Father’s Day in the Garden

    • There’s still time to plant summer vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and corn will bear for you if you plant them now.
    • Attract birds to your garden with a concrete bird bath. They come in many attractive styles and make good gifts.
    • Attract hummingbirds to your patio this summer with hummingbird feeders, so you can enjoy their iridescent beauty and charm. The new Big Gulp™ holds 40 oz. and is easy to fill.
    • New Guinea impatiens have variegated foliage and giant, impatiens flowers. These striking plants will take more sun than regular impatiens and will bloom all summer.
    • Check roses for black spots on the leaves and treat immediately to prevent defoliation.

Father’s Day in the Garden

My father loved dahlias. He had a flower border that surrounded the little lawn in our backyard and in it he grew gorgeous dahlias and tall, colorful gladioli. There was also a big, beautiful apricot tree and a large bed of strawberries. He would deliver a big bowl of bright red strawberries to the kitchen with pride and anticipation for the strawberry shortcake that would appear after dinner. How we enjoyed the fresh fruit from his garden. He loved gardening and I loved being with him in the garden. I think the garden was his escape from the stresses of life.

Lots of dads enjoy gardening. Tomatoes and peppers are favorites with many of them. And dads like fruit trees. It gives them lots to master with the pruning and thinning and then the harvesting in the fall. There always seems to be room for one more fruit tree.

Grape and berry vines are easy to grow and so much fun to harvest. With just a few grapevines you can harvest enough fruit for delicious fresh grapes, grape juice, grape jelly or raisins. Plant early, mid-season and late varieties for an extended harvest. The sweet, ripe berries are loved by everyone.

Raspberries and blackberries are easy to grow in our climate. Raspberries come in a variety of colors: red, purple, black and yellow. From the classic dark red berries with rich raspberry flavor to the extra large Bababerries and the yellow Fall Gold, there is a wide variety of colors and flavors. With a little planning, you can have fresh raspberries from spring through fall. There is very little maintenance and you are rewarded with succulent berries year after year.

Blackberries are known by many names: boysenberry, nectarberry, loganberry or olallie berry to name a few. The berries range in color from jet black to red, from sweet to tart, and all have distinctive flavors.

Olallie berries are large, firm black berries 1.5 inches long. They are sweeter than others with some wild blackberry flavor. Marionberries have sweet, bright, shiny black berries with a faint wild blackberry flavor. They are excellent for fresh eating and desserts.

Loganberries are thought to be a wild cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry. Their large, light red berries do not darken when ripe. The unique, tart flavor is highly prized and loganberry wine and pies are enjoyed by many people. ‘Triple Crown’ blackberry is named for its three crowning attributes—flavor, productivity and vigor. In addition, it is thornless and produces very large berries.

Boysenberries, also called nectarberries, are extremely large, dark maroon berries up to two and a half inches long. They are soft and very juicy with a rich, tangy flavor. They come either thorny or thornless.

Gooseberries and currants almost never show up in the grocery store, so if you like a tasty gooseberry pie now and then, you better plant your own. They are very flavorful and can be eaten fresh or made into pies and jams.

Blueberries grow on bushes that produce bountiful crops in just a few years. There are many varieties and they ripen over a long season. The soil needs to be acidic and kept moist but with a little effort, you can harvest delicious blueberries all summer long.

Celebrate Dad this weekend with fruits and flowers and a day in the garden.

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