Tag Archives: daisies

Garden Alert! Summer To-Do List

Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne'

Rudbeckia ‘Herbstonne’

It’s almost July in Birmingham, time for weekends at the lake and trips to the beach or mountains (and aren’t we lucky to be so close to both?)  So I promise not to make you work too hard in the garden… but remember, a little work now will mean less later – and a prettier garden too!

So, here are a few things to be thinking about – and you don’t even  have to do them all at once! Simply walk through your garden at least every week and try to do at least a couple of the following tasks each time:

Pull weeds that may be coming up and dispose of them. Never put weeds on your compost pile unless you want more! Pulling weeds a bit at a time is so much easier than ignoring them and doing a marathon weed pull later. Trust me on this; I’ve been there. Did you see the post on mulberry weed? It’s one you need to keep out of your garden!

 'Becky' daisies

‘Becky’ daisies

Deadhead (cut off dead “heads” of blooms) any flowers that have passed their prime.

 

Along the same vein as deadheading is cutting back. Planters benefit greatly from being cut back when they are geting “out of control” in size  (usually around this time of year if you planted them in the early spring).  It’s a difficult thing to do for folks, but try it. Cut back those weedy looking zinnias. That coleus that’s gotten enormous? Cut it back! Those trailing plants that are looking a little worse for wear? Cut them back by at least half.

There, you did it! Now give those plants a bit of fertilizer, keep them watered, and then  stand back while they flush back out. You can thank me later!

Deadheading a phlox bloom...

Deadheading a phlox bloom…

 

Perennials in your garden will also appreciate a little attention here and there. When your phlox has pretty much bloomed out, trim the spent flower head off.  It will usually rebloom a second time. Once they’re completely done blooming, cut them back by half to neaten things up a bit. Rudbeckias, daisies and coneflowers will also continue to bloom longer if you pay attention and deadhead them just as you do your annuals.

 

Deadhead individual blooms on balloon flower

Deadhead individual blooms on balloon flower

 

Balloon flower is one perennial that you should never cut back while it’s blooming or you’ll lose out on a lot of flowers. Simply pinch off old blooms – this is best done daily. Confused about annuals and perennials? Refresh yourself by reading this post on them.

 

 

Do you see yellowing leaves on perennials or annuals? It only takes a few minute to “groom” a plant  – simply remove the yellow leaves; after all, they’re not going to turn green again! Daylilys definitely look better if you pay attention to this after you’ve cut back the faded bloom stem. You can even cut their  foliage back by half to neaten the plant up after it’s bloom period is completely over.

midsummer...perennials and annual share this bed.

midsummer…perennials and annual share this bed.

Some late blooming perennials should be getting taller…inserting wide border supports keep them in line (They are one of my favorite support systems.).  Take a look HERE  if you missed the post on late blooming perennials and what to do with them early in the season. The Rudbeckia ‘Herbstonne’ shown in the picture at the beginning of this post  is an example of a perennial I cut back in the spring to control it’s height and bloom time. They are in full bloom around town now.

See the mulch?

See the mulch?

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you need to refresh mulch in beds, now is a good time to get this necessary task done. Not the most fun job, but it keeps the soil temperatures at the root zone of plants at an even temperature – especially important in our hot climate! Mulch conserves moisture, smothers weeds, and eventually will break down, contributing  to the health of the soil too. Pretty good stuff all the way around.

Okay, that wasn’t so bad was it? Now you can pour yourself a glass of wine, pat yourself on the back and enjoy your beautiful, cared for landscape!

By Kris Blevons

Perennials – Plant Some Now!

Mexican sage, Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara'

First things first…what is a perennial? Well, a perennial is any plant that will be with you for the long haul – some will disappear completely during the coldest months of the year and reappear with the first warm days of late winter.

Herbaceous perennials have a specific bloom period when they offer their largest show, then continue to grace the garden with their foliage the rest of the season. Or, their foliage will be the show through the summer and their bloom time will be in fall.

