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Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening: A Gardener's Guide to Growing Flowers, from Today's Favorites to Unusual Varieties Hardcover – Illustrated, March 10, 2020
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PLANTING NEW LILACS
Lilacs are best grown in an area of the garden that can handle their casual form. Often they are included in a loose hedgerow of shrubs or set along the boundary of a yard. A well-grown lilac naturally looks untidy. Planting a young lilac couldn’t be easier. There are plenty of varieties available today, both old and new. As
with many plants, the more modern strains tend to be more vigorous and disease resistant. Resist buying value plants from mail-order sources that promise a bare-root lilac shrub for just a few dollars. These may take years to establish themselves, and even when they do, the results are often not satisfactory. Starting with a nursery-bought 1- to 5-gallon (3.8- to 19-L) container is best. Prepare a hole with soil that is slightly acidic to alkaline—lilacs love a slightly alkaline soil (7.0 pH). A little horticultural powdered lime will make soil more alkaline if your soil tends to be acidic.
Lilacs are loosely growing shrubs, and while long-lived, they do need some annual maintenance if you want the best possible blooms. There is a proper way to prune lilacs and plenty of wrong ways. The right way is to remove one-third of the old trunks once a shrub has matured and has woody, bark-covered trunks.
DISEASES AND PESTS
Lilacs are most prone to powdery mildew damage, which can be controlled with copper-based sprays. Often this affliction doesn’t harm flower buds, as it appears late in summer. Powdery mildew typically appears in midsummer as a white, powdery substance on the surface of the leaves. Proper pruning to thin shrubs and a breezy site will help.
- S. VULGARIS and S. VULGARIS × HYACINTHIFLORA
- S. MEYERI
- S. PEKINENSIS
- S. PROTOLACINATA
- S. PUBESCENS subsp. PATULA
- S. RETICULATA
- S. VILLOSA
Wisteria | Wisteria spp.
Wisteria is a woody flowering plant that can become an architectural focal point in your garden.
Peony | Paeonia spp.
Peonies have many flower types, from single-flowered blooms with a big boss of yellow stamens to semidoubles and doubles.
Cosmos | Cosmos bipinnatus, C. sulphureus
Cosmos are ridiculously easy to grow if sown directly or outdoors in early summer in individual cells.
Marigold | Tagetes spp.
Marigolds are definitely a love-them-or-hate-them flower.
Setting aside the challenges of a couple of divisions and the pure species, hybrid Lilies are some of the easiest flowers for new gardeners to grow, no more difficult than tulips. Like most bulbs, they form their flower buds a year in advance or by the previous autumn, so when you receive a bulb, it most likely will produce some flowers during the first year.
Lily bulbs are best if ordered from specialty nurseries in the summer for late fall delivery. Fall planting is the best way to ensure that you will get first dibs on many of the very special varieties offered by the handful of lily nurseries. The bulbs are healthier and most will still have active roots, and there is less of a chance of internal buds being harmed by poor storage over winter.
About the Author
Matt Mattus is an American visual designer, artist, horticulturist, and futurist. He is also a third generation gardener of his family property in Massachusetts and the author of Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening. Matt’s popular gardening blog, Growing with Plants, has garnered recognition in leading lifestyle magazines and is frequently voted a top five gardening blog. It has won many national awards and nominations and has earned a loyal following of fans. He has served for three years as a trustee of the Tower Hill Botanic Garden (Boylston, MA), is Vice President of the 175-year-old Worcester County Horticultural Society, sits on the board of theTower Hill Botanic Garden as a trustee, and is also President of the prestigious North American Rock Garden Society. Matt is very active in many plant societies and is a popular speaker at botanic gardens, specialist plant societies, and at horticultural conferences. For 28 years, Mattus was employed by Hasbro, Inc. in creative roles ranging from Creative Director to Visual Futurist in their top-secret Innovation and Invention Lab. Currently, Matt lives in Worcester, Massachusetts.