Is It True Peonies Need Ants To Bloom?

Peonies have been especially beautiful this year. They make a great cut flower, except for a few ants that hitchhike indoors. You don’t have to search far to locate ants on the plump, round flower buds of peonies. Is it true that ants are required for peony flower buds to open normally, or is it…
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New Hardy Perennial Mums

Well, I certainly can’t keep mum about this. A new series of perennial mums (short for chrysanthemum) has proven winter hardy in our USDA Zone 4, and possibly into Zone 3. Mums are the most spectacular of fall-blooming perennial flowers, often blossoming until the snow flies. But winter hardiness has always been such a problem…
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Fifty Degrees In February Not So Fabulous For Plants

Why is it so difficult to have everything? Fifty degrees in February is fabulous, but it makes perennials heave. Now, I’ve got to admit every time I hear a grower say their perennials “heaved,” I try to hide a shouldn’t-laugh-at-a-funeral type of smile. Even though the term is funny, this is serious business. Remember in science class how…
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Shovel Snow On Perennials For Extra Protection

We associate snow with cold, but there’s a reason Eskimos use it to build houses – snow’s a good insulator. Mother Nature insulates the ground from too-deep freezing by blanketing it with snow. The root system of plants can’t take cold temperatures the way the above-ground branches can. While the branches of adapted trees and shrubs…
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Plant Or Divide Iris In August

Iris have been called the poor man’s orchid. Because they’re so beautiful, I think I’ll opt to be a poor man. Iris have come a long way in the past 50 years, and the small-flowered less-showy varieties of yesteryear have been replaced by the gigantic blossoms and intense colors of today’s hybrids. Most iris varieties bloom…
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