How to Plant Your New Arrivals


Spring and fall, the most colorful seasons. That’s when mail-order plants often arrive. It’s an ideal time for planting. This can be done anytime the soil is dry enough. You may receive either container plants or bare-root ones with no soil around the roots. Each has its own planting style. And the sooner you get started, the better.

Container plants

The mail-order container plants shipped in the spring probably came from a cozy greenhouse. They aren’t prepared for full sun yet. So harden them off first. Set them in a shady, protected spot outdoors. During the next several days, gradually move them to brighter conditions. Do this by moving them from full shade to partial shade, and finally to full sun. Then they’ll be tough enough for your garden.

Overcast or cloudy days are best for planting. What size hole is needed? Make it the same depth as the root ball, but slightly wider.

Removing the plant from the pot can be tricky. Watering it first helps. Holding one hand over the plant, turn the pot upside down. Knock the container against a hard surface. The plant should pop out. If not, run a dull knife around the inside rim of the container.

Look at the root ball. If it is seriously matted, tease out some of the roots so they don’t encircle the root ball. Use your hands for this.

Place the plant in the center of the hole. Firmly pack garden soil around the roots. Should you be mixing peat moss or compost with the soil? Not really. The same goes for fertilizer. Prune off any damaged leaves or stems. Spread a two-inch-thick layer of mulch around the plant, and water thoroughly. Stand back, and admire your work.

Bare-root plants

Bare-root plants may look dead, but they’re taking a winter rest. They’re usually shipped and planted when they’re dormant. Remove all packing material from the plant. Prune any damaged or broken roots and stems.

You’re so eager to get it planted, but the roots need a good soaking. Place the plant in a bucket. Add just enough water to cover the roots. Five to ten minutes is enough for perennials, but let woody plants soak for six to twelve hours.

Dig the hole while the plant soaks. For size, use the roots as your guide. A dark stain on the trunks of woody plants indicates where the root begins. This will be the proper depth. Dig it wide enough so the roots won’t be jammed together.

Place the plant in the middle of the hole, and spread the roots out. Hold the plant in place with one hand. Use the other to cover the roots with the soil you removed when digging the hole. Press the soil firmly around the roots. Add a two-inch layer of mulch, and water carefully. Wasn’t that easy?

Post-planting care

Water the mail-order plants as needed over the next six weeks or so until they’re well established. They’ll thrive, and you’ll feel so rewarded.

Read aslo Confessions of a Reformed Black Thumb: How a Single Rose Catalog Rocked My World

Daylilies for Your Garden


I have liked daylilies from the moment my mother showed me how to make flower ladies out of the bright, trumpet-shaped, orange and yellow flowers. She gave me toothpicks and I would put the dazzling blooms on my toothpick and pretend they were fancy ladies dressed for a ball. Mom told me that I couldn’t hurt the flowers because each blossom is only open for one day. However, each flower stalk had many flowers, so the daylilies lasted a long time.

As an adult, I have had fun growing daylilies and have found them to be a profusion of color in the summer garden as well as easy to grow.

Daylilies, Hemerocallis, come in a myriad of colors from lemon yellow to deep maroon, orange, pink, and purple. Some are multi-colored. For example, ‘Orange Crush’ has a bright yellow center, a red band of color called the eye around the center and rich orange petals. ‘Frau Alls’ is a bicolor daylily that boasts inner petals ranging from red to orange and outer petals that are yellow. Bi-tones have light colored outer petals and inner petals of a darker hue. For example, the creamy white outer petals of ‘Cindy’s Charm’ subtly blend with the peach-pink inner petals. Other daylilies are a single, vibrant color, like ‘Star Struck’, which flaunts rich, golden-melon flowers.

Daylilies thrive in full sun to partial shade. In northern climates, plant daylilies in full sun for best results. In southern regions, daylilies may be planted in partial shade with at least four to six hours of sun. Daylilies prefer a neutral soil pH.

With all of the different kinds of daylilies, how do you choose the daylilies that are right for your garden? Mail-order nurseries offer a wide selection of top quality plants from which to choose. As you look at the catalogs, you will see a written description of the plants, often with a picture. The written descriptions tell you the color and height of the daylily as well as when the daylily blooms.

Consider where you want to plant the daylily in your garden and think about the other plants that will be blooming at the same time as the daylily. Select daylilies that have colors that will blend in with your other plants or provide a striking contrast.

Also think about the height of the daylilies. Some daylilies are about 18 inches tall, while others can grow to be more than three feet high. Use the smaller daylilies near the edge of your garden and plant the taller ones near the back.

Using mail-order catalogs makes it easy to plan a sequence of blooms with your daylilies. The descriptions give you the approximate time of year when the daylily blooms. Using this information, you can select daylilies so that you have blooms from early spring to fall. Common terms you will see are: EE – extra early, E – early, EM – early to midseason, M – mid season, L – late and VL – very late.

The best time to plant daylilies in northern areas is in the spring. Daylilies planted too late in the fall may not have enough time to become established before winter, thereby reducing the plant’s chances of survival. In southern areas, it is best to plant daylilies in the fall. Since the ground does not freeze, the daylily can grow and becomes established before the stress of the summer heat. In areas that are in between, plant daylilies at least 60 days before the first hard frost or 60 days before the temperature is consistently 90 or higher. Ordering from a mail-order catalog can ensure that you receive your daylilies at the best time to plant in your area.

The mail-order nursery from which you order your daylilies will provide you with complete planting instructions. These directions take the guesswork out of planting your daylilies. By simply reading and following the directions you can successfully plant your daylilies and receive many years of enjoyment from their colorful blooms.

Read also How to Plant Your New Arrivals

Humorous “script” – A Gardener’s Nightmare

Fade in:
Joe and Maria Smith*, avid gardening enthusiasts, request several nursery catalogs. With great anticipation, Maria checks the mail each day, eager to order some special plants for that back corner of the garden. On the day the catalogs finally arrive, Joe and Maria discover – to their horror – that none of the catalogs is suitable. One nursery doesn’t take Maria’s Kryptonium* Card, while another restricts shipments of Joe’s favorite plant to only three states on the other side of the country! Exasperated, our hortiphilic duo is forced to renew their catalog search from scratch.
Meanwhile, back at the Lee* Family Nursery:
The Lees have been filling too many “unqualified” catalog requests. (Their unused catalog is now lining the Smiths’ bird cage.) The nursery’s bottom line doesn’t look good – designing, printing, and mailing catalogs is costly. Family-owned for five generations, the Lee Family Nursery is in peril. Will they now have to sell out to a giant multinational conglomerate?

Interview with Toni Snails*, president of Fictitious Nurseries of North America:
In fact, the “shotgun” approach to finding mail-order nurseries, such as the Smiths used, is not good for the mail-order nursery industry as a whole. Each time a consumer receives an unsatisfactory catalog, it erodes customer confidence in mail-order purchasing.

Interview with Sam Jones*, ecologist:
From an ecological point of view, unsuitable and superfluous catalogs are a serious problem. They waste paper and add to our public landfills unnecessarily. This crisis will only increase as more and more people shop by mail-order in the new millennium .

Narrator’s voice-over:
The irony is, this senseless tragedy could have been avoided. With Garden Catalog PROFILES, the gardener knows practically everything about a nursery . . . before requesting its catalog.

Fade to black.