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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Gardening » APRIL IN THE ALABAMA FLOWER GARDEN





PEONIES– One of the prettiest flowers in my gardens is the Peony.  This year I have planted another “Sarah Bernhardt” and I am so excited to see that it is already sending up shoots.  I have 5 peonies already established in our different flowerbeds and they are all covered in buds.  Some may bloom before the end of the month – but that is not certain.  This is one plant that I watch each day.  The blooms are magnificent and well worth the effort.  They need full sun and good soil.  I amend with a little compost each spring.  There is never much need to water because here in Alabama we have abundant spring rains usually.  One thing I did learn was not to plant my peonies where they would get spattered with rain. This causes a virus and the buds don’t form properly and eventually just drop off.


ROSES – I suppose you already know about my addiction to roses!  Yes, I love them.  Recently I have been investigating the David Austin roses.  The Old English roses are so delicate and lovely!!!  I pruned our roses back in the month of January and really took a good look at their structure.  One thing Roses cannot tolerate here in the south is lack of airflow.  This is a guarantee for Blackspot!  Which is almost a given anyway.  You need to examine your roses and make sure that the branches are not rubbing and poorly placed in their growing direction.  I am particularly referring to the Hybrid Teas.  But I also like to trim up the climbers as well.


You need to fertilize your roses with a complete Rose fertilizer in the spring when you see new growth, which you probably already have.   Once buds begin forming keep an eye out for ants and aphids.  Ants actually “farm” aphids and will intentionally carry them to your plants.  They milk them for their honeydew.  Now the natural enemy of the aphid is ladybugs!  So if you find a ladybug – take it to your roses.


A good rule of thumb when buying a new rose to place in your garden is to examine it carefully.  Examine the stems and branches and even the flowers if there are any.  You don’t want to bring in a plant that already has the signs of virus or disease much less one that already has insect damage.  If there are discolored leaves or such don’t buy it!!!  Also, once you get it home and get it planted, cut it back.  And definitely cut off any buds or blooms.  You want all the energy to go into roots to get it established.  If you will do that then the plant will reward you with many more blooms.


LILIES – There are incredible varieties of Lilies available right now.  We have several different types of lilies: Oriental, Asiatic and Trumpet in various places in our gardens.  They are just stunning.  I loved having the “Easter Lilies” (Trumpet Lily) blooming out there at Resurrection Day.  It was such a sweet joy.  Lilies like a rich soil and require good drainage.


Lilies grow from bulbs and so they are to be treated like any other bulb.  I highly recommend buying the lilies while they are in bloom.  This way you know the color and the height and can plan your garden a little better.  I am a visual person myself and I like to SEE what I am getting.


TULIPS – On my last birthday, my sister-in-law, Shanna, gave me some tulip bulbs and a box of bone meal.  She is such a thoughtful person!!!!  Anyway – I planted them and they are blooming so beautifully now!  Each time I see one I think of her and her precious family.  Tulips will thrive in almost any type of soil where there is reasonable drainage. During the growing season they like plenty of moisture but the roots must not stand in water.


POPPIES – This is the second year that I have sown Oriental Poppy seeds.  Last year they came up fairly well but were small and not what I had wanted.  SOOOO this year I have planted some in the garden – some in seedling trays inside and I have some more that I will sow on Saturday.  I am hoping that they will come up well this year!


This month many of the flowering plants that are in our gardens will come up.  I have said this many times before and I will say it again.  I really do not like buying annual flowering plants unless they reseed heavily.  It just seems like a waste of money.  I do however buy them from time to time to add a little color to the garden, especially in the window boxes or the ancient wheelbarrow that we plant in each year.


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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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