January E-News from Viette's                     Volume 11: No. 1

Lori Jones, Editor                                                                                       January/2015

Frosty Helleborus
Happy New Year
from your friends
at Viette's
We hope this new year brings you a year full of new and exciting gardening adventures!
Be sure to plan a visit to our nursery and gardens this spring for some exciting new ideas for your 2015 gardens!
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Plant of the Month
Geranium Biokovo
Geranium 'Biokovo'
Geranium 'Biokovo'

Each year members of the Perennial Plant Association choose an outstanding perennial to be their "Perennial Plant of the Year". This year, Geranium cantabrigiense 'Biokovo' has been given this honor.


Geranium Biokovo
Bright pink stamens add color
to the white flowers
An easy to grow beauty, this wonderful geranium has white flowers and attractive aromatic foliage which is evergreen in most zones. 'Biokovo' is a strong performer in the garden and makes a colorful, deer resistant ground cover for the front of the sunny border.

Prolific flowers
Geranium 'Biokovo' forms an attractive mound of deeply cut green leaves topped with a profusion of the 2�" dainty, white flowers with contrasting bright pink stamens. It begins blooming in the late spring and continues flowering virtually nonstop through the summer.        

Geranium Biokovo; The Dow Gardens Archive, Dow Gardens,
'Biokovo' is wonderful for the border.


Attractive foliage
'Biokovo' remains attractive through all seasons. It forms a dense, low-growing ground cover 6"-10" tall that crowds out weeds. In spring and summer, the bright flowers rise above the shiny green aromatic foliage. The beauty of this plant doesn't stop at the end of the blooming period. As the temperatures begin to drop in the early fall, the foliage begins to transform into brilliant shades of red. In all but the coldest parts of its range, the colorful foliage remains on the plant through the winter. To keep it looking its best in the next season, it is recommended to prune the old foliage in the spring before new growth begins.

Drought tolerant
Geranium 'Biokovo' is hardy in USDA Zones 4-8. It thrives in full sun to part shade and average, well-drained soil. In hotter climates, it prefers some afternoon shade to perform and look its best. Once established Geranium 'Biokovo' is drought and heat tolerant. As if it needs any other bonus points, it is also relatively disease and pest resistant. Even the deer leave it alone!

Companion Planting
Geranium 'Biokovo' is a wonderful companion plant for early season bloomers as well as later flowering perennials. They are striking in combination with the summer blooming Leucanthemum 'Becky' or 'Snowcap'. Other beautiful garden companions are Salvia nemorosa 'May Night', Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm', the colorful summer blooming Phlox paniculata, and of course Andr�'s favorite, the daylily. For late season color, combine with ornamental grasses such as Imperata, Muhlenbergia, Pennisetum, or Miscanthus.
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Did You Know?  
Amaryllis cut stem Amaryllis Care
These plants have beautiful blooms during the holidays and well after but what should you do if you want to try to keep them around for next year?

Here are some tips: 
When all the blooms on a stem have faded, cut the stalk off about 1" - 2" from the base - be careful not to injure the foliage. 
After all the stems have been cut back, move the plant back to a bright, sunny window to grow.       
At every second watering, add a half dose of liquid bulb booster or African Violet fertilizer.  
Amaryllis Ferrari has stunning 7

When nighttime temperatures remain above 60�F, you can transplant your amaryllis bulbs outside in a sunny location to grow for the summer.


Want blooms for next year? Here's how ... 

