The people's voice of reason

Southern Gardening - Potpourri for September

Where has the summer gone. Seem like it was just yesterday that we were getting ready for Memorial Day, flying flags, putting up red, white and blue bunting and watching parades on television. Now it is Labor Day with the summer days winding down to fall. I will have to note that this summer is the wettest one in recent history. Surely the drought is over, and our ground water filled to the brim.

Garden chores are not as intense this time of year as in the early spring, especially if you have kept up with some weeding all along. If the perennials are still blooming, such as salvia, plumbago, begonias, geraniums, cannas lilies, we can prune these back for a new flush of bloom until a freeze. If these perennials have turned brown, then just cut them back to the ground and you can plant other flowers around them. Later in the fall the geraniums, any tropicals and begonias can be potted and brought indoors during winter. These will be bigger plants when replanted in the garden setting in the spring. Besides weeding, this is a good time to fertilize which will give new life to the flowers. The end of this month is a great time to sow old fashioned poppy seeds on to the bare ground in the flower beds. I usually clear an area and show its placement on a plan so I won't forget why I have these vacant spots in the beds. Then you just sow the seed on to the bare ground which has been mixed with sand at a ratio of 1/4 teaspoon to a quart of sand. Otherwise, with normal germination, you will be forever thinning the seedlings and telling yourself you will never just cast the seed out without these sand ratios. Been there done that. Another chore tor September is to mulch any plant either in pots or in the ground to winter over outside. Plumbago will take a good amount of cold in the ground with mulch, and for that matter, the Dragon Wing begonias not potted up bu,t mulched heavily with leave or pine straw, came back most of the time.

Shrubs and trees do well planted this time of year. When digging the hole, made sure it is at least a fourth to one half larger than the root ball. After planting, tamp the ground really good to take out any air pockets near the roots. Water this tree or shrub well and wait another week to lightly fertilizer. With the cooler days and nights, blueberries, raspberries, and all fruit bearing trees especially do well planted now. Beauty berry shrub with bright fuchsia berries which bare in the fall and winter is a great way to feed the birds in the winter. Asian lilies such as the 'star gazer' variety, must be planted now until 1st of November. When you go through nurseries and garden centers, search for petunias, dianthus, pansies, and any perennial so you can get a head start for colorful beds in the winter and spring.

PLANT OF THE MONTH--Kerria japonic

If you can find this shrub buy it, plant it, and enjoy if for years to come. It was introduced to America in the early 1800's and was termed back then, "the yellow rose of Texas", but not a typical rose at all. However it falls into the rose family. It is an arching shrub which sometimes gets to heights of 10 feet with light green serrated leaves which stay green all year long. To have survived through two hundred years, they are mainly pest resistant. Kerria has solitary buttery yellow blossoms one to two inches across. It thrives in full sun to light shade, and will even grow under trees where many plants do not withstand the root competition. One nice fact is that this shrub is not invasive, and that the suckers appearing around the base of the plant can be transplanted. I have seen a hedge of Kerria banked against a black privacy fence which was in full bloom one bright February day and it look spectacular. There are many varieties, so be on the look out for: ' Pleniflora' which is the most common form and has large double blooms; 'Kin Kan' has a single blossom with yellow striped stems; 'Alisa' and 'Albiflora" have all white flowers. Incidentally, I have used the greenery and the blooms in flower arrangements with great success.



Reader Comments(0)