GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2003 show46
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Show #46

This week we visit the beautiful Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

Bruce Ballard, the Gardens Manager provides helpful hints for keeping your Roses flowering throughout the remainder of the season. Since the first flowering of the season has ended we're going to cut the plant back to help it establish new growth. Go down the stem to the branch that has at least 5 leaflets. Cut on an outward facing bud, so that the new growth comes up on the outside of the flower itself. Remove as much of the old flowers as possible throughout the bed of Roses. Bruce shows us a cluster of Regosa Rose. He removes the entire cluster allowing the new cluster and growth behind the original cluster to thrive. Bruce addresses Climbing Roses. At the base of the plant he notices aging canes, these need to be removed so the newer canes can take their place. Again, at the base of the plant find an outward facing bud and remove to that point so the cane grows out. The wall behind will support the new cane and he'll train it to grow onto a wire or the wall itself. Climbers don't receive a harsh cut back in winter like Hybrid Teas or Grandifloras. Maintain the shape, which is a fan. When irrigating Roses, a drip system is preferable. Overhead watering can cause disease and fungus. Their drip system wraps around each plant with an emitter at the base of each plant. They water at least twice a week. Each watering provides approximately 2 gallons per hour or about 4 gallons per week or one to one and a half inches of water per plant each week. Of course rainfall must be taken into consideration. To measure output of your system, put the emitter on top of a cup or rain gauge, let it run for an hour and measure the water.

Fertilization is one of the most important things you can do for your Roses. Bruce uses 3 different ingredients, Cotton seed Meal, Alfalfa and Phosphorous. He supplements these with a liquid fertilizer approximately 3 times per year.

Vines are becoming increasingly popular in America. They are rapid growers and if space is limited, like on patios, you can garden up, not out. We see Clerodenron and Aristolocia vines that have grown about three feet in a week or so. In the greenhouse at Biltmore most vines stay inside until after the frost date, normally May 15th. They grow rapidly when outside in the summer and vines like Pandoria will maintain a lot of flowers throughout the summer, right up to first frost. Before that they trim it back to a manageable size and take it inside. We view Alistorlocia Gigantica, it has a big, beautiful bloom. To force the bloom they fertilize with a blossom booster fertilizer one week then and alternate the next week with a 20-20-20 fertilizer. Also they use a time release fertilizer that lasts throughout the season.

They train the vines, like Clerodendron Speciosum, using a sisal rope. You could use nylon twine, an arbor or trellis or anything strong enough to support the eventual weight. Some species grow clockwise, some counterclockwise. Gently wrap the vine around the support to get it started and it will eventually cover an area. Passiflora Vitofolia is a great tropical vine, a rampant grower and will have beautiful red blossoms. A Hybrid called Incense will have blue flowers. There are hundreds of Passiflora hybrids, all have different leaf forms, petal forms, colors, even the fruits are different. Many are edible.

Many of the vines at Biltmore are tropical, thus you won't be growing them at your home, but they are worth viewing. Cissus Discolor has velour leaves with a maroon underside and is a rapid grower. It climbs with Tendrils, which are adapted leaf petioles.

Parker Andes introduces us to Rudbeckia, Autumn Sun. It is a cone flower and will grow to seven feet tall. It is covered with yellow blooms in July and August, sometimes into September. What typically happens is that a thunderstorm with a lot of wind will knock this beautiful plant over. Parker shows us how to stake this and other large plants or multiple beds of plants. One method uses bamboo, which is easily hidden in the plants, he then creates a cage with string between the bamboo sticks. Since the plant is actively growing in mid June he makes the stakes a little taller than the plants, they will grow to the height by mid July. He uses five bamboo stakes around the plant, the number would vary depending on the plant size. Create a web inside the plant and around the bamboo stakes. As you go around the stakes leave the string rather loose but tie it off at each stake. That way if one string were to break, others would hold. In staking, the plant shouldn't be held straight up. Then go around the outside of the plant with very loose strips. This will be just enough to catch the plant when the wind blows. Because this plant is tall, Parker creates this web on several levels. He has created a bunch of pie shaped sections. This technique works well for the Lily Stargazer. It can grow to 4-5 feet tall and will get floppy, so you'll use smaller stakes and will need to hide the stakes in the flowers. But this technique gives them needed support.

Another staking method is called Peasing, as in English Peas. Use a twiggy branch from last year, Parker likes Budelia. Trim the twiggy branch, then push the branches into the ground. Around a plant like Abelia, cut the branch so they won't be seen. They help hold up the plant, yet nobody sees the twigs holding the plant.

Biltmore Estate was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the person that designed Central Park in New York City. Mr. Olmstead wanted green, variegated color all year long. Thus he demanded that gardeners plant Ivy, in beds and on Deciduous trees. The Ivy competes with the trees for nutrients and water. As the Ivy gets to the crown of the tree it will compete for sunlight. At Biltmore, they manage and maintain the Ivy and the tree. Because of historical reasons, Biltmore leaves the Ivy in the trees and it is beautiful, but not something your would want to try at home.

Link: Biltmore Estate

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Photos and story by Monrovia Nursery Company

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