Thursday, September 3, 2009

Task And To Do's For Southern Gardeners

By Keith Markensen

Midsummer heat fills the days but midsummer work is pressing and there is no time for the rest and relaxation the gardener would like to have. Vacations are not for the garden! There is spraying that must be done, plants to be lifted and replanted, unruly shoots to be clipped off and the lawns to be mowed regularly. New plants should be started from cuttings and by layering. Daily the work must go on.

Azaleas and boxwoods which were sprayed in early June for red spider mites and lace bugs should have another treatment now and again in September. Be sure to spray the undersides of the leaves.

Camellias, gardenias and crapemyrtles are often infected with sooty mildew at this season, if the rains have been prevalent along with the heat. Spraying with Neem oil according to directions to clean these plant's at once. Another option is Volck oil diluted and spray thoroughly.

Roses of all kinds must be sprayed for blackspot and for the aphids and leaf chewers. The new combination sprays, so easy to use, are very satisfactory. All this spraying must be done when the sun is off the plants. Down here it gets hot so early in the day and cools off so late that it is hard to find a satisfactory time to use the insecticides and fungicides. But watch the clouds and spray under them if possible.

Filling the borders with new plants grown from old is one of the most satisfactory tasks. New roses grown from old and new camellias are easily started now, and boxwood cuttings will be ready to fill out the edging by late fall. Hybrid tea roses, hybrid perpetuals, all the teas, China, Persian, floribundas and polyanthus take root quickly at this season. They may be put out into permanent positions this autumn also. Started now, in a, good seed bed, they must not be allowed to dry out. A shaded position is best. These roses grown on their own roots, by the way, give finer results than most of the budded stock we buy. Perhaps it is because they are acclimated and that is a big help to growth and bloom. Try it and see.

Deciduous shrubs of all kinds can be rooted also from cuttings of half-hardened wood. Remove the foliage and tie in bundles of ten, then place in a trench at in angle of 45 degrees and when the new leaf shoots appear untie the bundles and plant the cuttings.

Layering now is one of the best ways to get true new stock. Any shrub or tree with low lying branches can be so rooted. The broad-leaved evergreens give good results. Azaleas started in this way will bloom next year and it is much quicker than using cuttings. Climbing roses are good for layering also and the flowering trees such as crabapples, pink dogwoods, and many other plants may be started now in this easy way. Pyracanthas, ilex of many kinds, Virburnuin tinus, and pittosporums are particularly fine to propagate in this manner.

Iris transplanting may continue. Siberian and Louisiana iris grow well in water spots like the bogs and where the birdbaths drip. The shall Iris reticulata a deep blue violet, grows well here in moist situations.

White Spider Lilies

White spider lilies, Hvinenocallis occidentalis, bloom from June to September and are an exquisite addition to the garden. They are native and not in commerce, but if you can locate a group in a garden, try to share them. My clump, which came to me from a fisherman friend, has been divided and shared with gardeners in California, North Carolina and Augusta, Georgia, where they were originally found on an island in the Savannah River. (No more to give away now.) They are not truly lilies but belong to the Amaryllidaceae family.

Evergreen candytuft and Phlox divarieata, subulata and canadensis should be divided and root cuttings made and planted now.

Pruning is necessary to keep down unruly shoots and for the removal of dead wood on anything,

Chrysanthemums should be pinched back (especially the hardy kinds), to keep them from growing tall and straggly so that stakes are needed, or else toppling over on the ground. Dahlias should also be pinched bark.

Daffodils, scillas, snowdrops and achimenes bulbs which now show, fully ripened foliage may be lifted and reset. These will continue to grow quickly underground and will be ready for finer new bloom next spring. Blooming achimenes bulbs are observable during late spring to early summer. Use a good fertilizer when you replant. Leave the tulips alone.

Add blue flowers to your summer garden by using the blue salvias, azurea and piteheri and be sure to plant onto of the lovely azure blue Plumbago capensis. Nierenibergia hippomanica is a dainty blue lavender ground cover that lasts from year to year. It is particularly charming used under the tall radiant spikes of summer phlox, P. decussate.

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