Jim Shields' Garden Notes
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- Busy Summer


The summer is a busy time around here, but it also seems to be a time when I find little to write about. Isn't once enough to hear about pulling weeds? Even the camera seldom gets used. My intention to photograph more of the daylilies in our garden never became actual. Maybe next year....

The weather has been oppressive. Lots of 90-degree days, with high humidity and afternoon thunderstorms every couple of days. For Non-U.S. readers, 90°F is 32 C; central Indiana averages 18 or 19 days each summer when the temperatures reach or exceed 90°F. We've had about half that quota so far, but it seems like more, because the non-90° days have hit 86 to 88°F. I must be getting old, because I don't like to be out in those temperatures with high humidities.

Closing Out the Daylilies

We wanted to close out the sales beds of daylilies this year, so we had a $5 sale. It did bring a lot of people in, especially new customers. Unfortunately, the bloom season is over for almost all the daylilies in our garden now, and we still have half of the plants left. So, next summer, we will have the final daylily close-out sale! What's left this time next year will go on the compost heap.

Fifteen years ago, there was a fad in daylilies, and we sold lots of them. Now, every neighborhood on the north side of Indianapolis has at least one house with a yard full of daylilies from our garden. No one needs to really buy them anymore -- just admire those at your neighbor's house when the neighbor is out in the garden. You'll very probably be given more plants than you can use!

Daylilies are high maintenance when grown in a nursery. Weeding is a constant chore, and needs to be started before high school and colleges are out for the summer. My garden crew are all high school and college students. If there are no students here, then not much weeding gets done. I look forward to their arrival in the garden every spring, and I'll miss them all when they start back to school again in a couple of weeks -- Richard, Nat, Steph, Anna, and Justin. I hope they'll be back again next year.

What Is Blooming?

The pink spherical umbels on Haemanthus humilis humilis are almost bloomed out. These provide a reliable spot of pink color on our deck in July, now that the bulbs have reached blooming size.

Haemanthus humilis humilis (c) copyright 2010 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
Haemanthus humilis humilis

The hardy Gladiolus x-gandavensis, a primrose-yellow hybrid of South African species that survives here in USDA zone 5, is in bloom. These came about ten years ago from The Great Plant Company (New Hartford, CT), which I have not heard from since. I originally had six corms, but three died. The remaining three corms have increased nicely. These glads will survive in a flower pot in the greenhouse as well as outdoors in the ground. I'm going to divide these this fall, after frost.

Gladiolus x-gandavensis (c) copyright 2010 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
Gladiolus x-gandavensis

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' with its panicles of small, fiery red flowers, is also hardy here and is just starting to bloom now. These came from Brent & Becky's Bulbs over ten years ago. A different clone, with larger flowers but much less hardy, came from a local garden shop about the same time. The larger-flowered clone died after only a couple winters. All 'Lucifer' are not alike.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' (c) copyright 2010 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Good gardening, from here in central Indiana


Look up technical terms in the Glossary of Plant Biology

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Last revised on: 19 July 2010
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