Hot-Summer Garden

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 by Jenny Watts
    • Garlic should be harvested when the leafy tops turn yellow and fall over; air-dry bulbs, remove tops and store bulbs in a cool place.
    • Hydrangeas are full of giant pink or blue flowers all summer, filling the shade garden with color.
    • Shade-loving begonias will add color and beauty in both planters and hanging baskets.
    • Check for squash, or “stink”, bugs on squash and pumpkins. Hand-pick grey-brown adults and destroy red egg clusters on the leaves. Use pyrethrin spray to control heavy infestations.
    • Prune rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas to shape them now. If you wait much longer, you will be cutting off next year’s flowers.

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, there are yellow and orang0e daylilies, yellow coreopsis, and bright colored zinnias. Red yarrow, Achillea ‘Pomegranate’, is a nice addition.

Daylilies come in a wide range of colors now, from yellow, orange and red into shades of purple and pink. The shorter variety ‘Stella D’Oro’ reblooms throughout the summer and is great for edging the front of the 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.

Zinnias are a gift from Mexico. Tall zinnias come in all the bright colors of red, orange, yellow and purple. Flowers can be ruffled doubles or spiky cactus form. A planting of mixed colors makes a colorful 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.

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. ‘Autumn Colors’ produce large flowers in a range of bicolor shades from yellow through gold, orange and bronzy-red.

New varieties of Echinacea come in lots of bright colors from yellow to orange and red and bright pink. With their prominent centers, the daisy flowers are a bright addition to the border.

Marigolds come in all sizes from 8-inch French marigolds to tall African marigolds with large, fluffy flowers. The dwarfs come in a wide range of colors and bicolors while the taller flowers can be yellow, gold or orange. No annual is more cheerful or easier to grow than marigolds.

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.

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. Dwarf zinnias are bright orange and make an outstanding edging.

Bright alyssum and the bright blue shades of lobelia are excellent border plants. They bloom all summer long.

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.

Coping with Summer Heat and Your Garden

Saturday, August 8th, 2015 by Jenny Watts
    • Set out starts of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and lettuce for a fall harvest. Spray weekly with BT to keep the cabbage worms at bay.
    • Replace codling moth pheromones now to make your apples as worm-free as possible. Replace the sticky papers at the same time.
    • Roses have more flowers all summer long than any other shrub. Plant them in a sunny location and feed monthly for continuous blooms.
    • Impatiens will give you instant color in shady areas and continue blooming right through the fall.
    • Mottled leaves are often a sign of spider mites. Check for them with a hand lens or bring a leaf in to your nursery, in a plastic bag, for identification and treatment options.

Coping with Summer Heat and Your Garden

This is the time of year when our gardens can get a little less than bright and fresh looking due to the summer heat. The combination of high temperatures and lack of water can stress plants, and especially fruit trees.

By far the easiest and most effective way of keeping your garden looking fresh is by mulching. It is most effective in areas where the direct rays of the sun are baking your soil. As the sun beats down on bare soil it just pulls the water right out of it.

This harsh drying of the soil surface can also result in a “crusting” of the soil so that it has difficulty absorbing water or actually repels water. This can be devastating to your garden causing you plants to stress each hot day during the warmest part of the day.

When plants wilt due to this heat, tissue damage occurs, and each time this happens the plants become weaker and have more trouble recovering. When plants are stressed for any reason they emit chemicals that may attract insect pests as well.

Some symptoms of heat stress on fruit trees are sunburn on the trunk and branches, branch dieback and the presence of bark beetles. Healthy, well-watered trees are more resistant to beetle attacks. Painting the trunks with white latex paint will reflect the hot sun and prevent sunburned bark.

For well-drained sites, apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch around trees. If there are drainage problems, a thinner layer should be used. Avoid placing mulch against the tree trunks, but spread it out to the tree’s drip line or beyond.

Runoff water is a real problem for many home gardeners that live where soils are heavy. It can also be a problem for owners of new homes where the soils have been mechanically compacted. A layer of organic compost over the top of your soil will significantly reduce runoff. Mulching will also keep valuable plant nutrients in your soil where they belong.

Organic mulches placed on your soil regularly also build the overall quality of your soil as the mulch breaks down. It feeds the billions of beneficial microorganisms that help to increase humus formation while it also feeds such valuable garden friends as earthworms.

Composted wood chips make a good mulch, especially when they contain a blend of leaves, bark, and wood. Fresh wood chips may be used around established trees and shrubs. Bagged decorative bark also works well.

Monitor soil moisture and check your drip system for clogged sprinklers and emitters. If plants are doing poorly in spite of watering, make sure that you are not overwatering. Poke your finger down into the soil to test.

When the forecast is sizzling, plan to rise early and work during the cooler morning hours or in the evening. Keep a sharp eye on plants’ water needs, take good care of your soil and your plants will flourish in spite of the summer heat.