Too hot for this JM

I discovered my Asahi zuru in dire straits–walked out on the porch yesterday and noticed that most of its leaves were curled and drying. I questioned the waterboy–who swore he had been giving the japanese maple plenty of water. Then he later recanted, stating that maybe he missed it after all. So, basically, the poor tree has been struggling through the past few 100 degree days…can it be rescued?

6/16/2011 Dry Japanese Maple (1) 6/16/2011 Dry Japanese Maple (2) 6/16/2011 Dry Japanese Maple (3)

Despite several gallons of water to saturate the soil, I believe more than 75% of the foliage will be lost. I am just waiting to see when they will be dropping off. I hate to write off this JM even though it lost most of its variegation last year and probably won’t get it back. It’s still a Japanese maple and pretty in that JM way.

Germinating seeds, more plantings

After 3 days of non-stop light exposure, the first seeds to germinate are the Dianthus Super Parfait Red Peppermint, hybridized by Goldsmith. It appears that all 3 rows of seeds that I sowed have sprouted. The impatiens show no signs of life, which I suspected, given the lack of bottom heat. I believe when the dianthus reach 3 inches in height, I will be transplanting them to individual pots. According to the hybridizer, dianthus plugs are generally ready for transplant in 6-8 weeks. It will be interesting to see how fast these dianthus grow under 24×7 light. I’m excited enough to purchase another flat and heat mats to continue growing plants from seed. My basil seeds for example need to be put into trays if I want them out in the garden asap.

I’ve fetched the callas I had stored in the pantry, and were happy to see that some of the pup-chewed bulbs were growing shoots out of their eyes (remember to plant them eyes up!). I collected the Picassos and the 1 Devil’s Wine and put them out in the azalea/lily bed. I am hoping that they will get enough sun near the front border. I reserved only one of the Picasso callas for use in a future potting.

Finally, I’ve brought the Asahi zuru indoors in hopes that the indirect light will help it regain some of its variegation. I’ve read that removing the non-variegated leaves will stop this behavior, but I am not inclined to strip the tree of all of its foliage. It is more likely that the direct morning sun that it received in the past few months has affected it. But here is a forum thread that gives me some hope of seeing variegation this year…I’m just too impatient I guess!

Orders on the way

My Brent and Becky’s order is on its way via Fedex, scheduled delivery Thursday, which includes 15 lily bulbs, 3 calla lilies, 1 astilbe. Forestfarm’s order ships via UPS, arriving Friday, includes 1 Minuet Mountain Laurel and 1 Hosta Eternal Flame. With the front flower beds laid out, I am certain that the astilbe and the hosta will find new homes there. I am banking that the kalmia Minuet will find a place of honor next to the front door.

Meanwhile, I discovered yesterday morning that 1 of the first lilies of the valley has began sending up shoots. This particular rhizome gets barely an hour or two of morning sun, in the front door bed. I have not detected any life from the second rhizome which was planted next to the fence door, where it gets no sun at all.

My Asahi zuru has begun unfurling its leaves. It is a magnificent sight and I can’t wait to see it in its full greenery. I believe it is in a good position next to the patio door which receives about 4-5 hours of morning sun every day. When the summer sun gets too harsh, I will probably relocate it under the canopy of the 2 crepe myrtles next to the fence.


I’m still debating growing dianthus, coleus and impatiens from seed. With the impatiens and dianthus, a light lamp would be necessary, whereas the coleus simply needs heat to germinate. Much to ponder.

Spring gardening part 1

With the weekend temperatures at a cool 70 degrees, the fiance and I tackled two flower beds, framing them with stone and bricks. We also dug out the weeds and put in compost plus top soil to make the beds receptive to future plantings. Finally, we decided to go with black mulch to better set apart the colorful violas that I finally got around to planting in the front beds. (I had bought another flat of blue violas from Strong’s Nursery that went on sale.) The orange, blues, and whites popped against the dark background. And not to mention, the mulch will be help stifle the weed infestation that overgrew the bare beds. My only regret is that the violas didn’t get more ground time during the last month.

In addition to the new violas, I also planted a bag of lily of the valley, purchased from Home Depot. While the packaging advertised 16 plants, I discovered 2 sprouting bundles in the bag (similar to daylily rhizomes), which I quickly put into the front flower bed. It is supposedly a shade-loving plant, and further research indicated that this plant may actually grow like a weed under optimum conditions.

Speaking of weeds, I went ahead and invested in a spreader, plus a bag of weed killer. Unfortunately the yards are overgrown with weeds, not having enough turf to prevent it. But with the sudden onset of rain this weekend, I haven’t had time to apply it.

I’ve convinced the fiance to try a kalmia latifolia in the corner bed by the door, instead of the originally planned azalea. I had already made an online purchase for the Olympic Fire variety, but soon learned that Musser Forests in Pennsylvania was prohibited in shipping to Texas. Interesting. I’m going to have to find a local source somewhere…

Last thing to report…my japanese maple Asahi Zuru is showing signs of life. Green buds have begun to emerge from their red shells. This is exciting news, given that last year, the maple hadn’t leafed out this early. It seems that sitting by the patio door getting some morning sun has encouraged it to sprout early. I’m contemplating replanting in a bigger pot to help it spread its roots some more.

What’s wrong with my maple?

Is it leaf burn, too much water, or a lack of feeding? My Asahi zuru is displaying browning on its mottled leaves, which appears to radiate from the leaf center. I’m repositioning it into full shade to see if it will help banish what I suspect is leaf burn. Variegated japanese maples are supposedly sensitive to the heat than most cultivars, so I am hoping this is the case here. Pulling it into the patio shade will also distance itself from the water sprinkler, though I seriously doubt this is a case of overwatering. I haven’t yet fed this maple since it I got it…perhaps its time to research its diet. In any case, I’ve also had to prune a topmost branch since it looked and felt dried out. I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end…

6/21/2009 Japanese Maple Leaves (1) 6/21/2009 Japanese Maple Leaves (2) 6/21/2009 Japanese Maple Leaves (3) 6/21/2009 Japanese Maple Leaves (4)