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Maas Nursery

Let’s Talk About December 2016

By: Pat Cordray

It is amazing how fast we make it through each year.  Here we are ready to celebrate the season with family and friends and hopefully we have some time for gardening this month.  But before we get to that, you know what I must do first, so here it is.   Freeze warning; If there is a freeze warning for our area, water your plants thoroughly; this protects the roots.  If your tender plants are in the ground cover them with fabric made for protecting plants, like N-Sulate, tent the fabric to the ground and secure it with pegs.  If your plants are in containers, follow the same instructions if you can’t take them in.  If your tender plants are in hanging baskets, take them in or place them on the ground, water, and cover.  Remember that plants cannot create their own heat so tenting the fabric to the ground allows the warmth from the ground to protect them.  This will only give the plants a tad more warmth but it just might be enough to keep them alive during our winter.  Remove the fabric when the weather warms, possibly the next day.

mustard-greens

Mustard Greens With Nasturtiums

This month, you may think that with winter approaching there may not be much gardening to do.  But that is just not true in our area.  You can still plant vegetables, shrubs, and trees.  For your vegetables, plant cauliflower, broccoli, green onions, Brussels sprouts, leeks, greens, and turnips, if those are the ones you like to eat. Plant any trees or shrubs that are hardy to this area.  For trees and shrubs, this is important for all plants, keep in mind the mature size so you don’t plant something that is too big for the area.  Feed your trees and shrubs, hold off on your camellias and azaleas until after they finish blooming.  Don’t cut anything back this time of year, wait for warmer weather.   Trim back your azaleas and camellias after they bloom.  Isn’t it amazing to have so many gardening opportunities for the month of December.

For December, I’m still talking about bulbs, winter color, and camellias, my favorites!

Forcing ziva narcissus, amaryllis, and hyacinths is a great way to have fresh flowers in your home for beautiful color and fragrance indoors. This is a very simple project.  All you need is water or soil, bulbs, rocks/pebbles, and a pot without a drainage hole or a pot with a drainage hole.

forced-hyacinths-1

Margaret Cherry’s Forced Hyacinths in rock & water

First let’s plant our bulbs in with the rocks and water.  Use the pot without a drainage hole.  Place the rocks in your container, you want room for the water and roots.  Place the bulbs on the rocks, then add the water, don’t let the water touch the bulbs and don’t let the bulbs touch each other, think of children in the backseat of the car, no touching.  Keep the planted container in a cool dry place until you start seeing growth.  The hyacinths will take about 6 weeks to bloom, the ziva narcissus will bloom in 2-3 weeks, and the amaryllis will take from 3-8 weeks depending on the variety.  Forcing bulbs in water will take everything they have to bloom so once they are finished blooming you can toss the bulbs.

forced-amaryllis

Forced Amaryllis in Soil

Now, let’s plant our bulbs in soil.  This time use the container with the drainage hole.  Fill the container with soil and plant your bulbs in the soil.  Plant hyacinths with the bulb tips above soil surface, plant the amaryllis to the shoulder of the bulb, and the narcissus bulb up to the neck.  Don’t let the bulbs touch each other, then water.  Turn your container to keep the stems growing straight.   The amaryllis can be replanted outside once the weather warms.

margarets-tulips

Tulips planted in Margaret Cherry’s Garden

Finally, let’s get your bulbs in the ground. Plant hyacinths, Dutch iris, leucojum, narcissus, ranunculus, and lycoris now.  Mid-month you can start planting your tulips.  Before planting bulbs in your garden, find a spot that gets full sun this time of year and is a bit shadier in the summer. Under a deciduous tree would be ideal.  Planting in a raised bed is the next step in keeping bulbs healthy, bulbs may rot when soil holds water too long.  How deep should you plant your bulbs?  Usually, you plant the bulb with the tip at the depth of the width of the bulb. The exception to this rule is amaryllis, plant amaryllis with the neck above the soil line.  Tulips and hyacinths need to be refrigerated for 4-6 weeks before planting.  For beauty now, plant winter color in the beds with the bulbs, you will not only have an amazing landscape now, but in a few weeks, it will be breathtaking.

