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Perennials: Penstemon & Digitalis Bloom

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birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 13, 2012
3:30 PM

Post #9274307

I am planning some plants for next year. Do Penstemon and Digitalis bloom at the same time?

I have been outside cutting plants back and tidying up the gardens. It's been a real chore. They are over grown and in need of thinning and a huge haircut! I am also harvesting some seed. It all takes time and energy. I have done three beds and "miles to go before I sleep"!
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 13, 2012
4:11 PM

Post #9274344

I just went back in my photos for a few years.

For me penstemon Digitalis Husker Red is in full bloom on May 29 and will rebloom if deadheaded. I have shots of it on June 22 after it grew back from being deadheaded.

Digitalis grandiflora is in full bloom on May 24 and also reblooms with deadheading.

So the answer, I think, is yes!
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 13, 2012
8:06 PM

Post #9274544

I agree. The digitalis grandiflora blooms a really long time in my garden, especially if I deadhead (which I don't always get to, I must admit!). The various penstemons come and go, some earlier, some a little later, but The foxglove is there the whole time.

Pam
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 20, 2012
4:37 PM

Post #9281450

Hi Donna and Pam!
It's been awhile. Thanks so much for responding. I am sorry I haven't replied sooner. I have been so busy pulling weeds, dead heading, harvesting seeds and making a list of spring bulbs I want to purchase--plus company.

I have Penstemon digitalis 'Husker's Red' in my garden. I collected the seed-not sure what I am going to do with it--maybe grow a couple of more. They are neat plants and appear to be relatively drought tolerant. After this summer, it's an attribute I have on my mind.

I also have started from seed Digitalis grandiflora. I believe that's the yellow one that is a perennial rather than a biennial. I think I may plant it with a Jackmanni clematis, and something (?) white at their feet maybe a short white salvia or dianthus.

Pam, I believe it was you that gave me a Digitalis grandiflora last year. I have it in my garden. It survived extreme heat and drought and even bloomed. It looked pretty sad but made it through the summer with "some" watering. I cut the stalk off and its green leaves look very happy. I really like it. Thank you for sharing your D. grandiflora.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 20, 2012
5:21 PM

Post #9281483

I'm glad the Dg did so well through your difficult summer. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much bigger it is next spring- at least that's been my experience. I also find new volunteers every spring, which makes me very happy. I have a couple of really good clumps now, and have given lots away as well.

My Penstemon Huskers Red that I grew from seed last year is not nearly as red as the ones I bought so I could compare. Very disappointing after all the time and effort it took to germinate them. My bought ones are already big enough to divide- so are the others, but I have them in a less conspicuous spot and probably won't bother.

You gave me a lovely David's Lavender Phlox, which has also grown beautifully. The deer nipped the first buds this year, and it was just recovering and starting to bloom again when I left in early August. Tomorrow I'll be back in the garden for the first time since then, nearly 7 weeks later. I'm very excited, can't wait to see what's going on their!

Pam
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 21, 2012
2:45 PM

Post #9282391

Pam,

I received one from Pam in Chalfont in 2009 and it morphed into about ten plants, which I am using to naturalize areas of my new home. This is such a gorgeous plant.

Unfortunately, Red Husker d grown from seed has a reputation for being disappointing.

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birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 21, 2012
7:50 PM

Post #9282647

I have read on High Country Gardens website that Husker's Red has been grown from seed so much that the Husker's Reds aren't truly Husker's Red. I believe they said they propagate theirs by division, so they are the real Husker's Red. I bought mine from Lowe's on the clearance rack last year. It's the only one I have seen so I have nothing to compare it to regarding whether it is very "red" or not. I need to look at the ones on DG plant files. I bought it last year. This is the first year it has bloomed---huge, huge blooms (at least, I thought they were huge for a Penstemon)!! I did not know I had to stake the plant, so it toppled over. :( Next year, I will know better.

I have so much to do before winter and cold sets in. I ordered a "bunch" of spring bulbs today. I have lots of Winter Sown flowers to still plant. My husband planted about 30 Digitalis 'Glittering Prizes for me about two weeks ago. They get about 4 feet tall, and he put them at the very front of the flower bed as a border. :( :(
So, today, I quietly moved them to the back of the flower bed. I lost a lot of perennial winter sown flowers this summer due to the heat. I tried to keep them watered, but their root system in their little pots just couldn't handle the heat. One just has to do the best they can with what Mother Nature hands out to you.

Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 22, 2012
2:48 AM

Post #9282763

Well I'm finally here, and it's very sad. Summer is truly over, fall is here. The plants that were just getting started when I left 8/6 have gone by. The few blooming now are mostly overshadowed by dying foliage and overgrowth. Verbena Bonariensis ran rampant, which is not a bad thing if a little unkempt looking, late sedums are vibrant, the odd rose is cheerful...

Lots and lots of work ahead!!!

Pam

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ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 23, 2012
5:28 AM

Post #9283713

I have penstemons that will bloom all summer if they are deadheaded.
Red Husker and Dark Towers.Both sent in the same 3 pak from Bluestone.I thought something was funny when one grew soooo much taller.
All of these have a June 3 date in Z6a
Dark Towers #1-#2
Red Husker

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Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 23, 2012
6:03 AM

Post #9283752

Lucky ou! Or did I do someting wrong? My Red Husker only bloomed once. I cut it back when it went by, and that was it. Dark Towers bloomed later, then I was away so it didn't get trimmed. I have no idea I'd it kept blooming, but it's certainly over now!

Pam

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 23, 2012
6:12 AM

Post #9283760

HMMMMMMMM.I dont have an answer for your red husker but digitalis did the same for me.It was tried 3 times here and nothing so I gave up.
Do you want to try again with RH and let it go to seed? maybe babies will give you a full start.
Its amazing what one zone will do.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 23, 2012
6:20 AM

Post #9283768

My plants are healthy, but only bloomed once. This is the first year, though. Maybe next year will be different?

BTW, not all RH's will be really red from seed. They say you have to choose seedlings for color, which means starting many to get a few. It takes months for them to germinate, and I just don't have the space to allocate. The 4 plants I grew from seed are significantly more green than the ones I bought from Bluestone. Division is much more certain.

Pam

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 23, 2012
6:36 AM

Post #9283784

Thanks Pam.
That explains why I have a RH that isnt really red.I thought I had planted it in the wrong place and moved it twice.No more of that backbreaking chore for me then.
Do you think there are roots that will spring forth next season?
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 23, 2012
6:41 AM

Post #9283785

The zone is not the issue.

Letting Red Husker digitalis go to seed will not work if you want the true plant. I mentioned this above in my post. People have repeatedly turned up at my door over the years with "Husker Red" with green leaves. It was a popular plant in my old community. One person had a truly annoying habit of offering me excess plants that had reverted, and when I declined showed up at my door with a box full of the stuff, which I accepted sweetly and threw in the trash. It's self seeded. Why in the world would I want a plant that did not have the trait I purchased it for? I did the research years ago. This article discusses the issue of seed reversion and specifically mentions Red Husker digitalis.

http://passel.unl.edu/pages/informationmodule.php?idinformationmodule=1063651479&topicorder=5&maxto=7&minto=1

Here is the significant part of it:

"Continued seed propagation of “new” plants developed through the selection process still results in plants that do not exhibit the desired characteristic, or do so only weakly. Occasional seedlings of ’Husker Red’ penstemon will produce pale pink flowers, not white ones, or foliage that is more green than burgundy. This reversion can result in less than 100% uniformity in a seedling and may ruin a planting. The result could be a dissatisfied customer if the plant doesn’t look like the picture. What a challenge! Therefore, it is essential that people in the landscape and nursery industries know whether a particular plant can reproduce in a predictable manner so growers, sellers, and buyers are all working with plants that have the same traits. Plants that do not breed true from seed (produce identical offspring), need to be propagated vegetatively. "

Another interesting quote:

"Before they will release the new plant into the horticultural trade as a named variety, good breeders make sure the characteristic is reasonably stable by testing it in many locations. (Fig. 6) This process of selection and reselection can take years. In fact, eight years passed between the discovery of a single Penstemon digitalis with red foliage and the release of Penstemon digitalis ’Husker Red’ by Dr. Dale Lindgren seen in (Fig. 7)."