Tip of the Month
Choosing the perfect living screen!
The wind is howling today, making the bitter cold outdoor temperatures feel even more frigid with the windchill.
This got me thinking about the use of screening plants as a wind block. Over the years we have been asked for suggestions for trees or shrubs are good for screening. Most people were interested in them for privacy screens, but a few wanted to plant something for wind protection. In most cases, the same plants will function equally well for either situation.
American Holly
Evergreen hollies make an attractive living screen.
Living screens are a wonderful alternative to a tall, closed fence for privacy or wind protection. They not only screen/protect your outdoor living spaces but they provide beauty from color, texture, and form. Because they are "living fences", they become a dynamic part of your landscape, changing through the seasons and providing a natural habitat for the wild birds in the area. They are also attractive to look at from both sides so your neighbor can enjoy them as well!
selection of the trees or shrubs you plant will result in the perfect living screen for your special situation. There are many choices available and it is important to choose species that fit the requirements for the space you have.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Size - When you are trying to decide on which trees or shrubs to use for your living screen, be sure to take into account their mature size.
    • This is especially important when planting near a building or other structures.
    • Choose trees/shrubs with a mature height and spread that fits your needs. Avoid ones that will grow taller than you want. Leyland cypress is commonly used for screening but this tree can grow to 60 feet tall!
    • Pruning can be done on some trees and shrubs to maintain the desired height but this increases maintenance and can often ruin the natural beauty and shape of the plant.
  • Exposure - How much sun or shade does the area get? Choose species that will thrive in these conditions.
  • Soil conditions - What is the soil like? Does it drain well? Is it dry or overly wet?
  • When do you need the privacy?
    • For permanent year-around screening, you may want to choose an evergreen variety.
    • If you only really need privacy during the warmer seasons, a deciduous variety may fit the bill.
  • Evergreen species are best for blocking wind - for obvious reasons!
  • How much maintenance are you willing to put up with? If you don't want to have to do a lot of pruning and shaping, choose something that will grow to just the height and spread you want and that keeps an attractive shape with little or no pruning.
How to plant an attractive screen
Chinese quince, Cydonia 'Fire Dance'
Flowering quince is a great choice for a deciduous privacy screen.
One of the most attractive and effective ways to create a living screen is to stagger your plants in groups of 3-5 rather than planting in a single straight row. That way, if one plant happens to die, the others will fill the space. This also adds depth and beauty to the planting and allows your screen to become part of the landscape rather than looking like a row of trees or shrubs put in as a barrier - it serves the purpose without looking like a "wall".
Another option is to plant more than one species in your living screen. This will add even more interest to the planting. You can even combine deciduous species with evergreens for more variety. Plant each species together in its own grouping of 3-5. This looks better than mixing different species within a grouping.

Some great choices for screening:
Evergreen trees and shrubs for screening
  • Sun loving
    • Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
    • Boxwood (Buxus)
    • Cedar (Cedrus)
    • False Cypress (Chamaecyparis)
    • Juniper (Juniperus)
    • Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii)
  • Shade tolerant
    • Andromeda (Pieris japonica)
    • Azalea and Rhododendron
    • Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
    • Holly (Ilex)
    • Yew (Taxus)
  • Click for detailed height & width information
Deciduous trees and shrubs for screening
  • Barberry (Berberis)
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
  • Forsythia (Forsythia)
  • Lilac (Syringa)
  • Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)
  • Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius)
  • Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
  • Smoketree (Cotinus)
From the Viette's Views Blog ...
Bluebird perched  12-17-2014 15:40:13 PM

This post written in December of 2010 is just as relevant now as it was back then. I only wish we had some beautiful snow on the ground for the holidays! Oh well - there's still time! We DO have the birds, though and they are hungry! Keep your feeders and bird baths full! It's [...]...� 


12-09-2014 15:31:08 PM

It's holiday decorating time! Such a fun time of the year to get the house and porches all spruced up for the season! Holly, mistletoe, and ... Wait! Where are my holly berries? This is a question we often get in the fall and early winter. Many people plant holly trees and bushes so that [...]...� 

Now that the Holidays are Over ...  

The crystal tree

Once the holiday season is over, many people wonder what to do with their leftover Christmas trees and greens.

Here are some unique ways to "recycle" your greens in an eco-friendly way. 
Give it to the birds! 
When you are finished with your Christmas tree, don't send it to the landfill! Put it outside for your wild bird friends - they will LOVE it!
If you place your leftover tree near your bird feeders, it will provide a great hiding place for them this winter.
The easiest way to set it out in the garden is to drive a tall post (like a T-post) into the ground and place the tree down over the post so the post is running up beside the trunk. Tie the trunk to the post near the base
Chickadee and homemade bird treat
A chickadee enjoys a homemade treat
and at the top to secure it.
You could even consider "decorating" it for the birds by hanging homemade treats from the boughs; bird seed pine cones, strings of cranberries or popcorn, bird seed bagel rings, or even slices of fruit.  
View Mark's video tip about this neat idea!

Protect your tender plants. 
Another idea for reusing your leftover Christmas tree is to use the cut the boughs to protect some of your more tender perennials in the garden. We often cut the branches off our tree in preparation for taking it out of the house after Christmas. These boughs make wonderful "blankets" for the plants. They are perfect for covering "over eager" daffodils that sometimes pop up during a warm spell in the winter or for protecting evergreen perennials from winter burn during the cold, dry days in January and February. This is also a great use for the evergreen boughs that you may have cut for holiday arrangements. 
View Mark's video tip for more information.

Gardening Questions?
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