for Your Flowers
|As we move into the latter part of
the growing season (where did the summer go?), your flowers may need a
bit of extra attention.
If you have concerns
or questions about your container gardens or irrigation system, please contact
me right away.
This year has had some very unpredictable and
tricky weather. "Scattered rain showers" means one day there
may be enough to flood the garden and the next day, no rain at all.
Container gardens are especially susceptible to drowning, so if you've
had rain for a few days, give the plants a chance to dry out slightly.
If you have an automatic irrigation system, use the rain delay button
on your timer or turn off the water. Don't forget to turn it back on
after a day or so! If I installed your hose-end timer for your
container gardens, you can find timer
programing instructions here.
Two products I use and recommend are Osmocote's Slow Release Plant
Food: Vegetable and Bedding (sprinkle on the soil) and Fertilome's
Blooming and Rooting Soluble Plant Food (mix with water). Of course,
you don't need to use both products, just one or the other. If you want
something natural and organic, sprinkle bone meal on
the soil. Of course, if you have a fertilizer canister on your
irrigation system, you can just add 4 Tbsp. of water soluble fertilizer
to the canister and let the irrigation system do the fertilizing for
you. For more information about fertilizer types, check out
this past newsletter.
"Deadheading" means removing the flowers that are spent or past. When
you deadhead the plants in your containers, you want to remove
the dead flower and all its parts off the stem. Annual
plants spend their whole lives trying to reproduce. When you
get the seed pod off of the plant before the seeds mature, the plant
will produce more flowers constantly trying to make more
seeds. For more details on deadheading, check this newsletter
from last year.
Also, if you're considering doing some landscaping work, please call me
(970-988-3808) to help you with your landscape design.
This year's newsletter series is "Weeds and Wildflowers." The newsletter
archive on my website is up to date if you would like to look
back to previous issues.
If you suffer from hay fever,
Common Ragweed is one of your arch-enemies. Common Ragweed (Ambrosia
artemisiifolia) emerges in spring after the last frost with
Marigold-like, lacy leaves which are a silvery-green color. The flowers
are small almost nondescript spikes of green which produce massive
amounts of wind-born pollen. This annual plant can reach heights of up
to 4 feet tall and is not edible, even by wildlife. Whenever possible,
remove this plant before it flowers in these late summer months.
Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus
maximiliani) is a perennial plant with rhizomatous roots
(similar to Iris) which actually prefers heavy clay soil and bright
sunlight. Plants range from 3 feet to 10 feet tall and are well
branched to the point of being described as “scraggily”. Bright yellow
flowers appear in late summer/early fall with several flowers growing
on each branch. Although they are the typical sunflower shape and
color, Maximilian Sunflowers are only 2 to 3 inches in
diameter. Because Maximilian Sunflower has very low water
requirements it is well suited to our high desert environment. The
distinguishing characteristic for Maximilian Sunflower versus other
wild sunflowers is the grayish appearance of the foliage which results
from dense white hairs on the plant. It is good for erosion control
especially in burn sites. Homesteaders used the blossoms in bathwater
to help relieve arthritis pain and the seeds are edible by humans,
small mammals and birds. Butterflies, beetles and bees enjoy the
nectar. This plant can be useful in the urban landscape as a hedge or
for attracting wildlife; however, Maximilian sunflower plants are
allelopathic. They exude a chemical from their root system which
hinders the growth of any other plants nearby.
to know more about weeds? Here are my sources:
Gift, Nancy, and Sheila Rodgers. Good Weed, Bad Weed: Who's
Who, What to Do, and Why Some Deserve a Second Chance (all You Need to
Know about the Weeds in Your Yard). Pittsburgh, PA: St.
Lynns, 2011. Print.
Whitson, Tom D., and L. C. Burrill. Weeds of the
West. Laramie, WY: Western Society of Weed Science in
Cooperation with the Western United States Land Grant Universities
Cooperative Extension Services and the University of Wyoming, 2009.
Sunflower." Plant Guide. United States Department of Agriculture, 23
June 2004. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.