Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Garden Has the Flop's

Achillea 'Coronation Gold'
Yes that's right. Some of my plants in the garden have the flop's. No it isn't a new disease or varietal weakness (that I know of). Some experts would say the plants are mature and need divided. However, these plants were only planted in the last two years. It is possible the plants have excess growth from over fertilization from compost. However, that has never been a problem before. Maybe it's global warming. I should contact Al Gore, he seems to be an expert on these things.
 Nepeta 'Walkers Low'
Salvia nemorosa 'Coradonna'
I'm scratching my head trying to figure this one out and what my solution is to allow these plants to reach their full potential this summer. My current conclusion is it's varietal weakness and too much nitrogen,  then followed with early warm weather in late march and cooler temps in April. On the Coronation Gold yarrows I'm going to deadhead after bloom on one of three plants and compare. I would hate to loose the spent blooms during the winter.
And alas: my first monarch visit, a male.


41 comments:

  1. Hmm did you get any of the frosts or freezes that affected so many of us? Maybe that's why things are not as vigorous. I'm dreading what all I am yet to see that is weather related.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Didn't get any frosts. Just warm weather.

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  2. How great that the monarchs have returned! I think with the nepeta, that's a not uncommon problem. I've seen it and so has Eileen from Gatsby's Gardens (she mentioned it in a recent post.) Solution? I don't know, but if you find out, please share!
    Beth

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    1. Yes it's always good to see the Monarchs.

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  3. Your theories make sense. Please share how the plants look as the season progresses. I have noticed more butterflies this year, too. They seem to prefer a spot in the garden that gets warm afternoon sun. I'm thinking maybe they migrated early and now are seeking out the warmest spots they can find. One of these days maybe I'll be successful capturing them with my camera.

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    1. Will keep you posted on the results.

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  4. My guess on the flops is because of the mild winter and the extra rain we've had this spring, everything has grown at an unbelievable rate and can't support the weight of the blooms. I sure loved that non-winter we had, but I think we are seeing some unintended consequences -- some good, some at least interesting.

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    1. It's definitely excessive top growth.

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  5. It's too early for the flops! ;-)

    Really, though, I don't know about varietal weakness on the 'Walker's Low' catmint. Mine does sort of flop, albeit in an attractive mound shape... but it's much fuller with leaves than yours looks to be. Hmm... I might go with Toni's theory on that one, at least.

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    1. I normally cut it back pretty good after blooming, and I was also late in cutting back the stubble this year. The experiment will involve the yarrow's.

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  6. Nepeta? Strolling cats keep mine short. I just propped up some poppies and scabosia today. They are on the north side of the house though. It does seem odd though to be so tall and falling over from the weight of the flowers. The Louisiana Phlox is in the same area and is not leggy. Is your monarch on a Purple cone flower plant? Those look healthy. The coneflower flowers are just breaking out here in TX
    Jeanette

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    1. Yes those are cone flowers behind the Monarch.

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  7. All gardeners hate the flops. I am forever cutting cedar twigs and sticking them in to support the plants. I would not be afraid to cut back the Nepeta, Walker's Low. I cut mine back after the first bloom and it returns to make a nice showing. In fact I do it with many plants. I have already cut back lantana, skullcaps, four nerve daisies, chocolate daisy, erigeron. They will return. I give mine very little fertilizer so I think maybe it was the mild winter to blame. Some areas of my garden look like fall already.

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    1. Jenny, I am a firm believer in deadheading myself. I've already pinched and clipped mums, asters, and large leaved sedums. I will see about Yarrows. I pruned the white flowering yarrow last year and it recovering moderately well.

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  8. I notice the flops in my plants when they have grown too much or too fast to support themselves. A year with good rain gives my Wichita Mountains goldenrod a bad case of the flops, but last year's drought kept them shorter and upright and (ironically) looking good. Ditto with my favorite aromatic asters. On fall bloomers, you can prune back early in the summer, but on these spring bloomers, your idea of deadheading sounds like the best solution for this year.

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    1. Agreed on the fall stuff. Will see on the the yarrow.

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  9. I don't know about you but this weather is giving me the flops. Hot, cold, wet and windy.

