Yardening Dec 2015 into 2016

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

We can always find something to do
Will add link later

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Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

It is supposed to be fairly sunny for the next few days, so maybe I'll get outside to do something. There are still ceramic pots to bring in and several gardening tools to put away for the winter. Always the leaves to keep dealing with too, but most of the time I don't get to them until spring.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

OH, yes! All the procrastinated gardening chores are still sitting there waiting....
Mostly bed clean-up and mulching.

Work is exhausting right now @ the HD. ...I don't feel like doing much when I get home.
I have spent my last 2 days at work--ALL day--refilling the Christmas aisle
with all the zillions of lights and accessories that seem to fly out the door.
The mess the customers leave behind! Have to put things back where they belong...

Climbing the tallest ush-ladder to get more boxes down from the "overhead"
and putting all them out. Trying to consolidate stuff to make more room for all of it.
The goal was/is to have ALL the merchandise to do with Christmas out on the shelves.

Keeping up with all the customers and their questions is challenging too, etc..etc...
Eight hours solid Tuesday--and 91/2 hours yesterday. I was so wasted!!! Feet hurt...

Last week, I spent ALL day digging into the layers and layers of X-trees and cutting
the blue strings off as many as i could reach. maybe close to 100?
We have such nice trees this year! Especially the Frasier Firs. 5'-6' tall--$24.98.

Maybe I will go outside a bit later and, at least, rake the beds clean. ??
I have 3 lg. black, trash bags full of shredded leaves waiting to throw over some beds..
Right now--it is doing laundry time... and...just vegging a bit....I deserve it!

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

I love Frazier firs.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

We came from here: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1408134/

I put a link on the old thread... hopefully people will meander on over!

As fast & active as Byron is, I'm not sure we'll set up a tree this year. Even sticking with "unbreakable" ornaments is probably asking for trouble. I've got plenty of other decorations to make things festive, and we can do a little live tabletop tree or something similar. Next year, he'll be a little bit past the "kitten krazies" I think.

silver spring, MD(Zone 7a)


There are dozens of hardy camellias so you don't have to keep them in pots. The trick is to plant them in the spring. I'm lucky. One of my patients was William Ackerman. He was one of the major camellia hybridizers. He specialized in hardy camellias that were specially bred for our climate. They are known as Ackerman camellias. He worked at the national arboretum for years and was absolutely wonderful. Several of his books are still in print. Amazon carries Beyond the Camellia Belt. Its a must read for anyone who wants camellias. The big problem with camellias is giving them too much sun, not enough drainage (like moist soil not wet), planting too deep. They need to be protected from sun early in the morning in the winter because the sun heats them up before the buds can defrost which causes them to dry out. They do best under tall evergreens. I have another patient whose yard is all camellias. Have you ever been to the River School for its azalea festival? Well imagine that but only camellias. Yep gorgeous. Hint, don't bother with yellow camellias they don't last.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the tips, yehudith!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I bought a Camellia in...maybe...2001 ?
It has been an amazing bloomer. It is also super hardy. It is called "Bob Hope".
It has been around a long-long time! It has t ripple red, huge blooms in March.
It has deep green shiny, sturdy leaves. Almost like Bay leaves....just a bit wider..

I have it on one side of my entry to the house. it is flanked on this side by by a big, old
Yew--and on the other side by a tall, old Hemlock. Well protected from winds.

My house faces NNE and this shrub never gets any sun to speak of just bright shade.
I think, by now, it must be about 20+ years old.



From what I have learned--Camellias are hard to propagate from cuttings.
There must be a "trick" to it!
I once mailed a box-full of cuttings to DG Member years ago--and he said I had
made him the happiest man on Earth, He rooted all 34 of the cuttings!

If any of you think you know HOW to root these cuttings--I will be tramming it back a bit
by end of March.

1--Here is an early close-up (2005) of it's first blooms.
2--And--the whole shrub in full bloom--2007.
3--Shrub well grown and in full bloom--may, 2008

Grow this--if you can find it! I googled it---NOT cheap!!!

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Thx critter!

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

Gita that's a gorgeous Camellia, too bad I'm just out of it's zone. at least I have some great photos to look at.

silver spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Camellias can be rooted just from leaf cuttings you don't need a whole "stick".

These are directions from Carol Klein a well known English garden writer

"Cut a main stem back to just above a leaf or pair of leaves. Young wood makes the best cuttings, it is a far more vibrant colour than the old wood. Trim the top of your cutting just above a leaf but, making a cut that slopes away from it. Cut straight across the stem about 4 cm (1 3/4) below the leaf for the bottom of the cutting. Insert all the cuttings right up to the leaf. They will root from the buried stem and shoot from the embryonic bud."

