Johanna Chudzinski, shown here at her 90th birthday party, has been growing flowers forever. She has won numerous ribbons and trophies in the horticultural society. Many of her tips below cannot be found in books, they come from her lifelong experiences in gardens here and back in Germany
APRIL – Flower Show Tips
Place African Violets in a spot with bright light – not direct sunlight.
Watering: Use water that has been allowed to stand in an open container for 24 – 48 hours. Never water with cold water. If leaves become wet from watering, blot with tissue and keep plant out of sunlight until it is dry. Soak pots once a week depending on the temperature in the house. Only water from the bottom.
For the best result in a Flower Show Competition: The leaves should circle the pot with the flowers in the center. Make sure you only have one plant in the pot. Remove discoloured/broken or dead leaves. Remove dead flowers. Clean leaves gently with a soft brush to remove dust. To make a perfect circle of leaves you can move the leaves a little at a time with sticks.
Likes a warm place out of direct sunlight. Soil should always be moist. Mist regularly. If end of leaves go brown – you are using too much water. The Peace Lily will help clean the air by absorbing Trichloroethylene and Benzine.
When growing Tulips, Daffodils etc. in pots – mix the soil with sand.
Put Vaseline on you hands before re-potting plants to keep you fingernails clean.
To get rid of flies and bugs in your flower pots – put an unburnt wooden match in the soil
To keep your Tulips looking good for a longer period of time – use only 5 cm of water in the vase and change the water every day.
To avoid brown tips on leaves let water stand overnight to get rid of chlorine, water from the bottom.
MAY – Flower Show Tips
For best results in flower shows cut flowers in the morning or in the evening and place them directly into a pail of lukewarm water.
Flowers with hard stems should be cut on an angle whereas flowers with a soft stem should be cut straight across, make the cut above the node.
To condition tulips:
Wrap the flowers individually in 3 – 4 sheets of newspaper and place them in a pail of lukewarm water for several hours to straighten and strengthen the stem. Tulips also like a little aspirin.
To condition narcissus:
Place the flowers in cool shallow water, and keep them apart from other plants for at least 24 hours.
Geraniums grow better if you sprinkle coffee-grounds on them once in a while.
To get more flowers on your outdoor plants – cut some of the leaves off.
JUNE – Flower Show Tips
When you plant your roses make sure you cover the grafted stem about 1″ in order to protect them. Trim your roses in the spring when the Forsythia blooms. Put Epsom salts on the ground to limit black spot. Spray roses every week with – 2 parts water and 1 part milk – bugs dislike the lactose in the milk. Fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks with Nitrate fertilizer in the growing season. Do not use later in the season. Use Potash and Phosphate in the fall to strengthen the plant over the winter. Hill the rosebush for the winter.
Cut your roses for the show when they look the best. “Johanna had a rose in the fridge for a whole week – and won first place with it”. Cut your roses under water between joints and keep them under water in order to avoid air bubbles, that will stop the rose from getting food. Put a little sugar in the rose water.
Outlive any other plant, some are over 100 years old. Peonies should be planted in well drained soil 2″ below the surface of the soil. DO NOT: plant them too deep, in wet soil, mulch, overwater or give them too much fertilizer.
Grow best in full sun, should be planted 8 – 18″ apart. The rhizome should show, pack the dirt down to avoid air bubbles. The soil is not important, do not fertilize with a high number in nitrogen. Nitrogen being the first number on your fertilizer label.
If you want some colour in your garden, but the location is not ideal ie: the ground is too wet, too much shade, too much sun, to many roots, use containers. Plant pansy, viola, geranium, mum or even herbs, tomatoes and peppers in a container and move it around to your hearts content. Johanna grows Calla Lilies in containers deep and big enough for the roots. If a plant dies, you can replace it with a container full of flowers.
She also keeps most of her houseplants, including Christmas cactus, outside in the summer in a shady place.
JULY – Flower Show Tips
Do not plant this flower in an open space, when the flower blooms the wind can break the whole plant. Plant by a wall or by another big plant to give it protection. Fertilize every 2 – 3 weeks with 20.20.20.
Echinacea (Cone Flower):
Very easy to grow. Fertilize every 2 – 3 weeks with 20.20.20. You will need to replant it every couple of years, it can be done in the same place.
Likes to grow in part shade part sun. Should be fed with Miracle Petal fertilizer, which is slow release.
Watch out for the red beetle. They can attack several times during the growing season. The best way to get rid of them is to pick them by hand and destroy them. Fertilize with 20.20.20 every 2 – 3 weeks.
Grow best in sandy soil in a sunny spot. Should be protected in the winter. Does not require fertilizer.
Cut the tops of the Sedum in June or July and plant them right in the ground. Water well for about 3 weeks. Don’t let the soil get dry and viola you will have more plants.
AUGUST – Flower Show Tips
How to stop getting holes in the leaves? Save all your eggshells, crumble them and put them around the hostas. Slugs do not like to move over them.
If your clematis blooms before June, do not cut it down as it blooms on old wood. If your clematis blooms after June cut it down in the fall. Clematis likes cool roots, so plant a shrub in front of it to shade the roots, a large stone will also do the trick or mulch it really well. Sprinkle a little wood ash to neutralize acidic soil and add minerals to the soil.
SEPTEMBER – Flower Show Tips
Asters and most other annuals are easy to grow. Plant in well drained soil. Water in the morning when needed. Fertilize with 20.20.20 every 2 weeks.
Plant corms after danger of frost is gone. When planting, work Bone Meal into the soil. The corms should be covered. Support with stakes. They like plenty of water and will bloom for you from the end of July till the Frost. After the first frost dig them out, let them dry upside down and store in peat moss in a dry place over the Winter.
Gladiolas like to grow in full sun in well drained sandy soil – but will adapt to almost any soil. Give good humus and 20.20.20 every two weeks and loosen the soil often. Stake the flowers – and good luck at the Flower Show.
Zinnias enjoy full sun. They do not like to be transplanted. Should be seeded where you want them to grow. If the soil becomes dry, water them in the morning. Fertilize every two weeks with 20.20.20.
OCTOBER – Flower Show Tips
Grow in well drained soil, when planting, work Bone Meal and Lime into the soil.
Move the plant in Spring or just dig it up and plant it in the same spot again.
You can cut slips off in June and plant them directly in the ground. Keep soil moist for 2 to 3 weeks until they have rooted.
Use 20.20.20 every month and they will be blooming in the Fall. For winter protection – cover with leaves.