Monday, May 31, 2010


Where do I begin. This last weekend in Valdosta was truely memorable, the weather was absolutely beautiful, very little humidity most of the time, the food was very good and the gardens were gorgeous. The gardeners really went above and beyond getting their gardens in pristine shape for the tours. Although they were a little behind for peak bloom it was still a wonderful sight to see the daylilies blooming as we were daylily starved when we got down there. This was a wonderful chance to see some of the daylilies we have only read about or seen in pictures. It was amazing to see of the blooms that I grow in a Southern setting, the flowers are so much bigger down there, makes me think I better add a little more fertilizer or something. But, all in all, there wasn't one garden that wasn't beautiful.

The Southern hospitality really came through also. Every one was so kind and so polite, we commented that we have never been called "ma'am so many times. All the people we met were very friendly and helpful. It really is a lovely place to visit.

Now for the big news that came out of the Convention. Karol Emmerich won 4 HM's for "Born to Reign", Fear Not', Forty Days and Forty Nights', and Soul on Fire'. Congratulations to you Karol, we are so very proud of the plants you produce for the north. And we all claim you as our own!
The real surprise of the Award night came when our own Editor of the Pioneer, Kyle Billadeau won 3 newsletter awards. We could not of been happier or more proud of the work she has done on our wonderful Pioneer!! Her award were for Best Article About a Daylily Presonallity "Remembering Fred", Best Use of Pictures and Graphis, and Best Article Demonstrating Aspect of Gardening "Texture in the Garden". We are so tremendously proud of you, Kyle.

I just wanted to get the important stuff out there so you all would know of the Region One winners that came out of the convention. There will be more posted on the others that won awards later.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Keeping up (but not with the Joneses) :-)

Greetings from Region One, zone 5a, Omaha, Nebraska where yesterday morning (before the winds picked up) I treated nutsedge in the garden paths brought in with hardwood bark mulch a few years ago with Sedgehammer. The nutsedge had spread into bordering flower beds, as well as in and around daylilies. I sprayed fearlessly, though, as I need to eradicate the nutsedge. The label recommends a second treatment and I didn't have enough for that (so I bought more), as it took two batches to treat it this first time. I also learned how to use the pressurized spray tank I purchased for this purpose - a little scary, but the safety glasses I used as a precaution (and I) did just fine.

Today I spread Preen (late this year, but during most years would have been on time) throughout the paths and garden areas. I finished just in time ... as my father was taken to the hospital with what sounds like another ministroke (he's been having them over the past several days). I spread Preen today because it's getting almost too late for the first treatment (this year) and rain is forecasted for tonight.

My late grandmother's blue-lavender iris is FFO today. She didn't keep track of the name, but bought all her iris from the Sass brothers who lived in the Louisville area many years ago. I'll take a photo of it (time permitting). It almost died out - but became vigorous near the location I moved it to three years ago, next to the backyard fence where it gets full southern-exposure sun and sharp drainage. This iris, the only bearded iris I still grow, has multiplied exponentially from the three tiny struggling single fans I replanted. Small black ants moved in soon after I moved it there, have elevated the iris via their underground mounds/ant hills. Perhaps this is an example of a symbiotic relationship, as iris and ants both thrive. This iris has never shown signs of iris borer (never had that here on any iris cultivars, even the "modern" ones I formerly grew).

Mary Baker

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Strange days in April

April was a strange but beautiful month. The temperatures were way above normal, the winds dried up up the oceans of water left behind from the gigantic snow and the ground warmed up really fast. All the beds are cleaned and 'Preened', I've already mowed 3 times and the daylilies are over a foot tall. Usually at this time they are just barely out of the ground, so you can imagine my surprise when I was looking at my plants and there was 'Mal' throwing a scape already. Now Mal has given me problems in the past, I have had it for several years and it just kindof pouted and never did much, so 2 years ago I moved it, it came up last year as one spindly litttle fan. I threatend him last summer and told him if he didn't do better next year he was out of here. He must of heard me because this year he came up with 3 nice fans and a scape already...I guess he can stay.

I planted my tomatoes the third week in April...I know that is way to early but the ground temp was 55 degrees so I decided to get them in the ground. If they freeze I will just replant but if they don' t then I am a month ahead. I use concrete reenforcing wire for my cages and then use 1mil plastic bags over the whole cage so it is like it's own little greenhouse in there. The tomatoes love it. They are protected for the wind and it is nice and humid in there so they grow fast.

Most of you know I live in the country, last year there was corn planted all around us. A couple weeks ago they come in and fluffed the ground getting ready to plant. All that did was chop up the corn trash that was left from last year and get the ground loose. Well, last week we had horrible winds from the SE and I think every corn husk from the field to our south was in my yard. I'm not talking about a few husks, I'm talking drifts, in the beds, behind the trees along the fences and everywhere. Some of the drifts were over a foot deep with these stupid husks. I didn't know how in the world I would ever mow through that stuff, so Friday Igot on my mower and raised the deck as high as I could get it and shredded it all. It was a mess but now it is a little easier to pick up next time I mow. It's events like this that make me wish I had a corner lot in the city!