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Beauty Natural Peony In Spring – Start An Easy Back Yard Flower Garden Project


PEONIES are one of the best-known and most dearly loved perennials. This is hardly surprising considering their sumptuous beauty and fragrance, trouble-free nature and longevity. Peonies also thrive almost anywhere in the country. Many varieties can even survive a zone 2 winter (that’s a low of -50 degrees F).

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Peony
When choosing peonies, give special consideration to the “singles”, which are fragrant and gorgeous, but don’t require as much staking.

If a peony is well situated and happy, it may bloom for 100 years or more with little or no attention. This means it’s worth spending some time up front, choosing the right planting location and preparing the soil. That said, there are many stories about forgotten peony plants found blooming in the woods against old cellar holes. But like all plants, peonies will be healthier, more vigorous and more floriferous if they have ideal growing conditions.

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Peonies prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil. Good air circulation around the plant is also important. These growing conditions help peonies avoid their only serious disease problem: botrytis. Like other fungal diseases, botrytis is present in most soils. It usually only becomes a problem if the plant is weak, the weather is unusually cool and wet, or if there are other infected plants nearby. Signs of botrytis are blackened buds and stems, and sometimes rotting at the base of the plant. Cut off and dispose of any affected areas (put this material in the trash, not in your compost pile). The best strategy for botrytis problems is prevention, and that goes back to proper planting.

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Adjustable peony support
With Adjustable Grow-Through Supports, you can raise the rings as peonies grow.

A special note for gardeners in the warm climates: Peonies will be more robust and their blooms will last longer if the plants receive some shade during the hottest part of the day. Peonies are an iffy prospect in warm zones, and impossible in some. To find out of they can be grown in your area, check with a good gardener in the neighborhood or your cooperative extension. To find out where your extension service is, start here: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

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Sweet Peas Blossom – Spring Backyard Flower Garden Project

Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) is a flowering plant in the genus Lathyrus in the family Fabaceae (legumes), native to the Sicily, southern Italy and the Aegean Islands.

It is an annual climbing plant, growing to a height of 1–2 meters (nearly six feet and six inches), where suitable support is available. The leaves are pinnate with two leaflets and a terminal tendril, which twines around supporting plants and structures helping the sweet pea to climb. The flowers are purple, 2-3.5 centimeters broad, in the wild plant, larger and very variable in color in the many cultivars.

The sweet pea plant does suffer from some pests, the most common being aphids. These insects suck the sap out of the plants, reducing growth. Mosaic virus is spread by greenfly, causing yellowing of leaves, distortion of new shoots, and inhibited flowering.

A pest called the pollen beetle which is small, shiny and black, eats the pollen and disfigures the flowers. Other pests include caterpillars, thrips, slugs and snails. Another problem is mildew; this is a white powdery coating that covers the leaves and slows down growth.

The sweet pea is also susceptible to ehtylene in quantities produced by senescing plants. Because of this, growers are encouraged to plant sweet peas away from fruit trees among other plants prone to early dieback or senescence.

Unlike the edible pea, there is evidence that seeds of members of the genus Lathyrus are toxic if ingested in quantity. A related species, Lathyrus sativus, is grown for human consumption but when it forms a major part of the diet it causes symptoms of toxicity called lathyrism.

In studies of rats, animals fed a diet of 50% sweet pea seeds developed enlarged adrenals relative to control animals fed on edible peas. The main effect is thought to be on the formation of collagen. Symptoms are similar to those of scurvy and copper deficiency, which share the common feature of inhibiting proper formation of collagen fibrils. Seeds of the sweet pea contain beta-aminopropionitrile that prevents the cross-linking of collagen by inhibiting lysyl oxidase, leading to loose skin. Recent experiments have attempted to develop this chemical as a treatment to avoid disfiguring skin contractions after skin grafting.

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Protea – Spring Backyard Flower Garden Project

Protea is both the botanical name and the English common name of a genus of South African flowering plants, sometimes also called sugarbushes.

 

The genus Protea was named in 1735 by Carl Linnaeus after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his form at will, because they have such a wide variety of forms.

The Proteaceae family to which proteas belong is an ancient one. Its ancestors grew in Gondwana, 300 million years ago. Proteaceae is divided into two subfamilies: the Proteoideae, best represented in southern Africa, and the Grevilleoideae, concentrated in Australia and South America and the other smaller segments of Gondwana that are now part of eastern Asia.

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