Growing and Maintaining Itoh Peony

Peony Bartzella Itoh 2018

Itoh Peony Bartzella

HISTORY: After may years of experimentation, Japanese horticulturist, Dr. Toichi Itoh, successfully created seven peony hybrids from a tree peony in 1948, which were known to became the first Itoh peonies. Itoh Peony are derived from a cross breeding between herbaceous and tree peonies, forming a stronger, longer blooming variety over its predecessors. Similar to tree peonies, members of this cultivar have large, long lasting blooms and strong stems that do not require staking. The deeply lobed dark green foliage on a 3-4 foot high by wide plant lasts all summer and into fall, making an attractive addition to the garden. Itoh peonies are also known to be more disease resistant and are not preferred by deer.

Itoh Peony 'Bartzella' in Perennial Border

Itoh Peony ‘Bartzella’ in Perennial Border

GROWING AND MAINTAINING: Itoh peonies prefer to be placed in full sun to partial shade in a rich, well-drained soil. Feed in spring with a low nitrogen fertilizer to promote blooms. Fertilization is not recommended in late summer to fall when the plant is going into dormancy. Once blooms have completed in late spring, Itoh peony can be deadheaded by removing spent flower stalks, leaving its attractive foliage to remain for the rest of the growing season. In autumn, once the foliage turns brown, cut back plants to about 4-6 inches up from the soil level. It is recommended to mulch around the plant to insulate the roots from freezing temperatures. Once spring comes around, your peony will emerge for another growing season. Itoh peony can also be divided in autumn as you would herbaceous peonies.

I discovered this wonderful peony a few years back and have enjoyed its beautiful, sturdy, and disease resistant blooms in the garden. You may find them to be a nice addition as well!

For more gardening tips and design ideas:

A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer Zones 3-9
Landscape Design Combinations

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee 2018. All Rights Reserved.

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Late Summer Garden Rejuvenation: Get More Blooms from Your Dayliles

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Late Summer Garden Rejuvenation

It has been a busy Sunday afternoon in August with the summer temperatures starting to cool and a cooler than usual September in the forecast.  I took the time today to give the garden a face lift and rejuvenate some of my fading perennials. By the time late July and August roll around various perennials are starting to show signs of fall mode with yellowing and dying foliage as they are starting to go dormant.  Perennials such as daylily go dormant at the end of summer into fall but there are methods to extend the bloom time right into mid to late September.  With certain species of long blooming daylily such as ‘Stella D Oro’ there is a trick I learned initially by accident.

daylily rejuvenation

Daylily Rejuvenation-Growth Going Dormant

I had some late summer garden maintenance done a few years ago and the crew had cut the yellowing daylilies back to about four inches from the ground.  At first I was taken by surprise but within a couple of weeks I had brand new vibrant green foliage and blooms that lasted well into fall. From that time on I continued to follow this ritual of cutting back my lilies starting at the end of July and into mid-August so that I could enjoy constant blooms.  The procedure is quite simple and I stage the rejuvenation at different times for the various locations of lilies in my garden.  Starting at the end of July and into late August I carefully remove expired yellowed foliage on my perennial daylilies down to new growth which is approximately four to five inches above the ground.   I actually perform this by hand but you can also use pruning shears and if there are any blooms on the plant you can leave them to enjoy. This ritual of removing dead foliage stimulates the plant to produce healthy new leaves and blooms and also prevents the onset of fungal disease that can occur at this time of year with decaying foliage.

Late Summer Garden Rejuvenation of Daylilies

Late Summer Garden Rejuvenation of Daylilies-Just Cut Back

I also remove the expired scapes (bloom bearing stalks) from the plants as soon as they turn brown throughout the entire season which stimulates new blooms.  The photograph on the left shows how the stalks should appear when you remove them. It is easy to know when this should be done since the stalks with seed heads will very easily pull out without any effort.  The photograph on the right shows newly cut foliage right after rejuvenation. Once your daylilies are cut back be sure they continue to receive watering.   In no time you will have plants that appear as they do in early spring bursting with beautiful new growth and flowers. Once the plants have had their final bloom into the fall allow the foliage to die completely back and then remove any decaying debris from around the plant and apply a thin layer of mulch.

rejuvenated 1 month ago

Rejuvenated Daylily After One Month

This method also works with other varieties of daylily with a shorter bloom time such as ‘Pardon Me’ and ‘Sammy Russell’ but should be performed in July after these plants are done blooming. Other perennials such a Salvia also benefit from a mid-late summer pruning which is explained in this article.  If you are looking to extend the enjoyment of your summer garden rejuvenation is a simple and quick process well worth the time for it will prolong your enjoyment of blooms well into fall.