In other words, you need to take a cutting or divide it.
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 23, 2012
7:04 AM

Post #9283803

I have been searching for a source for this plant for my new yard, and in doing so found an interesting blurb from High Country Garden's website:

'Husker Red's' combination of burgundy foliage and tall spikes of abundant white flowers make this *1996 Perennial Plant of the Year* a garden standout. Many nurseries have since propagated the plant from seed (not cuttings) resulting in many 'Husker Red' plants lacking the deeply colored leaves of the original. Not so from us. Our plants are grown from breeder Dale Lindgren's original stock.

I got mine originally from a garden center, and purchased it in the fall (on sale!) so I could be certain that I had the true plant. Beware of ebay sites! I have seen reverted stock offered there.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 23, 2012
7:15 AM

Post #9283811

Thanks for the info. My RH that is dark red all season came from my sister.I really prefer it.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

September 23, 2012
8:37 AM

Post #9283868

Good to know about the 'HR' seed not coming true. I haven't collected it in the past and now I won't. I also have 'Mystica' from BS which I think is a bit paler and more silvery. Wonder if it's a not-true seedling from 'HR'.
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 23, 2012
8:41 AM

Post #9283870

After all, what is Digitalis Husker Red without the red (or burgundy)?

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 23, 2012
9:09 AM

Post #9283898

Cindy: I grew Mystica this year for the first time. I believe it's different in that the base plants are bigger and seem to mound.Its my finding here that the flowers are pinker than RH.

Donna: I couldnt believe the difference in the two huskers I have. Actually 4 the 3 pak from BLSTn had 2 huskers and a dark tower.The Huskers were greener than my sister gift.
Sister gift was posted above
#1 Red Husker and bonfire euphorbia in May
#2 Mystica with iris June
#3 Mystica blooms

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DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 23, 2012
9:25 AM

Post #9283904

Did they actually sell them to you? That wasn't right, fair or nice. But I think it's common. The leaves are not supposed to be green!

If that annoying person hadn't tried to "gift" me with his discards years ago, my curiosity would never have been piqued, and I never would have done the research. So whenever I saw them being offered, especially seeds, I took a pass.

The real deal can be spotted from the moment of sprouting. The burgundy should jump out at you.

A good time to buy them is fall, when they are trying to get rid of them, and you can really see the color.

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ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 23, 2012
10:12 AM

Post #9283928

The RH posted above is from Bluestone.Its a May sprout .
Bluestone red husker today Green as can be

Sisters Gift May 2012.Great dark red color until August,now its bronze.

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DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 23, 2012
10:14 AM

Post #9283932

Things that make you go hmmmmmm...

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 23, 2012
10:38 AM

Post #9283960

Donna.Your story about the gifted husker seedlings reminded me of why I dont get offers like that anymore.
I am such a pickie bi*** about plant color and shape etc.No one offers, too intimidating I guess.
Plus I dont dig and trade anything simply because it is too hard and I save my energy for my own chores.
altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

September 23, 2012
5:12 PM

Post #9284298

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' is a fine plant... but it tends to be the only one people grow! There are about 270 species of Penstemon... endless possibilities for experimentation! Having said that, many do best in dry, well-drained conditions... though these conditions can be created (i.e. rock garden settings) if one doesn't have them naturally.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 23, 2012
5:50 PM

Post #9284340

My Bluestone HR's are nice and red, unlike the ones I grew from seed. I ordered it while the seedlings were still very small because I read somewhere about the color differences. I also ordered Dark Towers from Lazy S, and it's gorgeous too.

A new favorite is P Romney's Purple, also from Lazy S. They call it a blooming machine. It was about finished in early August and I cut it back before I left for several weeks. It's blooming its head off now, which looks great with the Phlox Dark Kiss and Verbena Bonariensis that are also in full swing. I'm thankful for that, I must say. I left a summer garden and came back to fall :(

I know what you mean about doing your own chores, ge. This weekend I started the re-arranging that seems always to be necessary this time of year. I'm finally getting enough quantity through propagation and division of some favorites to achieve a more cohesive design in certain areas. It's been a long haul as I keep trying to renovate this very old, very large garden. And, as usual, as I work I see bright pictures of what will come next year. And each year, even though there are always disappointments and surprises, I get closer to my goal. I also have become much more specific about what I will and won't have here, much less interested in unsolicited 'gifts.'

I'm still a sucker for new ideas, though. I still get excited about fanciful descriptions of plants I've never grown, and have to try them. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. It's all a process, right?

Pam

DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 23, 2012
5:51 PM

Post #9284342

The reason people in the midwest go crazy for 'Husker Red' is that they, like me, have tried to grow others and failed because of our clay based soil. I bought a book on penstemons years ago because I had Husker Red and I wanted to expand. I amended my soil and tried to grow three others, amongst them, Stapleford Gem. After several expensive experiments I just expanded my Husker Red, which is one of my favorites anyway. Some of the penstemon I liked had sommewhat electric hues - pretty in pics but not so great in my garden.

It's not that people necessarily lack imagination. For me, adjusting my soil to such an extent isn't practical, and there are so many other plants to grow, many of them unconventional. But sometimes substitutes are just as nice, if not better. I tried and tried to grow campanula persificolia from seed and by buying plants. Then I discovered what I considered to be substitutes - Campanula Bernice and platycodons - and I like them better.

I grow a few rock garden plants, like arabis caucasica, which has been in my yard for years. I've mentioned on a few threads how one can successfully grow it in the midwest. I find that there is well drained, which I can manage, and sharply drained, which I can't. And I don't want a rock garden. I really admire the way High Country Gardens makes clear in its catalog, quite accurately and honestly, what will work. There are a lot of great and unusual plants out there. No need to beat one's head against the wall.
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 23, 2012
6:08 PM

Post #9284360

I've actually had great luck with trades. An individual had lilium speciosis alba, which I had always wanted, and I had coveted. I traded Silver Sunburst for it, which I have a lot of, but which is out of commerce. Sometimes people write to me because they have seen a plant I wrote about and would like it, and ask me to review their trade lists. That's how I traded fragaria vesca reugen, grown from seed, for Nepeta Sweet Dreams and Thalictrum Black Stockings. I traded Heuchera Firefly, grown from seed, for 2 baptisia australis, which I established successfully in my new garden. I was really lucky on the last two trades, since the super lady I did them with lives within driving distance.

I traded allium christophii, which I have by the bucketfull, for my first digitalis grandiflora, which has produced enough plants through spontaneous seedlings to allow me to naturalize an area. A sweet person sent me my first hardy geraniums, so I sent him Silver Sunburst and Anastasia.

And some gifts rock. I just received two Nepeta Six Hills Giant and two Nepeta Joanna Reed, and a bunch of hardy geraniums.

Ge, I understand your hesitation. And I understand the work. And I don't publicize my trades by establishing a trade list. My first trade (frasies Thalictrum Nepeta) was at the request of the other person, who realized that I did not have a trade list and dmailed me. I've putting together a lady fern/allium christophii trade for next spring, since I couldn't transplant my lady ferns.

Under the right circumstances (and they really do have to be the right ones) it can work.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 24, 2012
2:03 AM

Post #9284549

Donna: Without getting into a section on "why I dont trade" I'll just say its health related.
I have become more selfish as I get older.Its just a matter of conserving my energy. My gardens arent as big as many and I am trying to reighn in any expansion.In fact I have been planting hostas in areas where I cant garden on a constant basis.
I am with you on the "no trade list" I hate to turn people down.

Pam: I am trying to manage what garden I have.
I confess RH is the only penstemon I have beside Dark Towers and Mystica which are new last year.
I have many nepetas that I also like.
I agree about the process.Process is me,visualizing an area transformed is how I started all this project.
I have loved every minute even tho I gripe a bit.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 24, 2012
4:10 AM

Post #9284587

I guess its a true and certain sign of "loosing ground" when the first decision of the day is weather I will need a bra or not to just do gardening.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 24, 2012
8:23 PM

Post #9285507

Oh ge! I love it! :) Deciding to wear a bra or not. A couple of days ago, I was outside for a short time and knew I was going to change and go into town so, I did not put a bra on to do the yard work. That was a first!

In the last two days, I have planted 70 plants. Most of them Digitalis purpurea 'Glittering Prizes' and Digitalis purpurea 'Apricot Beauty'. I am going to have to move some of the Glittering Prizes, as I have them too close together. (Not sure where I am going to put them!)

