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Friday, May 29, 2009

Hens and chicks and chicks and chicks

On Wednesday my friend Kim called me with a hot tip. A local nursery had pots with Sempervivum (Hen's and Chicks) just exploding out of them. Needless to say I got in my car immediately and headed over there.

They only had three varieties to choose from, a red named 'Pilioseum', a heavily webbed varieties named 'Cobweb' and a green variety that I didn't purchase. Kim was right, the pots were literally exploding with hens and chicks. The price on these pots were $9.99, if you wanted to spend a bit more you could get even larger pots for $11.99.

One tip I have for you if you are purchasing Sempervivum, look to see if any are blooming. You see the long stem coming up? That is going to be a bloom stem. Many people don't realize that Semps bloom. After a sempervivum blooms, it dies. Now if you have lots and lots of chicks like here, it won't matter. But, if you choose a pot with lots of bloom and not many chicks, you might not have any babies to carry you through the next year. Still, if you are looking for one year of interest, you might want the pot that was full of upcoming blooms.

Getting them out of their pots wasn't the easiest thing. Once I slid them free I removed the soil from the bottom half. Sempervivums don't have huge root systems and don't mind being disturbed like this.

It was easy to break apart the clumps just by using my hands, no need to damage the fleshy rosettes with a sharp tool.

Isn't this a pretty little division? I really like the cobweb variety although my daughter who was taking the photos wasn't as enthralled as me.

The red 'Pilioseum' was even more crowded in the pot but it also broke apart quite easily.

When working with Hens and Chicks, I like to have a tray underneath me to catch any babies. Here I'm using an old wine box.

You can split them down to single pieces with one "hen" and her "chicks" but I had enough plants to be able to leave a few divisions larger.

Next step was putting them in the troughs I just bought. These troughs will be for sale on June 12th and 13th at the Kissam House in Huntington Village. I hope they'll sell!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Too big for their britches

Oh woe is me, too many plants trying to grow in one spot. This happens every year, either something seeds itself into a spot where it doesn't belong or I just make a mistake and plant things too close.

In this case the two Sedums were planned. A tiny little Sedum (possibly nevii) and the larger Sedum 'Vera Jameson' were encouraged to grow in this spot but the big Digitalis (fox glove) moved in. I guess I have to get in there and remove the foxglove but boy is that going to hurt.

The Hosta on the left is 'American Sweetheart', it was planted there last year. The tag said it would get 18" tall and 36" wide. Uh huh, it's already taller than 18" and I seriously doubt it's going to stop at 36" wide. I searched the web last night but everything has the same measurements. Anybody else grow this beauty? I'm thinking it will need to be moved pretty soon if I don't want them to hit the leaves when they mow the lawn.

Off the top of my head I can think of two more places where there's a serious crowding spot. In one location a lovely Ligularia seeded itself just an inch or two from a large Hosta. In another spot a Dicentra Spectabilis (Bleeding Heart) seeded next to Hosta 'Striptease'. In both cases the Hosta were late emergers and now have to fight the lush foliage of their overabundent neighbors.

Last night I typed out this same post and though I hit the send key but this morning there was nothing waiting for me in cyber space. If two of these posts suddenly appear here you'll know what happened.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Garden Talk

The title for my other blog, Melanie's Perennials, was the same as this one but the idea behind it is different. On the other blog I wrote about websites I thought my garden visitors would find helpful . Now though I'm writing about some of the things I learned this weekend.

One of the best things about having garden visitors every weekend is getting to hear what they like and don't like. Here's some of this weekend's favorites:

The opening shot is a Geranium phaeum, also known as the mourning widow geranium. It wasn't Lisa's favorite plant in the garden but she and I looked at too many for me to begin to remember which one was ;-)

The yellow variegated Sedum seiboldii variegatum is a favorite every weekend! I wish I had dozens of pots of this beauty. I do have some extra ones and did promise to pot up a few, Liz was really crazy about this plant.

Newcomers to the garden, George and Joan, were on the hunt for Hosta 'June'. While I have a nice large clump of 'June', I'm not planning on cutting it up just yet. I'll be on the lookout for more 'June' in the near future.

Carol was in such a rush that I never got the chance to show her the Iris from Old Westbury that has started to bloom. Hope you're looking Carol!

Almost everybody has to stop and admire the variegated Kousa dogwood in bloom right now. How could you not just love this beauty?

Bonnie was on a mini Hosta kick this weekend but she had to stop and visit the succulants too. How sweet is this tiny Sempervivum?

Anita brought her delightful son Craig and they hit the ferns and mini Hosta too. Unfortunately I have yet to figure out how to take a decent photo of a fern.

Gloria came for ferns but had to stop and admire the Hosta 'Spritzer' sitting so pretty behind this clump of Heuchera 'Caramel'.

As for the number one, most popular plant this weekend? The Heuchera 'Caramel' you see in this last photo. If I had 100 of them, I would have sold all 100 of them over the past month. Unfortunately, I only have the three I planted in my garden last year...Lucky me!

What's your favorite?