Golden Flowers for Summer

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 by Jenny Watts
    • Fertilize container plants every 10 to 14 days with a liquid fertilizer. Pinch off faded blossoms and they will keep blooming all summer for you.
    • There’s still time to plant summer vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and corn will bear for you if you plant them now.
    • It’s time to set out Brussels sprouts for fall harvest.
    • Attract birds to your garden with a concrete bird bath. They come in many attractive styles and make good gifts.
    • Earwigs are out and about and hungry. Control them with the new “Sluggo Plus”, which has the natural, bacteria-based spinosad added to the original iron phosphate formula.

Gold in the Garden

To brighten up your flower beds and containers this summer, look to Marigolds, Coreopsis, yarrow and Gazanias to add some splashes of gold to your garden.

Coreopsis are a favorite flower with many gardeners because of their bright, sunny colors and long blooming season. Their drifts of daisy-like flowers light up the garden with bright splashes of gold, rust and soft yellow.

Most coreopsis are perennials with long blooming seasons. Their golden yellow daisy flowers rise on strong stems above their rich green foliage. The variety ‘Early Sunrise’ has double, 2-inch flowers on 2-foot tall plants. They bloom the first year from early summer to fall, attracting butterflies and birds to your garden. Bright and cheery, they make great cut flowers.

Threadleaf, coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ has dainty, finely-cut foliage and a spreading habit. It is a strong perennial, living for many years with minimal care. It’s pale yellow flowers combine nicely with blue and purple flowers, like Echinacea or Campanula, in the garden or with warm colors. It can also be used along garden walls where it will tumble over the edge. It is the most drought tolerant of the family.

Coreopsis ‘Baby Sun’ is excellent in the flower border, making a thick covering about 16 inches high. The fringed yellow flowers have a striking red eye, and they bloom over a long season, living for many years with little care.

The dwarf coreopsis, ‘Nana’, makes a nice, long-blooming ground cover. It has single, golden yellow flowers and forms a carpet of brilliant yellow from spring through summer. It prefers morning sun and makes an excellent addition to the rock garden.

Marigolds are sunny annuals with yellow, orange or red flowers. There four types of marigolds: French marigolds, triploids hybrids, and single-flowered types with dainty flowers, and African marigolds with large, fluffy flowers. No annual is more cheerful or easier to grow than marigolds. You can use marigolds as border or edging accents or grow entire beds of them. Marigolds also make good potted plants and cut flowers. Plant them in full sun or partial shade.

There are many different types of yarrow, but two are outstanding for their big, yellow flowers. ‘Coronation Gold’ is a hardy perennial that sends up flower stalks to 4 feet tall with golden yellow flower heads. ‘Moonshine’ is a smaller variety, growing to 2 feet tall with buttery yellow flowers. All kinds attract butterflies and insect pollinators.

Gazanias are bright daisy flowers that bloom all summer. They grow as ground covers and flowers come in many colors, but yellows and oranges are predominant. Use them for a bright spot of color or as a ground covering, though they seldom live through the winter in our climate.

Plant some gold in your garden to brighten summer days.

New Flowers for Spring

Friday, May 25th, 2012 by Jenny Watts
    • Begonias bulbs can be started indoors now and set out after danger of frost. You’ll enjoy their beautiful flowers this summer.
    • Plant lawns now from seed. Reseed established lawns to fill in bare patches.
    • Azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias provide lots of beautiful flowers for the shady spring garden. Choose them now.
    • Fertilize established roses now and begin spraying them for insect and disease problems. Neem oil is a very effective, less toxic spray that works against both insects and diseases.
    • Enjoy the bright yellow colors of goldfinches outside your window by putting up thistle feeders for them.

What’s New?

“It’s Spring again, and birds on the wing, again…” Spring is finally here and we’re all looking for something new and unusual to brighten up the yard.

Daisies are always fun and offer their bright flower faces up to the sun. The ‘Margarita Bronze Bicolor’ Osteospermum dairy is a most unusual color. This bronze African Daisy has long, ridged, daisy-like petals of a rosy-bronze with a halo of pastel yellow surrounding the dark eye. It is really striking and a perfect addition to your flower arrangements. It’s sister plant, ‘Margarita Pink Flare,’ has rich, pink flowers with a white center that “flares” out from the dark blue eye. Growing 12-15 inches high, they will look nice planted with white alyssum.

A new group of Nemesias are called Sunsatia® and their ‘Raspberry’ is a rich, warm color. Nemesias are related to snapdragons and grow in part sun, with abundant raspberry-pink flowers all through the spring season. Growing 12-18 inches tall, they can be used in flower beds or as fillers in combination pots.

