Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Potpourri for May

 

We have all been waiting for this month in order to kick into high gear with our garden and our pot gardens. If we have been diligent in picking out the winter weeds, preparing the soil, and making the garden plan, we should be ready to dash out and almost complete an instant garden. If you have completed the plan, and already have marked off the areas that seed has been sown and where cut back perennials live, it is time to get out a credit card or your check book for obtaining the spring and early summer plants. My pot garden consists of many ornate clay pots bought in Italy in the mid-1980s and shipped over from Florence. These Italian pots are really superior to those we find here since they have much iron in the clay, rendering them impervious to the contracting and expanding during our winters. Many pots chip, flack and crack over the years during the freezes of winter, but not these.

Since I have wintered over elephant ears, geraniums, along with dragon wing begonias, I just need to add some annuals. I can now fill my shopping cart with impatience, petunias, and whatever annual that catches my eye. This area of my garden gets about 4 hours of sunlight per day and, even sun loving annuals, such as petunias, dianthus, zinnias, thrive. I look to the colors of the existing "hold overs" which are red, pink, and orange, of the begonias and the geraniums, and pale blue plumbago.. The plumbago will remain in these pot, blooming in the summer through late fall. Then I assess that I need gray/silver dusty miller, and white impatience which will act as a foil for the bright colors, I will add dark purple and p[ale lavender petunias and bright pink petunias. The silver- leafed dusty miller and the bright white impatience will also be prominent at night. With the pots filled, I have gotten a head start by using last year's plants and have saved money in the process. Next I will fertilize and water them really well.

Unfortunately, it is too late to acquire digitalis for this year's blooms. I had found some grown plants at Green Thumb nursery back in February and planted them in a large pot. Just last week I noticed a small spike deep within the lush leaves. and behold the spike shot up 2 feet and has many buds that will soon look fantastic. The best time to plant digitalis is in the fall, and let them stay outdoors during winter. These plants are biennials, which means they put on leaf growth the first year, bloom the second and then die. Usually, nurseries or anyone can sow the seed in last summer, let these plants winter over, and in the spring the plants believe they have been around for 2 seasons. Anywhere you choose to plant the beauties, they become the stars of the garden.

PLANT OF THE MONTH--VERONICA

The genus, Veronica, has a wide variety of heights and appearances from flat mat like leaves, to flower spikes which reach 5 or 6 feet high. Some of the varieties which are readily available at nurseries are: 'Blue Fountain' with blooms up to 2 feet; 1. spicata incana which forms spikes of violet flowers; 2. virginica with pale blue and pink flowers and 3. virginica alba, the most imposing variety with white flowers, the spikes reaching 5 feet tall. These plants are spectacular, do not need to be staked even though they are so tall, and their stems, they add in the write-ups, can withstand a gale force wind. If one is looking for summer blooming height in the flower beds, you can depend on V. alba.

Let's not forget to proudly fly our American flag for Memorial Day as it is a way to show our patriotism and show respect for those in the Armed Services.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY AND GOOD GARDENING.

 

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