white-alyssum

Alyssum

pink-pansy

Pansy

Speaking of winter color, it just gets better and better.  Alyssum makes a sweet-scented mounding ground cover that is great for the outside edge of your landscape.  Alyssum comes in white, purple, and pink. Lobelia is another vibrant blooming ground cover. Lobelia comes in a vibrant dark blue, light blue, purple, and white. Lobelia looks great on the outside edge of your landscape.   Pansies are a beautiful cool weather blooming flower.  Pansies come in purple, blue, red, yellow, pink, orange, white, and mixes of these colors.  Some pansies have “faces” others are solid colors.  Pansies grow 6-8” tall and look good planted en masse.  Viola’s have smaller flowers than pansies but the impact is just great.  These beauties bloom their hearts out and can take more heat than pansies can.  They come in purple, blue, yellow, orange, red, pink, black, and mixes of these colors.  Viola’s grow to about 4-8″ tall.

viola

Viola

snapdragon-red

Snapdragons

Snapdragons are another great plant for the cooler months.  We carry the following snapdragons: Snapshot grows 6-10” tall, Montego grows 6-10” tall, Solstice grows to 16-20” tall, Sonnet grows 18-20” tall, and Rocket grows to 2.6’-3’ tall.  These annuals add height and vibrant to pastel color to your landscape.  Snapdragons come in yellow, white, purple, pink, orange, burgundy, and red.

For the most vibrant color of the winter, cyclamen, will fill the bill.  Cyclamen is a small plant that packs a huge color punch! Cyclamen grow in clumps to 8-10” tall.  They come in red, burgundy, violet, pink, white, salmon, rose, and mixes of these colors.  This plant also has lovely heart shaped leaves with grey markings.  Beautiful planted en masse or as a specimen.  Plant these winter beauties in full sun and feed them to keep them blooming until the heat returns.  These are just a few of the color plants available now to brighten up your garden or patio.

cyclamen

Cyclamen

Now, for camellias.  Last month I covered most of the how to plant, in a raised bed, when to plant, now, etc.  I wanted to add more pictures of the blooms to show the range of beauty that camellias have, enjoy!

 

camellia-pictures

Enjoy the winter garden!

Pat

Let’s Talk About November

By: Pat Cordray


 

Painted Lady Sweet peas at The Nursery

Painted Lady sweet peas at The Nursery

Okay, this is the first time that I have to say this, but I will repeat it each month until spring has sprung.  You ready? Here you go:  What to do if there is a freeze warning for our area?  Water your plants; this protects the roots, so water thoroughly, not just for 60 seconds.   Cover your plants tenting the fabric to the ground then secure it with pegs.  Once the weather warms up remove the fabric.  For hanging baskets, take them in or set them on the ground, water and cover them.  For plants in containers, take them in or water and cover.  These instructions are for plants that are tender to the cold.  This doesn’t freeze proof your tender plants but it will help add just a little warmth and that may be all that is needed to save a plant.  It is better to be prepared than scrambling around at the last minute trying to find your cold weather gardening supplies.  So, place your N-Sulate cloth and pegs where you can find them.  No worries if you don’t have any, we have all you need in stock at the nursery now.    You’re ready!

November can be a great gardening month here, especially for certain flowering plants; like bulbs, annuals, herbs, and camellias.  I love all this beautiful color, let’s get the planting started!

Tulips and paper whites at The Nursery

Tulips and paper whites at The Nursery

amaryllis-a

Aphrodite amaryllis in my garden

Bulbs are here and are ready to be planted.  For forcing inside your home, ziva narcissus, amaryllis, and hyacinths will look beautiful and give your home a festive look for the holiday season. The ziva’s will bloom in 3-4 weeks, the amaryllis bulbs take 3-8 weeks to bloom (depending on variety), and the hyacinths will bloom in 6-8 weeks. You can stagger your plantings to keep fresh flowers blooming in your home all season. When the amaryllis are finished blooming indoors you can replant them in your garden for blooms the following spring. Fun, fun, fun! But don’t stop there, we have many different amaryllis bulbs, tulips, ranunculus, daffodils, Dutch iris, leucojum, lycoris, and other varieties of narcissus besides ziva’s that are just as fun!

When to plant your bulbs?  Tulips can be planted from mid-December through mid-January, they must be refrigerated for 4-6 weeks at about 45 degrees before planting.  We keep our tulips and hyacinths in the fridge so they will be ready to plant at the right time.  Daffodils, Dutch iris, leucojum, narcissus, hyacinths, and ranunculus can be planted this month.  To learn more about bulbs, come to our Bulb Class on Saturday, November 19th.  This class will be hands on, we are going to layer the bulbs in a pot and top it with annuals.  You won’t want to miss this one.

