Friday, September 17, 2010

And Cut Some More!

My geraniums have had a hard time this year, just when they would begin setting buds or break into flower the rain and heat would hit.  When cutting geraniums don't just snap off the flower heads - prune all the way down to where the flower stem joins a main stem.  You will set flowers faster, and don't forget to feed them.  Geraniums are cold tolerant so will last into fall and past a light freeze.

Heuchera Villosa Purpurea is my favorite, not the showiest leaves but more floriforous than any of the others.  Keep trimming off the dried blooms and it will keep going all summer into fall.

Heuchera Southern Comfort has performed well in its first year.  Home Depot has had lots of this one at a reasonable price.

Flowers of Southern Comfort Heuchera

Cutting the daylilies back after blooming will give you a fresh green groundcover for the remainder of the summer into fall, no brown leaves.

Sedum Autumn Joy will flop with too much moisture.  You can cut it back in the spring but the flower heads will be small.  It is too heavy to tie up now, but it can be put in a circular open cage in the spring.  I don't like using too many supports, but I will definitely do this for an upright sedum.  Sedum Autumn Fire is similar to Autumn Joy, stays upright but the flower heads are not as impressive.

Amaranthus Love Lies Bleeding can be pruned so that it forms many pendulous flowers.  Mine has never looked like it should because I planted it too close to the miscanthus.

I cut the Unique Hydrangeas down to about two feet high in the spring and they still grow to about seven feet tall.

The Unique Hydrangea flowers are beginning to turn to that rosy pink that I love, so I will be cutting them this weekend.  You can leave them on the shrub, however, they do not hold up as well as Limelight over the winter months.


LC said...

Hi Eileen... I had decided to cut my Unique and Limelight hydrangeas, as well as one of the Pink perfections back close to the ground this fall... say about 6-8". I'm curious as to why you leave two feet? Also, was it you who grow the "Big " begonias? I saw a friend's yesterday and was quite impressed and may give them a shot next season. Great post! Thanks, Larry

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Larry,

The reason to leave two to three feet (I don't know if I read this or someone told me) is like a support system around the bottom of the shrub so that when the new growth gets very tall it won't flop over.

This has been especially true this year with all the rain, both my Limelight and Unique have flopping on the tall new growth. I actually have a decorative iron corner fence around my Limelight because it is so close to the street.

I do grow tuberous begonias and they have done well this summer even in the heat - need part shade.


Dragonfly Treasure said...

I need to remember to prune off the spent blooms of my Heuchera. Thanks for the reminder...hopefully I'll remember next year!

Your hydrangea is lovely.

I used to have tons of love lies bleeding...they stopped reseeding them selves..need to get them again, I miss them

scottweberpdx said...

I love your heuchera! Good to know about Southern Comfort, I've been eyeing them enviously at the garden center since spring, but wasn't sure if they were good performers or not. Now I think I'll be brave enough to try them out!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Deb,

I did Love Lies Bleeding in a large container several years ago with the lime green sweet potato vine hanging over the edges. It was stunning - I should have used a container this year because that miscanthus overshadowed it.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Scott,

So far Souther Comfort looks pretty strong. I have a peach one that is not holding up well, sorry can't remember the exact name now.


Karen said...

Thank you again, Eileen, for reminders to deadhead. I have SO much to do....must get at it. I have been leaving my hydrangea blooms on some of the shrubs over winter, but I like your idea better.

allanbecker-gardenguru said...

Thank you for the advice about not just deadheading geraniums but cutting off the stems instead. Always happy to learn something new.

Heuchera Southern Comfort is, in my opinion, the most elegant variety to date. Its color in my garden is pure and that makes it project well.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Karen, I do leave some blooms on my Limelight. They look good all winter, but not on Endless Summer or Unique.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Allan.

I do like Southern Comfort, seems like a strong variety.

I usually cut the stems on my geraniums when I pluck off the flowers, but it was someone at my garden club that reminded us to do this, makes buds sooner.


Alea said...

Your hydrangeas are lovely - I like the delciate pink color!

Maureen said...

I plan on trying to overwinter my geraniums this year. There is a local shop that does it every year and they do well so maybe I can do it too.

Jenny Schouten Short said...

The hydrangea advice I needed. I've had some about 5 years and they looked really bad this year. I will try trimming back to two feet. Food geranium tips. I need to feed mine which are still doing great in Holland. They like the cool weather. Do you bring them in side in the winter, Eileen?
x Jenny

GardenJoy4Me said...

Eileen girl your header picture is very Autumnal ! I still need to pick some fun plants up for a setting on my front step !
I wish i could have gone shopping with you for more heuchera and at those prices I bet they flew off the shelves .. I do the same thing with my day lilies but since I had such a huge gap in my garden time things got a bit ragged . your plants are looking great : )

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Alea, the color of the Unique looks very victorian.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Maureen,

I have overwintered geraniums in the past,hung them upside down in my basement, brought them in potted (got very leggy and buggy)and ocut them back and repotted. I just don't have the room to do this now. Good luck, it's worth a try.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Jenny,

Make sure the hydrangeas you cut back in the spring are the types that will bloom on old and new wood. Identify your variety before you cut. Those that bloom only on old wood can be trimmed right after they bloom.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Joy,

I also put in some Heuchera called Georgia Peach, not looking so good. I think I will replace them with some Souther Comfort. I am working on a header that will show the pumpkins, etc., but it blows it up so big I lose parts of the photo. Oh well, it forces me to keep learning!


garden girl said...

Looking good Eileen!

I pull out the worn-out daylily foliage too, and brunnera and hosta too. I have a couple of clients with white-variegated hostas in full sun - they look pretty raggedy by this time of year. Pulling out the old foliage reveals young, fresh, blemish-free foliage that looks good until frost. The improved appearance is well-worth the extra effort.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

GG, I just looked at some Brunnera today. I love the color of the leaves, now just to find a place to fit it in!


Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, I am totally with you on the benefits of cutting back and trimming in the garden to maintain a fresh appearance and encourage more flowers. Your own excellent results are indeed witness to this.

I love your 'New Look' and think that your header picture is really stylish.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Edith, I am trying to get in the mood for all, but from what I hear we are expected to have a warmer than usual fall in my area. I shouldn't complain, but after this summer I was hoping for some cool winds.


Bernie said...

The Hydrangeas are so lovely ... not a plant that will grow here unfortunately. I've never cut back my daylilies ... might have to try that. I do cut back the Pelargoniums though ... just as you suggest! It's strange how yours can get through a winter planted in the ground, but mine have never got through a 'wet' season planted out in a garden bed here. I only grow them in pots now.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Bernie, I wish the geraniums would last the winter but they don't. They will hold up to a little frost but not the freezing temperatures we get here. Some people bring them in and overwinter them in the house, but I do not do this anymore.


A 2 Z said...


I live in Eastern Canada and I have the same flowers growing in my garden as well. I also have Heuchera but the leaves are darker. Thanks for the tip about pruning them back. I had no idea. I'm a bit sad that the gardening season is coming to an end. It was a really tough summer with this constant heat. I hardly went in it because of the infestation of mosquitoes. I hope next summer will be a bit milder. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks for visiting Anne Marie, I agree it has been a challenging summer.