Tag Archives: lilacs

Quick notes … cold, birds, expo, swap

cold-protection-for-plants

cold-protection-for-plants

Connecticut gardeners still need to be aware of night temperatures.  Tender annuals, such as impatiens, coleus, and morning glories, and tender vegetables, like the eggplant shown here, do not like temperatures in the low 40’s.  It was 38 degrees to my south-central gardens the morning of June 1. 

This is an unusually chilly spring and it’s best to not become complacent – overnight cover with an overturned basket or an old sheet may be all that’s needed to protect tender plants.

baby-robins

baby-robins

Our baby robins are getting closer to flying off on their own.  I don’t see how they can get much bigger and still fit in their nest.  These, nested in a rhododendron, should be fledged by the time the blooms have passed and need deadheading.  Spring blooming shrubs are best pruned immediately after they flower, so now’s the time to deadhead and prune lilacs that are finished with thier annual show.

Siberian iris-geranium sanguineum-cranesbill

Siberian iris-geranium sanguineum-cranesbill

Stamford, Connecticut recently held a Sustainability Expo.  Read Debbie’s current and future posts on what she learned and had re-confirmed there.  Also check out the info on the plant swap planned for June 6 in New Canaan, Connecticut.  You may find perennials that become anchors in your garden.  Over the years, I’ve managed to fill my gardens with finds from similar local events.  The cranesbill and iris pictured above were two of my most prolific finds … I started with one small clump of each, but over the years have divided both plants to the point that they offer spectacular shows in the early spring.

Have you stretched your gardening dollars with plants from local sales and swaps?  Do tell!

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Filed under Gardening, General, Perennials & Annuals, Techniques

Focus on Flowers: Lilac Bouquet

Enjoy them now, southern Connecticut gardeners, as the intoxicating scent of the common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, will soon be gone.

Lilac-colored lilac heads will last the longest in a vase when picked with open flowers near the lower portion and still unopened flowers near the top.  As with all flowers, pick early in the morning or late in the evening when blossoms are less stressed by strong sunshine.  Cut the woody stems of lilacs – with a sharp knife, not crushing scissors – on an angle to maximize water uptake, and remove all green stems with leaves, then place lilacs in lukewarm water in a vase sturdy enough to support their weight.  Make sure fresh cut stem ends go immediately into water, leaving them exposed to air will cause them to dry, thus sealing off water uptake.  Removing the leafy branches allows lilac flowers to remain hydrated for longer periods.  You can use the leafy branches, however, as bouquet accents.  Just be sure to cut the branch ends, at an angle, and remove all leaves that will fall below the water line.

I adore white lilacs easily as much as their lavender cousins, but I have never known white lilacs to last more than a few hours in an indoor bouquet (if you have a white lilac hint on making them last when cut, please share), so I planted my small white lilac bush were I can enjoy its beauty and scent while exiting and entering our house.

White lilacs in May

White lilacs in May

I like to cut hosta leaves to arrange with lilac flowers – as shown in my favorite photographer’s photo below.  I cut and arranged this bouquet 4 days ago – it still looks fresh.

Lilacs and hostas, photo by Ralph Chappell Photography

Lilacs and hostas, photo by Ralph Chappell Photography

But my favorite photographer found additional artistry in the vase and stems, and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the beauty captured here …

Vase structure, by Ralph Chappell Photography

Vase structure, by Ralph Chappell Photography

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Filed under Focus on Flowers, Gardening, General