Interesting comments about Penstemons. I have Penstemon 'Husker'sRed by the road. I bought it at Lowe's on a clearance rack BEFORE I realized it doesn't stay true to color. Donna, I too read the info. on High Country about this plant after I bought the one at Lowe's. It has some green and some burgundy, but I still like it. HOwever, I must say the ones in the above pictures are stunning. I just planted today Penstemon barbatus 'Hot Pink Riding Hood'. I started from seed two years ago, Penstemon cobaea. The bloom is white. I planted this at the bottom of my steps. It has done really well and has made several large babies over the summer. The HR is on a big slope so has good drainage, the P. cobaea is a native to Mo and does fine here. I have three P. barbatus 'Navigator Mix' to yet plant. They are a dark pink, a light pink and a lavender. I have thoroughly studied all of the Penstemons High Country Gardens catalog offers. There are some they say one can grow in the "East'.

I have many plants I could "give" for postage, but I really don't have the time to box them up and take them to the mailbox. I have white crepe myrtles, lots of Buddelia, lots of Dianthus 'Bath's Pink' and Callicarpa americana. I hate to throw them away, however, but I have another 60 plants on my deck I still need to get in the ground. If I can get ahead, I will try to offer them to DG members.

I have about 9 Digitalis grandiflorus I am quite excited to plant that I Winter Sowed. I think the color is outstanding and the leaves are a pretty color of green. I have several Chalcedonica 'Maltese Cross', Oriental Poppies, and Penstemon digitalis and a few other odds and ends to plant.

The weather has been great for working in the yard.

When you deadhead the Penstemon, I assume you cut it down to the rosette? Also, do you deadhead as soon as it is through blooming and before the seed heads turn brown? Then, does the Penstemon put out several bloom stalks? I am new to growing Penstemon. My Penstemons have put out one bloom stalk. Maybe, it is because they are young plants? Do you have to stake your Penstemons? Mine fell over.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 25, 2012
1:28 AM

Post #9285657

Mine are only in second year bloom.They stand great so far,bigger plants I wont know until a few years.
I deadheaded as soon as flowers faded first bloom. No second bloom on either Dark Towers or RH.Maybe I cut too low.
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 25, 2012
5:40 AM

Post #9285761

There may be more than one way to do it, but I have always deadheaded my penstemons to the highest set of leaves, not the rosette. I think it causes it to rebloom more quickly.

Mine have never flopped. Is it possible that you are giving them a bit too much nitrogen fertilzer? It tends to cause floppiness.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 25, 2012
2:49 PM

Post #9286251

This is what I found on "garden guides.com:

Hundreds of penstemon cultivars are available to gardeners. Some are only a few inches high and regrow from their crown every spring. Others can reach 2 to 3 feet high and produce new leaves on old growth. Needless to say, you must know how your pesntemon grows in order to prune it properly. However, if you accidentally prune a penstemon that grows on old growth to the groun, it should regrow (but it will do so as a stubbier versi9on of itself).

1. Pruned herbaceous or perennial penstemons in mid-spring after all danger of frost has passed.
2. Cut penstemons that regrow from the crown back to the ground (just above the crown).
3. Shorten the stems of penstemons that leaf out on existing stems making cuts just above a healthy bud or leaf. Ideally reduce the height by one-quarter to one-third, for sturdier stems, and to keep the plant from flopping over during the summer.
4. DEADHEAD penstemons (cut back faded flower stalks before seeds form) in late summer or early fall when the flowers have started to fade and the flower stalks have begun to die. Remove flower stalks as close to the crown as you can.
5. Remove dead leaves and broken or dead stems when you deadhead flowers. You might be tempted to cut back you penstemon now--but don't do it. Penstemons need their stems left intact to protect the crown from winter damage. The stems also provide visual interest and height to winter-dormant gardens.

I did not cut my stems back when they started growing and maybe that is why they flopped over. I did not fertilize them. I am somewhat confused about the above article. Step 4 says to remove the flower stalk to the crown; Step 5 says they need their stems to protect the crown from winter damage.

I have Penstemon cobeae and P. barbatus '.R.' and just planted P. barbatus 'Hot Pink Riding Hood' which all appear to have a mounding habit. But, not all P. have a mounding habit. Penstemon palmeri does not or so it appears in the pictures. So, I guess it means to cut the stalks of of the mounding ones and leave the stems on the ones that don't mound.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 25, 2012
8:31 PM

Post #9286510

Oops- my blooming Penstemon is Prairie Dusk, a gorgeous shade of purple. Also P Elfin Pink is blooming again. They are both smaller and more delicate than HR. I trimmed off just the spent flower stalks. This spring I bought a B & D small battery operated trimmer. It's great for deadheading, I can get through the whole garden in no time. Veronicas, Salvias, Lavender, Heuchera, Dianthus, early spring bloomers, all sorts of things I never used to get around to now get trimmed regularly. I even use it occasionally to touch up the edges of the beds when the grass gets raggedy looking.

As far as trades go, I've been in a couple of group trades that, although I received a couple of plants I'm happy with, were disappointing overall. I've also traded privately a little, and that has always been successful. I don't really spend time looking, but if something interesting came up I would do it. But only for specific plants, no surprises. I do like seed trading, and have signed up again for Deejay's round robin. For plants though, I tend to order on line from good suppliers and co-ops.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 26, 2012
1:39 AM

Post #9286558

So glad I read thia
Pfg: a trimmer how fantastic.I want one for crismis. It kills my back when its time for the nepetas.
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 26, 2012
5:33 AM

Post #9286645

Birder, thank you for the info on penstemons. My dumb luck reuslted in method number 3, and lots of rebloom. Then at the end of the year I would cut them to the ground. Gotta find some next year. I couldn't bring myself to take them from my old yard. They are very much up front and center.

And Pfg, thank you for the information on group trades. I have avoided them - all trades were private and all were successful - many initiated privately by the other person. There is a doll of a woman about 20 miles away who has hundreds of cuttings, and I've swapped with her. The beauty of that is that she asks what I would like, and I can see it. There have been some sellers here that also sell on ebay, and if you look them up on ebay, you see bad reviews. I was looking at Husker Red, and even from the pics you could see it was green, along with many complaints. There are also VERY bad reviews for a person on Cubits, where there is a lot of advertising in posts, which I don't care for. I like that DG separates that stuff.

In the last year I have been my own supplier, but I have also ordered from Forest Farm, Old House Gardens and now Santa Rosa Gardens. I've gotten smaller roses from DG approved sites. They all have great track records. Or sites recommended by discerning DGers, like Peonies.net by Gary (Leawood Gardener). But the most important thing I learned is to stop ordering in fall for the spring. You pay top prices for the next season's plants, and you know? They will be there next year. At discount.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 26, 2012
7:43 AM

Post #9286750

Good idea: battery operated trimmer! I too have Elfin Pink. It's in full shade, in clay soil, and the poor thing gets bigger and bigger every year! It only blooms once, however. Maybe it's because I have never deadheaded it. Elfin Pink is such a sweetie, such a clear, pink colored bloom. And, it must be quite hardy for it to be in the location I have it. What was I thinking? I wasn't! I would probably kill it if I tried to re-locate it due to its long tap root. I have tried to collect seed from Elfin Pink but have been unsuccessful.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

September 26, 2012
8:10 AM

Post #9286781

This is my, still potted, Red Penstemon. The leaves are green, the blooms a nice red.
Any idea of what this one is called? This picture was taken in May--and the plant was
a division from my neighbor. So--I have no ID on it.

I even posted this same picture to ask what this plant was????

Thanks--Gita

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 26, 2012
8:29 AM

Post #9286807

I'm going to cry. My Santa Rosa order is arriving to morrow and I just noticed that they have digitalis Husker Red. For $1.99! I looked under digitalis instead of penstemon.

http://www.santarosagardens.com/Penstemon-digitalis-Husker-Red-p/pen-hus.htm

Well, maybe if I pull out my white mirabilis...

This message was edited Sep 28, 2012 7:23 AM
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 27, 2012
2:18 PM

Post #9288179

Here's the link for the trimmer.

http://www.blackanddecker.com/allproducts/powered-gardening-tools-garden-shears

I have the 2-in-1, which is the only one my HD had. But the long blade is useless IMO. I only use the shears. Lightweight, easy to use, and plenty strong enough even for light touching up of the box shrubs. Nepeta is a piece of cake.