    With All That I Am
    Carrie "The Handmade Homemaker"

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    1. It's 92 today. And I got the flops. lol.

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  10. Sometimes you need to cut plants back so the stems will get stronger.It has been such a fast growing season this year with the warm weather.Have a wonderful week.

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  11. My vote is with Toni's explanation. (sorry, Sri Al Gore) In gardens with some of those plants that I see in NM, where irrigated, that is the exact response. And some of those plants probably need no fertilization, unless soils are very sandy and leach out nutrients (often from...too much water).

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  12. I agree with the early warm weather. And here, we had a lot of rain early on, with a lot of growth. Then, that has stopped and real heat has set in. I have a couple things that have just decided to lay down.
    Jenny's probably right about cutting back some.
    Good luck....

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    1. The first day of work when I moved to San Antonio on March 1, 1999 it was 100. What had I got myself into. lol. Kansas isn't much better today.

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  13. Yeah...that happens A LOT here in Portland, unfortunately. Our long, cool, wet springs mean the plants grow fast and TALL...but the stems aren't strong and often flop once they bloom. I've just accepted that I have to stake certain plants.

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    1. Agreed. It hard to make that look natural however. But that's what I will probably do.

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  14. Oh yes, the cold reality of gardening. They never show this stuff in those fancy-dancy glossy magazines, do they? Well, rest assured, you're in good company. At least with those of us who are real gardeners. :)

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    1. There is no such thing as perfection is there?

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  15. Enjoyed seeing the Monarch. I cannot tell the girls from the boys. It our weather too that has caused this flopping.

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    1. the boys have the two round markings on the vein on the back wings.

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  16. Hi Greggo,
    I have a book called The Well Maintained Perennial Garden, by Tracy DiSabato-Aust. I'm trying to remember if I was already doing this before reading it, but she lists plants that can be trimmed back in order to make them stronger so they will be less likely to flop. Some years I don't get to the catmint before it blooms, but I did this year. It's mostly the fall bloomers that she talks about cutting back. I cut back my asters, joe pye weed, and I can't remember what else already this year.

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    1. Yes, I have the same book. It is very good. Don't remember her talking about the yarrows however.

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  17. Have you tried laundry starch? With your temperatures you wouldn't even have to iron them...

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  18. I hope I will see these lovelies soon! My catmint is doing the same thing. I think they grew too fast during our bout of warm winter and early spring weather.

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  19. We get the flops after downpours, where the ground gets really soggy and then can't support the weight of the plants. (Our worst example of this was two 50 foot pines that toppled during a flood a few years ago. The roots are very shallow and just lifted out of the mud.) We especially see it late in the summer (August) when the plants are tall and then we get daily late after rains. Our gardens are about 6 weeks early as it is, but we don't have any of these plants at this height... you are way ahead of us, Greggo!

    Fabulous photo of the Monarch! I've never seen one this early in the year until this year! Usually when they migrate south, they swarm our butterfly bushes, but that is in late summer, early fall. When they return, we rarely see them. So when I saw one the other day I thought it was a viceroy until I got a second look and then I almost freaked. I was out taking pix when I spotted it but it was too fast for me and all I got was a blurry photo. Are you used to seeing them this early? I'm wondering if our weird weather is the culprit. I only saw the one, but I saw him several times over two days, and then gone.

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  20. Your theory doesn't sound bad. My garden gets the flops too sometime. It can be sudden rain, too much nitrogen, too quick a growth. Who knows? I hope yours upright themselves soon though Greggo. I'm just trying to get through the bulb foliage dying stage. It's kinda ugly.

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  21. I have been catching up on your last few posts. Your garden looks great, despite the flops! Great to see the monarch. How is your son's garden doing? We have that red clay here, too. I sympathize and know the work involved. I was helping my own son in his garden just yesterday! The stuff does make good bricks.

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  22. My Salvias of that 'Caradonna' type always flop. I put a short (~3") ring of hardware cloth around them, just enough to keep the split at the center from exposing the stems. It helps.

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Thanks for leaving any comments, they are always welcomed. Sorry I had to add word verification as spam was becoming a huge problem. Greggo,