Garden Fundamentals - Learn about plants and garden design

Archive for the Shrubs Category

Growing Subshrubs Like Lavender and Russian Sage

Go into any nursery and try to find lavender and Russian sage; they will be in the perennial section. Check these plants online or in books, and most sources will tell you they are perennials. Lavender and Russian sage are subshrubs, a fancy name for a small shrub. Once you understand they are NOT perennials, they become easy to grow.

Lavender - a common subshrub

Lavender – a common subshrub

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Paeonia rockii

Paeonia rockii, from seed by Robert Pavlis

Paeonia rockii, from seed by Robert Pavlis

Paeonia rockii is a lovely tree peony that should be grown more. It can be difficult to find in a nursery, but those specializing in peonies will have it. The ones pictured here were grown from seed obtained from the Ontario Rock Garden Society Seedex program. The flowers are mostly white or light pink with dark maroon basal flares on the petals. There is some variation in flower form and coloration. One seedling from this group has red leaves in early summer.

The common name, tree peony, describes the woody stems that are produced, but it is probably more correct to call these shrubs, not trees.  They do not need staking.

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Why Hydrangeas Don’t Flower

Why does my hydrangea not flower? This most commonly asked question about hydrangeas, especially in colder climates. The answer is not always a simple one but I’ll try to answer the question in this post.

Reasons for not flowering depend very much on the type of hydrangea you are growing. It is therefore important that you know the type. Have a look at Hydrangea Identification to find out which type you have.

Hydrangea paniculata 'limelight', If you select the right hydrangea it will flower reliably, by Robert Pavlis

Hydrangea paniculata ‘limelight’, If you select the right hydrangea it will flower reliably, by Robert Pavlis

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Hydrangea Identification

Are you wondering why your hydrangea is not flowering? Would you like to know when and how to prune your hydrangea? These are important questions, but no one can provide the correct answers until you know what type of hydrangea you have. This post will help with your hydrangea identification. It won’t provide cultivar names but it will identify the type of hydrangea.

It is always a good idea to keep plant names since it makes it so much easier to find the correct cultural information at a later date. But life happens and it is quite common for people to loose the name of a plant.

Hydrangea macrophylla blue bigleaf hydrangea, Hydrangea Identification

Hydrangea macrophylla also called the bigleaf hydrangea

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Washing Roots Before Planting Trees

In my last post I described the right way to plant a tree or shrub. If you follow that process you will have success most of the time. Today, I’d like to look at a new method for planting trees that involves washing roots before planting.

Science does not stand still. Tree researchers are continually looking at ways to improve the planting process and in recent years a new way of handling the tree roots has come to light. It goes against everything that makes common sense, but it does seem to work. I have used the new method for a couple of years now on over 50 trees and I am quite happy with the results.  Researchers have been testing the process for a much longer time.

Washing Roots Before Planting Trees

Washing Roots Before Planting Trees

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