Boo Hoo... I've just gone on the Santa Rosa site... Lots of interesting things at great prices, but I just got a big order from Bluestone, and a bunch of Mamajack's co-ops delivered the same week. Not to mention i have to catch up from being away so long. No time and no budget left for newbies right now. Too bad. But I will definitely keep them in kind for the future!

Pam
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 27, 2012
7:32 PM

Post #9288405

Donna, Thanks for the Santa Rosa Gardens tip. I bought 50 dollars worth of plants. I can't believe $2.49--other places have them for 6 to 12 dollars! I tried to be judicial. I much prefer planting in the fall.
I also bought a couple of scented geraniums for the doldrums of winter at another nursery.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 28, 2012
1:47 AM

Post #9288557

Pam: Thanks for the link.Its going to my kids.I think we will draw names for xmas this year and since I am the one in charge of the "hat" I will make sure the kid with money gets my name.
Thanks also for your recommendation.The link lists several styles,the short blade makes sense.

Would you recommend the Compact Grass shears instead.Just bypass the combo with both blades?
I think we have the long blade trimmer anyway.

This message was edited Sep 28, 2012 4:52 AM
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 28, 2012
4:37 AM

Post #9288609

Yes, the compact shears seem to be exactly what I have without the extra useless blade. Interesting that the reviews are so poor... I love mine.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 28, 2012
4:52 AM

Post #9288620

i dont trust reviews,except on Netflix.
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

September 28, 2012
6:45 AM

Post #9288710

I hear you, ge. I understand that some of the most unreliable reviews are on Angie's list. People have different tastes and standards, and what one person thinks is great can be mediocre to a person with a lot of options in their community. In my community, the big boxes (Ace Hardware, Menards, Home Depot) compete with family owned businesses that have been around for 30 years. The family owned businesses are consistently the winner for me. Good reviews from people who live here, very personal service, and 20% lower in price.

I rarely make a purchase without checking with Consumer Reports. I have utilized them to buy everything from major purchases like a car and insurance to a water filter and paper towels. I have both the paper subscription ($26) and online subscription ($19). The latter is great because you can search for whatever you want to buy. They have been the source for some major recalls (arsenic in apple juice being sold to babies being just one). And I love their Best Buys - top quality without paying a top quality price.

And dear Birder, credit for the Santa Rosa should go to happy_macomb, who dmailed it to me. Dmail is great. I am communicating with 5 different DGers on it. It is a great way to facilitate trades without going public.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 28, 2012
7:07 AM

Post #9288718

Bless d-mail,it saves a lot of misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 28, 2012
12:53 PM

Post #9289103

Speaking of trades, and without wanting to go soooo public, I have 3 white knautia plants that need a new home. My iPad (the old one) won't post pictures any more. I can do it from my phone, but it's harder to type, hence the double post. The problem is that they got 5-6ft tall! I just don't know where to put them, and they can't stay where they are. Any interest here?

Sorry, Birder, to hi-jack your thread with all this other stuff... Maybe you want them?!

Pam
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 28, 2012
1:04 PM

Post #9289108

Pic 1 is from early August, the others are last week. You can see the problem...

Thumbnail by Pfg   Thumbnail by Pfg   Thumbnail by Pfg      
Click an image for an enlarged view.

CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

September 28, 2012
1:32 PM

Post #9289125

Donna - ditto on everything you said on 9/28.
I didn't get my 'HR' to rebloom but maybe the dryness and heat didn't help. I didn't deadhead all the way back to the rosette but to a leave axil, hoping for a rebloom. Maybe in a better growing season.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 28, 2012
5:33 PM

Post #9289326

Hey, no problem with hi-jacking the thread. I like it when the thread takes on a life of its own.
Pam, white Knautia sounds nice, but I can't think of a place right off hand to put it.
I dug up a "gob" of Gladiolus--dark ruby red today. They grow in zone 6 and multiply. No care what so ever. If anyone wants some of them let me know. Tomorrow, I am going to dig up Siberian Iris 'Caesar's Brother'. Anyone want some of them?
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 28, 2012
6:12 PM

Post #9289357

Gita: Regarding your pretty red Penstemon. Tell us more. How tall does your neighbor's mature plant get? It has to be zone 5. It has to be one that will grow in the East. Do the red flowers have any white on them? That could be Red Riding Hood.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

September 28, 2012
7:21 PM

Post #9289422

Birder--

My neighbor buys plants as if money was no matter...then she, incessantly, propagates them--mostly
in pots of whatever size. She is compulsive--every little branch of a rose or any other plant--she sticks in the ground.
The weird thing is--they all root! Then she does not know where to put them. Like that pile of Hostas.

This spring--I was walking around her garden with her and saw about 5 pots with divisions of the Penstemon
growing in them. She said: "Take one if you want!" So I did.
I really did not see how tall her original plant grew.

Then the 6' fence went up and I really do not see her garden any more. It completely blocked us apart.
We are just now trying to get back to some kind of neighborliness. That fence killed me!
Now I don't mind so much--at least the section that borders my back yard's west side of my "YUK" bed.
It forms a nice backdrop and will be very useful to keep the harsh western and northern winds
from blowing on anything in this side of the bed. Kind of a protected bed now.





birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 29, 2012
7:57 AM

Post #9289801

You may be able to grow some pretty Clematis or other vines on the fence--that would be nice. We're not allowed fences in this neighborhood.
I guess you need to ask her about the Penstemon. If you find out, let us know. It's very pretty. Your hummers I am sure, love it.
Why did the neighbors want to put a fence in?

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

September 29, 2012
8:18 AM

Post #9289822

Birder--

The 6' fence was installed to keep her grandson, age 2 1/2 from running out towards the street,
or walking into my yard (which was OK with me) or climbing through the split rail fencing in the back.
She (the grandmother) was getting too tired trying to keep him in the yard. She did run after him
all ther time as he just giggled--such a fun "game"!!!
I always thought a more firm discipline and some consequences for his actions would have achieved the same.

This kid, at less than 2 years of age, had already figured out how to play games and totally ignore
the constant calling him back. He is growing up in total isolation from other children. Not good!

I thought a 4' fence would have done the same. None of the other family members ( 2 daughters and the husband)
approved of this fence-so it was all the G-Mother's doing.
As the oldest daughter told me---"This is the way everyone gardens in Pakistan, In a boxed in yard."

IMHO---the kid was just part of the reason. She just wanted all this privacy and more walls to line up
all her pots around. I was angry at her--and she totally stopped all communication with me.
I miss it--as I taught her almost all the English she speaks, and we openly visited each others yards.

Another reason I think so, is that on one side of her yard--the other neighbors next to her, already
had a 4'chain link fence--and this 6' fence was installed right next to that one.
Money does not seem to be a matter to this family.

OK! A boring story for those that did NOT ask "WHY?""" This all has already been covered in previous Posts.

Gita

Here isthe West side of my "YUK" bed. Now a nice backdrop for taller plants.

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 29, 2012
3:16 PM

Post #9290181

That garden doesn't look "yuk" to me.
Did you try to ID the Penstemon on the ID forum?

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

September 29, 2012
6:26 PM

Post #9290363

Birder---
I have NO idea what happened to the Penstemon I had?????
I asked my neighbor to come look and she let me go into her yard and look at hers--
and, after checking the leaves, I went looking around all my beds--and did not find anything.
It is possible that the top has died back and is no longer visible. Will check the PF.

The "YUK" refers to how matted all the soil is in this bed because of the large, old maple right
next to it. I cannot dig in there without having to pull out roots in every inch of this bed.

Many plants grow in this bed--and I have the highest regard for those plants.
Of course, planting only real diehard plants in here helps.

You can see my split rail fencing that I had there. i so loved the openness of all the yards.
You could wave your hand and holler "Good Morning"!!!

My neighbor gave me 4 mote Cardinal Flowers she had rooted. She was trying to pot all 4 of them in a 10" HB.
I took them, of course! Potted each in a gallon pot.

Bedtime! Early day tomorrow...Gita

Here is a good look at mu corner "YUK" bed. See how close the tree is???

