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live what you believe, and teach by example.

~ Daryl Ryman ~

From the GTG Garden and Greenhouse

Dava and I tried our hand at making a video showing how to cut and trim a Brugmansia for winter storage. It turned out rather nicely and is available on the GTG facebook page and YouTube.
The greenhouse is nearly full, brugmansia are rooting; canna, peonies, and hellebore are growing and the coneflowers are starting their winter dormancy cycle. All is in harmony with Mother Nature here! One exciting event for me is registering my newest Brugmansia. It's a beauty, a triple cream to pale peach with a citrus sccent. Tall, very tall and loaded with flowers - check out the pictures on the Brugmansia page!

Happy Thanksgiving, Belle

Green Thumbs Galore LLC

Winterizing Brugmansia

by Dava Stewart

The first time I saw a photo of Belle’s brugmansias in bloom, I thought the flowers looked like fairy dresses. Later on, I found out that lots of people call them angel’s trumpet because of those spectacular flowers. But, being stubborn, I still think they look like fairy fashions.

Like many hobbyists, I am immediately suspicious of any flower that seems too pretty. I imagine that any plant that puts on an especially dramatic show must be difficult to keep alive. So, for several years, I admired Belle’s photos, but never considered adding a brugmansia to my own garden.

This spring though, when I added a small pond and tripled the size of my growing area, I also decided to take the plunge and “risk” getting a brug (and a peony, but that’s a different story). Belle sent me home from the Spring Driveway Sale with pot containing my very own Painted Lady (which she tells me is the easiest brugmansia to grow).

All summer it grew, lush and green, with huge leaves. One of my friends kept asking me, “Is it ever going to do anything, or is it just going to turn into a bush?” I was beginning to wonder. Then, in September, it formed buds. They looked like okra pods. It took a good two weeks from when I first noticed the buds for the flowers to begin to emerge, and then they did so slowly, over a period of a couple of days.

At first, the flower was skinny, and white, with curly tendrils at the bottom. As it opened, those tendrils spread and rose, so they appeared to float, and the flower turned a lovely pink. The blooms were probably a good 10 inches long from the stem to the bottom of the flower. The pink deepened with each day, until it was almost a dusky rose color. When my friend came to visit she was so impressed she took pictures.

About halfway through October, the brug was still blooming along happily, but I was beginning to be concerned about frost. Belle assured me there was no need to worry until the temperature dropped below 30 degrees or so. She also invited me to her house for a lesson in how to prepare the plant for overwintering.

It is a far simpler process than I would have imagined. Here are the basic steps:

  • If your plant is really tall, cut off 5-6 foot sections of the branches with a set of sharp clippers.
  • Strip the leaves. They come off really easily, but feel free to snip them if you want.
  • Brugmansia is semi-woody, as you will be able to plainly see when you have all the leaves stripped off the stalk. You want to save the part that is brown and chop off the floppy, green part; you can then toss it out with the leaves.
  • Take your stalks and stick the bottoms into a bucket or other container. Belle has so many brugs, she needs a few five gallon buckets. I have so few that a good sized vase is doing the trick.
  • Put 3-5 inches of water in the bucket.
  • Put the bucket in a dark, unheated room where it won’t freeze. A garage, a closet, a shed -- somewhere sheltered but chilly.
  • Every couple of weeks or so, make sure there is still some water in the bucket.
  • If leaves start growing, strip them off and put the bucket somewhere a little darker and/or cooler.
In the spring, Belle tells me that the stalks will have roots, and that I should just stick them right back in the ground. After the lesson, she added two stalks from Brugmansia New Orleans Lady to my collection. If I remember to water them over the winter, next year there will be two kinds of huge, fabulous brugmansia blooms in my garden, inspiring me to daydream about the fairies who would wear them to dance in the moonlight at the fairy ball.


November in the Garden
Practical & Pretty Holiday Gift Ideas for Gardeners:

Funny Plant Signs:
Wind Chimes:
Bird Feeders :