Upper South

July, 2006
Regional Report

Encouraging More Flowers

Perennials that are capable of either reblooming or continuously flowering will be more likely to do so if they are cut back as the flowers fade, then fertilized, mulched, and watered. Try this with delphiniums, summer phlox, spiderwort, gaillardia, achillea, coreopsis, and salvias. Petunias and other annuals that are beginning to get a big leggy and bedraggled also respond well to a trim and feeding.

Water Efficiently

A garden with well-prepared soil and mulch will usually only need watering during the worst of circumstances. When water is needed, however, early morning is the best time because there will be minimal evaporation, while evening watering can promote fungal diseases. If possible, use soaker hoses since there is no runoff. When buying a soaker hose, be sure that it's flexible enough to easily lay flat on the ground.

Use and Store Pesticides Carefully

Whether you use organic pest controls or not, all pesticides should be stored in a safe, preferably locked, place away from children and pets and kept in their original containers. Always read the labels and follow the manufacturer's directions. With some pesticides there is a waiting period of several days between the time of the last application and harvest. Be sure to wash produce thoroughly before using.

Order Autumn Crocuses

Autumn crocuses and colchicums offer an eye-catching display of color in the fall in shades of lavender, purple, and pink. Since the bulbs are not always available locally, they should be mail-ordered now so they can be planted in late summer. Next spring they will send up leaves, which will die back, then they'll bloom again in the fall. Allow them to increase undisturbed in meadow or open woodland plantings or among shrubs.

Gather Bouquets

Bringing fresh flowers indoors is one of the joys of summer. Early morning, when the stems are filled with moisture, is the best time to gather them. Use sharp scissors or a knife and carry a bucket of water with you to the garden to hold the flowers after cutting. Before arranging the flowers, make a slanting cut to prevent the base of the stem from resting on the bottom of the vase.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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