French hollyhock - Malva sylvestris

French hollyhock – Malva sylvestris

However and whenever they bloom though, please understand that for the majority of their life you’ll be looking at the shape, texture and color of their leaves. When you’re deciding where to place them this is one of the most important things to remember!

Perennial salvia leans over a carpet of thrift (Creeping phlox) in this border...

Perennial salvia leans over a carpet of thrift (Creeping phlox) in this border…

Used well, perennials are a wonderful addition to a landscape filled with trees, shrubs and annuals. They add their period of bloom and, when grown well, should get larger with each season. (We’ll talk about dividing your perennials in another post.)

However, perennials are not no-maintenance plants. Some, like Japanese aster, thread leaf coreopsis, catmint and dianthus need shearing back after bloom. Others, such as daisies, coneflowers and rudbeckias appreciate general dead-heading (Cutting off individual blooms.) to keep them blooming longer. When they’ve finally played out the entire stems need to be cut to the ground. Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa, benefits from deadheading blooms if you don’t want it to reseed. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on it, so deadhead below the bloom only.

Still others benefit from being cut back by at least half early in the season to control height, or this can be done with half the plant to create a staggered bloom time. Many late season bloomers fall into this category. These include many of the tall salvias, perennial sunflowers, tall rudbeckias, pink muhly grass and joe pye weed (Eupatorium). These late blooming perennials are quite beautiful in combination with perennials grasses.

Summer phlox is one that benefits from up to half its stems being cut back early in the season. This promotes good air circulation, which in turn helps to prevent mildew problems on the leaves.

when the ligularia on the left and the iris aren't in bloom, it's the foliage contrasts that will capture your attention...

when the ligularia on the left and the iris aren’t in bloom, it’s the foliage contrasts that will capture your attention…

 

 

 

None of these tasks is difficult, and, if they’re done a little at a time, your plants will look well tended and cared for.

If you’re in the Birmingham area, please stop in and take a look at the perennials in stock now. The selection of plants is excellent!

Some favorites for part sun to full sun:

Iris – Japanese, Siberian, Louisiana, German  and our native copper iris
Coreopsis ‘Full Moon’, and many others
Summer Phlox – Phlox paniculata  ‘David’, ‘Franz Schubert’,  Common Purple (mildew resistant)
Daisies – Leucanthemum (formerly Chrysanthemum sp.) ‘Becky’ daisy
Japanese aster – Kalimeris pinnatifida
Day lilies (many) – Hemerocallis                                                                                                     Rudbeckia fulgida – Black-Eyed-Susan  Rudbeckia ‘Herbstonne’
Echinacea  – purple coneflowers ‘Magnus’, ‘Pow Wow White’, many others
Salvias – Salvia leucantha – Mexican sage, ‘Indigo Spires’, ‘Mystic Spires’                                          Dianthus – many…the old standby is ‘Bath’s Pink’                                                                            Creeping phlox or thrift – Phlox subulata

Favorites for light shade to full shade:
Hostas (of course!)
Woodland phlox  –  Phlox divaricata
Solomon’s seal (green or variegated) – Polygonatum sp.
Japanese painted fern -Athyrium nipponicum
Autumn fern – Dryopteris erythrosoris
Tassel fern – polystichum polyblepharum
Indian pinks – Spigelia marilandica
Heuchera
Tiarella
Heucherella
Aspidistra – cast iron plant
Carex (many)

Don’t let the latin names intimidate you!  They are just the best way of knowing for sure what you are asking for. Common names, though easy to remember,  can bring on even more confusion when there’s more than one plant with the same name…at any rate, try a few perennials in your garden soon – you’ll be hooked in no time!

 

 

This is just the beginning of the perennials that are out there. Ask us for advice if you need help choosing – we’re happy to advise you on the right choices for your garden. And, if you’re adventurous, try one even if you’re not sure if your spot is exactly right – plants don’t always follow the rules!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone