Favorite or New Plant
'Princess' Purple Fountain Grass
'Princess' purple fountain grass (Pennisetum purpureum), a Proven Winners introduction, is a beauty in my summer garden. Standing three-feet tall, its shiny purple-black foliage is a sight to behold. 'Princess' is a warm season grass and should be treated as an annual except in zones 8 to 11. It is a nonflowering variety, which means it looks lush and full until the first hard frost. Best of all, color and vigor of the grass seem to intensify in summer's heat.
Clever Gardening Technique
Here are five important tips for mid to late summer, when rainfall is usually in short supply:
(1) Give the highest priority for irrigation to newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials; newly seeded lawns; vegetables in flower; and plants on fast-draining soils and windy or exposed sites.
(2) Fertilize less, in both frequency and amount, to avoid excessive growth. It is particularly important to avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers.
(3) Don't apply pesticides, as they create additional stress.
(4) Cultivate the soil sparingly, as disturbing the soil surface makes it dry faster. To keep weeds in check, cut them off at the soil surface.
(5) Do not prune, as cuts are slower to heal during drought. Pruning also encourages new growth, which increases the need for water.