As Always…Happy Gardening!

 Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Pruning Perennial Salvia

salvia pruning

Salvia ‘Maynight’ is one of my favorite blooms in the garden with its vibrant deep purple flower spikes starting at the end of May and lasting throughout the summer with proper pruning.  When your plants are starting to look a little less desirable then is time to dead head. It is sometimes difficult to explain how to prune salvia so follow me on this. Take a look at any three fingers on your hand that are next to each other. When you prune your salvia you will be cutting out the center stalk that is done blooming. On each side of the center stalk you will see two other stalks with new buds and blooms forming. If there are blooms done on the two side stalks you can cut those out as well. Only cut the spent stalks and the new flowers will form.

I usually get about three blooms out of my salvia throughout the summer and into the early fall. By the second or third bloom you may want to give your plants a little plant food to give them a boost and add energy for the rest of the season.   If your plants are brand new they may have been force bloomed so for the first season you may only get one or two blooms but come next year you will be able to push out three blooms if you time your pruning right.

With proper maintenance you will get full enjoyment from your Salvia with blooms throughout the entire summer and into fall!

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2013, All Rights Reserved

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April Garden Maintenance Tips-Happy Spring!

crocusSpring has arrived and there is much to do in the garden.  As the temperatures rise up into the 50’s and 60’s here on Long Island here are some April maintenance tips to get your garden off to a good start.

(1)  Clean up garden beds and remove debris from over the winter.  Allow foliage from daffodils, crocus and hyacinths to yellow and brown before removing so that energy can go back into the bulbs for next year.

(2)  Pinch back cool weather blooms such as pansies to get maximum bloom span.

(3) Remove germinating weeds before they start to flower and re-seed.

(4)  Divide and transplant perennials such as hosta, liriope and lilies once you see 3-4 inches of new growth. Dig a larger hole to transplant into, apply a slow release plant food and water in thoroughly.

(5) Re-Edge and mulch all beds.  Prune spring-flowering trees and shrubs soon after bloom.

(6) It’s time to uncover fig trees or to bring them outside once the threat of freezing temperatures is over.

(7) Start cold weather vegetables such as peas, lettuce, carrots, beets, spinach and turnips.

(8) Apply pre-emergent crabgrass killer to lawn in mid to late April (after forthysia bloom) and fertilize.

(9) Fertilize roses.  There are many rose foods on the market.  A slow-release granular form is recommended.

(10)  Begin planting new perennials towards the end of the month.

A little pro-active garden maintenance goes a long way in maintaining the vigor of your plants and beauty of your garden.  Now that the chill is out of the air it is time to get out into the garden and enjoy all that it has to offer.

Happy Gardening!

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2013, All Rights Reserved

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Winter Ornamental Grass Care

Ornamental Grasses:  Winter cold and snow can harm the center of ornamental grasses causing them to “hollow out”.  To protect ornamental grasses such as ‘Miscanthus sinensis’ Maiden Grass or Dwarf Fountain Grass ‘Hameln’ avoid the temptation to cut them all the way back in Fall.  Instead keep the roots well protected  and wait until late March to early April to cut them back fully. If your grasses become a bit unruly by the end of Fall (November-December zone 7) then just cut back the plumes and leave the rest for early spring. Another trick is to wrap a bungee cord about half way up around the center and let the grasses drape over keeping them upright and in place. Ornamental grasses can add much interest to the winter landscape and be enjoyed all winter long. For more information visit: Fall-Garden-Maintenance-Pruning-&-Dividing-Ornamental-Grasses-and-Perennials

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2012, All Rights Reserved