Nasturtiums in my garden

Nasturtiums in my garden

Julep with Amazon dianthus in my garden

Julep with Amazon dianthus in my garden

How about beautiful color now? Cool weather plants like pansies, lobelia, alyssum, violas, stock, calendulas, snapdragons, English daisies, cyclamen, phlox, petunias, nasturtiums and dianthus can add wonderful fall and winter color to your containers and landscapes. Did I mention how beautiful dianthus looks with my dog, Julep? What do you think? Don’t forget to add sweet peas, foxglove, holly hocks, and delphinium for early spring color, to your garden, there is no time like the present. Full sun, well-draining soil, water, and Microlife are all that is needed to keep these cool weather plants blooming for months.

Rosemary at Festival Hill, Round Top, TX

Rosemary at Festival Hill, Round Top, TX

This would also be a good time to plant herbs in your garden; the cold weather makes for strong roots.  Oregano, salad brunet, winter savory, chamomile, dill, rosemary, and fennel are just a few of a long list of herbs to consider planting now.  Most herb plants need full sun and well-draining soil. Give your plants plenty of room in the garden, when you buy herbs in a 4” container you may think, “Oh, good a small plant”, but no, no, no, herbs are bigger than you think. Herbs will add a whole new dimension to your garden with fragrant leaves that attract beneficial insects and many can be used to enhance the flavor of your meals. Fertilizer is only needed a couple of times of year. Oh, so easy and very fragrant.

Bonanza Camellia at The Nursery

Bonanza Camellia at The Nursery

Camellias have some of the most amazing blooms of any shrub.  Can you believe that the blooms are prettier than the pictures? They are, wow!  Camellias are slow growing evergreen shrubs that bloom from about October through March depending on the variety.  Sasanqua camellias bloom in the fall and have small leaves and flowers, usually the flower forms are single, double or semidouble. Sasanqua camellias grow to about 10-12 feet tall for upright varieties and 2-5 feet tall for spreading varieties. Japonica camellias have larger

Nuccio's Gem Camellia in my garden

Nuccio’s Gem Camellia in my garden

leaves and usually have bigger blooms. The forms of the Japonica Camellia blooms are usually single, semidouble, anemone, peony, rose, or formal double. Japonica camellias start off as shrubs, growing to about 6-12 feet tall and wide, but can slowly become a tree reaching 20 feet tall.

Camellias are easy to grow here and are just too beautiful to not be included in your garden.  For the healthiest plants, with the most blooms, give your camellias good organic soil that drains well, regular water, and a fertilizer for acid loving plants.  Protect them from our afternoon sun and strong winds and prune them at the right time, just after they finish blooming. Your camellias will be simply beautiful.

November is so alive with vibrant color to enjoy,

Pat

 

Keeping Gift Plants Alive

By: Deb Pavlosky

 

Are you sentimental, but terrible at keeping gift plants alive?  If your answer is yes, this article series is for you.

Part One

Celebrations at the beginning, end and milestones of life, often beget similar gifts.  Houseplants given in honor or memory of loved one(s) can be very thoughtful and can provide lasting memories from the occasion.  Unfortunately, these plants are usually given without care instructions or even identification information.  How disappointing is it to lose a memorial plant that you try so hard to keep alive?  VERY.  So, over the next few newsletters, I am going to cover some of the most common plants given in remembrance, memorial or celebration and how to care for them.

The first thing you need to know is that gift plants that come from florist shops are grown in very protected environments.  These plants need a little more initial pampering than the same varieties that you might purchase at Maas Nursery or any garden center.  Think of them as delicate babies that need to be gradually introduced to what would normally be their optimal growing conditions. If plants can take full sun, gradually move them to increasing amounts of sun for longer periods of time until they adjust.   If plants can be grown outdoors, it’s probably best to move them outdoors when temperatures are not at extremes.  Plants can be sensitive to moisture, humidity and container type as well as temperature and light.  Therefore, use the information provided as a guide for optimum, long-term care, but don’t necessarily subject plants to conditions that are new to them right away.  Allow them to adjust gradually.  Confusing?  No worries, I will hit the highlights of common pitfalls with specific varieties of gift plants too.

