Middle South

July, 2011
Regional Report

Cover a New Trellis

While you're waiting for a permanent planting to establish its roots and get growing, cover a newly sited trellis with a colorful and vigorous annual vine. A few excellent choices include morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea), scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus), hyacinth bean vine (Dolichos lablab), moonflower (Ipomoea alba), and cup and saucer vine (Cobaea scandens).

Build a Border with Color and Height

The best borders include an irregular planting plan, with flower and foliage colors that harmonize or contrast (but don't clash) with other selected plants, and varied plant heights that are typically tallest in back, but with a few exceptions to avoid a regimented effect. Unless the bed is especially large, choose only a handful of colors. Then group like plants in blocks, rather planting them randomly.

Take Care Dividing Perennials in Summer

Perennials are best divided in spring or autumn, but a gardener's life doesn't always follow the calendar. If you find it necessary to tackle this chore in summer, always water well in the preceding week, carry out the work late in the day so there is a bit of recovery time before new plants are subjected to midday heat, and limit the number of divisions so plants are vigorous.

Utilize Eggshells

You don't need a compost pile to make good use of eggshells in the garden. Added to the bottom of a planting hole, a generous sprinkle of crushed eggshells will provide calcium and help improve drainage.

Prioritize When Water is Scarce

When water is in short supply, give the highest priority to newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials; newly seeded lawns; vegetables in flower; and plants on fast-draining soils as well as those in windy or exposed sites. It's also important to irrigate early in the morning to reduce evaporation and to water deeply to encourage long, healthy roots, which will make plants more drought resistant.

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