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Casey’s annual plant sale is a sure sign that summer is drawing to a colorful close. Now is a great time to replace tired plants, fill in holes in landscapes and planters and give your home a burst of fresh … Continue reading
The Japanese beetle is probably the most devastating pest of urban landscape plants in the United States. Japanese beetles were first found in this country in 1916, after being accidentally introduced into New Jersey. It has gradually expanded its territory as far west as Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. It is important to note that both adult beetles and grubs (see below) can cause damage to your landscape and lawns. The beetles feed on about 300 species of plants, trees and shrubs. Removal by hand and drowning them in a bucket of soapy water or spraying with Sevin in the early evening is the best way to eliminate these pests without affecting our pollinators.
Summer Landscape & Garden Checklist
✔ Sow seeds of biennials like hollyhocks directly into the garden this month for blooms next year.
✔ Remove spent blooms of annuals and perennials to encourage new flowers.
✔ Fertilize baskets, planters and window box plantings every 7-10 days. Always water BEFORE adding fertilizer to prevent burning the plants.
✔ Monitor plants for insects. Don’t apply chemical treatments during the day when bees are present – wait until evening. This also lessens the stress on plants.
✔ Pinch off terminal buds on rhododendrons to increase next years blooms.
✔ Prune all spring flowering shrubs immediatly after they flower.
✔ Evergreens, boxwoods, and olly can be lightly pruned or shaped – encouraging new growth.
✔ Established lawns require approximately 1 inch of water per week to keep grass green and actively growing. Lawns that are allowed to become dormant and brown usually recover as precipitation increases in the fall. It is best to water early in the day, decreasing the chance of turf disease.
✔ Pinch top growth of herbs to encourage branching and keep them from flowering. Snip or cut off sprigs of herbs to use in cooking all season.
✔ Plant pumpkins at the first of the month. Large varieties require a 100-day growing season.
✔ Stake or cage tomatoes and peppers as they continue to grow.
✔ If Mother Nature does not provide 1 inch of water per week to your garden and ornamentals, it is best to water deeply once per week rather than water shallowly several times per week.
Garden Plants with a Tropical Flair
A continued trend in gardening has been to create a lush, tropical oasis right in your own backyard. Transforming a ho-hum garden into a tropical paradise by using masses of brightly colored blooms and selecting plants for their strong architectural value allows gardeners to create dramatic scenes, giving the image of a tropical paradise from far, far away.
Dan continues to find an unusual and colorful selection of tropical plants to delight the eye.
1. Hibiscus : produce huge, colorful, trumpet-shaped flowers over a long season
2. Mexican Petunia : vibrant violet-blue blossom appears to fluoresce in bright sunlight – and attracts happy hordes of butterflies.
3. Plumeria : famous for their gorgeous flowers which are used to make leis
4. Allamanda : exquisite butter-yellow flowers over glossy deep green foliage and shrub like growth habit
5. Passion Flower : a woody vine with intricate blue, purple, red, or white flowers.
6. Blue Thunbergia : fast growing vine reaches for the sky with ravishing summer flowers in blue with a hint of violet.
7. Clerodendrum ugandense : Blue Butterfly Bush – so named because the flower looks like a butterfly.
8. Mandevilla : tropical vine bears a nonstop supply of large, trumpet-shaped blooms in shades of red, pink, and white.
9. NEW!! Iochroma : Bold purple tubular flowers adorn the stems of this hummingbird-magnet plant.
Dan has once again obtained a great selection of palms to 11 ‘ tall and unique ferns to add greenery and texture to your tropical oasis! We have Majesty, Washingtonia, Roebellini, Sago, Cardboard, Adonidia, Triangle palms and large Staghorn ferns in hanging baskets. As always, special orders are welcome!
Summer Flowering Bulbs
Bulbs generally fall into one of two categories – spring-blooming (or hardy) bulbs and summer-blooming (or tender) bulbs.
Spring-blooming bulbs are planted in the fall, overwinter under ground, and bloom in the spring. In order to bloom, they need to a cold period during the winter. They include well-known favorites, such as tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and grape hyacinths.
But summer-blooming – or tender bulbs can add dramatic color and texture top your garden all summer long.These bulbs are generally planted in the spring after the last hard frost and are dug up and stored in a cool place in the fall.
Here is a list of summer blooming bulbs you might like to try – and some of their characteristics.
1. Elephant Ear : Easy to grow impressive and dramatic foliage can produce leaves that are 2-5′ in size. They are best grown in half shade.
2. Caladiums : Heart shaped leaves provide brilliant color for shady areas though they will tolerate half shade/half sun.
3. Cannas : Huge exotic blooms and colorful tropical leaves, cannas prefer full sun and can be planted in containers. They bloom mid-summer thru frost.
4. Calla Lilies : Great cutting flowers on arrowhead shaped foliage. Calla lilies attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Plant them in full sun.
5. Asiatic Lilies : Large star shaped flowers in lavish color choices. Best grown in full sun, they attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Asiatic lilies do NOT need to be dug up as they are perennial in our region and will come back every year.
6. Gladiolus : A multitude of colors are available and these make a great cutting flower. Plant in full sun – stake to keep plant standing upright.
7. Begonias : Rose like blooms in a variety of colors, begonias prefer full shade. Attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.
8. Rununculus : A more difficult bulb to grow but a great cutting flower with straight stems and long vase life. Rununculus’ gorgeous rose-like multi-petal flowers like full sun.
9. Dahlias : A multitude of flower color, shapes and sizes from quarter size to as large as a dinner plate. They prefer a sunny location and are a favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies.
I hope this has tempted you to try one of the many summer-blooming bulbs – you will be well rewarded with both beauty and an explosion of color!
Compost is ready when it looks, feels and smells like rich, dark earth.
How To Get Started Composting
Composting is a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus which fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil. It’s also free, easy to make and good for the environment.
Adding compost to your garden’s soil always brings the best returns: healthy, vigorous plants and great harvests. And when you keep yard waste and kitchen scraps from the landfill you’re doubly rewarded.
Start with a container:
A compost bin can be a simple, well ventilated cage made from wire fencing or wooden crates. For optimum decomposition, it needs to retain moisture and should be located in a sunny location so that it holds as much heat as possible – speeding up the decomposition process.
The right ingredients:
Start with bulky materials like small branches, woody stems and corn cobs and thick fiberous stalks – this aids drainage and helps aerate the pile. Add compost material in layers alternating moist, dry brown and green layers. Moist ingredients might include tea bags, food scraps and banana peels. Dry materials include wood ashes, straw, leaves and sawdust. Green ingredients that are rich in nitrogen include clover, buckwheat, and grass clippings, fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along. Important brown ingredients that are rich in carbon are top soil (avoid soil that has been treated with insecticides) shredded paper, nuts and shells, coffee grounds, pinecones and needles, dryer lint, hair, straw and leaves.
Water is also important – ensure that your pile has the wetness of a damp sponge by watering it once a week. The final crucial ingredient is air. Turn your pile a few times a month with a garden fork to aerate the waste.
What NOT to use in your compost bin:
Coal ash, colored paper, diseased plants, inorganic materials such as aluminum foil, glass, plastics and metals, meat, bones, dairy products, grease, pet droppings
A properly managed compost bin will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad. Your compost should be ready in two to five weeks.
Compost is ready when it looks, feels and smells like rich, dark earth rather than rotting vegetables. In other words, it should be dark brown, crumbly and smell like earth. Finished compost is a free soil amendment and fertilizer for the garden. It is mild and won’t burn plants like chemical fertilizers. By adding compost you’ll improve the overall texture of your soil enabling it to retain and drain water better.