For a really big splash, try the new Sunbather® Gazanias. This new generation from Australia have a dense growth habit and large brightly-colored flowers. ‘Sunbather’s Sunset’ offers amber-orange double flowers that stay open day and night. It grows 18 inches tall and wide, and loves the full, hot sun.

Now, for something really different, you’ll have to see the new Supertunia® ‘Pretty Much Picasso’®. Its unique flowers are rose pink edged in lime green with a dark purple eye. The vigorous plants are great for mixing in combination pots. They will grow 8 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Try them with Lysimachia, an evergreen groundcover with rounded, yellow-green leaves, and white alyssum.

Another great new petunia is ‘Double Cascade Blue.’ Floriferous and cascading, the dark purple-blue double flowers cover the large, vigorous plants. Mix them with double ‘White Sonata’ or single pinks for a showy combination.

New varieties are always coming out in Impatiens. As part of the new Dazzler™ series, we now have ‘Lilac Splash’ and ‘Blue Pearl.’ Dazzlers™ put on a big show of 1.5-in. blooms over rich, green foliage all summer long. The flowers of ‘Lilac Splash’ are a deep lavender-pink with a red eye, and ‘Blue Pearl’ is more of a light magenta with a purple eye. Both will brighten up your shady flower beds and pots.

Don’t overlook snapdragons for taller plants in the flower border. A new series called ‘Freesong’ grows up to 18 inches high. The well-branched plants make excellent cut flowers in cherry, crimson, pink, scarlet, white, yellow and orange.

Spring is here and it’s time to get planting!

Hot-Summer Garden

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 by Jenny Watts
    • Remove suckers on rose bushes. These vigorous canes emerge from below the bud union and should be cut off as far down as possible.
    • Hydrangeas are full of giant pink or blue flowers all summer, filling the shade garden with color.
    • Fountains create the sound of moving water that is restful and cooling on the patio or in the garden.
    • Dig and divide crowded spring-flowering bulbs and tubers including daffodils, scillas, muscari, and bearded iris.
    • Sow seeds of perennials like columbine, coreopsis, delphiniums and cone-flowers now for planting in the fall and beautiful blooms next year.

Hot-Summer Garden

Give your garden some pizzazz this summer with a flower bed of hot-colored flowers. These are the warm colors found in glowing sunsets, crackling fires and brilliant fall foliage. From clear yellows to gold, orange and red, these flowers will brighten any garden bed.

Plan your flower bed with the taller plants to the rear and the low spreaders in front. In between you can plant a menagerie of medium-sized flowers. A mix of annuals and perennials will give you the most color all summer long.

For the back row, choose from tall yellow yarrow, brilliant colored zinnias and canna lilies. Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’ is a yarrow that grows to 3 feet tall with gray-green fernlike foliage on plants that thrive in a hot, dry, sunny spot. Golden yellow flowers bloom in summer on flat, upward facing flower clusters.

Bold-colored canna lilies add a tropical accent to the flower bed. Their large leaves resemble banana leaves and the lily-like flowers come in bright red, yellow and orange.

Zinnias are a gift from Mexico. Tall zinnias come in all the bright colors of red, orange, yellow and purple. A planting of mixed colors or bold ‘Big Red’ make a color statement.

In the middle of your bed, the showy banded flowers of Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’ will add a big splash of color with their large orange-red blossoms tipped by a ring of yellow.

Penstemon come in many bright colors from dark purple ‘Midnight’ to cheerful ‘Huntington Pink’ to bright red ‘Firebird’. The maroon foliage of ‘Husker’s Red’ has tall stems of white flowers.

Rudbeckias, also known as Black-eyed Susans and Gloriosa Daisies, are beautiful daisy flowers for the border. The petals are golden yellow, sometimes with splashes of red and all have black centers.

Potentilla is a large genus of plants that includes shrubs as well as perennials. The shrubby form, ‘Goldfinger,’ is a neat little plant with butter-yellow flowers that bloom over a long season. ‘Monarch’s Velvet’ makes a low mound with strawberry-like foliage and raspberry-red flowers with crimson centers that rise on tall stems.

For the front of the border, look to colorful spillers like calibrachoa or Million Bells. This tough, ever-bloomer loves the sun and the heat. Look for it in yellow, rose, orange or purple.

Gazanias are a must-have for the hot summer garden. Their boldly striped blooms provides a carpet of color throughout summer.

Fill in the bare spots with marigolds and zinnias of different heights and the bright flowers of petunias and you’ll have amazing color from now till frost.

Fire up your garden with the hot colors of Summer.