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Click the image for an enlarged view.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 30, 2012
2:05 AM

Post #9290623

Too bad about the fence. I hope you can make something positive out of the issue.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 30, 2012
6:32 AM

Post #9290761

Back to the Black and Decker Grass shears for cleaning perennial beds,This is a good tip for anyone with physical problems,
I have a pair of grass edgers with a long handle it has wee wheels and rolls along the ground.
I used it this AM to cut back Walkers Low.It works fine and no bending or on my knees .
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 30, 2012
7:09 AM

Post #9290827

That sounds interesting! I've never seen anything like it... Is it powered? Can you control how high/low it cuts? Could it be used to deadhead tall plants? With mine, I am on my knees a lot!

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 30, 2012
7:17 AM

Post #9290834

This is it.I love Google
http://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-9210-Long-Handled-Swivel-Shears/dp/B00004SD6Y
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 30, 2012
7:20 AM

Post #9290839

Very cool... I love Google too. What did we ever do without it?!

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 30, 2012
8:02 AM

Post #9290877

I forgot to say I did cut dead lily stems with it. I plan to use it on everything that isnt solid wood.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

September 30, 2012
8:46 AM

Post #9290904

Have the B&D cordless grass shears on wheels and long handle available. I use it for edging rather than a string trimmer. Had fun experimenting with cutting back Coreopsis 'Moonbeam' but don't use it for very hard stems. Have two of them always on charge. I do replace the battery and blades every couple of years. Always carrying my Felco pruner in my back pocket when I'm gardening.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 30, 2012
8:52 AM

Post #9290907

I just finished a garden with yarrow,lilies,DL's,Penstemon Husker Red and veronicas.It did a great job.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 30, 2012
3:07 PM

Post #9291248

I take my pruners with me also. In fact, I take a bucket that has: A spray bottle of round up for the dandelions and some noid weed that has a root like a huge carrot that goes on forever, a spray bottle for nutsedge, a pair of garden scissors, pruners, and a trowel. My yard is absolutely full of rocks. When I come across a rock, I throw it in my bucket. It seems strange my soil is full of rocks and yet is a tight clay. Whew! How does anyone grow anything in that condition?

I also loose my scissors, trowels, and pruners. I try to pay attention and put all back in the bucket, but sometimes, they just dissappear. Yesterday, while I was digging out some of my Siberian Iris that were spreading too far, I found a pair of rusty pruners. I put them in a jar of CLR, and I think I am going to be able to restore them. I have lots of trowels and lots of pruners. I hate it when I am on a roll and can't find my tools.

ge: thanks for sharing the grass edgers with the long handle. I have a weed eater, but I am guessing this is even easier.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

September 30, 2012
3:31 PM

Post #9291266

I have arthritis everywhere.
Certain tools are difficult to use because they are too fast or awkward and might set me off balance.
I feel I have more control over tools that are not motorized. I had heard of people using a weedwacker in nepetas and shrub type plants.
My grass trimmer is lightweight and easy to manipulate.I just have to watch where I lay it down the pointed end is fierce looking and I wouldnt want to fall on it.

I did hire someone who helps clean in Fall and spring.I just dont have the stamina to do it all.

I have an 8 plant a day limit for digging holes and setting plants in the ground.
hugobee
Montreal, QC
(Zone 5b)

September 30, 2012
5:04 PM

Post #9291377

I just did a quick scan on this thread. So, my Husker Red has self-seeded itself everywhere in my garden, even to the point I was pulling it out between stones! I like it, but for me it has never rebloomed. :Last year I bought Dark Towers and I guess because I relocated it this year, it has done nothing. so I can't wait till next year. I once had a penstemon called "Purple Haze". It was gorgeous for a few years and then it up and died on me and I have not been able to find it since. Love summer, hate the fall clean up. Getting too hard to bend in tight spots anymore.
Sharon
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

September 30, 2012
5:05 PM

Post #9291379

I "wish" I could find someone to help me with my spring and fall chores. Digging through the roots of Siberian Iris is really tough on the knees and takes a lot of power. I am moving the S. iris on our slope to the backyard to aid in erosion. I am also dividing Daylilies to edge the backyard. Daylilies aren't near as hard to move.

Has anyone transplanted mature Penstemon cobeae or transplanted mature Digitalis grandiflora?
Any tips? Both of these plants have multiplied, and I would like to put them in other gardens.

My Penstemon barbatus 'Elfin Pink' is blooming for the second time. This is the first time it has bloomed twice. That's exciting. It's such a cutie.

warriorswisdomkathy

warriorswisdomkathy
Kiowa, CO
(Zone 5b)

September 30, 2012
8:14 PM

Post #9291565

A few more Penstemons to consider are P. strictus Rocky Mountain Blue,30-36", blue, late spring only, 'bout the time of Digitalis. The other is P. mexicali, pink, 16-18" and blooms all season, lightly reseeds for more babies. I ploanted P. palmeri last summer and bloomed this summer at 48"+, the only Penstemon which is fragrant, pink, not sure if it's going to reseed as the deer have been munching, but if they leave me any pods will collect the seed, they can reach to 5ft., tho they are a later seasoned bloom, but then again was a weird summer for bloom times...

Pix 1: P. mexicali, June to frost
Pix 2: P. strictus Rocky Mountain Blue, June z5
Pix 3: P palmerii
Pix 4: Digitalis thapsii, a true perennial at 18-24"

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy   Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy   Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy   Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy   
Click an image for an enlarged view.

Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

September 30, 2012
9:02 PM

Post #9291607

Digitalis Grandiflora is very easy to divide and move. I do it all the time, spring and fall, just not in the heat of summer. I've even moved it while it's blooming. I dig a decent hole, use a rooting formula- Rootblast or Superthrive are favorites- make sure it gets lots of water in the beginning, have never lost one. It also volunteers in my garden, you might try saving seeds and WS if you want more. Good luck!

I have one of those utility bags I fill with hand tools, Rootblast for transplanting, whatever controls I need- Sluggo, Spinosad, whatever- Felco pruners, knife, scissors, markers, tags, seed packets, whatever I need at the time. I put a couple of plastic pots inside to hold it open. It really saves me going back and forth constantly to get something I suddenly need. Every once in a while I clean it out. Right now it really needs it!

Pam

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 1, 2012
1:32 AM

Post #9291690

Nice idea Pfg.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

October 1, 2012
6:42 AM

Post #9291913

HMmmmmmm...

Looking at the pictures of "warrior's" Penstemons--I am not sure i would want something so
spreading/clumping in my small beds. It would take over.

Seems this plant is more suited to a garden that has a lot of natural areas and lots of space.
Maybe mine can stay "lost"...we will see in the spring.

Gita

warriorswisdomkathy

warriorswisdomkathy
Kiowa, CO
(Zone 5b)

October 1, 2012
3:31 PM

Post #9292681

Pix 1 is 16-18"^x12-15">
Pix 2 is 30-36"^x30-36">
Pix 3 is 48"+^x36">
Pix 4 is 18-24"x12-15">
Sorry should have put that in the first time...Kathy
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 1, 2012
4:16 PM

Post #9292757

Thanks Pam, for the info. on transplanting.
What kind of markers/tags do you use? I haven't found too much that works well for me. One DG uses smooth rocks and writes on them. I think those look neat.

We went to garden centers/nurseries today. We bought a Hydrangea 'Limelight', Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosem 'Shasta' and V. plicatum var. tomentosem 'Summer Snowflake', Nepeta 'Kit Kat', Echinacea 'Pink Poodle' & Campanula 'Birch hybrid'. I have had a hard time getting Campanulas to grow from seed, so I was tickeled to get the Campanula, nor have I seen seed for Nepeta 'Kit Kat'. These were on sale except for the H. 'Limelight', but I wanted to plant in the fall vs. Spring.

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6b)

October 1, 2012
4:27 PM

Post #9292775

I Have a few dark towers growing I imagine I will enjoy the blooms it is the only pentsemon plant I have ever had, Have seen red riding hood and some of the others though.The dark towers I bought as a plant of course and there are a few I would like to try from seed,I will get to that eventually.
Just now trying strawberry foxglove, only as said there are many that you hardly ever see even where they grow well.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

October 1, 2012
4:33 PM

Post #9292781

I use plastic markers written in pencil for most things while they are small. I find the pencil doesn't fade even over the winter. This spring I bought a paint pen, which I use on metal tags. They are less conspicuous, nicer for long term. I've seen the painted rocks, they do look neat. I guess the paint pen would work on those too. Someone thought they would dry up, but so far mine has not. I bought it in the early spring, was away for several weeks, and when I came back recently it worked right away.