Many times gift plants make great houseplants.  This usually means they can tolerate indirect light and some can even thrive in very low light.  This also usually means that they don’t require a lot of care, watering or thought.  However, this isn’t always the case.  Follow along to find out more…

Aspidistra Cast Iron Plant

Aspidistra Cast Iron Plant

Aspidistra elatior, also known as the Cast Iron plant, is an excellent houseplant, but it can also be grown in the shade outdoors (hardy to temps as low as 23F).  Aspidistra are in the lily family.  These plants like very low light. Their leaves will bleach if they are getting too much sun.  Inside, these plants can be grown feet away from a North-facing window.  So, if you have a window with even minimal light coming in, you can grow an Aspidistra inside.  These plants are very slow-growing and long-lived; people have reported having them from previous generations and over 100 years.  Cast Iron plants don’t like their roots to be disturbed and repotting is not needed very frequently.  Drainage is important because this plant needs to dry out between watering.  So, be sure to check the pot to be sure water drains well, if not, you will have to repot right away.  When you repot, it’s the perfect time to divide clumps and share with friends.  Who knows, maybe a distant generation will talk about the Cast Iron plant they got from the great, great, great grandparent who lived in the Houston area.  Knowing all of this, you can relax when growing this plant – There is a reason they are known as cast iron plants, they can withstand very infrequent watering and neglect.  Flowers are rare for Aspidistra that are kept indoors, but if they do flower, the bud appears at the soil line.

Cast Iron plants are often confused with Peace lilies, another common gift plant.  But these two are actually really easy to distinguish.  Cast Iron plants have leaf veining that runs parallel on the leaf and the midrib is not clearly defined.  Peace lily leaves have a defined, thickened midrib and veining that runs at angle toward the midrib.    To put it a little more simply – Peace Lily leaves are clearly lined with veins that run toward the thicker middle part of the leaf.  Cast Iron plant leaves don’t have clearly defined veins or a thickened midrib.  Also, Peace lilies bloom frequently in the spring and on a tall stalk, Cast Iron plants bloom infrequently if at all and blooms appear at the soil line.

Spathiphyllum

Spathiphyllum Peace Lily

Spathiphyllum spp., or Peace Lillie, are actually not in the lily family at all.  Peace lilies bloom with a spathe that is usually white and at the end of a tall stalk.  Peace lilies like low light to indirect bright light and evenly moist soil.  Care is similar to Cast Iron plants except that they are sensitive to drafts, can’t be grown outdoors in the winter (they are tropical, preferring temps from 60F to 85F) and they need moist, but not wet soil.  As a bonus, Peace Lilies will let you know when they are thirsty – their leaves will droop.  Once you water, the leaves will recover quickly.   How nice is that?

For both Peace Lilies and Cast Iron plants, fertilize with a slow release organic fertilizer in the warmer months.  Cast Iron plants like acidic soil, so you can add a little acidic fertilizer once a year in the spring.  But if you forget to do that, no worries, it’s a Cast Iron plant!

That’s about it for these two common gift plants.  Relax and enjoy.  Read next month for more gift plant help.

Let’s Talk About October

By: Pat Cordray

October, the month that we pay for all summer with the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes, is here.  Sometimes we get a week or two of incredible weather and then right back to summer.  But, I’ll happily take any relief from our summer weather that I can get.

The gardening in October is at the top of the list, we are free of the oppression of the heat and humidity, what a joy.  This is a busy gardening month; from planting bulbs, to planting beautiful bedding plants and seeds, to planting trees.  Now that is a list!

Bulbs, bulbs, bulbs are some of the easiest plants to grow in the garden.  How is that?  When planted in a raised bed or container that has drainage, full sun (part sun in summer, under a deciduous tree would be perfect), and water, it is going to bloom.  The bulb spent the last year getting everything it needs to bloom this year.  So plant them and they will bloom in amazing colors.  Toward the end of this month and through November plant Dutch Iris, ranunculus, calla lilies, Leucojum, Lycoris, and daffodils.  Tulips and hyacinths will need to be refrigerated 4-6 weeks before planting.  Hyacinths need to be planted from mid-November through early December.  Tulips will need to be planted mid-December through early January.  Plan ahead if you want to grow tulips and hyacinths, it is a good thing that we store these bulbs in the fridge so they will be ready for you to plant.  Keep tulips and hyacinths at about 45 degrees and make sure you open the fridge a couple times a day.

