June 22, 2014
Here are some recommendations for those that love PINK flowers:
Helleborus: Though buried under snow, hellebores survive to push flowers up through the last vestiges of winter’s grasp to bloom in shades of white, yellow, purple, red or pink. Models of ruggedness and determination, hellebores (Helleborus spp.) are stars when few other plants are flowering in northern gardens. The blooms of these easy-care perennials are either solid colours, or have centre highlights, speckles or intricate streaks. The flowers are really sepals, which is the reason for their long flowering time—some last as long as three months. Hellebores make excellent specimen plants, as well as groundcovers under deciduous shrubs, conifers and evergreens. Plant them, leave them and watch them emerge through late winter’s melting snow.
- All hellebores resent being moved; pick a spot in full to part shade and leave them there. Amend soil with well-aged leaf mould and compost before planting. These are perennials for the long term, and effort spent enriching the soil before planting will be well rewarded.
- Mulch newly planted hellebores with shredded leaves in spring and fall to prevent weeds and conserve moisture. The plants are drought, heat and humidity tolerant once established.
- Shelter evergreen types from drying winds during winter if they aren’t covered with snow. Plant them near a windbreak or cover with conifer boughs for winter protection.
- Trim lightly in early spring to tidy up the overwintering leaves as the buds open.
Also called common houseleek or hens and chicks, Sempervivum (Sempervivum tectorum) is a mat-forming succulent that produce rosettes of juicy leaves that may be covered by white hair. The large parent rosette is the “hen,” while the offshoots are the “chicks.” Like many cacti and succulents, sempervivum needs little maintenance once established.
- Must have very well-draining soil in order to thrive, whether that comes in the form of gritty soil, sand or rocks. The plant will grow in almost no soil in rocky crevices or walls. They will die quickly if planted in poorly draining soil.
- Once established, they are drought tolerant, requiring little to no supplemental watering.
- Can be easily planted by dividing the chicks (offsets) in the spring or early summer, placing each chick in its own pot with a well-draining potting mixture. Use a pot with a hole in the bottom to ensure drainage. They can be cultivated in a lightly shaded section of a cold frame and then planted in the summer once the roots are established. Seeds may also be sown in early spring, where they will usually germinate in two to six weeks.
- Very low-maintenance plants that require almost no attention. They can be left outdoors to spread of their own accord in a rock garden or sandy area, and they can even be grown on a roof or chimney side. Sempervivum does well inside as long as its placed in bright sunlight. They only grow to a height of about 4 inches, but quickly spread to a width of about 3 feet, making them ideal as a ground cover in a dry area.
Often used by florists, ‘Star Gazer’ lily has bright crimson flowers with purple spots and dark edges. These lilies grow to about 3 feet tall, so they generally don’t need staking, vigorous growth, strong stems, upward facing flowers, very fragrant and are good in containers or borders.
- Lilies are easy to grow in any garden soil—if you remember they like their heads in the sun and feet in the shade. Plant them among shrubs or other plants so that the base of the stem is shaded and the head will be in the sun. This technique prevents the soil above the bulb from drying out too quickly, which can adversely affect any roots produced by the stem before it emerges from the soil.
- A common mistake is not planting lilies deep enough. Put 6 inches of soil over the top of them to keep them from flopping over.
- They appreciate a regular feeding when grown in containers; in borders, they will be fine with little feeding.
- Remove scales, offsets, or bulblets in late summer. Sow seed as soon as ripe in a cold frame or sow indoors at 65° to 70°F under lights in spring.
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