It seems too chilly to think this is prime summer and thus prime daylily season in Iowa. Might as well enjoy the cool while you can. Today (Saturday, July 18, 2009) Wanda Lunn of Cedar Rapids will have an open garden from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at her home at 526 Bezdek Dr. NW. Wanda said this will be the height of daylily blooms & the larger lilliums, as well as many other summer perennials. She will be available to answer questions about all of these flowers.
Next weekend (Sat. and Sun., July 25 and 26) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, Linn County Master Gardener Zora Ronan will open her gardens for viewing at 5031 North Marion Road, Central City.
Lillies, daylillies and other flowers at Zora Ronan's garden (photo/Cindy Hadish)
I had the opportunity to visit Zora’s gardens last week and more will be available in Sunday’s (7/19/09) Gazette. Zora said her gardens are about one week behind those in Cedar Rapids, so they should be in their prime next weekend. Even a week ago, the beds were beautiful. Zora has the right touch with daylillies, which come in hundreds of shapes, sizes and colors. Both Zora and Wanda are open to questions and I think this is one of the best ways to learn about gardening, with an up-close view to see what both looks and works great. It’s really inspiring to have people like this in our community who are so willing to share and generous of them to offer their time and expertise, as well as open up their gardens to the public.
The sign says it all (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Here are directions to the home of Zora and Paul Ronan: From I-380: Exit at Toddville. Travel east on County Home Road to Alburnett Road. Turn north on Alburnett Road. Turn east on Justins Road (gravel). Justins Road dead ends at North Marion. Turn north and the garden is on the right. From: Highway 13: Travel north on Highway 13 to Central City. Turn west on E-16 (Center Point-Central City Road). Turn north on North Marion Road (gravel) and travel 1.6 miles. Garden is on the right. From Marion: Travel north on North Tenth Street. Tenth Street changes name to North Marion and becomes gravel when it crosses County Home Road. Since North Marion is gravel for quite a long way, it is better to travel north on either North Alburnett Road or Highway 13.
When I went last week, one of the roads from I-380 was closed, but it was easy to get there by going to Central City and taking a left on E-16.
Several weeks ago, my sons both brought home their classroom projects: corn and bean plants they sprouted in plastic cups. The boys envisioned eating fresh corn and beans in the cold of Iowa’s winter. So, more to make them happy than thinking they would continue growing, I agreed to transplant them into a larger container.
Just two weeks ago, pretty pinkish blossoms appeared on the bean plants and in the last several days the beans started emerging. Even though it won’t make a hearty meal, the plants have been fun to watch and they’ll provide a little taste of summer in January.
The following is from Linn County Master Gardener Claire Smith:
LUV having the windows open! LUV keeping the air conditioner off! LUV sitting on the deck without bugs! LUV having to mow the lawn only once a week! It’s August. Summer is winding down. The cicadas are singing. The robins are readying for their southern migration. Soon we’ll experience the vibrant burst of burgundys and yellows and oranges. School starts in a couple of weeks. Are you ready for some football?
How are you going to tend your garden and yard for the rest of the lazy hazy days of August?
Now is a great time to tour your yard looking for bare spaces or…….a good excuse to
- create a new bed or add plants. How about peonies? Choose a spot with sun and drainage. Plant the “eye” (bud) about two inches deep.
- Or dig and divide your (or your neighbor’s—with their permission, of course) overgrown iris, poppies and other spring blooming perennials. A good rule of thumb is to move spring blooming flowers in the fall and fall blooming flowers in the spring.
- Plant a tree! Fall planting takes advantage of favorable soil temperatures and moisture conditions that promote the root growth needed to sustain plants through their critical first year in the landscape.
- It’s best not to prune now. Pruning will stimulate unwanted late season growth.
- Think fall flower arrangements. Invest in a Burning Bush, a Bayberry Bush or a Red-twigged Dogwood. All have colored stems that will stand out in dreary winter landscape. And those reddish branches create an outstanding compliment to fall groupings of gourds, pumpkins and dried flowers.
- Mid-August through mid-September is the best time to repair, replace or start a new lawn. Lawns with fifty percent or more weeds should be replaced. Always purchase quality lawn seed. All grass seed mixes should contain several varieties of bluegrass, fescue and rye grass.
So, get up off that couch. Get out in the yard. Enjoy this great time of the year.
The following comes from Linn County Master Gardener Claire Smith:
Did you remember to stop the mail and newspapers and let the neighbors know you’d be gone when you went on vacation this summer? What did you do about your lawn? If you planned to be gone for more than a week, did you have someone mow it for you? How about watering it? Vacationing during hot and dry July and August might mean you will need someone to water for you.
During these hot days, sustaining your lawn is important. If you choose to continue watering, clay soils should get a good soaking weekly; sandy soils should be watered at least, ½” twice per week and growing lawns need one inch per week. Watering early in the day saves water lost to evaporation and reduces disease problems. Actually, you could just let the lawn go dormant for the rest of the season. It will turn brown during this stressful period, but once the weather cools and fall rains commence, it should green up again. There is still time to lay sod if you have a new lawn but it will require extra care. Be certain the soil surface stays moist until the sod roots into the soil below. Once rooted it will still need thorough although less frequent watering.
Do not fertilize dormant or non-irrigated lawns now. Fertilization can cause damage and may even kill the grass.
Crabgrass may be starting to appear. Now would be a great time to pinpoint its location on your lawn map making it easier to target pesticide application as crabgrass is usually eradiated in early spring.
Mow grass at 3-3 ½” tall. Taller grass is more drought tolerant and better able to compete with pests. A plus to warmer dryer weather is that you can mow less often. Leave grass clippings where they fall. They impart organic matter, nitrogen and earthworm food.
Rules of thumb: mow high, keep pests under control and choose proper watering patterns.
The amount of rainfall we’ve received in Eastern Iowa this weekend alone has been incredible. For homeowners who like a green lawn, it’s a boon. Personally, I don’t mind letting my lawn go dormant to save on the weekly chore of mowing, but it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon.
Richard Jauron, of Iowa State University’s Department of Horticulture, offers the following tips for those of us who will once again be getting the mowers out this week:
Sound mowing practices are important during the summer months. Kentucky bluegrass lawns should be mowed at a height of 3 to 3.5 inches during the summer months. (During cool weather in spring and fall, bluegrass lawns should be mowed at a height of 2.5 to 3 inches.) The additional leaf area during summer shades and cools the crowns of the turfgrass plants. Extremely high temperatures at crown level can kill the turfgrass.
When mowing the lawn, never remove more than one-third of the total leaf area at any one time. Accordingly, a lawn being mowed at a height of 3 inches should be cut when it reaches a height of 4.5 inches. Removing more than one-third of the leaf area weakens the turfgrass and reduces its ability to withstand additional environmental stresses. Weakened turf is also more likely to be invaded by weeds.
If possible, mow in the cool of the morning or evening. Mowing at midday may place additional stress on the turf. Also, make sure the mower blade is sharp. Dull blades tear and bruise the leaf tips.
Dormant lawns (those that have turned brown) should not be mowed. Pedestrian and mower traffic could damage the turf.