And now for more bulb news, are you ready?  Okay, then here you go.  Amaryllis bulbs will be here in October, our first shipment will arrive about mid-month and the second shipment should happen about a week after that.   Amaryllis bulbs are so beautiful and can be grown in your home and/or out in the garden.   I usually force my amaryllis bulbs indoors and move them to the garden when the blooms are spent.  They are perennial here, so think of this, gorgeous blooms year after year with very little help from you, what could be better than that for the garden?

To force amaryllis inside you don’t even have to use soil, but you can.  Fill container with soil and add bulbs.  The bulbs should be planted to the “shoulder” of the bulb and shouldn’t touch each other.  Once the stem starts to grow, turn the pot daily so the stem grows straight. The blooms are heavy; they may need to be staked.  When the blooms are spent, cut them off leaving the leaves intact.  Plant the bulbs in a raised bed in the garden.  The soil level should be to the “neck” of the bulb.  Start bulbs every 2 weeks for fresh flowers in your home all season.

What about for your outside containers and your garden?  Plant bulbs and add fall and winter color plants on top, for instant color now, then the bulbs will grow through the bedding plants for even more color later.  What color plants to grow this time of year?  You can grow dianthus, sweet alyssum, ornamental kale & cabbage, snow princess lobularia, lobelia, calendulas, snapdragons, marigolds, nasturtiums, calibrichoa, forget-me-knots, celosia, petunias, stock, verbena, diascia, phlox, violas, sweet peas and hollyhocks. Leave room for pansies and cyclamen, they like it a little cooler outside.

Do you want to grow from seed?  October is the time to get those seeds in the ground for the early spring color.  Before you plant your seeds, check the package to see if there are any special instructions for the seeds you picked.  Examine the seeds to make sure they are not broken.  Broken seeds will not germinate.  I usually soak all of my seeds overnight in tepid water to help the germination process along.  I plant mine in raised beds or containers with organic soil topped with worm castings.  The worm castings will give the young plants the boost they need without burning.  Gently water your new seed plantings to keep them moist, too much pressure will wash your seeds from where you planted them.  Seeds are great way to add loads of color and variety to your garden.

October is a great tree planting month!  Pick the tree that will best fit your needs and yard when it is full- grown. You wouldn’t want to plant 2 live oaks in a small yard. For a small yard consider crape myrtles, Mexican olives, Mexican plums, redbuds or even shantung maples. There is also the Slender Silhouette Sweetgum.  This sweetgum is a columnar tree growing up to 50 feet tall but only 4 feet wide.  This is a great sweetgum for fall color and no need to worry about the seed balls, the Slender Silhouette doesn’t produce very many and because of the shape of the tree they fall in a smaller area.   We have many trees to pick from, here at The Nursery. Fruit trees, flowering trees, shade trees and even specialty trees like Japanese maples. Most trees do not like standing water so don’t plant them where water stands after a rain. Get your tree in the ground and remember to not plant deep. We have a complete planting guide to help you with the planting. The number one thing is to water. Water a newly planted tree where the roots are, around the base of the trunk; it can take a couple of years for the roots to become established.

We can have so much fun playing in the dirt this month, yay!

Pat

Let’s Talk About September

by Pat Cordray

It may be September for y’all, but the whole month of August I kept thinking it was September. So I am really disappointed that it is not October, humph.  Oh well, September it is.  September is a great gardening month, I will get over it.  Lots to do out in the garden with just a teensy-weensy bit less heat.

September is a time for change, the days are getting shorter and the seasons will follow with that brief respite we call “fall”, I am so looking forward to that.  This is the time of year, if you want spring flowers to grow in your garden, to plant the seed.  The fall bulbs will start to arrive in the nursery along with fall color plants, and more fall vegetables.  This is also prime time for hummingbirds to be in our area.  See, lots of fun gardening to do.

Planting seed is an easy way to add color to your garden.  If you are thinking of beautiful poppies, nasturtiums, hollyhocks, bluebonnets, sweet peas, or larkspur, now is the time to plant the seed.