That's all there is to it. Of course keep warm and moist as usual.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


You are talking about cutting a stem of NEW growth? A green, non-woody stem?
In my case--that would be around August.
What kind of soil would you use? Or--moist sand? I would love to root some of this.
I am not sure it would root as easily as you say???

Same as i would like to root some of my Kopper King Hibiscus.
I have "played around" with it with no luck.

Thanks, Gita

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

Gita, I have successfully rooted my Kopper King in water.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


Would you tell me just where or at what time you took the KK Hibiscus cutting?
Was it the usual way? Above/below leaves etc?
After blooming? Before blooming? From new basal growth?


silver spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Here's the chapter on propagation from "Beyond the Camellia Belt"

The most widely used method of propagating camellias is through the rooting of cuttings. The easiest and most flexible of the various propagating techniques, it is adaptable to the home gardener interested in a few new plants, or to the nursery man producing tens of thousands each year....

When dealing with an older plant that does not have any vigorous current season's growth, some preliminary steps may be necessary. To insure a good supply of cutting material, prune a section of the shrub hard the previous year to stimulate the growth of vigorous new shoots.

Semi-ripe cuttings are taken in mid to late summer just at thebase of the currents year's growth as it is beginning to harden and turn woody. When the twig is reasonaby mature, the stem color changes from green to light tan or brown, and is firm, not rubbery. In Maryland, this occurs around mid July at the earliest and extends through to early autum as the wood continues to harden. Also, the cutting can be taken with a "heel." Here, grasp the stem at its point of origin and pull it sharply away from the twig with a small tail of bark. Trim the bark with a sharp knife. Some propagators prefer to wait until October or November. At this time, some callusing takes place in the cutting bed, but substantial rooting is delayed until the following spring. However, the final rooted plant is claimed to be sturdier and actually catches up with those cuttings set earlier in the season.

The ideal cutting is about five leaf nodes long but may be shorter when current growth is limited. Plants may actually be propagated from a single leaf notde with a wedge of stem tissue attached. To ensure success for this technique, always use young vigorous stems of the current season's growth which have a high capacity to root. With the larger cuttings a slanting cut is made through the base node and the lower two leaves are removed, leaving three intact leaves. It has been found that a stem cut at a node is less vulnerable to fungus rot than if cut further up. Wound opposite sides of the base increasses exposure of the cambium layer and hastens rooting. The three remaining leaves, if very large may be trimmed back to a third of their length. This helps reduce crowding and the cuttings will be less subject to dehyration.

The primary objective of the rooting medium is to provide support for the cutting whie allowing oxygen to reach the base of the cutting. There is no need, nor is it desirabe, for the medium to supply nutrients at this stage of cutting development. Thus, the less compact and finely grained the medium, the better. Potting soil should definitely be avoided. A frequently used mixture consists of equl parts sand or perlite and peat moss. Unless the sand is coarse and thoroughly washed, free of any clay or silt, it should not be used. A coarse grade of agricultural perlite would be far safer. Vermiculite is sometimes used but it tends to break down and become more dense with time. Finally, obtain a coarse grade of peat, not the ultra-fine grade foundd on many garden shop shelves.

Under normal conditions, cuttings taken in mid summer should root in about six to eight weeks. This howerver can vary between differnt cutivars and with the prevailing conditions. Fall cuttings should be well rooted by the next spring."

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

For rooting Hibiscus cuttings in water. I take cuttings anytime during the growing season, the earlier the better for root development and establishment of the root structure after you get the cuttings planted in soil for winter survival. From the plant I take cuttings just above a leaf node with an angle cut. I then cut my cutting on an angle again just below the next leaf node and strip most of the leaves, leaving only a few at the top. You can use hormone rooting powder or a gel at this point and place in a container of water.

I put the container outside in the shade and change the water every couple of weeks or so until the cutting is rooted.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Yehudith. I printed it out...Gita

And, Thanks Mipii--we cross-posted.
I have done a lot of cuttings--so i am familiar with the technique.

What I am not familiar with is that after applying rooting hormone
you put the the cutting in WATER???
Would this not negate the use of the rooting powder? like...wash off?


This message was edited Dec 4, 2015 5:15 PM

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

You'd think so Gita, the powder is able to stick. Even if it does wash off, it washes into the water it's submerged in, therefore still benefiting from the hormones IMHO.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Weekend looks decent. I need to get out and empty three bags of mulch and clean up some, since we surely had enough frost by now.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Same here, although I'm also going to try to re-shred some leaves to supplement the little bagged mulch I have left. I go through so much of that stuff !

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I bet you do!
I'm just happy that so many of my leaves have been 'binned' for winter compost. and the active two I am working on are warm and gushy. I have an inordinate fondness for rotting tree leaves...

