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Heavy Rain season disasters: Peonies, Roses, etc. HELP?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Shea on May 19, 2006 02:04 AM

Last year I moved 20 miles further South in Illinois (between Decatur and Bloomington) and was/am overjoyed to have a huge half-acre of sunny (with some shade around the house) landscape to work with!
Since I moved here late in the summer, last year, I was only able to plant a few things, but jumped in with both feet and hands THIS SPRING!

My observations, this May (and most are not happy ones (see ITALICS), so would appreciate ANY advice anyone here might have for me?):

-- planted one weeping willow and three semi-dwarf Golden Delicious Apple Trees in the rear middle of my back yard in March and they're doing beautifully, leafed out and healthy

-- cleared out about 60' of my northside of chainlink fence from the weeds that had threatened to take over before I moved in -- still battling with some TERRIBLE up to 8' tall 'bamboo cane' type weeds (with reddish speckles on edges of olive-green arrow-head shaped leaves and stems) that are INVADING through my fence from my neighbor's yard and NOW have started popping up by the dozens from the ground on MY SIDE (anyone have any clues as to what these noxious weeds ARE (they are so STRANGE., almost alien looking, rubbery and greenish red to start with, then become tall, woody-canes within a few short months!) and how to KILL THEM?
My neighbor's lazy, but DID say I had his permission to kill them ON HIS SIDE of the fence if I could... ;-(

-- Got my peony rootstocks (most with three to five eyes) in the ground and, out of 12, 11 came up, but out of those 11, 2 have since withered and died just before their reddish leaflets should've opened and turned green, and now, with all the rainy weather we've had, it appears I'm going to lose three to five more Peonies, as they have gone from healthy green fully leafed (about 10 to 18 inches tall) -- some with buds! -- to blackening, withered and wilting shadows of what they could've should've been.... :-(
Only FOUR of the transplanted 12 look 'okay', and even THEY are rather spindly and wan looking...
HELP? How do I save my babies (brought them here from my previous and flourishing garden and had high hopes I MIGHT'VE even been rewarded with a bloom or two this year). I haven't watered them AT ALL during the past two to three weeks, with all the heavy rains and cloudy days we've had... they get plenty of early morning sun (about 3-4 hours) and dappled sun for another 3-5 hours, then shade for most of the afternoon, save for a late afternoon sunset burst of sun for about an hour. They are in a RELATIVELY well-drained area,
and two hydrangeas are planted about six feet away and doing fine (the Nikko is going to be BLUE! so it appears the soil here is slightly acidic?)
Now, out of the original 12, I had planted SIX in an arc (about fifteen feet from and around my weeping willow) in the full sun (shaded from four pm on) of the back yard. The successful FIVE of these transplants have progressed fairly, but SLOWLY, standing about a foot tall and leafy green, yet seem, again, spindly for this time of year. The other remaining two survivors are in a protected (from wind, and also to allow for afternoon shade) "L" on the south east side of my house: they looked MOST PROMISING, growing quickly and happily until the heavy rains set in -- half their branches and leaves are blackened and curling now (a third has completely shriveled and died).

My Roses (still a beginner here) have disappointed me: both of my previously successful happy-bloomers container roses from the last 3 years (although brought in and protected all this past winter in an enclosed back porch) were no-shows, dead to the core, so I replaced them with new container roses and those seem to be okay, in front on the WESTern side of my house -- one shows three nice buds, the other ONE bud about to open. Of the six climbing roses I planted last year on my South wall (3 red Don Juan, 2 white Iceberg and 2 pink climbers I recall as "Elizabeth" or something like that) only ONE survived the winter -- ironically, it was one of two climbers that I was unable to protect and cover over the winter.

So this Spring I pulled the dead ones, leaving only the happy climber, but this one, last year gave me NO BUDS or blooms: it appears it will do the same THIS YEAR -- no sign of buds or blooms!

I have planted a climber and three shrub roses in the (eastern exposure - shade from 1 or 2pm on) back, beside my back porch steps, and they seem to be doing just okay -- not a huge amount of growth.

Planted a WInter Honeysuckle along an eastern-facing wall of the house, and it seems to be surviving... leaves look fine, but too early to tell if it will bloom this year.