Seeds are living, they respire just like us.  Place seeds in a cool dry place until you are ready to plant.   Before you are ready to plant, check the information on the seed packet for any special instructions for that particular plant.  Follow those instructions for best germination.  Inspect your seeds, broken seeds will not germinate, so don’t waste your time planting them.  I like to use a thin layer of worm castings to plant my seeds in.  The seed has all the energy it needs to germinate but it will need help when the first two leafs unfold (cotyledons) and worm castings will gently fertilize your new plants.  Keep your seeds moist by gently watering them, too much water pressure will cause your seeds to wash away.

Bulbs will start arriving in the nursery about the middle of this month.  We are expecting Ice Follies, Red Devon, Salome, Sempre Avanti, Lemon Beauty, Apricot Whirl, Erlicheer, Tahiti, and Pitpit narcissus.  Blue Ribbon and Mauve Queen Dutch Iris, Mixed Ranunculus, White Calla Lilies, Blue Delft Hyacinths and Leucojum aestivum.  Oh no, I almost forgot the Tulips.  We will be getting Golden Apeldoorn Tulips in the first shipment.  A little later in the month we are expecting to get more bulbs.   At this time we should receive World’s Favorite Tulips plus red and yellow Lycoris, Flower Carpet Daffodils, Ziva paperwhites and Monal Narcissus.

Bulbs are easy to grow here, all you need is a raised bed under a deciduous tree, or plant them in containers and they will be happy.  You can plant them in groupings to get the biggest show, or you can mix them together and toss them, then plant them where they fall.  You can even force the narcissus and the hyacinths inside for fragrant flowers all season.  The Tulips and the hyacinths will need to be refrigerated for 4-6 weeks at about 45 degrees before planting.  For more information on growing bulbs we have a class to help you decide which bulbs will work for your garden and how and when to plant them.  On Saturday, November 19, we have The Bulb Class with Margaret Cherry. Margaret Cherry is an expert on bulbs in for our area.   She even trials them in her own garden. You will also get to plant a pot of bulbs to take home.  How fun is that?

It is time to get that vegetable garden rockin’.  In real-estate, there are 3 important terms to remember before purchasing property, location, location, location.  In vegetable gardening, there are also 3 essentials to remember, Soil, Sun & Water.  When these 3 essentials are right, plants will thrive, have fewer pests and diseases, and will produce more for you.  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  Good soil in a raised bed or container is the first essential, plants need good drainage.  The second essential is the right amount of sun for the vegetables you are growing, most plants need full sun to produce well.  Finally, there is regular water, think of your vegetable plants as pets, you wouldn’t skip watering them for a couple of days.

What vegetables to plant now?  Here is a list to help you with that:

Beans Beets Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Carrots
Cauliflower Collards Cucumber
Mustard Greens Peas Potatoes
Radish Spinach Onion
Squash

Grow what you like to eat.  Also, check out the When to plant Vegetable planting guide.

If you haven’t noticed there is a Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening class on September 3rd.  So, if you want more information on vegetable gardening this is the class for you.

Fall color is already arriving in the Nursery.  Dianthus, marigolds, and petunias are here with lobelia and snapdragons following close behind.  Towards the middle and end of September violas, ornamental kale & cabbages, bluebonnets, celosia, phlox, and bellis should be in.  When the weather cools a little more pansies, sweet peas, nasturtiums, and cyclamen will be ready.  These are just a few of the fantastic colors plants that will be available for you to make your garden vibrant.

Remember to watch for hummingbirds this month.  August through October are prime time for these beautiful birds to be in our area.  If you want them in your garden, then plant for them.  Check out my article in last month’s Newsletter for a list of plants to include in your garden that will attract them.

September is a great gardening month!

Enjoy,

Pat

Let’s Talk About August

By: Pat Cordray

Goodness gracious, it’s hot!!! Welcome to August.  Let me get inside for a taste of my iced tea and the cool air of the AC.  This is the month that I would love to garden inside but if I want a fall garden I gotta get out there and get my garden ready.

Looking for  plants that will look great from the window all summer long?   The plants listed below will look fabulous in full sun, planted in a raised bed or containers.

Cape Plumbago – Blue flowers spring to frost, grows 3-4’tall and 5’wide, loves full sun but can handle a little less, Butterflies love it!

