Pacific Northwest

May, 2009
Regional Report

Propagate Dianthus

There's an easy way to produce more dianthus from your blooming plant. As creeping dianthus begins to bloom you can cut off short bloom stalks along with a piece of leafy stem and root them in the ground by simply inserting the stem into moist soil. New roots will develop within a few months.

Build a Flower Basket

Hanging flower baskets are great for putting color right at eye level. Select a container that's about 12 inches in diameter to create a large, full display. Fill it with light, loose, moistened potting soil -- then plant. Baskets can be devoted to one plant or a combination of greenery and flowers. Suitable plants for containers include trailing or cascading ivy, vinca, thyme, and mint. For color, grow impatiens, verbena, dwarf marigolds, or creeping petunias.

Divide Hostas

When new foliage just begins to emerge, dig and divide overgrown hosta clumps. For quickest recovery, each new division should have at least two leaves attached to a mass of roots. Replant the divisions after amending the soil with moisture-retentive compost or other organic matter.

Make Inexpensive Plant Markers

I've tried marking my bulbs with stick markers, only to have them fall over and wash away. Now I use an inexpensive method that never fails. I save plastic forks and spoons from fast-food restaurants and write on the handles with a permanent marker. I bury the spoon or fork head in the soil and leave the handles above ground as markers; the heads anchor the utensils in the ground and they stay put for 2-3 years.

An Easy Way to Measure

Instead of carrying a measuring tape around, try using these handy tips for estimating distances in the garden. A standard-sized seed package is 3-inches wide. If you have large hands, your index finger is about 1 inch wide. If you have small hands, use the width of your thumb to measure 1 inch.

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