Pacific Northwest

August, 2003
Regional Report

Make Necklaces for Your Iris

I'm always moving my irises around to create more interesting and more pleasing color combinations. The trouble is that their identifying labels seem to drift away. Instead of placing labels in the ground, I've found a better way to keep plants and labels together. I use the extra-wide, green plastic plant ties available at garden centers, and with a permanent marking pen write the name of the iris and the flower color on one end of the strip of plastic. I then wrap the tie loosely around the base of the plant and tie the strip in a knot. When the time comes to rearrange the garden, all I have to do is pick up the loose ends of the ties to remind me which plants are which.

Plan Your Fall Garden

It's transition time in the summer garden. As flowering plants stop producing, remove and replace them with fall-blooming chrysanthemums, pansies, and ornamental kale. As you harvest the last of your summer vegetables, sow seeds of cool-season veggies, such as spinach, lettuce, beets, beans, carrots, and radishes to help extend your garden's productivity.

Entice Beneficial Visitors

Frogs and toads eat cutworms and other insect pests. Invite them to the garden by placing inverted clay pots in shady spots with lots of foliage. Chip out a piece of the pot rim to give them an entrance to their home. To further encourage them, place a shallow container of water in the garden and refill as necessary.

Stake Tall Plants

Install supports around tall plants, such as hollyhocks, to help keep them upright during late-season wind and rainstorms. Slender reed or bamboo stakes long enough to reach up three-quarters of the plant's height work best. Put three or four stakes in the ground and weave supporting twine between them, starting about a foot above ground level. Add another weave a foot above the first, to help stabilize the support.

Let Nature Mulch Your Garden

Evergreen trees and shrubs often drop some of their older foliage this time of year, mostly from the inner part of the plant. Although it may look dramatic, unless the tips of the branches are browning, a few dropping needles shouldn't cause concern. It isn't necessary to remove the foliage that drops; it becomes mulch for the shrub or tree.

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