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From the Garden


How To Grow...


When to plant:  It is important that the roots of newly planted iris be well established before the growing season ends. They can be transplanted any time during the growing season.   July or August - while dormant are ideal planting time. 

Where to Plant: Provide Good Drainage.  Best in Full Sun.  Minimally 1/2 day of Sun.

Soil Prep: Most well drained garden soils. If soil is heavy - coarse sand or humus may be addedd.  Ideal: PH  is 6.8  (slightly acid). Lime may be added to acidic soil or sulfur to alkaline soils.

Depth to Plant: In the Southwest - tops of the rhizomes covered with an inch of soil and roots spread out facing downward in the soil.   In wetter climate - tops should be exposed. Firm  the soil around each rhizome and water to help settle  the soil.  Do not plant too deeply.

Distance Apart:   12 - 24". Closely planted Iris will need to be divided more often.

Watering: Newly set plants need moisture to help root system establish.  Deep watering at long intervals is better than more often shallow watering. Established plants don't need watering except in Arid areas.  Over watering is a common mistake.

Fertilization: Specifics depend on your soil type...but Bone Meal, super phosphate and 6/10/10 are all effective.  Light application in early spring and second light application about a month after bloom.  Avoid using high nitrogen products as they encourage rot problems.

Thinning Old Clumps:  Iris need to be divided before they become over crowded - generally every 3-4 years.  Overcrowding creates bloom and disease problems.  Dig up the entire clump and remove and replant the large new rhisomes that show growth.

General Garden Care:  Keep your iris beds clean and free of weeds and debris.  Bloom stems shoud be cut off close to the ground after blooming.  Healthy green leaves shoud be left undisturbed, but diseased or brown leaves should be removed.

How To Grow...


Growing in the field

Blue Lake Ranch peonies grown in our pots are planted with the eyes above the soild to prevent rot while being grown in a greenhouse setting.

Please follow the instructions below before you plant our one gallon potted peony.  Enjoy!

PLANTING DEPTH: Planting depth is absolutiely critical to flowering performance.  If the eyes are planted too shallow or too deep , they may not flower.  This is the most common mistake that is made when planting peionies and is most often the reason that peonies fail to flower.  In all but the southernmost zones, peonies must be planted with their eyes 1 1/2  to 2 inches belowe the soil line.  In the south, 1/2  inch should be sufficient.

MULCH:  Newly planted divisions, particularly those that are planted in late fall should be mulched before winter arrives.  This will help prevent heaving from nautre's  freeze - thaw cycle. 

FERTILIZER:  The spring AFTER they are planted, KLEHM'S SONG SPARROW recommends using 33. 3. 6 fertilizer applied on top of the mulch at a medium rate.  No other fertilizing will be necessary for several years.



1.  Planted too shallow or too deep.

2.  Too much nitrogen

3.  Over or Undernourished, Peonies thrive with little care and limited amount of fertilizeer.

4.  Buds were killed by a late frost, disease, or excessive heat.  Southern growers should plant early flowering cultivars.

5.  There was not enought light for buds to form.

6.  The plants are too young or immature.

7.  The clumps are too large or overcrowed.

8.  They have been moved or divided too often.

9.  The plants were cut back before the foliage turned brown in the fall.

10.  The soil is too wet or too dry.  Peonies require well - drained soil but also like to be watered down to the bottom of their roots.  Let the sol dry out slightly between waterings.

How To Grow...


Lilies are the most regal of all flowers - true garden aristocrats.  Stunning in cut arrangements, potted, naturalized, or in formal gardens.  Lilies are favorites of florists, landscape designers and at home gardeners alike.  Lilies are as easy to grow as any other perennial if you select varieties that are suited to your growing region and follow a few simple rules.

Modern breeding techniques have produced an incredible variety of lilies, tall or short, in distinctive forms, upright or candelabra and stunning colors ranging from pure white through creams and pastels, pinks, yellows, oranges, golds and vivid reds.  All are equally lovely, so making choices for your garden will be difficult.

Most lilies grow best in region 8 northward throughout the warmer areas of region 4.  While they do not require special soil, liies must not be planted in any location where water will stand on the bulbs.  A pourous, rapid  draining soil is best.  If your soil contains too much clay, add sand, moistened peat moss or compost to increase porosity.  It has been said that lilies, like clemantis, "prefer their heads in the sun and their feet inthe shade".

Lilies grow from scaly bulbs.  Since the bulbs are never completely dormant, they shoud be planted as soon as you bring them home.  Lilies are very attractive planted in groups.  Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 10 inches, then moisten the ground where the bulbs are to be planted to promote immediate root growth.  Plant the bulbs at least 8 inches apart covered with 5-6 inches of soil.  Water the bulbs after planting to settle the soil.  In colder growing regions, mulch the ground above the bulbs after freezing weather.

Lilies respond well to ample feeding.  In spring and early summer, apply a complete fertilizer of a combination of organic nutrients that provide adequate amounts of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.  Water thoroughly.  Shoots sometime emerge in early spring before the last frost.  If heavy frost or freeze is predicted, cover the lilies so the buds will not be ruined.  Do not cultivate deeply around your lilies since there are feeder roots near the surface of the soil that can be easily damaged.

Depending on the variety, blooms begin in May and continue through September.  For cut arrangements, the blooms will last longer if the buds are cut when they are fully colored.  Be aware that cutting more than one third of the length of the stem will weaken the bulb for next year.  Remember, the more foliage this year, the more blossoms you will have next year.  When blooming is over, cut off the developing seed pod but leave the stem and all the leave.

Lilies add rich colors and splendid form to almost any landscape.  From the classic to the ornamental they will delight your senses and enhance your gardening experience.