Garden Rescue Time!

    We are at the halfway point of our annual growing season here on the east coast (very sad face). To maximize this incredible time of year there a few tips to keep your anuuals, perennials & planters going strong through the fall.

~ Take a spade or fork & break up the surface tension of the soil in your planters and around your annuals in the ground. (Yes, even mulch forms this water barrier.)
~ Any planters that have been allowed to completely dry out, if possible, submerge in air temperature water for fifteen minutes to completely rehydrate. If the container is too big, see above & do an excellent job then water, water, water.
~ Sprinkle slow release fertilizer around the base of your plants.
~ Water with water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Gro or a bloom boost version for your flowering plants. Continue with this every couple of weeks for the remainder of the summer/fall.
~ Deadhead diligently & cut back leggy annuals such as petunias for max shape & blooms for the rest of the growing season. I trim back my coleus, zinnias, asters & mums to reshape for example.
~ Keep watering! This is the hottest time of year coming up with little rain.
~ Once rescued, sit back with some mint infused iced tea & enjoy the beautiful garden you have nurtured! Happy Gardening!

Gardening is Risky Business!

     Late in fall five years ago I was meandering through a garden center looking for deals. There was a beautifully shaped tree form Rose of Sharon. It was only ten dollars and needed a home! As I wheeled my cart through the center to the checkout a woman customer (who was just trying to help, but for the sake of this blog I will call her Negative Nancy), Negative Nancy, said to me, "you don't want that shrub, it reseeds like crazy!." I grew up with Rose of Sharon shrubs but this Negative Nancy was not going to stop me. Anyway, this one was different. It had a couple deep pink way past peak blooms that reminded me of carnations. So five years later and NOT ONE volunteer later, I have this amazing tree form shrub that blooms tirelessly from early summer to frost. So my Hibiscus syriacus 'double pink' was a risk but I could not be more pleased!

     A recent acquisition at a garden club plant sale was not labeled at all. All I was told was that it was a perennial & would get flowers. It has beautiful purple leaves (which I knew would break up so much green foliage). That was all I cared about at the time and for two dollars I'd give it a try. Well it is now blooming with delicate yellow flowers. I figured it was time to research this plant, Lysimachia ciliata 'firecracker'. INVASIVE, DEEP ROOTS, WARNING WILL ROBINSON! Okay a decision needs to be made then, do I keep this going or do I cut my two dollar loss now? "But it is so pretty right now", I tell myself. I don't mind pulling plants that get out of control but if they have roots to China....

   So this where gardening and life parallel so beautifully. It is all about risk taking. In your garden if you do not take risks with something new, your garden will never grow (in the maturing sense). In life, without risk, no rewards (or joys). A garden is the perfect place to start on your risk journey. Feel gratitude for the thriving plants you have but then take a risk on something new. (Even if there is a Negative Nancy whispering in your ear!) If a plant speaks to you, try it out! I am keeping my firecracker plant and will look at it and smile knowing that it is my little risk plant. A few feet away is my risky purple loosestrife which has stayed put for over 15 years now! Enjoy the risk & the rewards! Happy Gardening!