The people's voice of reason

Potpourri for June

With Memorial Day behind us, I hope we can keep our patriotic spirit through June until the 4th of July. Do not take down the flags, plant a red, white and blue flower bed, or travel to Boston, Philadelphia or to Jamestown, Virginia to immerse oneself in patriotic fervor. Check out some biographies from the library on Samuel Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson for starters. And for the 4th, bake a Flag sheet cake covered in white icing, with strawberries for the stripes and blueberries for the stars. I do this every year without fail. As for the patriotic flower bed, use the following for sunny beds: blue ageratum, white vinca, and red annual salvia; and for shady beds, use white impatiens, red impatiens, blue forget-me-nots or blue Veronica (speedwell).

Although summer will be officially at hand on June 22nd, summer is upon us now. It is time to pull out any winter annuals such as Johnny-jump-ups, pansies, dianthus, snaps, and cut back the now yellowing stems of daffodils. Some perennials need to be cut back after they quit blooming such as shasta daisies, coreopsis, phlox sublata, and spring blooming salvias. This is also a perfect time to plant canna lilies, caladiums, elephant ears, and other summer bulbs. Always remove dead growth and leaves from the beds so as not to encourage mold, fungus or insects.


Bear's Breeches: Acanthus mollis -- These plants are fast growing and spreading, and are native to southern Europe. I have grown these for many years, and loved them. A perennial that is reliable tor several years, they would be the diva of the garden. For large beds, you would only need about 2 or 3 plants. Versatile, they can tolerate full sun to partial shade. They flower white, lilac, or rose flowers that stand 18 inches tall in a tubular spike. Water needs would be regular to moderate and when not blooming are prized tor their dramatic foliage. They can be divided in the fall to winter and are kin to the artichoke plant. I have seen them occasionally in nurseries in Montgomery, so grabbed a couple when you can.

Pots in the garden can be an effective method to add interest, and dimension to the garden scene. I have seen large amphora turned on the side with small annuals spilling out behind a border with taller flowers surrounding the pot. Upright clay pots with tropicals such as hibiscus and plumbago or allamanda can be charming. If you have a rampant grower that you do not want loose into the beds, use pots to contain them. Now you have the best of 2 worlds.



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