published Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Battery Heights garden showcases early bloomers


by Kathy Gilbert

As trees begin to leaf out, Onvil Robinson’s Battery Heights garden becomes a festival of color. Money plant, iris, kerria and azalea decorate the ground while dogwood and cherry lighten the sky. Mrs. Robinson shares her tips and experience.

Q: How did you create this garden? A: When I moved in, I had two huge hemlocks, a piece of shrubbery at the mailbox, a couple of azaleas and a few natural trees. I saved leaves and built new flower beds and a vegetable garden out of organic materials. I also use organic fertilizer.

Q: What worked well? A: Iris, especially Japanese iris. Larkspurs come in all colors and are so pretty. Money plant will lie there until, all of a sudden, it starts blooming in the spring.

Q: What would you do differently?

A: I have a lot of ivy. It was on the banks (already), and I put it in the back (yard) not knowing how it would spread.

Q: Any advice on peonies?

A: They don’t like to be crowded. They like a well-drained area and afternoon shade. I put sand around mine and, of course, you have to read on the tag what fertilizer is good for them. If you feed them too much they’ll get too much foliage and not enough bloom.

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