THE OLD SIGN PHILOSOPHER, THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!

5 OUT OF 4 GARDENERS.......SHOP HERE
WE SELL MULCH......NOT OVERPRICED GAS


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The website has incredible traffic lately......spring is in St. Louis and many of the gardeners are gardening on the website. Over 35,xxx web visits in 14 months, over 1200 web visits the past week and over 129,xxx web pages viewed. Not bad for a locally owned garden center's website. We have been very surprised by the amount of customers commenting about the website and we therefore intend to keep updating.

Speaking of updates.............This past Saturday was the heaviest volume at the garden center EVER. Plus, this weekend was the highest volume in our brief 12 years. The garden center is stuffed. We have more nursery stock still coming plus multiple shipments of annuals flowers weekly.

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SHASTA DAISY, PERENNIAL PLANT SPOTLIGHT

Shasta daisy 'Becky' is the Perennial Plant of the week. Known botanically as Leucanthemum, Shasta daisies have long been popular in the perennial garden because they are so easy to grow.

The cultivar 'Becky' was selected for its long-blooming, 3-inch, bright white flowers with yellow centers. The numerous blossoms are held well above the foliage on sturdy stems that reach about 3 feet tall.

Shasta daisies can be used as either a specimen plant or in groupings for more impact. Although Shasta daisy is a hybrid, it has a wildflower type appearance and can also be used in more natural plantings. It is also a good choice for container gardens, cut flower plantings and butterfly gardens. The white blossoms with yellow centers are harmonious with just about any color combination.

Shasta daisy performs best in full sun, though it will adapt to partial shade, and demands moist, but well-drained soil. Shasta daisies can be propagated using stem cuttings in summer or by division in early spring or late summer. 'Becky' is dependably hardy and provides excellent color from July to September, especially if old flowers are removed to encourage rebloom.

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WISTERIA.....THE COLORFUL VINE

Nothing rivals a wisteria arbor in full bloom, but unfortunately, the quest to grow these lovely vines eludes most Midwestern gardeners.

There are two types of wisteria that are most commonly planted in our area; Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) and Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis). Japanese wisteria is well known for its fragrant violet blossoms borne in 8- to 20-inch-long clusters. The individual flowers of a cluster open gradually, beginning at the base. Chinese wisteria has slightly larger individual blooms, and the clusters are generally less than 12 inches long. The flowers of a cluster tend to all open at the same time. Chinese wisteria is not quite as hardy as the Japanese and also is not as fragrant. There are cultivars of both species that have white blossoms.

The vine itself is quite vigorous and will need a strong support to keep up with its fast growth. Wisteria can grow up to 10 feet a year, especially once it's established in the proper environment. Wisteria performs best in deep, moist, but well-drained soil that is neutral to slightly alkaline.
Since most gardeners are drawn to this plant for its blossoms, they are quite frustrated by the plant's notorious tendency to produce only vegetation. There are many potential explanations for this annoying problem, including immaturity of the plant, too much nitrogen, insufficient phosphorus, poor-quality plants, and too much shade. Wisteria need to reach a degree of maturity before they are able to produce flowers. In fact, in can take up to 15 years or longer for the blooming stage to arrive.

Those who have succeeded in raising wisteria often recommend root pruning, application of superphosphate, rigorous pruning of the shoots, and planting in full sun. And most importantly, start with good-quality plants that have been propagated from cuttings of plants known to flower while relatively young. If you know someone willing to share a great specimen, take cuttings of the stem tips in July. Avoid planting seedling vines because the genetic variability of seed reproduction makes it impossible to predict their blooming habit.

Wisteria produces its flowers on last year's wood in mid- to late May, so wait until late spring or early summer to prune the vine. Some experts recommend severe pruning, back to three or four buds, to keep the plant manageable and renewed. Even armed with this knowledge you aren't guaranteed success in raising wisteria. You can do everything just right and still end up waiting many years for the plant to bloom. Or it may bloom well some years and poorly or not at all in other years. But gardeners know that the elusive wisteria is well worth the effort when it does put on its show.