Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blooms, Blooms, Blooms...

Spring in Ohio. It is a riot of color! I think it's nature's way of rewarding us for putting up with a long, cold, and colorless winter.  We go from bleak and gray to absolutely incredible in a matter of weeks. In the blink of an eye all is gorgeous. But then in another blink the blooms are over and verdant, colorful  Summer takes over.  It's a fair and welcome exchange.

My Azaleas and crab apples are  particular favorites.  They arrive a week before the Kentucky Derby and remain until a week  after the finish line... sometimes they last until the Preakness Stakes! Then, after the blooms are spent it's time to prune and try to keep them in check.

This particular azalea literally glows -- something about the transparency of the blooms or the color, or the way the blooms reflect light. But it glows!

We have red and violet azaleas as well but they're not quite ready to photograph. 

The Crab Apple tree is another absolutely breathtaking display of pink (we've got a lot of ping going on her). We have other colors but these are my favorite.

My neighbors are jealous. We have 12 azaleas. All bloom like crazy. The neighbors ask me how I do it.  I'm not really sure.  I do feed them with Holly Tone® every fall.  It's great for acid-loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias and blue hydrangeas (keeps them blue). In spring, I clear out the collected leaves from inside and under the plants to assure that they have good air circulation during the summer - something which discourages white fly and thrips. But other than that I don't do much except prune them within six weeks after the blooms are spent. If you prune later, you'll prune away next year's blooms.

The crab apple is beautiful all on it's own. I think this one was a Better Homes and Gardens selection.  Occasionally, it has a problem with tent caterpillars.  These nasty suckers seem to love this tree and my ornamental plum. For this problem I either prune out the affected area, making sure I bag the bag worms as they tend to drop off the tree when threatened. If I can't prune away the worms without affecting the beauty of the tree I use Borer, Bagworm, Leafminer and Tent Caterpillar Spray.  You can buy this product at Marvin's Organic Gardens in Lebanon, Ohio -- 8 oz for $9.95.  It's an environmentally friendly spray that works! 

I enjoy them so much... and I'll be a little sad when they go. I'll miss their beauty. I'll miss the blooms because when they're gone I have to prune the lot!

1 comment:

  1. BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL!!! My favorite is the second pic - but all great photography, Nan. Thanks for sharing! All our blooming trees died out and we haven't gotten around to replacing them yet. Hopefully soon! BTW - someone years ago told me to burn tentworms' tents using a rolled up newspaper and just lighting the end of it and sticking it in the nest. Just another method - I've used it and it seems to work okay.
    Thanks again! :) Liz


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