I did a lecture for a garden club about container gardening and was stunned to realize that many people do not know our insider's secrets of planting.
Here are the top 3 secrets:
1. Only fill the container with potting mix up to 4 inches from the top. The set the plants on top of the soil and fill the rest of the potting mix around the root balls. You can fit more plants into the combination and you get a better display
2. Use a "time-released" fertilizer for more consistent nutrition and better growth of the roots, plants and flowers. And you save time throughout the rest of the season.
3. To free yourself from the watering "slavery", use an acrylic polymer, AKA, a water holding gel. It holds 100x it's weight in water and releases it to the roots. Each time you water it rehydrates the gel. This is a "life-saver" for containers when we get into the hot temperatures. (My favorite producct is called Fertisorb - it is a polymer with the fertilizer imbedded into it - one product to take care of #2 & #3.
How to plant with a sun combination of plants and a shade combination:
SUN- Angelonia 'Angelface White'; Annual Dahlia 'Dahlietta Blanca'; Bacopa 'Gulliver White';Verbena 'Trailing Aztec White'; Calibrichoa 'Compact White'; Petunia 'Easy Wave White'; Euphorbia 'Breathless White'; Ivy Geranium 'Blanche Roche'; Vinca vine
SHADE- Caladium 'White'; Bacopa 'Gulliver White'; New Guinea Impatiens 'Harmony White'; Browalia 'Silver Bells'; Begonia 'Babywing White'; Hypostes 'Splash Select White'; Vinca Vine
There is a great display in the nursery with the "American Beauties" Native Plants perennial series. It is a new line of native prairie plants that have been selected because they are "well-behaved" natives that are beautiful in flower, disease and insect resistant, and do not take over gardens. They are plants that help create a "sustainable" garden. I will send the web address of the "American Beauties" with the 4 different garden plans; Bird-lovers, Butterfly, Dry Shade and Moist Sun. www.abnativeplants.com is the excellent web site for the plant search and the garden designs
The plant that has been the #1 sample this year / this spring is the Boxwood with one major disease - Volutella canker and 2 insects - psyllids and Boxwood leaf minor.
Many are being saved with fungicides and systemic insecticides. Products to use: Immunox by Spectracide or Infuse by Bonide for disease control and Bayer Rose & Flower
Roses are being attacked by a small green "worm" or larva called a "rose slug", not really a slug but a larva of a sawfly. It is controlled by a systemic insecticide that you spray once and it stays in the plant for 30 days. Bayer Rose & Flower Systemic Insecticide.
Now that we are catching up on our rainfall, we are seeing many of the fungal leaf diseases - black spot on roses, peach leaf curl, apple scab on apples, crabapples and pears. All can be controlled with fungicides. Products to use: Immunox by Spectracide or Infuse by Bonide for disease control
With the warmer temperatures, we will be seeing slug damage on shade plants like hostas, so we need to warn viewers to get the earth-friendly natural "Iron Phosphate" based slug baits applied. Sluggo by Monterrey
And the public enemy #1 is still the rabbit - my favorite repellent is still working. Plant Skydd granular is really working well. I am observing as the baby bunnies are coming out in my own garden. They are difficult because they do not have a senses of smell or taste until they become "teenagers", so many times the repellents that worked on the adults do not work to protect against the babies. And the growing young rabbits can eat a lot of the garden.
3132 Lake Ave.