Thorn In My Side!

Written by Matt Macedo on 22-Jul-2014

Like life not everything is positive in the yard! This rose Radiant Perfume a hybrid tea rose, sucks.  As much as I love Jackson and Perkins Roses, they really push this rose.  I think they must be stuck with a huge batch of these monsters on their lot.

Where to start with problems, First single roses per stem, Yuck! Even worse they last one day after opening. Second, they are huge vertical growers, like 10 footers.  Third, bloom waves are far and few between. 

Maybe on the plus side you can put it in a neglected corner and forget about it.  Seems to do just find under neglect. So why is it still in my yard, cause the damn thing is just so large I am to lazy to dig it out. I tried one winter and broke my pitch fork, so it wins for now. Do not buy this rose!

It's Four O'Clock Somewhere

Written by Matt Macedo on 16-Jul-2014

Maybe that's not how the saying goes. However, that image of a Four O'clock  conjures up  summer cocktail time to me. Pretty hot pinks, yellows, white, purple and reds a yards pageant queen and like many pageant queens it's a bit high maintenance. In my Northern California yard its a weed! One well seasoned perennial plant drops a seemingly never ending flood of black peppercorn sized seeds. I spend most of early spring and summer picking these gals out of cracks, beds and borders.  

If you grow a these in your yard, I say try it in a big urn first for a season or two so you can contain it and see if its for you or put it on a neglected hill side and let it go.  Seven years ago I seeded a packet, super easy to seed, soak for 24, start inside, watch them go.  First year I was pretty happy I got these nice drought tolerant desert plants full of hot afternoon color.

Second season I got hundreds of them everywhere! For some of you that may be a plus.

I try to keep to a handful of these in the yard. They are completely dormant in winter, so mark where you have placed them. Many times I have planted a new annual or perennial only to have a monster stalk pierce right through the middle in June.   I plant them in semi-tall borders with Speedwells, Sunflowers and Dahlias and others, as seen to left. 

I have some in pots also and others in dry neglected parts of the yard, yes I have neglected parts of my yard.  Each new generation you will get a wild variety of color patterns, some solid and some zebra stripped. 

They only really give one good show. They rise from huge nearly indestructible bulbs (that gophers hate!) in June. Growing to a mammoth 4' to 5' and about 3' wide in a month, so give the second year and third year, and so on  Four O'clocks plenty of room to grow.  Big bloom time is July and some of August. Remember the blooms only open in late after noon, hence the name.  Moths love them, Humming Birds too.

By August they will topple over from heavy blooms and swollen ovaries. Generally I will  put a small tomato cage above them before they sprout  for future support. 

I do cut them back for a small rebloom, but it tends to look a little sad on the second bloom wave.  No summer water will yield a sad plant and she will still do her thing, just on a smaller wimpy  scale. Unkillable is probably the first thing that comes to mind with a perennial Four O'clock.

The Pretty Girlfriend You Just Couldn't Let Go

Written by Matt Macedo on 16-Jul-2014

Seductive, sun loving, dominating, beautiful WEED! Many years I have been growing morning glories or should I say they have been growing me.  "Star of Yelta", "Moonbeam", "Scarlet O'Hara", Heavenly Blue" (Pictured above) and this season I will be growing "Split Second Morning Glory"  on my back fence.  I love yet hate these vines.

Lets explore the positives, carefree, rapid coverage, pretty, not picky where it grows, large pretty leaves. All in the what's not to love category Heavenly blue is a hearty bugger, grows 20' in a season,  weather resistant too. Yelta makes a good little rambler. All can be a show stopper.

Now for the negatives, dominate monster, grows like a weed, seedlings by the 1000s.  It's no wonder they are outlawed in Florida.  One plant gives me about 200 seedlings every year. So, some I let grow and most I pull out like weeds.  Morning Glory Heavenly Blue roots can sprout new babies too like Bermuda Grass (good for the body, not for my yard).  They need lots of training and pruning and containing.  I grow them in pots, in the ground, on the mailbox, anywhere they can Sam I Am! 

The interesting thing, at one point I had my yard nearly free of this monster vine weed and decided I missed it. So, now every season I spend much of my time containing. It is a pain but its pretty, sigh. . . 

My Favorite Martian Find of The Summer

Written by Matt Macedo on 29-Jun-2014

Ever need a butt kicking 2 foot high carefree show stopper? This little Sunfower Ms. Mars from Burpee will do the trick. An exclusive from Burpee last year, I couldn't wait for the seeds to show up in my mail box last January. Quickly in February I began growing half of my little power packed gems indoors. and a few weeks later I had them in mixed beds, pots all over the yard.  The picture above I have them in my front yard street facing mixed in with Disneyland roses and catnip.

  • right in the middle of a mixed border
  • Mixed in with some pink dahlias

In May I seeded a second batch of these little guys and had a season long show of Ms. Mars. I have grown many sunflowers through out the years and hands down this is in the top 5 of my favorites. After fighting the war with the snails I would say about 25 of these sunflowers graced my garden this year. Little bit of water a touch of fertilizer and a blast of fiery bronze burgundy flowers were born.  By September of this year I will be eagerly collecting the seeds for next year. Who hoo!

Simply Carefree

Written by Matt Macedo on 25-Jun-2014

Non-stop blooming ease. My Lavender Simplicity Hedge Roses  have produced waves of purple lavender joy for many seasons now. Bring waves happiness to me and the bubble bees.  the only mass planting of roses  in the yard, if space was infinite in the burbs I'd have row after row of these beauties.

What makes a hedge rose a hedge rose?  Good question, the big difference is they bloom from ground level up while making that nice hedge shape, full at the bottom and the top. Jackson and Perkins offers them in red, lavender, yellow and pink.

Perfect roses  for a newbie,  hearty, green, compact yet amazingly tall.  I keep my hedge about 7' tall. So many waves of blooms from May to November. A few cut backs through out the season and  a good refresher cut in August will allow for perfect season of blooms. On a warm night they fill the garden with their orange citrus scent, which goes well with a nice Margarita on the patio.

Winter time cut them a taller than you would a normal rose, again they are not finicky to how they are back. Some winter oak leaf mulch and a nice feed from my Ross Root Feeder in March, life is good.