Gardening Daily Tips 107

Rose, Lenten (Helleborus orientalis)

Plant type: Perennial

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4a to 9a

Height: 12″ to 18″

Spread: 18″ to 24″

Exposure: shade to partial shade partial sun

Bloom Color: Pink, White

Bloom Time: Early spring, Mid spring

Leaf Color: Green

Growth Rate: average

Moisture: moist

Soil Condition: Alkaline, Loamy, Neutral, Well drained

Form: Upright or erect

Landscape Uses:

Border, Container, Foundation, Ground cover, Specimen, Woodland garden

Special Features:

Attractive foliage, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous

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Q&A: Mulch Coverage

Question: What are the measurements of a yard of mulch? How much will it cover?

Answer: A cubic yard of mulch is 27 cubic feet, or think of a pile 3 by 3 by 3 foot. It will cover a little over 300 square feet (actually 324) roughly an inch thick, or a 100 square feet (a 10 by 10 foot area, or a 5 by 20 foor area for example) about three inches thick. Your typical mulch layer should be two to three inches deep.

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Q&A: Flower Choices

Question: Can you suggest some full-sun perennial flowers for the border of my patio?

Answer: You’ll probably be happiest with medium- to low-growing perennials for the border so they don’t block your view. Some of the nicest choices include Asters, Dianthus, Phlox, Ranunculus, Veronica, Armeria,, Aubrieta, Heuchera (Coral Bells), Primrose, Saxifrage, and Lewisa. Some of these provide cut flowers for a tabletop bouquet, indoors or out.

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Q&A: Pruning Rhododenrons

Question: When is the best time to prune rhododenrons and how do I go about it?

Answer: Rhododendrons tend to become bare in the center as they mature unless they’re faithfully pruned every 2-3 years. Depending upon how old your rhodie is, you can lightly prune the tips of the branches, or you can climb in and prune your way out. Rhodies bloom on the ends of two-year old shoots. It takes a full year for blossom buds to develop after a shoot has developed from a main branch or limb. Keep this in mind as you’re pruning. If a branch is bare from the trunk to the tip, you can cut it back and it will develop leaves and shoots from leaf scars below the cut. It’s best not to prune more than one-third of the live plant material in any one year, so you may have to divide your shrub renovation into a two or three year project. Wait until your rhodie finishes blooming in spring before you prune. Then, with your eyes, carefully follow each branch from tip to trunk. Decide where on that branch you’d like new shoots to develop and cut just above a leaf scar. New stems should develop in the summer and flower buds should develop the following year. You can expect one or two new shoots to sprout on each branch you cut back.

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Tip: Broccoli Harvesting

When harvesting broccoli, cut the head at an angle with a sharp knife. Snapping or cutting flat across the stem leaves creates an uneven surface where water can collect–since a callous can’t form, decay can start. Also, cutting too far down the stem, where it is hollow, provides a cavity that can collect water and decay can set in. Excessive nitrogen, which makes the plant grow too fast, causes a hollow stem.

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Tip: Install a Rain Barrel

Install a rain barrel on the downspout of your house to collect rainwater for gardens. Rain barrels conserve water and reduce the amount of runoff entering storm sewers.

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