Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Reader's Questions and Answers

Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~Henry James

Last week I went to the park with my daughter's class on the last day of school. We had cupcakes and played for an hour before it was time to return and say our goodbyes. Summer has arrived:) Today I have more garden questions and answers since I am in full garden mode!

I have had bearded irises for years and this is the first time I have noticed an odd growth on one of them, looks like a small thin green pumpkin...what is this and what do I do with it? ~Naida

Those are seed pods and you'll begin to notice after they stop growing they will turn brown and start to open at the top. Inside are the seeds of the iris. You can either just cut them off now with the faded flowers or leave a couple on and let them ripen. Try putting them into pots as soon as they are brown and shiny. Keep them outside and in the winter move them to a more protected area. They'll need warmth then cold to germinate properly. You can cover them with straw in the coldest part of the winter for protection.

My Iris get leaf spot every year. Do you have any ideas for them? I have sprayed them, but they seem to get it again. I have a batch by the house which don't get them,but other places on the property do? ~Ginny

I wonder if you don't need to move them from that soil. From what I've found you need to remove ALL foliage that is infected and burn it-- plus in mild climates you may need to actually destroy the plants that have it because it can continue to live in the soil. That would explain why some of yours have it and others don't. I would start by removing all of the foliage now--and burning it--don't leave even a little piece on the ground. Then see what happens next year and if they still have it I'd try moving to a different location.

My peonies sometimes get a white substance all over the leaves. Do you know what cause it and what I can do to prevent it? ~Jennifer

It's most likely powdery mildew, but peonies can also become infected by Botrytis. Either way, there are some things you can do to try and prevent it. Inspect your peonies on dry days and remove any leaves that look infected, browned etc. Remove blooms after they have faded. Keep the area around the peonies clean of ANY weeds, debris etc. Don't use heavy mulches and water from the soil level, not overhead. They also need good air circulation--don't plant other plants too closely to the peonies. In the fall cut the foliage down and be sure to remove all of it and clean the area.

Basil recipes galore for your summer harvest:


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