Thursday, August 14, 2008

Which of my plants benefit from Deadheading: Summer Flower Photos

I have been trying to learn which plants will continue to bloom throughout the season or at least rebloom at a later point because I deadhead them versus which plants just look better because their spent blooms are removed. So far, this has mostly been an ongoing exercise with trial and error. I guess I should do some research at some point!

This is a May photo showing the white clematis Henryi in full bloom cascading over the retaining wall, The pink evening primrose spreading as a groundcover and the knockout rose bush atop the wall.

I will continue to add more Summer flower photos from May, June, July and August as well as replace some of the ones I've posted with better pix as time allows.

I have seen some books that focus on pruning and deadheading and many of my books and magazines have sections on it. Of course, the Internet resources are innumerable. At this point, I am mostly learning by doing with my perennials and annuals. I actually find the act of deadheading and cleaning up the spent blossoms relaxing. I know there are other gardeners out there who feel the same way. It's actually a rather peaceful activity first thing in the morning or late in the evening.

I'll mention some of the plants I have focused on in no special order.

The Shasta Daisy
When in bloom, they are beautiful. A clump of white daisies in a few areas of the garden are gorgeous. Problem is that they don't last long here. I had them planted in NJ and I seem to recall a constant bloom cycle on them. Perhaps my memory is not so good. Anyway... I made a concerted effort this year to remove the stems of all blooms either to a point where I thought a bid may be forming or to the bottom if it didn't seem likely. The clump of green foliage looks okay but so far, no more blooms. They haven't turned all black and nasty yet as they tend to do making it all the more obvious that I need to move them. To the mulch pile? I'll give them a few more weeks and see if I get any repeat performance. If not, they must be relocated for next season.

Tickseed coreopsis
As I've mentioned before in this blog, as much as I love this plant, they are not performing for me as I'd like them to. I do bring out the tiny scissors and shear them from time to time to get rid of all the little black spent blooms so the yellow flowers shine through. They do continue to bloom. However, they are not as profuse as I'd like. They always look like they are struggling to me. This is another plant I need to do a little more research on to see if I can do something to make them stronger.

Purple pincushion flower - Scabiosa - mourning bride
These do continue to bloom throughout the summer here which is wonderful. I have tried to maintain the deadheading of them hoping that it is helping them continue to bloom. I think they are spreading from the original plant I put in. I'll know better next year when I compare photos.

Rudbeckia nitida 'Herbstsonne' / Autumn Sun (very tall black eyed susan)
This is by far the tallest plant I've ever had. It doesn't need staking either! All the while it was growing, since I had forgotten if I had planted anything there, I debated as to whether it was a weed or not. It was far over my head before it developed any flower buds. When it finally did, I still was not convinced. Mainly because I had some visitors question why I was letting such a large weed grow among my other perennials. WELL.... Let me tell you. Rather, let me show you.
Now that most of its original flowers have dropped their petals, I decided to keep it tidy with my scissors and cut all the stems down to the next set of buds. It seems that this giant is getting ready to set out a whole new set of flowers. Wow. I am almost afraid to try and collect seed pods from this later in the season because it is a monstrosity.

This is certainly one of the perfect examples of my reasoning for coming to terms with the fact sometime in June that I just could no longer keep up with the onslaught of weeds in parts of the gardens and convinced myself that by leaving things alone, I might be pleasantly surprised with the volunteers that popped up that I could then relocate to a better place. I accepted that the gardens around the pool were like a nursery for various seedlings, certainly some type of experiment!

Since then I have dug a number of cedars that are thriving in their new locations or potted up until they get larger. I have quite a few baby hollyhocks gaining strength to be ready for a show next year. I've had a constant source of plant materials for containers that needed spiffing up as their plants petered out.

I do save as many of the pods as I can and spread them all around. Because of this, I am finally getting some baby plants in various places. I thought I would then group them together once they grew into a strong plant. The problem may be that they are such as deep tap root that it may not be an easy endeavor. I dug a few up earlier in the summer to donate to my MIL's garden and I had to dig deep for a baby plant.
I also decided to cut the leaves off the main plant this year, as they became withered, diseased, bug infested or otherwise nasty looking. I'm afraid that I should have been a little less ambitious because I think I caused them to have a shorter bloom time than normal by removing their source of energy. Oh well. I'll try differently next year.
I would like to get some seed pods from some other friends who have different varieties of hollyhock. I only have one variety that was originally started from a seed packet.

It goes without saying that most all roses benefit from deadheading. I certainly keep up with the Abraham Darby rose, my favorite. It does need regular spraying for thrips and I have fallen behind on black spot treatment. The first year they went in, it seemed impervious to black spot but this year it has been getting it. The thrips turn the edges brown and if not treated, the bud never opens, just shrivels up.

The derelict Jackson Perkins Simplicity roses are on their own (shown here on the left in light pink in front of the white fence). I have written about my disgust with this variety in other entries.
While I'm sure the knockout rose (shown here on the right) could look better if I deadheaded it, it doesn't seem to need it to maintain its constant blooms. This is an incredible rose bush. Thanks to Paul James the Gardener Guy who recommended it and my neighbor who planted 2 before me. Their shrubs require no maintenance, are beautiful and huge! Mine is catching up.

Moss Rose - Portulaca
I sometimes wonder if I am the only wacko who deadheads her portulaca. More specifically, I pick off the seed pods and save them in a cup and spread them around. Mostly to keep the plants energy focused on its blooms, not seed production.
They are a workhorse in the hot sunny garden flowering from beginning to end of the season. I've never had much success with seeding them so I do need to purchase new plants every season.

When should a gladiolus be trimmed down? This year I decided to cut them to almost half size once it looked like they had no more stems coming up. Mostly because they were blocking the view of other blooming plants. Poor planning on my part obviously. Then I found that I must have planted some reblooming gladioli because a few that I had not pruned too heavily had repeat blooms. Go figure. My biggest surprise over the years is that they come back year after year. I assumed when I first planted them that it would be too cold here for them to return. That has not proven true so I currently have random spots of them. That is sure a project of its own to put them in proper placement.

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