Great shopping trip! H Limelight is on my wish list. I also love viburnums, but so far only have Winterthur and Brandywine.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

October 1, 2012
7:06 PM

Post #9292993

Most of us in this neck of the woods use cut up mini-blind--or vertical blinds as markers.
Cut them as long or short as you like. The vertical blinds are 4" wide and much heavier than
the minis--so you can make bigger markers.

You can go to a HD or Lowes to the Floor and Wall dept. Ask them if they have any cut off ends from blinds.
HD offers this service for FREE. They will cut your blinds to any length. The cut off ends are trashed.
These make wonderful markers.
There is a professional grade sharpie sold. Red or black. These do not fade in the outdoors.
Not sure who sells them.

Gita

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6b)

October 1, 2012
8:01 PM

Post #9293062

I just power staple any old piece of of weatherproof plastic to a clothes hanger type wire and use the evermark brand permanent marker, any color.
Guess I'm the cheap one here.lol
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

October 2, 2012
6:04 AM

Post #9293344

Gitagal,

How funny. In his book, "Right Rose, Right Place", Peter Schneider advises using vertical blinds as markers for his billion roses. He says, as I'm sure that you have experienced, that they are weatherfast and work for years.

Great minds...

birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 3, 2012
8:29 AM

Post #9294610

I have used the paint pens in the past, but don't remember why I quit using them--maybe just forgot to buy another one. Also, the paint does seem to disappear eventually. I mostly use the blinds Gita mentioned, but I have been buying the "cheap" blinds and cutting them up. That's a great tip to pick up the cut off blinds. I use pencil to write the names, but you have to get very close to the label to really read it. I often put the written part of the blind buried in the ground leaving about an inch and a half above the ground. This way, it doesn't break off when it gets stepped on. The blinds become brittle if left above the ground. I can always pull it up and replace it with a trowel that I have with me most of the time. Need to look for the Evermark brand marker. I have been putting rocks about the size of tennis balls by the plants that I have just recently planted. I plan to put labels by the plants later. I should do like pfg and carry these along with me. I am also making notes in my computer as to what I planted and where for a future reference.

H. Limelight was in a 5 gallon pot and four feet tall with many stems for $30.00. I am pretty excited to have this shrub.

jhur--Penstemon seeds have to be stratified--so keep that in mind with your time schedule to plant the flowers in your garden. I have grown Digitalis 'Strawberry'. I do believe every seed germinates.

Pam, I have Viburnum 'Winterhur' and 'Brandwine'. I have really enjoyed the stages of color of the berries on V. 'Brandywine'.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

October 3, 2012
10:15 AM

Post #9294727

I just put in my Brandywine this spring. I got 3 from a co-op, they were a great price but small, and they didn't flower. I bought them to pollinate Winterthur, which had berries when we bought it 3 years ago but none since, so I hope next year I get the berries on all of them.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 4, 2012
4:16 PM

Post #9296045

For me, Brandywine produced way more berries. Mine are probably 3 1/2 feet tall. I did have to water them quite a bit this summer.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

October 4, 2012
7:43 PM

Post #9296240

Mine are so little! But they did do well this summer. I hope next year they put on some growth. Nothing like gardening to teach patience!

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 5, 2012
1:40 AM

Post #9296363

ahhhhmen
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 5, 2012
3:34 PM

Post #9296843

Patience in gardening--yes. When I transplant seeds that have been winter sown, it's so tediuous. Foxglove get real unhappy if dirt gets on their leaves. I hold the leaves up and water ea. plant. Same goes for Aubrieta, & Maltese Cross.
I bought the grass shears recommeded after I developed three blisters cutting back S. Iris. I still have a lot more S. Iris to cut back using the shears.
I planted my Echinacea 'Pink Poodle' two days ago. I divided it in two as it was a huge plant. Well, in order to plant it, I had to move five E. 'Magnus' and Asclepias tuberrose, and a large Buddelia. That's what I run into when I want to plant something. I have to move five other plants first and find a place for them. Plus, I stew around wondering where to put a plant. I am doing much better however, I try not to buy a plant unless I know where I am going to put it.
My gardens get out of hand by late summer as I hate to rip plants out and throw them away.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

October 5, 2012
3:46 PM

Post #9296851

birder--You are singing my song--re where to plant stuff. I have the same problem.

Please tell me about the S. Iris. I got a pot of it from Joyanna/Jill.
I have read some posts that it really spreads. Does it? Tell me more bad news.

I may have to plant it in my neighbor's bed in that case. There is a lot of room.

Gita
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

October 5, 2012
3:47 PM

Post #9296853

I feel for you... And have the same problem! I buy plants for a specific spot, then get them and realize it would look so much better if I move this, that and the other thing, and divided a few more. Or, more often, I buy plants that 'go with' my scheme, then realize I've mis-remembered the amount of available space, or what else is there that clashes, or that I'd been heading in a different direction and the thing I bought just can't go there. Or, like now, things are blooming together that I didn't anticipate so there are clashes, or large gaps... Well, you get the idea.

Since I've been back I've completely re-worked two sections, moving things to and from other areas as well as planting some of the new stuff. But the big ones are yet to come. I'm waiting for a few more annuals to go to seed (for Deejay's robin) so I can pull them out, then yikes! Off I go...

Pam

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 6, 2012
2:44 AM

Post #9297220

I cant find my garden helper and its time to clean here.
None of the ph# he gave me are working.
It's beyond me how anyone can need work and not have a system for keeping in touch with customers.

I might need to hire the pro.landscape people.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 6, 2012
1:56 PM

Post #9297635

Gita: Siberian Iris look like miniature bearded iris. They are pretty. But, they have a really tough root system, and they do spread. I have them growing down my driveway. They are great for erosion control. They don't spread really fast, so they aren't invasive. You just have to keep them from encroaching too much. In 20 years, I have had to dig them three times. My backyard is woods on a slope, so I move them to the back yard to keep the soil from eroding. They are good for that--better than daylilies in my opinion. I use a sharp shooter shovel and can literally bounce back off of the shovel when I try to dig into their roots, but on the second try, I usually can get through the roots. After that, they're easy to remove.

Regarding moving plants around--I guess that's why they say a garden is never finished. It does make me feel better however, that I am not the only one that has this frustration. :) From your pictures Pfg, your garden/s look really nice.

This past spring/summer I completely re-did one garden. I took out the Nepeta 'Walkers Low' and heeled it in another area. Then, put more peat moss in etc. and put a "few" plants in, divided the N. 'Walkers Low' and repeated it through the garden. It looks a whole lot better--not so crowded. That is what I am working on in the rest of the gardens. I have another garden that has been relatively vacant due to some plumbing work. We haven't quite decided how we want to landscape it--so have left it relatively empty. I am not going to start putting plants in there w/o a plan--it's too much trouble later to move them around.

I have lots of plants blooming right now since the weather has cooled off. Sweet William, snaps, clematis, balloon flower, big gold marigolds, crepe myrtles. Then, there's the fuchsia berries of Callicarpa americana (beautyberry)-so showy. Next year, I am going to plant something fuchsia/purple by the beauty berry to bring out the berry color.
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 8, 2012
5:51 PM

Post #9300033

Gita, siberian irises make a pretty large clump, about 3 foot across. They don't run, so you're safe there. Hard to divide if you let them get older, though, so if you're going to divide, do it every three to four years. And you do need to divide, otherwise they die out in the center. My favorite irises.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

October 8, 2012
7:14 PM

Post #9300120

birder and Polly--

Thank you both for your advice. I printed it out. Will try to find a small spot---which may NOT work out
in the long run.
Now i am not sure if i will have a place to plant these...Every inch seems taken.

Then--there is always my neighbor's beds...;o).
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

October 8, 2012
8:19 PM

Post #9300184

I used my shears on Siberian Iris this weekend. It turns out I have the Lithium battery, I hadn't noticed that before. I finally have a plan for that section. It's behind and above a wide border, so things don't get noticed there in the height of summer. The sibs are across the back. I put a line of peonies in front of them, then a narrow walkway in front of that. That leaves a long section 3-4' deep. I'll put spring bulbs in there, also TBIs, and summer bloomers like day lilies, annuals, etc. Also along the back with the peonies are Japanese anemones and asters, and lots of verbena bonariensis, picking up the slack after the lower perennials poop out.

