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pruning lilac, coffee grounds and slight bragging on new beds! LOL

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jpoo67 photos
Joined: 4/21/2008
Location: Western Connecticut
Posts: 9
Posted: May/26/2008 11:38 AM PST

Hi.

Among a bunch of other things...I just put in my first lilac (dark purple flowers). It is already a good sized shrub (about 4 1/2 - 5') and currently has flowers on it (was blooming when we bought it). When do I prune it so that it will leaf out more? It has a lot of lower branches that are bare. And if I cut those back...will leaves grow this season? And what does it bloom on...old or new growth? Sorry...one more question (can you tell that I am a novice? LOL)...someone told me that lilacs like coffee grounds. Is that true and how much should I give it and how often? I assume that the grounds should be used...LOL.

Thank you!

ps: if I can brag...I just put in my first beds and planted 6 white flowering azaleas, 5 pygmy crimson barberry, a large holly (and a smaller one for fertilizing), the lilac, a bunch of russian sage, moonbeam coreopsis, myrtle, red astilbe, and other annuals and potted geraniums!! I have to finish one section of the front bed and will add 3 more boxwood (to the 3 already there) and some smaller shrubs and we will have a landscaped front! Yeah!

Okay...bragging over! LOL...I can't believe that I could still move after all of that...taking up the grass was the hardest part!
karslinky blog photos
Joined: 8/28/2004
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 1197
Posted: May/26/2008 11:46 AM PST

Pictures ! We want pictures! As for the lilac, prune after flowering, and try to prune low to the ground to keep the center of the plant open - this should help prevent powdery mildew and other diseases - I deal with powdery mildew a lot! I inherited a crappy overgrown lilac that had survived under the shade of several pine trees - it was trying to grow towards the light for several years and looked horrid - I pruned the *&$! out of it and it looks great! I also just literally stuck 2 of the pruned branches into the ground and in 2 years had blooms on those bushes too!! I don't know about coffee grounds and lilacs, but often collect grounds for my compost pile, so I doubt they will hurt!
jpoo67 photos
Joined: 4/21/2008
Location: Western Connecticut
Posts: 9
Posted: May/26/2008 11:53 AM PST

A few pics :-) What do you think hurt more...my arms or my back? LOL

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jpoo67 photos
Joined: 4/21/2008
Location: Western Connecticut
Posts: 9
Posted: May/26/2008 12:03 PM PST

Okay...let me try that again! LOL

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jpoo67 photos
Joined: 4/21/2008
Location: Western Connecticut
Posts: 9
Posted: May/26/2008 12:15 PM PST

Thanks for the advice and letting me brag :-) It's a start. I will continue the bed up to the front steps next weekend when we get the rest of the boxwood, etc. I still want to put in more annuals. It will grow next year I'm sure! Plus we will put in a walkway next year and round out the bed to the left of the front door around the walkway with a nice tree and more stuff

ps: I love the pics of your kitties (and dog and horse!). I have three kitties of my own and they are the loves of my life...DH too...LOL.
sweetlebee blog photos
Joined: 5/09/2005
Location:
Posts: 19587
Posted: May/26/2008 1:52 PM PST

You can prune a third of the branches a third of the way every year and take out the thickest branches at the base (anything more than a few inches in diameter). They're not fussy about pruning, but you don't want to let them go and end up with the flowers at the top of the branches. Deadhead every year. Add lime in the fall if your soil needs it--lilacs like alkaline soil. Water once a week if you haven't had rain. Lilacs do better with some neglect rather than fussing. As for fertilizing, a yearly addition of compost around the base is enough. I've never heard lilacs like coffee grounds any more than any other plant, but used grounds are neutral in pH so it won't make your soil more acidic.

You should get flowers next year--I started out with lilacs that size and planted them in bloom and they bloom every year, though it took a few years of settling in before showing a lot of growth.
karslinky blog photos
Joined: 8/28/2004
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 1197
Posted: May/26/2008 2:36 PM PST

I just love the beds you have built - you dug all that grass out? I was going to say your barberry are too close to the azalea, but then I reread they are pygmy. Very nice color combination and contrasts. Your annuals will spark up with color all year round. Nice Job!
witt blog photos
Joined: 3/28/2008
Location: Lancaster, SC
Posts: 16643
Moderator
Posted: May/27/2008 5:28 AM PST

Thanks for the pix! They were great!

I'd say every bone in your body hurt after that. I just finished dealing with ridding grass myself. Owey!
fairygarden blog photos
Joined: 3/17/2008
Location: SC
Posts: 2104
Moderator
Posted: May/27/2008 6:24 AM PST

Very nice........lilac is beautiful! Those are great beds......you should brag some!
Aurora blog photos
Joined: 4/24/2008
Location: Chesapeake VA
Posts: 1954
Posted: May/27/2008 6:08 PM PST

Looks great!! You deserve a BIG pat on the back, and a good drink
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