Planted two white russian lilacs (bareroot from a mailorder nursery-- I think they were dead, dead, dead when I received them -- three months after planting (late February), nary a hint of life, finally pulled them and requested, received a refund)

Out of the two Hydrangea I planted last fall (an old fashioned Nikko blue and 1 Endless Summer), the Endless Summer did NOT come back this Spring, so I pulled it and replaced with a healthy nursery started Nikko Blue (which has multiple floret starts, with the largest showing hints of BLUE!) -- the original Nikko Blue has made a SLOW re-emergence, and is only about six to seven inches tall; I am certain there was a struggle involved there. These hydrangeas AND the two peonies mentioned above are in the same 'four hours of early morning sun, three to four hours of dappled sunlight, complete shade from noon or so on' spot, apparently in slightly acidic soil...

I planted bulbs, according to directions, in late February/early March: the Hyacinths, Tulips, Alium, and Freesia 'peeped' above the ground a few inches, then seemingly went nowhere -- should I let these die back (they're moving in that direction anyway), save the bulbs, replant in the fall?

Of the four Weigela I had planted in front of my house, along the west front porch, TWO came back, and are happily blooming, enjoying new growth, while the other two 'started' showing green leaflets last month then simply faded away (both dead now).

On my north (shady) wall, beside my driveway, I planted (bulbs, corms, etc.) Lily of the Valley, Caladium, Hosta, Bleeding Hearts and Columbine: NOTHING even came up. This month I planted two pre-started (6" potted) Hostas and three pre-started Columbines: the Hostas are doing fine, but the Columbines' leaves started turning BLACK from the bottom upwards, and now all are dead or dying.

Okay, so I'm sounding a little dis-spirited this week... but hoping someone can help me identify and destroy the weeds mentioned above, and/or shed some light on my Peony situation...

I've been without my Peonies for over a year, and it breaks my heart that it may be another year -- or TWO? -- before I can enjoy them again... My previous garden was six years old and in its PEAK when I moved, and I've already started regretting our move, simply put, because I MISS my lush and happy garden and the fresh cuttings I was able to bring into vases in my house every day from May to October.... ;-(

Shea in Central Illinois...
by Sir Ts Princess on May 19, 2006 04:00 AM
Ok, I can't help you out with all of your plants, but maybe I can help you with your roses. First, most roses don't really need mulch, they don't like water held over their causes "root rot" which kills them. What probably happened to your roses was that when snow melted, it added water. In the covered ones, the water stayed in...thus...bye bye roses!

Now, to get your roses to bloom. Sometimes they can just be tricky. I've had years that for some blooms, and other years with prolific blooms. I realized that the years they bloomed the most was when I had pruned them, and fed them every two weeks. I did NOT go buy rose food. Nope, I fed mine diluted beer!! (1/2 and 1/2) they LOVED it. Once every 1-2 months, you can also feed them some diluted coffee, this will provide all the acid they might need as most aren't really acid lovers. Have heard Epsom salt is also good, but have yet to use it myself (plan to try it myself next week). Perhaps you could make a "food" out of diluted beer, epsom salt, and coffee. I do know that I have fed mine the beer and the coffee and haven't killed them, and they usually bloomed. Also, check them for "black spot" which is a fungus that causes black spots on the leaves. If you find it, KILL IT!! it will contaminate ALL your roses and can cause you major problems. To kill it, get a sprayer (the cheap kind that resembles a windex bottle) and mix 1/2 chlorine bleach (not the scented kind) and 1/2 water. Spray the plant but not the roots.

Around here, our roses run into "lawn mower" disasters. My husband tends to mow them down along with the grass atleast once every couple of years. The good news is, I continue caring for them, and they do come back.

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by dodge on May 19, 2006 11:12 AM

[scaredy] [scaredy]
Boy your a busy beaver.. Maybe your to gun ho, about all of it.
What I mean, maybe your overdoing the requirements of each plant.
Fall is the best planting time for Perennials. Gives them all winter for good rooting systems. Some plants dont like drowning. Some hate heat.

Just trying to hunt a clue for you.
Keep trying.....Dont move. Is your land wet?


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''''Those who live in the Lord Never See Each Other For The Last Time!''''
by tkhooper on May 19, 2006 01:28 PM
First of all it would be nice if you would do some soil testing and send it to the local university cooperative extension. Once you know the pH, and fertilizer levels it will make it easier to help with the problems. Then it would probably be best to seperate each plant and it's symptoms into seperate posts and put them down in pest and problems. But these are just suggestions.

They have master gardeners that can even come out and visit in some areas to give you help with some types of problems that are hard to diagnosis without actually seeing the damage.

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