The people's voice of reason

Southern Gardening - Potpourri for June

June is the month that most people are in earnest about their gardens. If you do not believe me, just go to nurseries and garden centers on these warm sunny days. Women and men are filling shopping carts full with an array of summer annuals, perennials, bulbs and tropicals. The congestion can get frantic and the lines long, so I suggest going during the week days and avoid the week ends. Also early in the mornings the gardening trade would be lighter. If you are starting from scratch or have large areas in which there is nothing, do not forget to purchase good soil to use as a top dressing which will prove to be a great start for the small plants. And do not forget the fertilizer. I usually apply it after I plant, and then water it in really good. Osmocote which is time released, and after applied, should last most of the summer. The only flower that will not tolerate commercial fertilizers to remain on its leaves are begonias. The fertilizer pellets burn the leaves and could affect the future health of the plant. If you use what I call common or cheaper raw fertilizer on begonias, shake the leaves well before watering. Of course liquid fertilizer is good in any situation.

There is one thing for sure in the gardening realm, if at first you don't succeed, try again. That holds true if the color scheme is bad, pull out or transplant to another area the block of plants that do not work, and re-plant.; if the seedlings have poor germination, re-sow the seed, as you will know within a couple of weeks; if the weeds out pace your ability to get control, put up blinds around flowers you want to keep and use a normal solution of Round-up. Gardeners know that nature always gives us a second chance, for she is very forgiving. So get going, to get growing.

I really like to place plants in close proximity where one gets a sequence of bloom or the plants bloom simultaneously. In my backyard, which is mostly semi shade, I am enjoying a huge terra cotta pot filled with blooming light purple digitalis with three oak leaf hydrangeas in full bloom behind and off to the side-a dynamite sight. These two techniques show good garden planning and gives one a lot of bang for the buck. On a black privacy fence, a good combination of plants that bloom at the same time, are red Knock roses and white confederate jasmine. Also the jasmine gives off a wonderful scent. Both of these choices have very long bloom cycles and look great framed by the black privacy fence. A sequence of blooms example includes a mass of daffodils in front of old fashioned day lilies. When the daffodils die down with browning leaves, the day lilies are shooting up fresh green leaves hiding the daffodils' ugly feet. One has to allow the bulbs to die down to the ground in order to be nourished for bigger blooms next season.


There are mainly three varieties of Phlox. One can say that we can have a Phlox for all seasons with a full range of colors and sizes. We have P. paniculata, a garden or summer Phlox which gets to around 4' in height; P.stolonifera, a creeping Phlox which grows to around 10 inches in height; P. subulata, moss pink or lavender and grows to 5 inches or so. All three of these varieties are hardy to USDA Zone 4, needs a sunny location and well drained soil. Our region is in USDA Zone 8, the higher the number, the colder the climate. In other words, these do well in our area.



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