Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Garden Landscape How To's in the May West

By Kent Higgins

May is a busy month for West Coast gardeners, a month not only of big projects but also of many odds and ends. Violets, for instance, like partial shade but not the deep shade found under pines, acacias or redwoods. If you want bloom in profusion, keep the runners cut off. If you want more plants, cover the runners until they root, then transplant. Bone meal dug in twice a year is an excellent fertilizer for violets. Organic fertilizer makes leaf growth but not flowers. Cut the flower stalks of your artichoke plants of near the ground every spring when the picking season is over. To let them stand longer retards the development of next year's crop.

If the ground has dried out from any rain put in your tuberous begonias. Presumably, you have started the tubers in flats filled with peat. When three or four inches of growth has developed the begonias are ready to go into their permanent positions. Since there is a "front" to a begonia plant, place them so that all the fronts face out-the "front" is always where the tips of the leaves are pointing.

Get Ready For Fall

Get chrysanthemums ready now for fall bloom. With this group you can prolong the garden color, enjoy varied shades and types, and have in your yard the reigning blossoms of the season.

Check with your local nursery who may have rooted cuttings, established in small pots all ready to set out in the open ground this month. Their culture is simple and they are less impatient under neglect than many other flowers. Be sure that you enrich the soil before repotting the houseplants and planting it with any good plant food and never allow your specimens to suffer from lack of water. Chrysanthemums which have been kept in active growth give the largest flowers.

Soon after planting nip the young shoots back an inch or so and repeat two or three times until the beginning of July. For huge exhibition blooms the plants are trained to a single stem but in the garden fairly large flowers can be developed with six or eight flower stems on each plant. On large-flowered types disbudding is advisable. When about the size of a pea, remove all buds but one on each stem. Small-flowered and single varieties are more beautiful when allowed to bloom in sprays.

Camellias needs food. Use a 10-5-5 liquid food which mixes easily with water or an acid plant food this month. Theyre making their first growth of the season and now is the time they want something to "eat.

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