In Iowa, forsythias typically bloom in early to mid-April. The four-petaled flowers vary from light yellow to bright golden yellow and persist for 10 to 14 days. Flowers are produced in groups or clusters along the stems. Forsythias bloom only on old wood.
Geraniums have been a popular bedding plant for many years. Plants are commonly grown from cuttings. However, geraniums can also be grown from seeds. Seed-grown hybrid geraniums possess excellent vigor, heat tolerance, disease resistance and are free-blooming.
The removal of annual and herbaceous plant debris from the flowerbed is very important. Proper sanitation decreases the chance of disease and insect problems in the spring. Diseases and insects like to use debris as over wintering “hiding places” and they can then cause serious damage to plants in the following growing season.
The frustration of insects devouring dried flowers and the annoyance of moths flying around the house can occur for the customer with a single arrangement, the hobbyist, or large grower or commercial operator. Insects may infest completed decorations and arrangements or the work materials in storage.
Nearly everyone enjoys receiving flowers or plants to recognize or celebrate a special occasion. However, there are times when sending and receiving flowers are not convenient or practical due to poor weather, inappropriate location or timing. There is a flower that is an exception - the amaryllis. It is a live, flowering plant that can be boxed, gift wrapped, and enjoyed a few weeks or a month later and, possibly, kept alive and going for years after that.
Tweedia is known for its distinctive turquoise blue star-shaped flowers and green/gray felted leaves. Prior to being identified as Tweedia caerulea, tweedia belonged to the genus Oxypetalum meaning sharp petal. Its five-petaled flowers bloom in loose clusters, which give way to boat-shaped seedpods. The seedpods are characteristic for the plant family in which it belongs, Asclepiadaceae.
The plant’s well-known common name, Hen and Chicks, was derived from the vegetative offsets, or new plants that mature Echeveria will produce. The mature plant, the hen, develops numerous offsets, chicks, which surround the mature plant until the offsets are mature enough to support themselves. In nature, the offsets break away from the hen once they are mature, but they can also be pulled or cut off and transplanted in the home garden. The hen actually benefits from the removal of offsets since much of its energy is used to supporting the chicks.
The range of aesthetic characteristics that viburnums display is a gardener’s delight. You can choose plants that are evergreen, semi-evergreen or deciduous. Some species are under two feet in stature while others are towering 20 footers. Viburnum leaves can be rounded or lance-shape, smooth, velvety or rough, and often deeply veined to give the leaf an undulating appearance. The often fragrant flowers are white or pink, and most species bloom between early spring and early summer. The fruit (drupes) set in the late summer are metallic blue, bright red and in some species change from red to deep purple as autumn progresses. The fall color on the deciduous types is equally striking ranging from bright clear yellow, to brilliant crimson, to a deep rusty maroon.
Spring-flowering bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, are familiar to all gardeners. Though not widely planted, the attractive flowers and unique life cycles of the colchicum, showy crocus and magic lily make them welcome additions to the garden.