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Southern Gardening - Potpourri for June

We have had a relatively cool spring, with plenty of rain which has done wonders for flowers planted last month. Recently I went to the big box stores looking for summer annuals and perennials to plant to fill some areas of my garden. I was not just amazed, but stunned at the huge hike in prices, even since March. There were no 6 packs, just quarts which were $6.00 per container. And the herbs were not much cheaper since a 6 inch pot was $5.78. Earlier in February I tried my hand at getting up basil and dill seeds. So I have decided to transplant these to 6" pots and save the cost of $5.78 per pot. Of course my Pacific Giant zinnias have reseeded like gangbusters, so luckily I will use these.

However, I paid about $14.00 per pot for some verbena which I think is outrageous. Presently, I took some cuttings from these and am rooting them now. Also I decided to spring for a tray of dusty miller which lasts even over the winter. This plant known to many as lamb's ears has gray-green to silver leaves and is a great foil for really bright colored flowers. Incidentally, they do well in sun and shade, plus prefer dry soil.

If you are trying to set out a Memorial Day flower bed or pots, white vinca, blue ageratum or blue salvia, and red petunias, or geraniums will do the trick. When I was out and about I spotted any annuals that would fit the bill. These choices should be pretty until fall as long as you deadhead and fertilize the geraniums once a week, The Blue Salvia is almost a carefree perennial, and the petunias need to be cut back in July. So once this flower color scheme is established, you are set for the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

I have tried an experiment at the farm regarding lettuce. I started the seed indoors, transplanted the seedlings outside in early March. One set of seedlings went straight into the garden, and another set of seedlings were planted in a raised bed with protective sides. We had rabbit damage last year, but the lettuce in the raised bed with the sides was not eaten. Probably because the rabbits could not view the lettuce.

Plant of the Month

COREOPSIS ASTERACEAE or the common name "tick seed". Coreopsis family of plants range from ground covers to upright plants standing up to 6 feet. This plant of many colors and many varieties blooms from mid spring to late fall. With low maintenance, this perennial should have a front row seat in any flower bed. All varieties are hardy in Zone 8 ( our zone) and are quite drought resistant. They do not thrive in overly rich soils. Their daisy-like blooms make good cut flowers. Also Coreopsis can be divided through their root corms or rooted by stem cuttings. So there is no excuse not to propagate plenty of Coreopsis.



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