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Stella d'Oro Daylilies, Perennials, McDonald Garden Center, Plants

Plant of the Week: Stella d'Oro Daylilies

One of the easiest-to-grow plants is the daylily. Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are blooming perennials available in an amazing variety of colors and sizes. The name Hemerocallis comes from the Greek language and means "beauty for a day" -- hence we get daylily since each flower only lasts for 1 day. Daylilies are often referred to as the perfect perennial for lots reasons. Not only do they come in a variety of colors and sizes, but they also survive in a wide range of climates, often with very little care. Ideal in all types of landscapes, daylilies are adaptable to all kinds of soil and light conditions. They are drought resistant and virtually disease and insect free. Daylilies are known to bloom from late spring through summer. This perennial is ideal in flower borders, for massing, as a groundcover or in containers. As for daylily maintenance, simply deadhead foliage in spring before the plant begins to green up.

Be sure to get your daily dose of color with one of our favorite daylily varieties... Stella d'Oro. This repeat bloomer boasts fragrant, ruffled, buttercup-yellow flowers with an apricot throat. It's blooms measure about 2-½ inches across. Stella d'Oro loves the heat and thrives in clay and acid soils. This perennial is Ideal in small space gardens, in containers on patios or planted together in large numbers for a carefree and colorful ground cover. Blooms May through July. Plant in full-sun and well drained soil. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

Check out more of our favorite plants! OUR PLANTS OF THE WEEK >>

Pretty Perennials

IT'S THE PERFECT TIME TO DIVIDE & PLANT PERENNIALS.

by Kathy Van Mullekom, a lifelong gardener and gardening writer living in York County, Virginia

My perennial garden is all cleaned up and ready to grow -- and grow and grow and grow some more.

That’s the challenge of a perennial garden, especially when you plant Joe-pye weed, coneflowers, bee balm, daylilies and Shasta daisies. When they are happy, they happily spread until you have large lovely masses that need dividing.

April can be the best time to divide some of those happy-growing perennials and plant them in other places or share them with friends. Spring soil is soft and moist and easy to work with. Your perennials are starting to poke their heads through the ground and you can easily see where to dig and divide. Plus, early spring division means they have time to re-establish themselves in a new spot before hot, dry weather arrives again.

To divide perennials:

Use your hands or small rake to pull soil back from around the plant. Then, use a small shovel or some kind of digging tool to dig around and lift out the root ball, keeping it intact. Using your hands, gently rub the root ball to remove as much soil as you can (pictured above), exposing the roots so you can easily see how best to divide them.

Use a steak knife or sharp trowel and gently cut the root ball into halves, thirds or fourths, depending on its size. As you cut, you want to maintain bigger main and smaller feeder roots in each section.

Replant your sections into pre-dug holes that are moist from rain or your garden hose. If you have poor drainage in your perennial garden, plant perennials a little on the high side (half an inch) because winter’s wet weather can easily rot the crowns, the point where the top of the plant meets the root system. Adding mulch to the planting hole also aids in aeration so plant roots don’t suffocate when rain fills air pockets in the soil.

You can also give away some of those perennial divisions to neighbors and friends. Wrap the roots in wet newspaper and tie them in a plastic bag, along with the plant’s name and planting tips.

Now that your perennial garden has more space, think about adding newbies, including this year’s special perennial – 2015 is the Year of the Gaillardia, according to the National Garden Bureau at www.ngb.org. There are about 23 species of Gaillardia – nicknamed blanket flower -- across the Americas, and most are perennials native to North America.

Gaillardia (pictured above) with its small flat flowers attracts bees, butterflies and other pollinators and it blooms all summer if you just give it a few trims to promote new flowers – basically fuss-free and fun to have around!

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March into Spring

EARLY SPRING BLOOMERS

We're all on pins and needles awaiting the big day... this Friday - the first day of SPRING! Yes, the season we've all been waiting for is almost upon us. While temperatures are getting warmer, days can sometimes slip into cooler temperatures. Early in the season, we recommend flowers that tolerate the cooler early days of spring. So, break out the gardening gloves and get things in full spring! These flowers will work great in the early unpredictable days of spring and last all the way until the heat sets in, in May.

Bush Daisy
Add a burst of sunny yellow flowers in spring with this bright bloomer. Not only will this plant give you flowers now, but it will reward you again with flowers this fall. It is very tolerant of cold and can go down to about 28 degrees, so on these cold nights that we are having now, they will handle these nights near freezing. They will not come back reliably outside over winter but they are great as container plants, on their own or in a combo. Just set them in a protected spot in winter (garage is fine) for more flowers in spring!

Scabiosa, Pincushion Flower
This charming perennial is easy to grow and produces loads of large blossoms. Almost frilly in their look, the blooms sit atop a long graceful stem. These are long and profuse bloomers that begin flowering in early spring and go long into summer. For repeat flowering you do need to dead head. With its compact, tidy habit, it is ideal grouped together as a border and the more you plant together the more impact they make! We love these as cut flowers and left it in the garden to attract butterflies. Scabiosa prefers full sun and well drained soil. Mariposa Violet is a double violet color but Butterfly Blue (one of the most popular) is a single bloom in a chambray color.

Pansies
Pansies are one of the best ways to add color to those 6 months of cooler Hampton Roads weather that we experience from October to April. These tough, vibrant flowers come in all the colors of the rainbow ~ including red, purple, blue, bronze, pink, black, yellow, white, lavender, orange, apricot and mahogany. Pansies are easy to grow, are hardy and provide a burst of cool weather color.... a great way to kick off spring with color!

Candytuft
A small evergreen shrub with clusters of small flowers, Candytuft thrives in full sun areas with well-drained soil. Candytuft is great for a rock garden where they can tumble about and over rocks. They are also excellent as edging in a border and are well-suited to growing in pots.

Dianthus
This perennial offers a long blooming season. They will begin in early spring and continue all the way until frost, if deadheaded regularly. Blooms stand up above the grassy blue-green foliage with sturdy stems. These bold blossoms sparkle in borders, beds, window boxes and containers. Prefers full sun and well drained soil. Available in a range of colors from coral to red to pink to even white, some Dianthus also carry a scent.

Snapdragon
This vertical annual, offers great hues in a variety of colors. The abundant spikes of lovely flowers come red, yellow, orange, pink, white and crimson. They are excellent in beds, edging and in containers and they are popular as cut flowers too. Plant in full sun, well drained soil.

Primrose - Flowers come in shades of amethyst, citrine, garnet, sapphire, and pink tourmaline. These early-bloomers shine in the garden or in containers from March until May- they also look great indoors as a houseplant. This shade loving perennial is easy to grow, low-maintenance and is a vigorous grower. Plant them in masses for real impact in borders in a garden bed. Pinch off spent blooms to extend blooming time.

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