Is this flower at a Minnesota park real or artificial?
A: To solve the puzzle, I downloaded and enlarged the photo. At first glance, the flowers appear like beautiful yellow roses growing on a healthy shrub. But at the base of each flower a three-dimensional-looking approach is visible when enlarged, and the green “sepals” at the base of each flower look suspiciously like plastic in a larger frame. The yellow petals could be considered real, but given the man-made attachments, I bet the petals are silk.
Another point of suspicion is the bush on which these brightly colored roses “grow”. Almost all rose bushes have compound leaves, that is, they consist mainly of leaflets in multiples of three, five, or seven. The shrub to which these roses are attached appears real, but it has simple leaves, that is, they grow individually rather than having the compound leaflets of a rose bush.
This colorful illusion deserves an “A” for creativity, and it would be fascinating to know who pinned yellow roses to an otherwise nondescript green shrub at a roadhouse in Minnesota. The secret goes on.
One reader wonders if this is a real flower. Special about the forum
Q: You asked me to tell you what happened to our petunias. I cut off about two thirds and gave them a shot of Ortho Gro with another shot yesterday and the result was amazing. I have three pots of fresh green leaves and dozens of buds and flowers. They last well into autumn. Thanks for the help and teaching. – Clem S.
A: Thanks for the update, Clem, and I’m glad the petunias are thriving again. As a backdrop, Clem had written in late July that their petunia pots had tentacles like an octopus hanging in all directions, and he wondered if the long shoots could be pruned back to rejuvenate the plants into the beautiful mound shapes they were had before.
I replied that in midsummer, petunias can be cut back by at least half or more to get rid of stringy, overgrown shoots. I also suggested fertilizing after pruning the plants.
Q: I heard you on WDAY radio today and wanted to ask you a question. I’ve been breeding Coleus on my deck all summer. How can I keep growing it indoors this winter? I have very little light from my windows. – Debbie H.
A: Coleus are quite easy to grow indoors. Although they enjoy shade or filtered light outdoors in summer, in winter they need as much light as you can give them indoors as the days are short and the sun is weaker.
It can be difficult to get an entire coleus plant indoors that will grow outdoors all summer. When the plant is large, it is usually better to grow new plants from cuttings to grow indoors in winter, which will make beautiful plants for outdoors the next spring.
Coleus cuttings take root easily in water. Pick cuttings from the tips of the branches and make each cutting about 3 to 4 inches long. Strip the lower leaves so that the bottom 5 cm of the stem is bare. Place the cuttings in a glass or jug of water so that the bottom of the stem is a few inches under the water. Depending on the size, you can usually put four to six cuttings in a jar.
Find the cuttings in an area where they can get filtered sunlight, either indoors or outdoors. Outside they must be in an area protected from the wind.
The cuttings should take root in about two weeks. Once the roots are 1 to 2 inches long, transplant in potting soil.
If you have a garden or lawn maintenance question, email Don Kinzler, NDSU Extension-Cass County at [email protected] Questions of broad interest may be posted, so please include your name, city, and state for appropriate advice.