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Southern Gardening - Potpourri for July

With the Fourth of July approaching, everyone is thinking red, white and blue. If you have a pot garden, you can switch out some of the pots with RED, WHITE AND BLUE at the speed of a blink of an eye. Buy white vinca, red begonias, and blue salvia (or whatever you can find in this color scheme) and plunge them into some existing or new pots to highlight the patriotic season. Every year I bake a sheet cake and ice it with white icing. Then with red strawberries for the stripes, and blueberries for the stars, I fashion a United States flag. This is even more fun if you involve your children or grandchildren, And do not forget to display flags and bunting out of doors and have red, white and blue balloons in clusters around the house. You may even want to go to the History channel and watch some movies about the Revolutionary War.

This time of the year since it gets so hot, I go outside early in the morning to pull weeds, water, fertilize and encourage the flowers to grow. July is the month to trim back dragon wing begonias, geraniums and impatiens probably by one third. If you get cold feet and do not trim back, within one month these flowers and plants will flop over and not be beautiful in the fall. It is so hard to do, but they come back with new growth and flowers shortly. When you fertilize after the " haircut", be sure to water really well, avoiding getting the fertilizer on the leaves of the plants. Begonias are especially sensitive to regular fertilizers on their leaves that in the summer I use Osmocote. LIquid fertilizers will also suffice.

It appears that the plants and herbs for sale in the big box stores are very expensive. I see 4" pots of just one flower or one herb for $4.68 belore taxes. So I bought dill, basil, mint and oregano seed for about $1.00 per package, and got the plants up from seed. I had many seedlings which I added to my herb bed here in Montgomery and took some of the others to the farm. The leftovers I shared with neighbors. Although time was spent in germinating the seed, I had saved a lot of money.


Also known as lilies- of- the- Nile, these are absolutely the grande dames, stars or main attractions to any garden setting. Tall, stately with dramatic blue or white blooms, they bloom in the early to late summer, stand 2-4 feet in height, and if in the ground, will stand a freeze with heavy mulching. They do require more potash than normal plants, and need to be repotted every 2 years if they are growing in pots. Their thick leathery leaves are also dramatic when they are not blooming. One thing about this plant is that if planted out of doors, it does not like other plants too close. A tell-tale sign of this problem is no blooms. If you have been to the Grand Hotel and walked down the boardwalk, the homes along the bay have long thick stands of Agapanthus in front of white picket or black iron fencing. Really an eye-catching sight . I am now trying to figure out how I can use Agapanthus in my yard in Montgomery.




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