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

It must be the earthy aroma. LOL

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Will go outside in a bit and rake my beds clean--as much as I can get to.
It is chilly--but the back yard is getting plenty of sun.
I won;t have enough leaves to mulch all my beds...will have to prioritize...


Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Still trying to get up the gumption to venture outside to work. When clearing the frost damaged plants from a bed, I just run my hedge shears over it and rake it up. It saves a lot of time and you can select what to cut short. So far today, I've made my meatloaf, in the oven, and watered the GH. I have to fill the feeders and do something. I've spent the last 2 days vegging in the house and should get out. I'm learning I can just sit with a book (Kindle) and do nothing and not feel bad about it, almost. LOL

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Frosty white clover in the lawn.
I dug some Black and blue Salvia today. It makes tubers. I am storing them like Cal adium to see if they can be stored that way. I still have a huge patch that will be OK in the sunny bed thru winter.
Also moved several clumps Iris. Likely we are getting a garage built within several months so best get things moved now. I wasn't in love with that flower bed anyway. And the veg garden that's too shady for veg makes a good nursery bed for things in transition.

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Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Yes it will Sally, the stuff going in will really appreciate a bit or shade or broken sunlight. Our driveway work area is ideal for that purpose.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Where will your garage be? I an driving up your driveway......Where will it be?

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Sally, I never thought of storing B&B tubers. I didn't even know they had tubers until I ripped mine out this fall. It was starting to send runners everywhere and I figured it would be toast anyway. I pulled it out and was like, those are tubers! What gives :shrug: cool!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

The garage is planned in the back, along the forsythia side, past the end of the driveway. Not enough room to attach it to the house.

Yeah my B and B salvia in full sun got huge and sent runners out, I had taken a good chucnk of it out this spring and tried it in another area with less sun and more root competition.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Did your B&B make it through the winter last year?
I now have 3 of them growing--just since last summer.
Hope they make it through the winter....I threw a bunch of leaves under them.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

My B&B has made two winters so far since coleup gave it to me. (thanks again, coleup!) In the warm sunny side bed along the driveway, warmest part of my yard. The tubers are black and very hard. I noticed a couple were dry and rotted inside but it's really hard to tell if they are OK or rotted unless you break one open. I left the clumps connected to their stems too. They seem to braely send up extra sprouts, but come from old stem area and then make runners, which eventually make new tubers. They're unique, the way they grow.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

My B&B have made it through several winters as well. I thought I had lost one last year, but it just took extra long to emerge. Mine are also in the warmest, sunniest bed in my yard.

They haven't spread much, but maybe I'll look for tubers in the spring to fill out bare areas in the back row of that bed.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Here's one of the end sprouts of my B&B with a little tuber. I potted this guy up. We will see how it takes to the windowsill with tropical milkweed.

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Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Beautiful pic Sally

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

As you all know Holly loves her tropicals. So when we were in Alaska and B.C.Canada we saw palms all over the place. Windmill palms, (Trachycarpus fortunei), so I researched them and found they have been known to survive to zone 5, in Bulgaria. So I had to try them. I ordered 2 online and will grow them in the GH till after frost next spring. I'm hoping to introduce them to the beds at the back of her gazebo next year. But as all surprises go, she saw the email before I got it buried in a file. I'm hoping 1 season is enough to establish them, some mulching and wrapping may be involved though. The instructions I read say they need high soil temps to grow well so I'm thinking they will need some black mulch material.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

sounds like a good plan! that'll be great to see.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Agree! Sounds like a very cool acquisition.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I got all excited when you mentioned tubers from B&B.
My mind went back to all the weird tubers/or Galls I dug up in my YUK bed.
I never did find out what they were from....still a mystery..

I used to have a B&B thereabouts maybe 3 years ago, but it never made it
through the 2nd winter.
I am wondering ig maybe my mystery Galls could have been from a B&B???
I know-that is really far-fetched...

Foe what it is worth--here they are.....Nothing was attached to a stem--but the
Galls all had a very thin "root" string from which they grew.

In your picture--the tubers you showed look like regular tubers.
NOT like these----I don't think that these were "tuers" at all. More like root-galls.

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Gita, they look very much like the B and B tubers I just dug. Maybe dried up. Maybe they made tubers, but did not regrow, then the tubers dried up in the soil. Mine had a couple bad tubers, they were very hard but they broke open to reveal a thick shell around a rotten core.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Sally-- I hope you remember when I first posted these pis.

The weird thing was that each of these "gals" had a Thread-like root from which
it seemed to emanate. That is why I thought they had to be some kind of root-galls.

It is all past history by now! I duig these up--had no idea what they were--
posted it here for answers..which never came.
Let the Galls dry up and, eventually, threw them in the trash.

I will see if anything weird grows in this small area. Not hoping for any answers...


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