Dr. Rick has some
design tips for our yards and gardens. What colors catch
our eye, what combinations work well together, this segment
will provide some ideas on landscape design.
temperatures warm up and we start thinking about container
gardening, one frustration always causes Southerners concern.
Containers are difficult to water and care for when temperatures
begin to soar. It is not unusual to have to water them every
day. Let me share some advice with you on how to select
and prepare your containers to be able to deal with the
intense temperatures of June, July, and August.
consider containers made of plastic or something other than
clay. Clay pots breathe and this is great if our plants
lack air but not so good if you're trying to keep your plants
from drying out. If you do choose clay try lining the inside
sides of the container with plastic. Make sure water can
drain out the bottom if necessary. We don't want to create
a swamp in the bottom of the container. Rocks or clay potshards
are not necessarily a good idea in the bottom. But it isn't
a bad idea to put a layer of landscape fabric across the
bottom, if the soil you choose tends to drain out the hole
in the bottom.
selection is a critical ingredient to success with containers.
A good rule to follow is put your money where your dirt
is. Do not go with the cheap soil, as it will haunt you
all summer long. The first criterion for good container
soil is it must be soil-free. In other words, you don't
want any mineral matter in the soil at all. No sand, gravel
or anything you've dug up out of the ground. You may save
a little bit with a cheap mix but it is often filled with
weed seeds and does not encourage the correct ratio of air
and water. A premium soil mix will create an environment
that holds 25% water by volume, 25% air by volume and 50
% potting mix. In general, purchase the lightest mix you
can find. A combination of peat, perlite and vermiculite
is your best bet.
take a quick look at each of those. Peat comes from bogs
where it has been submerged underwater for many years and
years. Peat comes in various stages of decomposition and
is particularly acidic. It does an excellent job holding
water in the soil mix. Perlite is a volcanic rock material
that has been heated up to 1800 degrees. It extremely light
and does an excellent job of providing air in the soil.
We want a little of this in our mix but not too much as
our soils will dry out too fast. Vermiculite is mica like
material that has been heated to very high temperature and
expanded just like popcorn. Vermiculite is an excellent
water holding component, so we want a pretty high level
of this in our containers. There are numerous other ingredients
you look for. Bark is often part of the mix as a substitute
for peat. Try to avoid too much bark unless the particles
are very small and you are sure that it is totally composted.
size and shape of our container also affects how much moisture
it will hold. Believe it or not containers that are tall
and narrow tend to drain faster than wide, squatty ones.
Here's why. Pretend this sponge is the soil in your container.
If I completely saturate this sponge with water it doesn't
drip when it is held horizontally. But take the same sponge
and turn it more vertically much of the water drains out.
It is because the water column is longer and the water pressure
is greater from above. Select containers that are wider
than they are tall if you want them to drain slower and
therefore hold water longer.
a container involves placing a core of dense, water-holding
material at the bottom of the container. One of my favorites
is pure clay soil mixed with a little water absorbing gel.
This is some interesting stuff that really holds moisture.
Once it touches water it absorbs many times it weight and
swells up. As the soil begins to dry out the water absorbing
gel begins to dry out and releases water into the surrounding
soil. Fill up a small pot with clay and water absorbing
gel and turn it over into the bottom of the container and
remove the pot. Here is your core of water holding material.
Fill around the core with good potting mix up the rim. When
the soil is moistened it should compact a bit and allow
for a lip to form so water will not run off from the soil
as you water.
you plant, try to place your plants at a 45-degree angle
around the edge. As they fill in, they will fill up the
middle and cascade over the edge as well. Something taller
in the middle such as this ornamental grass should be approximately
1 ½ to 2 times the height of the container to make it feel
proportional. Use a slow release fertilizer and you can
even supplement it with a little with a high middle number.
That's phosphorus and it is responsible for lots of flower
and root growth. You may want to add a little mulch on top
to insulate the soil and keep it from drying out so fast.
Otherwise, your container plants should thrive in this type
of environment all the way to frost next fall.
We look at a compact garden and see the number and variety
of plants that can be grown in a small area.
Dr. Rick gives us some tips on
different types and care of Hostas.
Catherine Drewery from Goodness Grows in Lexington, Georgia
introduces us to self-sowing Herbaceous Plants
For success with self-sowers:
1. Allow seed to mature-don't deadhead all the blooms.
2. Let seeds fall naturally around the mother plant, or
scatter them in desired spots.
3. Seed must contact the soil to germinate. Thick mulch
will prevent self-sowers from spreading the same way it
4. Learn to recognize the seedlings and thin them to allow
adequate space for plants to develop.
Good candidates for self-sowing include
(A=annual, B=biennial, P=perennial, SLP=short-lived perennial):
B Alcea rosea - Hollyhock
SLP Aquilegia - Columbines
P Belamcanda - Blackberry Lily
A Celosia Argentea - Cockscomb/Prince's Feather
A Centaurea Cyanus - Bachelor's Buttons
SLP Chrysanthemum Lecanthemum - Ox-Eye Daisy
A Clome Hasslerana (C.Spinosa) - Spider flower
B Daucus Carota - Queen Anne's Lace
B Dianthus Barbatus - Sweet William
B Digitalis Purpurea - Foxglove
A Eschsholzia Californica - California Poppy
P Helleborus Orientalis - Lenten Rose
SLP Hesperis Matronalis - Sweet rocket
P Lobelia Cardinalis and L. Siphilitica - Cardinal Flower
and Great blue Lobelia
SLP Lychnis Coronaria - Rose Campion
B Malva Sylvestris "Zebrina" - French Hollyhock
A Nigella Damascena - Love-in-a-Mist
A Papaver Rhoeas, P. Somniferum - Corn, Shirley, and Poppies
SLP Rudbeckia Hirta - Black Eyed Susans
P Verbena Bonariensis - Tall Verbena
A Viola Tricolor - Johnny-Jump-ups
Deadheading- to help your plants
keep forming blooms and not going to seed, try deadheading.
We'll show you how.
In response to an email, we'll show you how to identify
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