Firecracker Fern – Tubular scarlet Flowers blooms spring to frost, grows 3-5’tall and 6-12’ wide, this one is a weeper, loves full sun, butterflies and hummingbirds love it!

Pride of Barbados – Orange, red, and yellow flowers in the summer, grows 8-12’tall (this is a tree in warmer climates), loves the full sun and butterflies and hummingbirds love it!

Esperanza – Yellow bell shaped flowers from spring to frost, grows 3-6’ tall and 3-4’ wide, loves the full sun and butterflies and hummingbirds love them!

Rock Rose – Pink Flowers spring to frost, grows to 1.5-4’tall and 3’ wide, loves full sun and is a great hummingbird plant.

Flame Acanthus – Tubular scarlet flowers summer to fall, grows to 3-5’tall and spreading, loves full sun but can take some shade and is a fantastic hummingbird plant, the butterflies don’t mind it either

Vinca – White, pink, red, lavender flowers late spring to frost, grows to 14-18” tall, loves full sun but can take a little less, provides great color for beds or containers.

Penta – White, pink, red lavender flowers spring to frost, loves full sun but can take some shade, several varieties that grow from 6-22” tall, butterflies love them and you will too.

Thryallis – Yellow flowers summer to frost, loves full sun and grows to 3-6’tall and 3-5’wide, this is a happy plant!

 

Get your hummingbird plants in the ground now! You will want to have plenty of nectar plants blooming for the hummers when they head your way.  Hummingbirds migrate through this area August – October, keep your eyes open and your feeders clean and filled.  I can’t wait to see them zipping around my garden an I know you will love it too.  If you want them to visit your garden, plant them.

 

For your annuals, August is a time to clean them up and fertilize them.  To get the most blooms and the healthiest plants fertilizer is a must.  Use something organic like MicroLife.  You don’t have to worry about burning anything and the blooms will be outstanding.

 

We are expecting tomato and pepper plants a couple weeks into this month.  Get your garden and/or containers ready for your plants they will be here before you know it.

 

While you are out watering your plants check for pests.  If you see any signs of them eating or sucking on your plants take care of it right away.  The sooner you get rid of these pests the less likely they will spread causing problems with your plants in your garden.

 

Enjoy your garden

Pat

Let’s Talk About July 2016

By Pat Cordray

It’s July, it’s still summer, it’s still hot, it’s still buggy, but at least we have had some rain. We can’t do much about the heat except go inside. We can do a little something about the bugs. And then, there is the jungle growing from all this rain. My jungle in the back yard is in need of a sharpened pair of shears and loppers, how about yours? Even my 2-year-old granddaughter called it a jungle when she went out on Sunday.

July gardening may be more challenging than at other times of the year. But, there are just a few things to get done this month. It is mostly about how you water, but before you water check the soil around the plant. If it is newly planted, check the soil in the area closest to the plant (the roots will not be in the surrounding soil yet). When checking the soil you may notice that it is damp everywhere but closest to the plant. That means the plant has used all of the water it can get to, time to water. In the summer months you may have to water these new plantings daily. Water slowly all around your plant. If you are unsure about how long it takes to water to keep the root ball moist, stop and check. Dig into the soil and see how far down the soil is moist. If you have only watered long enough to wet the top ½ inch, you’re not done, water a little longer. Once the roots become more established you won’t have to water as often.  If you notice that the plant is wilted but the soil is damp, don’t water. The plant is conserving energy and will bounce right back when the sun goes down. If it is still wilted in the morning go ahead and water. The ideal time to water is in the early morning hours but if a plant needs water then by all means water it.

While you are watering check your plants for damage from bugs. The sooner you control them the less money and time you have to spend to get rid of these pests.

I have found that garden shears are magical. They can take an overgrown jungle and make it a beautiful garden. I like to try many different plants that grow all kinds of ways and garden shears help me keep my sanity. I have learned a lot growing this way, both what to do and what not to do. Like when you plant a certain shrub (oak leaf hydrangea) and you think it may not do well, sure enough, it proves you wrong and you have to move it 3 times. How could you believe this little 4” plant (shrimp plant) could possibly grow to be 4’tall and cover your whole bed? Well it can! Who reads those little tags on plants anyway? I do, now! Be wary of a plant that is labeled vigorous. You might need to get the chain saw out!

I do LOVE Gardening,

Pat