Q and A Gardening July ’14

My flower basket is fading. All the flowers seem to have finished blooming. What can I do?
A couple of suggestions for that one. Perhaps three. One: clip off all the dead blooms (called deadheading). Annuals live to reproduce. When they have enough seeds, they stop blooming so keeping them clipped keeps them in blossoms. Two: Use a liquid fertilizer called “bloom fertilizer” mixed according to manufacture’s directions. Different companies present different names, but look for something that promises to help blossoms. Three: Give the basket a haircut. Just take scissors and give it a trim. Not so drastic, but tidy it up. Especially petunias. Let it rest somewhere out of sight and soon it will reward you with renewed color. Never as large as at first, but still pretty.

No matter what I do, my basket always seems to be sun faded.
Oops. You forgot to ask the seller whether this type was for shade or sun. Move it into a dappled shade and see if it will recover. Water if needed. Begonias of any kind, tubers, fibrous, angle wing, etc. should be watered sparingly. Just when dry. Too soggy will water log and weaken the stems.

When do the Lilies bloom?
July is the season in the eastern part of the country for lilies of all sorts. Asiatic starts them off, followed by oriental with heavenly fragrances, then large trumpet. Plant the bulbs in the spring and then just forget about them (hide from rabbits). Day lilies that open and close in the same day are gorgeous and offer many, many varieties from the orange naturalized ones roadside to the miniature to the hefty, strong tetraploids. Deer and rabbits consider them tasty, but aside from aggravating us because they eat the blooms, grazing animals usually do not kill the plant. Day lilies require very little care and will even tolerate shade although they do not bloom as heavily. I like to plant them around a tree trunk as they suppress weeds and grass.

What’s next?
Sunflowers are beginning to show color. Rudbeckias, “black eyed Susie” have been smiling at us for a couple of weeks already. Echinanacea and Rudbeckia Goldstrum will take us right into mum season. Both these hardy perennials are easy, peasy to grow. Forgot to mention Shasta Daisies for strong white. Who doesn’t love a daisy?

Weeds?
Overwhelmed? Take it one section at a time. When you conquer the weeds, mulch heavily. Next year consider container gardening. You can move the patio pots around the yard when you need a spot of color and weeds are MUCH easier to handle.

 

Next post. Gardening made easy. Send in your questions.

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