In the first pic, the section is on the left, beyond the big box shrub, the upper level. It's taken years to fill in the lower bed, and this year it really hid a lot of what went on behind. It makes sense to use it for the early stuff before the phlox and other tall plants block them out. What took me so long to figure that out?!

This message was edited Oct 8, 2012 10:30 PM

Thumbnail by Pfg   Thumbnail by Pfg   Thumbnail by Pfg      
Click an image for an enlarged view.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 9, 2012
1:24 AM

Post #9300293

Pam those areas are so wonderful. I like the layers in the first photo.
I cant imagine gardening on a slope like that tho.
Great job.
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 9, 2012
5:48 PM

Post #9301000

So pretty, Pam!

Gita, plant it. Sibs are so pretty.

Thumbnail by pollyk   Thumbnail by pollyk   Thumbnail by pollyk      
Click an image for an enlarged view.

Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

October 9, 2012
6:18 PM

Post #9301019

Thanks!

Ge- did your helper ever show up? I hate delegating to a 'pro,' no matter what they say, you never know what they are going to do until it's too late. Sometimes I get a guy to help so I can direct everything my way. But for now, until spring, it's just me.

Gita, I agree about the iris, plant them, just stick them in somewhere. They don't expand that fast, and they are lovely when they bloom. Some books say to cut them back after flowering so the leaves don't get too long and floppy, but I've never done it. I guess that would be a good way to keep the clump from taking up extra space. After you see how they grow, you may find a better spot... Or not. Maybe you'll hit it right the first time.
Weerobin
Saint Louis, MO
(Zone 6a)

October 9, 2012
6:51 PM

Post #9301046

Polly, that last iris is just beautiful. Perfect photo.
I just wish I had a little patch of sunshine for some of my own!
I'll enjoy yours instead. Thanks for posting it.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

October 9, 2012
7:12 PM

Post #9301068

Geez, Polly!

The ones you posted are gorgeous!!!
They don't even look like Iris!

I do not know what color mine will be. They came from Jill.

Yooohooo, Jilll! Send me a picture of the Sibs you sent me! So far--they are still in the pot.
Do they look like any of the ones above from Polly?
Gita

pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 9, 2012
7:59 PM

Post #9301119

Thanks ladies. All 3 of them are pretty common (read inexpensive) sibs. Sibs have come a long ways from the old Caesars Brother (which I still love).

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 10, 2012
2:29 AM

Post #9301252

Pam!! I talked to the neighbor who recommended James to me.He has worked for her family for years and was sighned up to take care of her new gardens at her new house.
She said she hadnt heard from him either.
I dont usually let much grass grow under my feet so I called Trevor ( younger and hungrier) who put my garden paths in last spring.
He has workers who do garden cleanup. WQe walked thru the areas to be cleaned and I pointed out spots of special care.My new perennials all tagged and iris bed.
He charges $35.00 per man- hour and said a couple of guys could do the gardens in 3 hours at most.
James was a cheaper hour but took longer,he was in his late 50's
I think the cost will be slightly less with these guys.
I am assured they know perennials and I can "guide" them where I want them to go.

Garden paths from June '12

Thumbnail by ge1836   Thumbnail by ge1836   Thumbnail by ge1836   Thumbnail by ge1836   Thumbnail by ge1836
Click an image for an enlarged view.

Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

October 10, 2012
3:17 AM

Post #9301261

He sounds perfect. Your paths are gorgeous. Lucky you to have him available. Our landscape guy does great work except when he gets 'creative.' This year he butchered the big Euonymus alata. Last year he made them into globes, which looked great, but they were still too big and encroached on the big barrel planter that is between them. This year we asked him to make them smaller and he hacked off the tops the same height as the planter. And they were still too wide, and still encroached. Aargh! In the spring before they leaf out I'll have a go at them with the help of Axel, a young guy who knows very little but is willing, and see what can be made of them.

Edited for typos

This message was edited Oct 10, 2012 5:18 AM

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 10, 2012
3:37 AM

Post #9301266

When I was looking for the landscaper to do the paths I asked another neighbors helper if he did jobs like that.He said no but recommended Trevor.
"I am looking for someone who has vision ,I want to be able to do my designs but they have the concept in mind and can do the labor and dont mind being bossed around by a woman with opinions and ideas"
He sent Trevor who was an art major somewhere and Trev and I have gotten along ever since.
He was a bit hard to communicate with at first.He talks on the phone while driving and my hearing is awful so I had to have things repeted due to road noise and the phone cutting out periodically.


Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

October 10, 2012
4:14 AM

Post #9301275

That's always the tricky part, the attitude... I call it the 'don't you worry lIttle lady, I'll take care of everything' syndrome. Edgar, the regular landscape guy, borders on it sometimes. But he also is very impressed by what I've done with the property in the 6 years I've been working on it. Before me it was deteriorating pretty badly, sliding into wilderness in some places. He tried to keep it somewhat in bounds, but regular maintenance isn't enough after a while. Since year 2 he's been telling me what a difference I've made. Axel, on the other hand, just keeps his mouth shut and obeys. But I think he has possibilities.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 10, 2012
4:45 AM

Post #9301285

Trevor was insulted when I asked about ability to id perennials. He didnt say anything but his answer "yes" tone said it all. Sorry but I have had disasters in the past from new people who said they knew what they were doing and I found out they trimmed the winter crowns from Oriental Poppies. That was a one time deal at my old house..
It doesnt hurt to ask.
I feel silence is just the guys ability to handle his own ego or his fear of his mother. I dont think I am unreasonable. Usually when we work together I can win them over after half an hour or so.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

October 10, 2012
5:27 AM

Post #9301313

Axel is perfectly friendly, but he doesn't initiate and he doesn't argue or question. And I have him come when I'm right there telling him what to do. While I was away his task was to water the pots and a couple of small beds, keep an eye on the garden, set up the tower if it looked too dry, and keep removing the wild vines from the trees and shrubs on the lower levels. The pots survived, so did most (but not all) of the vines. He did do some extra watering, but the place is huge and I can't fault him for the few dry spots in the garden. The irrigation system I put in before I left worked pretty well, but when I got back the batteries were nearly dead so I think it skipped a time or two at the end. On the whole, acceptable results for 3 hours once a week.

I had a so-called pro insist that Virginia Creeper was poison ivy- confused about 3 leaves versus 5. He also used Roundup on some Cranesbills I had growing in a path. His brother ran one of the best nurseries in Suthampton, 2nd generation. No surprise this guy wasn't given a job there!

In the end, no one does the job the way we do it ourselves in our own space. My good friend is a landscape designer... Her gardens are beautiful, on big estates. She uses what she call 'workhorses,' plants that can be relied on to perform well under varied conditions, and puts the persnickety ones where they can be watched, and suddenly switched out and replaced if the owner is entertaining and the garden is not up to par. Of course she gets the big bucks for regular season maintenance too, and has trained crews to do the work.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 10, 2012
6:41 AM

Post #9301374

Its too bad we dont get the bucks for the constant gardening we do.

I always stay open to any interpretation of my ideas by others. You are right about never being exact but if I set up that rigid a viewpoint I wouldnt learn anything.
Even pro landscapers have given me great tips.

I dont consider myself a master gardener by any means so I like a helpful hint in any case.

Watch the video beyond the ad .
I love the Japanese dialogue on gardens,especially the parts about placing the large stone and it will tell you what it needs,plus the garden as a series of clocks.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/video/2012/oct/09/garden-evening-mists-booker-video?CMP=email
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 10, 2012
7:41 AM

Post #9301428

It's great when that light bulb finally turns on!
Pfg, I have my S. Iris in front of the peonies and tall bearded Iris and Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' in the back. This year, I ordered and rec'd Allium giganteum 'Globemaster'. I plan to put them in between the S. Iris and the Peonies after I dug out half of the S. Iris.

The Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' was what WalMart and Lowe's offered last fall. I was too late to order Alliums. They were sold out. I was not impressed with the A. 'Purple Sensation'.

What are TBI's?

Spring bulbs sound really nice in that area. What plants are you referring to as "early stuff"? Are you referring to the Spring Bulbs?

I ask this because I like to get ideas from others.

