What's Up 63: Perennials, Ligularia, leaves, divide, lilac borer, fertilizer

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Topics in this issue:

Perennials fail: Was it winter's fault?, pp. 1-3
Ligularia is so cool it's hot, pp. 3-4
Leave the leaves: A struggle continues, pp. 4-5
Organic fertilizer: Great in late fall, pp. 6-7
When slow is good: Understanding fertilizer, page 7
Early to spring, late to fall? Plants as calendar, pp. 6-8
Hum right through tough digging to divide big old perennial, page 9
Don't let that lilac be bored, pp. 9-10
Emerald ash borer alert:
Be prepared to fight, pp. 10-11
45mph garden sees yellow light: Sassafras! Page 11
Look out to fall color, bring indoor plants in, page 12

 

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Acer rubrum, red maple bud swell defines early spring  Pg 8
Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed, full bloom defines midsummer  Pg 8
calendar, natural definitions of seasons  Pg 6-7
Cercidiphyllum japonicum, katsura tree fall color  Pg 12
Chamaecyparis, fall foliage color change  Pg 11
Clematis terniflora, sweet autumn Clematis, bloom defines early fall  Pg 8
Colchicum autumnale, fall crocus bloom defines early fall  Pg 8
containers, wrapped for winter  Pg 1
Crocus minimus, snow crocus bloom defines early spring  Pg 8
design
            color changes predictably in fall  12
            container wrapped for winter  Pg 1
            match plants to site  Pg 3
dividing
            can be tough work  Pg 9
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Eupatorium rugosum
, rough Joe Pye
            bloom defines early fall  Pg 6
evergreens drop needles in fall  Pg 11
fall, defined by plant development  Pg 7-8
fertilizer
            fertilizer in fall  Pg 6-7
            fertilizer for lawn  Pg 8
            fertilizer organic  Pg 6-7
            fertilizer slow release  Pg 7
Forsythia bloom defines mid-spring  Pg 8
Fothergilla gardenii dwarf fothergilla fall color (above, right)  Pg 12
grass, ornamental grass
            Helictotrichon sempervirens, blue oat grass
                        grass for a dry site  Pg 3
groundsel, golden groundsel, See Ligularia (below)
Hibiscus, winter kill  Pg 2
Hosta plantaginea, old August lily
                        full bloom defines late summer  Pg 8
houseplants
            insecticide usually unnecessary in fall Pg  Pg 12
            summered out, returned in fall  Pg 12
Hydrangea arborescens, snowball Hydrangea
                        green flower buds define early summer  Pg 8
                        full bloom defines midsummer  Pg 8
Hydrangea paniculata, panicle Hydrangea
                        full bloom defines late summer  Pg 8
Ilex, holly fertilizer  Pg 7
katsura, see Cercidiphyllum (above)
lawn good to fertilize in late fall  Pg 8
leaves
            fall leaves as mulch  Pg 4-5
                        objections  Pg 4
                        time required to decompose  Pg 4
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Ligularia, leopard plant  Pg 3-4
            Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona'  Pg 3
            Ligularia stenocephala 'The Rocket'  Pg 3
            Ligularia grown from seed  Pg 4

 Below, right: Ligularia's big bold leaves complement the small gray leaves of Russian sage (Perovskia) and the blue of blue oat grass. However, there's a hidden drawback: In this trio two plants like it sunny and dry, conditions that are not ideal for the third, Ligularia.

Lobelia erinus, edging lobelia
                        edging lobelia prefers cool  Pg 3
Magnolia bloom defines mid-spring  Pg 8
Malus, apple/crabapple fading bloom defines late spring  Pg 8
Monarda, bee balm full bloom defines midsummer  Pg 8

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mulch
            fall leaves as mulch  Pg 4-6
            mulch for acid-loving plants  Pg 7
            winter protection with mulch  Pg 1-2
Narcissus, daffodil, earliest blooms define mid-spring  Pg 8
Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Virginia creeper, fall color defines early fall  Pg 8
perennials
            all perennial foliage killed defines early winter  Pg 8
            dividing old perennial can be tough work  Pg 9
               Below, right: After 90 minutes' battle Janet at last thought, "I might beat this old sweet flag yet!"
            hardiness in question  Pg 1-3
            match species to site  Pg 3
            winter losses  Pg 1-3
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Perovskia, Russian sage
            dry site  Pg 3
pests
            wood boring insects
                        emerald ash borer  Pg 10-11
                        lilac borer  Pg 9-10
Pinus, pine fall needle color change  Pg 11
problems
            understanding winter losses  Pg 2
Pyrus calleryana,
            callery pear fall color defines late fall  Pg 8
quotes
            absence of leaf litter meant... serfs or slaves  Pg 4
ragwort, Chinese ragwort, See Ligularia (above)
raised bed
            edges experience more cold  Pg 1
            insulation  Pg 2                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below: Acorus or sweet flag. Don't leave it too long in place without dividing. It takes a sharp spade and determination to nibble away the edges of a big old clump and reduce it to manageable size.

regional differences in calendar
            defining early fall, late summer, etc.  Pg 7-8
renovating a garden
            old perennial clumps tough to split  Pg 9
Salix, willow
            change in twig color defines late winter  Pg 8
Sassafras albidum, sassafras tree
            fall color  Pg 11
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seasonal change
            fall color  Pg 11
            defining nationwide season names  Pg 7-8
            plants as calendar  Pg 7-8
seasons, defined by plant development  Pg 7-8
soil
            bed preparation  Pg 9
            drainage  Pg 2
                        indicator, slippery mulch  Pg 5
                        perched water table  Pg 3
            impoverished by leaf removal  Pg 6
spring, defined by plant development  Pg 7-8
Stewartia pseudocamellia, Korean stewartia
            fall color  Pg 12
summer, defined by plant development  Pg 7-8
Syringa, lilac
            borer damage  Pg 9-10
            fading bloom defines late spring  Pg 8
temperature as site condition, perennials for cool sites  Pg 3-4
Thuja, arborvitae  fall foliage color change  Pg 11
Verbena prefers cool  Pg 3
Virginia creeper, See Parthenocissus
Weigela bloom defines early summer  Pg 8
wildlife
            birds
                        return of migratory species defines late winter  Pg 8
            skunk
                        end of scent-free air defines late winter  Pg 8
winter damage
            drainage often involved  Pg 2
            healthier plants most hardy  Pg 2

Right: Dwarf Fothergilla's late, warm glow and Ligularia's big bold leaves are featured in this issue.

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Below: Few plants are brighter or more reliable for fall color than Sassafras albidum, the native sassafras tree. A single tree often glows tri-color: red, orange and yellow.

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