I thought it might be fun to see what perennials and biennials are blooming in their second year after winter sowing. I'm seeing my first blooms on an Aquilegia canadensis that I winter sowed last year. Anybody else seeing blooms from plants that were winter sown in 2009?
I don't have any pictures to show...this is my first year but I have a questions. How much growth did you see in the greenery the first year from winter sown plants? Did they grow to the expected width and height the first year? I hope you don't mind if I lurk to look at the pictures.
diamond, They were mostly small the first year. I'd say about 1/2 the size of expected final width and height (this varied depending upon the plant). Some of my perrennials/biennials bloomed the first year (Echinacea "prairie splendor", Foxglove "camelot rose", Daisy "Alaska" and "crazy", Delphinium "Connecticut Yankee"). But, I'm expecting most of what I wintersowed last year to bloom this year. I can't wait!!!
It's still too cold here, too. Even my established perennials 2 or 3 years old are just waking up from winter.
I have a question about echinacea. I have a few that are just too tall. They're nice enough but because they're so tall they have trouble standing up to our heavy rain and wind, and are often blown over. Does anyone pinch coneflowers? Will it make them shorter? Or just delay bloom?
Eat my heart out with that Aquilegia Canadensis, pgt! It's gorgeous!
I don't know why but I really slipped up and forgot to plant that columbine~~I wanted it for the hummingbirds. And also because I saw it planted in a historic garden with a coral bell that was red-flowered (something like H. firecracker, but I think it was native/natural)~~and it was a wonderful combination. So I sinned and ordered several A. canadensis plants from Prairie Moon nursery! Oh, well.
I don't have any pics of my 2008/2009 WSed plants, but I have a lot of them around in the garden~~I just spent the day thinning them out and rearranging. My digitalis looks great. Belles of Ireland, Canterbury bells, milkweeds, ironweed, echinaceas, rudbeckias, bowltonia, all look good too.
k., googled for some more experienced advice on echies and cutting back and found this advice from WFF:
"(Echinacea) Plants can be cut back by half in early summer, resulting in a later bloom time but more compact form."
I have to go into the basement to find my "Well-tended Perennial Garden" (Knapke) book today. It's about that time to start cutting back judiciously and dividing and separating and she is so good with all of that advice.
Do you cut your coneflowers back before winter? I was told that I should cut everything back before winter. This will be the first year I will have coneflowers. in my MG class they told us that everything should be cut back and cleaned up to prevent disease and to prevent pest from attacking plants. If I remember correctly, shrubs and bushes can be cut back 1/3 of the size of the bush and others can be cut back to 6 inches about ground. Cutting back is supposed to make the plant bushier.
You were talking about midseason trimming? I would love to know what you find out about cutting back during the growing season. I will have merlot, white and apricot coneflowers for the first time. I honestly would prefer more compact coneflowers over tall spindly. I will check my books to see what I can find out as well.
I don't cut back too many perennials before winter anymore. According to some of the latest research it seems perennials with hollow stems seem to survive better if they are not cut back, at least in my winter wet climate (more rain than snow). The theory is keeping the plant intact will keep the rain water from running down inside the stems and causing rot.
Since I stopped cutting back Buddlieas until new sprouts shoot up in March, I've had excellent return.
Also I don't cut back such plants as coneflowers, rudbeckias, verbena bonarienses, etc. because the birds love the seed pods. Especially those goldfinches.
Diamonds the thing to remember about growning perennials is .. the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap when it comes to their growth and bloom patterns.. so be patient which is hard I know...lol.
I moved to my home 3 yrs ago and the azaleas were horrible... over grown, weirdly shaped and not full at all.. I butchered and I mean butchered them back.. and in 3 yrs they are now beautiful in bloom.. they filled in and look great so yes you can do it but you have to live with the results for a few years before they get to where you want them again..
Terese, yes I'm sure the rule of thumb is 1/3. But at the extension office we cut back two bushes back next to nothing. One had a disease (can't remember what) and the other was out of control. We cut it back 1/3 in the fall then trimmed back to "pretty" in this spring. We won't get blooms this year but we will have a healthy more attractive plant. I will post a picture tomorrow.
Beautiful pictures!!! PGT what is the pretty pink bush in the background?
Tabaso, I ordered the book you recommened. Thanks for the suggestion.
Terese, I will check my MG book to see if I can find more info for you.
PGT, your azalea is beautiful. I had one and my kids beat it to death with a basketball. Now I have a rhondo that I am praying thrives in the spot I have it in. I think I read they do best in eat sun. I am thinking about moving mine. What kind of sun does your azalea get?
I would love to have azaleas/rhododendrons and blue hydrandeas instead of trees in my yard. LoL Unfortunately, azaleas don't live long in my area. Rhodos do a little better.
I found the info in my MG book for pruning Spirea. I have a publication from the Purdue Ext. Office. I can send to you if you want to have a copy. It says that if you need to immediately reduce the size of the Spirea, you can cut it down to ground level and new shoots will grow from the base. Let me know if you would like a copy. There's a lot of info on how, when and why to thin or prune.
diamond, Thanks for mentioning the Purdue extension info~~I googled and found their link (above) where they explain the two ways to rejuvenate a spring flowering shrub. I should get out there and do something with my forsythias.
pgt, love your perennial geranium. I haven't had loads of luck growing them from seed but did get some nice WSed ones last year. I think I bought my seeds from Specialty Perennials. Next time I'll try Swallowtail since yours are prettier.
diamond, I think you'll like the WTPG book. I love shaping my perennials and manipulating their growth patterns and timing to make the garden more 'artistic'. Like they say, gardening is 'art' only in four dimensions.
PGT, you have beautiful flowers! i wasn't a big fan of the poppies until I saw the white oriental poppies...then I fell in love with them. LoL I WS them this year. They are still tiny so I'm sure I will not have blooms this year. I hope mine are as pretty as yours! How long is the blooming period?
Here's one of my favorites...pink double knockout rose.
Yes, and cutting back to stagger the plants to different heights. I love the info being provided. It explains cutting back, deadheading, pruning, disease, pests and treatment. I need the bloom times and growing habits. LoL she provides excellent pictures for examples of how fast plants when the soil is prepared properly.
And this is a poor pic, but I wanted to show this texas salvia that I wintersowed last year and it came back in zone 6a. Again it's a rare seed (can't think of the exact name) and I'm so surprised I could get it to grow. It's really prettier than the pic.
And just for fun a few Zinnias that I WSed late in spring last year. It's the 'Hot Crayon Colors' mix from Renee's Seeds and I just sowed this seed mix again this week for this summer. I grow them for the butterflies.