I just finished planting an area by the road that will have Lychnis chalcedonica 'Maltese Cross' (red), Poppy orientalis 'Red', Penstemon cobeae (White), and Gaura lindheimeri 'Whirling Butterflies' (White). Problem is, I had about 9 Maltese Cross, 7 Penstemon, and one Gaura. It's probably too many plants in the area. I have a bad habit of doing this. I had the plants and hated to toss them. I thought perhaps, some of them wouldn't make it. The poppy isn't really an orientalis, it's just called 'Red' and gets huge.

The advantage of growing on a slope is better chances with plants that need good drainage. Then, there's erosion to deal with. So, as in life, there's minuses and pluses to everything.

I used the B & D grass shears to trim my S. Iris. Man what a difference. And, no blisters!! It went so fast. I also trimmed up the Kaniphfia (hot poker). I had struggled cutting it back with garden scissors--and had never made it look nice. I am so glad Pfg (thanks Pfg) mentioned the grass shears. Mine has a lithium battery as well. I had my husband take the safety feature off as my hands weren't large enough and strong enough to mess with holding the safety switch on and the "on" button.

I had asked earlier how difficult it was to transplant Penstemon. I finally decided to go ahead and move a couple of them. It was so easy. No big root. The roots are small and spread out from the clump of leaves. It was only about five inches into the ground. I had one plant put out about five "sports" on one stem.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 10, 2012
8:11 AM

Post #9301458

So, really, how does one go about finding a garden helper?

Pfg: What are the "workhorse" plants your friend uses? Surely, she helps you with some of your garden plants. A nice friend to have around would be a garden designer!

Ah, paths. That's one feature we're going to put more of into our gardens. We plan to do one garden at a time. They all won't be of the same material, but we don't care. It would be more cohesive, but I use what I get for free or little cost. I will just be happy to have paths.

I had a huge amount of Va. Creeper growing into my "Dogwood Garden". It was amongst the daylilies, heucheras, hostas, and Aquilegias. I could not spray it. I had to cut each piece back to the root stem and then paint it w. some Bayer Brush Killer. I hope that took care of it. I need to go back and check it.

I have fifteen more perennials (last of my Winter Sown) to plant and one Viburnum. I bet I have planted about 150 plants this fall. The perennials are mostly from Winter Sown, and some plants from Santa Rosa Gardens and from a couple of local garden centers. Then, on to the spring bulbs.

Then, on to enjoying the holidays, improving my seed and plant profiles, and concentrating on improving the gardens--mostly re-locating plants for improved color combos and putting in paths. A garden is never finished! Goodness, what would we do with ourselves if it were finished?!

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 10, 2012
8:17 AM

Post #9301465

irder!! what didnt you like about Allium Purple Sensation?
TBI's are Tall Bearded Iris.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 10, 2012
8:35 AM

Post #9301476

Well, the Purple Sensation's globes weren't uniform and they didn't get as tall as I wanted. They didn't make the "show" I had hoped for. I think I should have put them closer together. I scattered them out amongst the peonies on the opposite of the the S. Iris. My peony bushes are so tall the Purple Sensation Alliums just kind of disappeared. Hence, the order for the Globemaster's this year! :)

I really like all the Alliums and plan to invest in more of them. They require little care and are pretty showy. I have seen some real pretty pictures of the little white and little pink alliums and yellow ones. Maybe next year, I will order some of them. There's an article I believe on "Gardener's Supply" regarding Alliums and a species that will carry blooms throughout the spring, summer and fall. I am going to try to eventually achieve that scenario.

I had the Allium shurbertii last spring bloom. Talk about an impact! Wow! They were bigger than dinner plates! And if you're artsy and creative, one can use them in your floral decorations in your home after they dry--. I have seen them spray painted too. Mine, I just end up leaving in the garden. I always think I am going to use them and then-one day, they've blown away.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 10, 2012
9:08 AM

Post #9301516

I was surprised when mine had multiple stems, so I had an "over done" look everywhere I put the,\m but I was happy with their performance.
I guess its all in what we expected.
I also have Globemaster and they are super and big. Mine were shorter than I expected but looked great anyway.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 10, 2012
4:23 PM

Post #9301800

Wow! Multi stem Purple Sensation. What a bonus.

ge: Were your Globemaster's in full sun?
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

October 10, 2012
7:02 PM

Post #9301939

Birder, I'm glad the shears are working for you. I know what you mean about blisters! But no more...

I wish I knew my friend's list! But I bet it's different in different zones and climates.

In my garden, the sibs are a long thick swath across the back of the top bed. They also bloom first, while the peonies are in full bud. Once the sibs go by, the foliage starts to elongate, and it eventually gets huge. That's why I put the peonies in front. The lower garden has a few tall-ish things at that point, but most plants are still pretty low. So on the top level, spring bulbs, Tall Bearded Iris, lots of Jacob's Ladder volunteers, vinca, ajuga, and whatever else blooms then can put on a good show and be seen from the house. By the time that all fades, later bloomers-phlox, for example, and annuals- are starting to take over and the focus goes on them. The spring stuff fades into the background. Anyway, that's the theory, we'll see if it works.

Maybe I should start a new thread and post as it evolves through the seasons.

Pam

warriorswisdomkathy

warriorswisdomkathy
Kiowa, CO
(Zone 5b)

October 10, 2012
7:51 PM

Post #9301996

pfg...are you including and of the Verbena bonariensis in the seed trade, I'd like some if you have any extra...

For those looking for more of a variety of Allium bulbs try http://www.johnscheepers.com...I just got their fall catalog and fell in love with all their offerings...Wow talk about variety, from tulips to Eremuris and all the goodies in between. In fact they have 35 different varieties of Alliums.

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy
Click the image for an enlarged view.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 11, 2012
2:53 AM

Post #9302129

Scheepers is the greatest. If you want good prices on large quantities try Vanengllen (sp)

These are some shots of all the alliums I planted Fall of 2011
http://smilebox.com/playBlog/4d7a4d304f5445314d7a413d0d0a&blogview=true

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 11, 2012
3:55 AM

Post #9302144

Plus I found this one
Purple Sensation with Tree Peony and Iris
I dont mean to pile on you but give them another try.

This message was edited Oct 11, 2012 6:56 AM

Thumbnail by ge1836
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

October 11, 2012
4:51 AM

Post #9302160

Ooooooh... You got me! That looks beautiful! So far I've only had luck with the short ones, but I'll try again!

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 11, 2012
5:13 AM

Post #9302177

I saw this womans garden album and went out of my mind.
[HYPERLINK@picasaweb.google.com]
I thought the allium Purple Perfection was a single stem so I ordered accordingly.Its mighty purple around here in May.

warriorswisdomkathy

warriorswisdomkathy
Kiowa, CO
(Zone 5b)

October 11, 2012
7:27 PM

Post #9302778

ge...do you happen to know the nwme of your iris? I'm sure I have one like it and thought if you knew I'd write the name down somewhere and lable it next spring when it shows it's beautiful blooms...

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 12, 2012
1:32 AM

Post #9302883

warriorwisdomk! You would choose one of the many NOID's I have. Its from Borglums Iris Farm and he will dig clumps for people who dont want to.
It is a Tall Bearded.
Some of his areas on the farm have ID's but when he digs on the part of the row thats not labeled he never seems to be able to name what's dug.
I am not a fanatic about labels so I just let it go.His website isnt any help either,not all of his iris are on it and the site hasnt been updated in ages.
I just call it Danas Pink and Burgandy.
Sorry.

warriorswisdomkathy

warriorswisdomkathy
Kiowa, CO
(Zone 5b)

October 12, 2012
8:12 AM

Post #9303084

Lol!!!! I only wanted the name for trade purposes...usually I don't care about the names but some will only trade for named...Personally I'm trying to do a better job of lableing...will have to see if my new lableing system is better than the old one...

Pix this is Iris g. 'Amarylis', one I got from a u-dig farm, just love walking around those feilds when in full bloom.

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy   Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy         
Click an image for an enlarged view.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 12, 2012
8:29 AM

Post #9303099

Thanks.I did put it in Plant ID on another site.Lets see if I have any luck.

Plant ID Says its Wench.I'm satisfied with that

This message was edited Oct 12, 2012 5:55 PM
pollyk
Hannibal, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 12, 2012
5:13 PM

Post #9303487

Jo, I agree with Wench, and if it's not, Wench would certainly have the same affect.

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

October 13, 2012
2:13 AM

Post #9303716

That makes 2 in agreement with the ID.

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