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PERENNIALS

1. Which perennials bloom all summer? Few bloom all summer, but many have long bloom seasons such as Coreopsis, Scabiosa, Hemerocallis (daylilies), and Asters, among others. All will bloom for about 12 weeks with regular deadheading. Mixing perennials with different bloom times will give your bed color all year long.

2. Can perennials be combined with annuals? Yes, annuals can be very useful in perennial beds while you are waiting for perennials to fill in. They are also useful in adding season long color in areas where perennials may have a shorter bloom period.

3. Which perennials thrive in shade? Ajuga, Hosta, Aquilegia (Columbines), Astilbe, Helleborus, Heuchera, Hydrangea, Lamium, Ferns, plus many more.

4. What can I plant safely in my mountain garden? Plants classified Zone 2 or Zone 3 can be safely planted at high altitudes. In warmer or protected areas of your garden, Zone 4 plants are a possibility. Spring planting is preferable to fall for proper establishment of root systems. Plants to try: Columbines, Campanulas, Centaurea, Daylilies, Delphinium, Hostas, Peonies and Rudbeckia.

5. When do I know when it is time to divide my perennials? Some need division every three years, some every four or five years. Some need never be divided. When you see crowded growth and blooms seems to diminish, it's usually time to divide.

6. What is the best time of the year to divide and/or transplant my perennials? Early blooming perennials are best divided in late summer or fall; late or fall blooming perennials divide best in the spring.

7. Should I cut my perennials back in the fall or spring? Generally it is a good idea to cut back dead foliage in the fall to prevent pest and disease organisms from wintering over in dead and decaying foliage. Some plants will retain upright form and provide winter interest to the garden. Also, don’t forget the value of winter foliage for nesting birds.

8. Can I mulch my flower garden with leaves in the fall? Yes, you may want to shred the leaves with a mower for a neater look and better blending with soil. Avoid layering leaves so deeply that water cannot penetrate the soil.

9. Why don't my perennials look as full and nice as those in website photographs? Is there something wrong? Newly planted perennials take about three years to mature to their full height and spread. Be patient. A general rule with perennials is: first year they sleep, second year the creep, third year they leap!

10. When is the best time to plant perennials? Generally, container grown perennials can safely be planted in the spring and continuing through the fall depending on the variability of the weather conditions from year to year. Some hardy varieties may be planted in early spring and late fall, again depending on the weather pattern. Fall is also a great time to plant and provide a head-start for your perennials come spring. Try to plant at least four weeks prior to expected first frost.

11. Will late snow hurt my perennials that have started to emerge? Generally speaking, plants come out of dormancy as weather permits them. Occasionally, they may find themselves buried in the late snow. Broken stems and frozen blooms may result. Prune back broken or frozen areas and they will recover.

12. What should I do when my perennials stop blooming? Generally, you should prune back the stems which will give the plant a cleaner neater appearance. It may also encourage it to re-bloom. Continue maintaining the foliage to promote the health of the plant and wait for the following years show. Consider attractive foliage as much as you do beautiful bloom.

13. Are perennials easier to grow than annuals? They present different challenges to gardeners. Many will live many years with little or no maintenance. Others may require a watchful eye for division, or better location. Because they remain in the garden for more than one season, they are often more rewarding to the gardener for his or her efforts towards them. There is also nothing better than watching perennials emerge from their sleep as spring arrives.

14. What should I do following a devastating hailstorm? Carefully clean debris out of the garden and cut back damaged plants. Hail will often severely compact the soil, so it needs to be cultivated carefully and some organic material lightly amended into it. Avoid any application of fertilizer until plants are once again showing signs of renewed growth. Be patient: the garden will renew itself.

15. What causes powdery mildew? Powdery mildew is a fungus common in late summer with our cool nights and warm days. It may also attack when foliage is excessively wet or plants are over-crowded preventing air circulation. Avoid overhead sprinkling and space your plants properly. Fungicide applications are only effective as a preventive measure. They are of limited value once an outbreak has occurred.

16. How should I mulch my perennials? Shredded cedar mulch or mini nuggets are great mulches. Spread about 3" deep. Avoid mulching too close to crowns of plants to avoid crown rot. Peat moss and compost are best as amendments. Used as mulch, they may form a crust which prevents water from penetrating the soil.

17. How should I fertilize my perennials? Early in the season, following a light cultivation, a general application of a well balanced fertilizer is usually adequate. An additional application in the middle of the growing season will help long and late blooming perennials look their best.


