Annual of the Week-Calibrachoa

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Calibrachoa, also known as Million Bells, is actually a perennial that is often grown as an annual.  If you live in a warm enough climate, this plant will come back year after year.  However, for the colder climates, this plant should be treated as an annual.

Calibrachoa is a relative of the petunia family and is native to Brazil.  The forms that we use in our gardens are the result of hybridization.  These plants are smaller than petunias and have more wiry and slender stems with tiny, closely set leaves.

There are two basic types of Calibrachoa.  The trailers are low and flat growing with leaves that are 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide.  These are called Liricashower and have flowers that are white, pink and a purplish blue that are about an inch wide.  The other type of Calibrachoa is a more compact and mounding type of plant.  They do not trail as much and are known as Colorburst.  The leaves on this variety are a little larger and the flowers come in cherry, rose, red and violet.

The wiry stems make the plants less likely to break than the standard petunia.  Calibrachoa will produce blooms all season long.  They should be planted in an area with full sun or light shade.  They can be used in hanging baskets, flower boxes and as bedding plants.  Be sure to plant them at lease 1 1/2 feet apart for best results.

Perennial of the Week-Rose

Photo provided by FreeFotoPhoto provided by FreeFotoPhoto provided by Major-Maróthy Szabolcs

It is almost Mother’s Day and have you gotten your Mother or Wife a gift yet?  Are you getting her a bouquet of roses? What type of rose did the rose come from? Is there a difference? Isn’t a rose a rose?

Have you ever wondered if you could grow your own roses rather than depending on the local florist? Now I don’t have a problem with supporting the local florist, I am actually glad she is there, but I really like to surprise my wife with a fresh rose from our own rose garden. Her smile radiates and fills the room with pure delight.

Hybrid Tea Rose: If you want the perfect cutting rose, make sure that you plant this variety. Tea Roses bloom on single stems, and will have a high center point. Most of these roses will carry a traditional rose fragrance. Henry Fonda, Mister Lincoln and Peace are some of my favorite varieties.

Floribunda Rose:  A beautiful bush rose that will provide clusters of 3 to 15 rose blooms per set. Two of my favorites are Angel Face and Iceberg.

Grandiflora Rose: This is a cross between the Tea rose and a Floribunda rose. A Grandiflora can grow up to 6 feet tall.  The blooms have the characteristics of the tea rose; however, they will bloom in clusters. Truly a show stopper. Crimson Bouquet, Gold Medal, and Queen Elizabeth are a must for any rose garden.

Miniature Rose: The perfect rose for the small area.  Miniatures are grown on their own root stock and will grow 6 inches to 24 inches in height. They are hardy and are perfect for containers.

Climbing Rose: If you have a empty wall and you want to dress it up, offer a trellis or support and plant a climbing rose.  Not all climbing roses are hardy in all areas, make sure that you take winter protection precautions when planting. Joseph’s Coat and Golden Showers are wonderful climbers to grow.

Shrub:  These roses are also known as landscape roses because of their growing habits. A shrub rose usually offers a spreading habit, and are mostly disease resistant. They can come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. You can’t go wrong with Carefree Delight, Homerun, or Knock-Out.

As you can see there are many roses to choose from. As for me, instead of a simple bouquet of roses for Mother’s Day this year, I am giving my wife a dozen rose bushes…but I have to plant them.

“….A flower unplucked is but left to the falling, And nothing is gained by not gathering roses.”  Wrote the poet Robert Frost and how true that is.  A rose can often be admired from afar when left on the bush; however, one must gather roses to fully enjoy the full beauty offered. Have you taken time to smell the roses lately?

Annual of the Week-Osteospermum

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I first fell in love with the Osteospermum flower when my husband was working at the garden center.  Their porcelain looking petals are just breathtaking; they seem to have an iridescent glow that mesmerizes you into utter awe. I just can’t wait until every spring and I can go into the greenhouse and start oohing and awing, dreaming of what arrangement I would like planted in my flowerbeds.

Osteospermum flowers now come in all shades and colors, yes they even have different types of petals. They are considered a hardy annual, and sometimes you will find it listed as a half-hardy perennial, meaning that they will tolerate a frost but not too heavy of one or continual nights of freezing temperatures.

When planting this amazing flower, it should be planted in full sun and in multiple groupings for pure visual beauty. They can also be planted in containers for accents throughout the yard. However you should be diligent in maintaining a watering schedule for these beauties. Fertilize these plants on a weekly basis, with a balanced fertilizer, to maintain their growth and blooms.

When the flowers fade, deadheading or the removal of the spent flowers is recommended to encourage continual blooming on the plant. This will allow for constant enjoyment of the Osteospermum plant in your yard.

Photos courtesy of osteospermum.com