy, sticky mulch and a wimpy low-tire garden cart?


Tip cuttings: What's of special interest on the Forum

Terrible tangle: A quacky lawn

Have you battled quack grass in a lawn? Have ideas for others waging that war, or want ideas for your own fight? Other than to tear up the lawn and start with new sod, that is... 


Many dimensions, many paths through GardenAtoZ

We're listing, and gathering, ideas for effective Search of ours and others' sites.


Clip the columbine to undermine the miners

These insects leave squiggle patterns in the leaves, but they don't kill the plant. In fact, it's pretty tough to kill columbine! So we have options, including a quick, drastic cut.


Join the crowd: Lackluster climbing hydrangea, gangbuster runners

No frost in the ground this past winter, so the runners ran further around. On the other hand, climbing hydrangea's flowers may have fizzled forlackof cold. In our news and on our Forum.

Our Mentors say...

We are never alone in the garden, for the gardening advice that came to us from a parent, neighbor or other veteran gardener grows on.

Deep angle, terrific tomato

Mom's voice comes back to Janet with every tomato set in deep and on an angle. You can net a few extra tomato roots, too, and a stronger plant, if you like she taught.

More stories below, we simply pause for this plea:


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The 45 mph garden: It's catching driver's eyes and raising questions this week.

Slowing to sniff sweet rocket, subtle catmint, stinky hawthorn

Enough said! They must be seen to be known, sniffed to be rated.

Aiming for answers: Hit or Miss

"What happened next" from previous articles. Celebrating the hits, updating the misses.

A Hit: Swipe with a wipe not enough to disinfect blade

To clean a blade in case of disease, dip or wipe with 10% bleach or 70% alcohol for 30 seconds. However, experts now say that it's more important to work dry and clean ourhands.


A Miss: No invitations to recent pruning

We haven't meant to "cut you out." We have more Garden by Janet & Steven sessions and talks planned. Bookmark our calendar! For pruning, don't miss Conifer College July 12.

Big mistake, Big lessonWhere big blunders become great treasures.

Under the fence, an edge overlooked
Gardening along a fence? Don't forget to plant a root barrier to stop the low level creeps that will try to invade your yard.

Stumper: Laughing together to salve problems that have no solution.

Glimpse of glory then same old story: Clematis wilt

Once again, we see the flowers, then right away the wilt and dead vines. Let's make it the last year for such disappointment, and look into resistant replacements.


Guessing for Gloves

Once in a great while, all the gloves come home to roost. For a chance at a new pair of great gloves, want to guess how many flocked at our last gathering?