GRASSES

1. When and how should I cut back ornamental grasses? Leave them standing over the winter—they add interest to the winter scene and the crown of the plant benefits from the extra protection. In early spring, before new growth begins, cut the plant down to 4 to 6 inches tall. Use shears, or for thick stems use loppers. A scythe comes in handy for very large stands of grasses. To tidy up low evergreen fescues and the like, gently rake out the dead leaves using your fingers or a hand fork.

2. I have a clump of miscanthus [or other clumping grass] that looks healthy at its outer edges but there’s a dead patch at the center. What is wrong and what should I do? This is normal behavior. To improve the plant’s appearance, lift it from the soil and divide it. Discard the dead section and replant the divisions more toward center. This can be done in spring, before the plant starts growing, or in fall, after growth stops. Spring is a better choice if you’re dealing with a plant that blooms in late summer and has decorative seedheads.

3. Should I feed ornamental grasses? Ornamental grasses do not require nearly as much fertilizer as other perennials and shrubs. In fact, too much nitrogen can give them a rangy, floppy look, since nitrogen spurs foliage growth. Don’t feed your grasses, or if you feel that you must, choose a balanced, slow-release fertilizer and apply it at half-strength in early spring. Note—with many drought-tolerant grasses the same can be said for water. Like any plant, they need good water their first season in the garden, while they put down roots and get established. In subsequent years, however, supplemental water can make them grow too quickly and become floppy.

4. I love ornamental grasses, but most of the ones I see are labeled for sun. Will any survive in my shady landscape? There are not many shade-tolerant ornamental grasses available, but there are some good ones!

One to look for is Japanese forest grass, Hakonechloa macra. Usually you will find the golden form, ‘Aureola’, which makes a flowing mound. Though this grass is also listed as one for sunny areas, it resents full sun in the South and adjusts well to shade there.

You may also try river oats, Chasmanthium latifolium, sometimes called inland sea oats. This knee-high native grass occurs naturally in shade, often along streams. While a lovely, graceful plant, its effect is rather wispy—it does not make large clumps.

You may wish to investigate sedges (Carex), which are not true grasses but look very similar to them. Many of them tolerate or even require shade. They are generally smaller in stature, but many of them do make distinctively shaped mounds similar to some of the ornamental grasses.

Sweet flags (Acorus) are also grass-like in habit. They like shade, wet or dry. Both sweet flags and sedges make fine container plants. They can be used as companions for pansies in cool seasons and paired later with summer annuals.

5. Should I prune my sedges (Carex)? How and when? You can prune your sedges (Carex) to keep them within bounds. To do it, gather up the leaves in one hand and, using a pair of scissors, cut off the top third, including the long flowering stems. This will leave the plant arching out gracefully, but not trailing along the ground. It may be necessary to do this twice a year: at the beginning and end of the summer.

Sedge is not a true grass, but looks similar to ornamental grasses. Many sedges have attractive warm tan, brown or reddish foliage. They will tolerate some shade, while many ornamental grasses require full sun.


OUR NURSERY

1. How can I order plants from your nursery?

Buy Plants Online

Our website provides for secure ordering. Browse our website and select plants by adding to the shopping cart. When your selection of plants to buy is complete, go to the Checkout page. Our minimum order is $10 per shipment.

Phone Ordering

Santa Rosa Gardens would be happy to take your telephone order. Please call (850) 202-4899. Payment must be arranged at the time of order, so have your credit card handy.

2. Do you offer a print catalog? As part of our commitment to conserving resources and saving you money, we do not offer our plant catalog in print! If we mailed every customer a print catalog, we would have to print more than eight million pages…most of which ultimately end up in a landfill. One of the reasons we are able to offer such low prices is that we save money by not printing and mailing a catalog. Our website is our catalog. Our catalog on the net is constantly updated and fresh with exciting new plant varieties.

3. Can I visit your nursery and gardens? Santa Rosa Gardens is strictly mail order and is not licensed or setup for walk-in customers.. Our greenhouses and farm are a growing, working facility. We do offer occasional tours through the local Master Gardeners Association. Thanks for understanding!

4. How long has Santa Rosa Gardens been in business? We have been selling perennials and specialty plants via mail-order since 1998. Our roots in the nursery industry run much deeper and our family is the fourth generation of greenhouse growers/farmers – dating back to the late 1800’s.

5. Do you grow your own plants? Yes, we are a busy, active nursery with greenhouses full of beautiful plants. Occasionally, we’ll buy in stock to try out new varieties, but most of what we offer online was grown in our greenhouses or at our farm.