Garden Notes

……..for the Informed Gardener

 Articles written especially for East Texas gardeners.

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Summer in the Garden

What a wonderful summer so far!  How long has it been since we had rain in summer?  I haven’t had much as much as some, but I am thankful for every drop.  While trekking about the garden, I have noticed some of my summer annuals just standing still, not growing at all; so I gave them a bit of 15-5-10 and watered it in.  We have to keep an eye out for what our plants need and provide it before they scream in their death throes.   With the wonderful cool weather and extra rain, fertilizer is needed to feed them through the worst of the summer to come.  I cut back some before fertilizing and they should grow back and look beautiful as fall approaches.

Insects haven’t been bad this year.  I have so many birds not many can survive.  I have much worse than insects, I have deer and rabbits.  Rabbits eats those plants under two feet high and deer eat those over two feet high and all in between.  It is so frustrating, just when a plant gets all pretty and blooming beautifully, zap and they’re gone.  I began to think they didn’t like begonias but they did.  I put out deer and rabbit repellant, soap, and coyote urine (yuck!) and nothing helped.  I finally declared all-out war and built cages of chicken wire for my favorite plants.  I even had some phlox to bloom.  Of course the cages are not pretty.  In fact they are pretty ugly, but at least I get to see some blooms.  I am working on some dreamed up ideas for cages that will look better for next year.  There is bound to be something that looks better than chicken wire.

If you plan to plant spring perennials or spring annuals from seeds, now is a good time to order seeds.  Don’t wait until time to plant them or you will be too late.  It takes ten weeks minimum to get good transplants of perennials (that’s after they sprout) ; so if they take ten days to sprout you have to add ten more weeks and eight for annuals.  Any time now is good to plant perennials.  If you want to seed wildflowers like bluebonnets, Drummond phlox, coreopsis, Echinacea, etc. order the seeds now and get them planted in October.  That includes annuals like poppies and larkspur too.

Mid-summer is usually too hot to start cuttings, but when the weather cools in October, cuttings will root well.  We had a wonderful spring for starting cuttings of everything.  I had so much fun sticking down cuttings of all kinds of shrubs and perennials plus the coleus and impatiens.  Usually it gets too hot in June to root most cuttings and shrubs won’t root earlier than June (have to wait until the branch tips are crisp enough to break)  but with the rain and cool temperatures we had ideal conditions.

If you are a seed collector like I am, I have found that if you let the seeds dry really well, then store them in paper envelopes.  Plastic is okay if they are very dry, but I have had too many mildew in plastic.  Cheap envelopes are great because you can file them in shoeboxes.  I also like the little two by three inch brown envelopes you can get at office supply stores.   For those of you who have never collected seed, be sure to allow them to turn brown or at least get yellow before harvesting and then let them further dry either in paper sacks or cookie sheets etc.  Seeds are usually black or dark colored but not always.

I have an abundance of hummingbirds and am having trouble feeding them because of honeybees and bumblebees covering all the feeder ports.  Very frustrating!  I read to grease the ports and did, but no luck.  I don’t want to kill the bees; so guess I will take the feeders down for a while and see if they go elsewhere.  It seems that whatever I try to do, my animals determine to thwart my every effort.

August is already here and let’s hope we continue with the cooler than normal temps. and rain.  Have fun in your garden!

Read articles written by Dee Bishop in the past months. 

Arums Seeds-Now Time A New Old Remedy Spring’s Here Critters in my Sedums Aster Yellows
 July in My Garden Beware Houttuynia  Plant a Meadow  Bullies in the Garden
Birds in Garden Winter Honeysuckle Has Spring Come? Vines – the Good, Bad, etc. Sedums Large & Small  New Plants to Look For
July in the Garden  My Plants are Wilting  September Chores  Information, Good or Bad? Gardenias Whys & Wherefore  Interesting Garden Tidbits
Winter Gardening Bush Whackers Spring Unfolds A Few Good  Websites Organic Gardening Pluck it – Prune it – Pick it
Southern Cape Jessamine Back to Natives What’s Bloomin? Is It Fall Yet? Time to Plant Trees & Shrubs New Azaleas to Try

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