Flowers for your garden
Many gardens are filled with roses, peonies and daisies, but there are also many popular perennial flowers like tulips, lilies and daylilies. Gardeners in cooler climates love tulips, calla lilies and hyacinths. Others favor hydrangeas, magnolias and perennial lily-of-the-valley.
Five things to do in the garden this week:
1. If you have a branch heavy with peaches or apples or avocadoes that you think might break under the load, you may want to employ a tree crutch to support the branch. A tree crutch (or tree support) is a Y-shaped device that is stuck on the end of a pipe or pole whose diameter is up to 1.5 inches. Alternatively, the crutch fits snugly on the end of 2 x 2” pressure-treated lumber. A tree crutch is made from hard plastic that endures temperature extremes. You can find this device for around $8 through online vendors. It will support branches up to three inches in diameter.
2. Consider petchoas for your summer flower bed. These are hybrids between petunias and calibrachoas, the latter recognized by its petunia-like flowers, only half the size. An advantage of petchoas is that although they have flowers the size of petunias, they do not have the sticky, hairy stems of petunias. Thus, whereas faded petunia blooms must be continuously plucked away to keep them looking their best, petchoa drops its flowers, cleaning itself without human assistance.
3. Select species with flamboyant foliage for a tropical look this summer, especially if you are assembling a collection of specimens to grow in a container garden. The three most recommended categories of plants for this purpose are cannas, elephant ears (Alocasias and Calocasias), and red Abyssinian banana (Ensete ventricosum var. Maurelii). Canna tropicana has leaves pinstriped in gold, green, crimson, and orange along with orange blooms, but there are cannas with yellow, pink, red, or white flowers and dwarf varieties as well. Black Magic and Black Coral are elephant ear varieties with deep purple foliage verging on black. Red Abyssinian banana has large, handsome leaves that turn reddish bronze with increased light exposure, although they will also thrive in partial sun.
4. Protect ripening melons from fungus – the result of contact with the ground or mulch – by resting them on overturned pie tins. Another practice for keeping melons off the ground involves constructing a sturdy trellis and then “hammocking” the fruit in pantyhose tied to the trellis. Protect ripening melons from rodents by constructing cages for them from hardware cloth, another name for wire mesh. sold by the foot, with rectangular openings of various sizes.
5. Root crops – carrots, beets, radishes – can be planted from seeds in the summer as long as their water needs when germinating and starting their growth are met. This means that seeds and young sprouts must be watered daily, if not twice daily, until they are well established. Having rich, well-amended and composted soil is also essential at this time of the year for success with newly planted vegetable seeds. Lettuces can also be sprouted from seed at this time, but should be located in partial sun to light shade.
Please send questions and comments regarding any plant or gardening subject to email@example.com. Photos are always welcome.