The Gardening Diva
Never be too busy to stop and smell the beautiful flowers.

Year Round Color


Your Garden as a Symphony
By MG Calla Victoria
Data News Weekly Columnist
Your garden should be Symphony
of color, texture, and fragrance
all year-round. Although
many plants are dormant in the
winter, this is the time that you
should be actively planning your
garden. During the winter you
can see the bones of your garden
with the evergreens and
trees that are always there. So
it is during the winter time that
you should be planning the rest
of your year considering ground
covers, color, and textures to
complement existing plant materials.
First of all you want to start
with your bulbs because they
need to go through the chilling
process of winter to bloom in the
spring. Try layering your bulbs
for extended blooming. Some
bulbs require a planting depth
of 8 inches, some 5 inches, and
some 3 inches; so select bulbs
that bloom at different times.
Dig a trench 8 inches deep,
plant the first set of bulbs and
cover with a little soil (making
sure you place the bulbs in the
soil pointy side up), then place
in the 5 inch depth bulbs and so
on. Finally plant something with
winter interest on top like pansies,
sweet alyssum, or petunias.
Now you have color through the
winter, and when the pansies
start to wilt your first blooms of
your bulbs should be opening,
then by the time those blooms
are fading you second bulbs are
opening, and so forth like crescendos
in a symphony!
If you are a serious gardener,
right about now you are being
bombarded with catalogs from
nurseries across the country
with photos of fabulous plants.
By all means check the “zone
hardiness” of your plant selections,
as all plants will not grow
in all zones. For example, I am
in love with the Dwarf Burning
Bush shrub (Syringa vulgaris)
however it will not grow in my
zone; nor do most lavenders
and the lilac shrubs, which is
the most fragrant of all shrubs.
Now there is a hybrid lilac shrub
Dwarf Josee Lilac (Syringa josee)
which is supposed be hardy
in my zone, so I will give it a try.
When I started the Master
Gardeners course I was annoyed
by all of those crazy
Latin names assigned to each
plant. But I quickly began to
understand their importance.
Each plant is assigned two botanical
names, the first name
is always written starting with
a capital letter and that first
name denotes the genus or
major plant family. The second
name is always written
in all lower-case letters and
the second name represents
the specific species within the
major plant family. Now why
is this important? The genus
(major plant family) can have
hundreds of species within the
genus, so you need both names
to get the specific plant you desire.
A prime example of this
are the two varieties of lilacs
mentioned previously. If I am
ordering a lilac plant I want the
Syringa josee which will grow
in my zone, not the Syringa
vulgaris which is not hardy in
my area. Both plants are in the
Syringa genus or family, so the
species name is required to differentiate
between th


Your Garden as a Symphony 
By LMG Calla Victoria

Dwarf Burning Bush

     Your garden should be symphony of color, texture, and fragrance all year-round. Although many plants are dormant in the winter, this is the time that you should be actively planning your garden. During the winter you can see the bones of your garden with the evergreens and trees that are always there. So it is during the winter time that you should be planning the rest of your year considering ground covers, color, and textures to complement existing plant materials. First of all you want to start with your bulbs because they need to go through the chilling process of winter to bloom in the spring. Try layering your bulbs for extended blooming. Some bulbs require a planting depth of 8 inches, some 5 inches, and some 3 inches; so select bulbs that bloom at different times. Dig a trench 8 inches deep, plant the first set of bulbs and cover with a little soil (making sure you place the bulbs in the soil pointy side up), then place in the 5 inch depth bulbs and so on. Finally plant something with winter interest on top like pansies, sweet alyssum, or petunias. Now you have color through the winter, and when the pansies start to wilt your first blooms of your bulbs should be opening, then by the time those blooms are fading you second bulbs are opening, and so forth like crescendos in a symphony!

     If you are a serious gardener like I am, right about now you are being bombarded with catalogs from nurseries across the country with photos of fabulous plants. By all means check the “zone hardiness” of your plant selections, as all plants will not grow in all zones. For example, I am in love with the Dwarf Burning Bush shrub (Syringa vulgaris) however it will not grow in my zone; nor do most lavenders and the lilac shrubs, which are the most fragrant of all shrubs. Now there is a new hybrid lilac shrub called Dwarf Josee Lilac (Syringa joseewhich is supposed be hardy in my zone, so I will give it a try.

     When I started the Master Gardeners course I was annoyed by all of those crazy Latin names assigned to each plant. But I quickly began to understand their importance.  Each plant is assigned two botanical names, the first name is always written starting with a capital letter, and that first name denotes the genus or major plant family. The second name is always written in lowercase and represents the species. Take the Wandering Jew plant for example, within that genus there are there are several species, the varigated (Tradescantia zebrina), Queens purple heart (T. pallidia), and the fuzzy wandering jew (T. sillamontana).

Remember, never get too busy to stop and enjoy the beautiful flowers! 



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