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Caring for Summer Annuals

Whether you are interested in growing annuals to use as cut flowers, or just to add color and blooms to your garden, there are a few basic principles you can follow for a more successful growing season and a more beautiful garden.

Coreopsis at Moss Mountain Farm

Watering Annuals

When it comes to watering the key is consistency. You never want your flowerbeds or containers to dry out completely. This can be tough on your plants, particularly young ones. They rarely recover. One of my favorite ways to water is to use a soaker hose. It deep soaks the ground, which encourages a deep root system and a stronger plant. Then I just put a layer of mulch around them, to hold in the moisture.

Osteospermum and Diascia

Fertilizing Annuals

To grow beautiful stands of annuals it is important to feed the plants. An organic slow-release fertilizer will cut down on the amount of time spent applying fertilizer and you won’t have to worry about burning the plants by over feeding. Choose one that includes microorganisms that will enrich the soil too.

Another way to keep your flowers blooming longer is to remove spent flowers. If this seems like too much work, look for varieties that are self-cleaning, which means the dead blossoms will drop on their own.

Hardy Volunteers

Now at the end of the season, to encourage hardy volunteers like larkspur, bachelor buttons and globe amaranth to come back next year, I shake the plants out and make sure the seeds get scattered through the beds. Then next spring they come up and bloom again.

A mixed border of shrub roses, perennials and annuals.

5 Ways to Put Your Garden Beds to Bed for Winter

14_08559 14_08554 11_11388 Rake On The Wheelbarrow

Prepping your garden beds for winter will make it easier to get a jump start on planting in the spring because working in a soggy, spring bed is a difficult task! It’s far smarter to do that work in the fall when the beds are dry and the weather is nice.

So, if you’re wondering how to tuck your garden beds in for a long winter nap and have them wake up refreshed, start with these five tasks:

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3 Ways to Harness Flower Power Through to Fall

When visitors tour the grounds of Moss Mountain Farm, they always marvel at the annuals looking so bright-eyed and bushy tailed all the way into fall. And they start fishing for the secret to keeping those garden beds flourishing through the dog days of summer. Now that we’re in the tail end of those days, I’ll share those secrets now. Hopefully, you can employ those secrets through the rest of the season or file them away for next year.

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    Proven Winners Snow Princess® Lobularia

    Cutting back: If flower beds were a metaphor for the human life cycle, this period might be midlife where things start to “creep” or broaden and widen. You must stay vigilant and trim up those creepers that would overpower the more timid plants. Plants like sweet potato vine, which can be thuggish and push over smaller flowers. It’s also helpful to cut back the spent blooms, and I pay special attention to plants like my Snow Princess® Lobularia or the Angelonia.

 

  1. Feedings: You should continue feedings, even though it’s hot. I usually give a dose of liquid fertilizer every third watering.

 

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    Flirtation® Orange Diascia

    Filling in: I will typically pull out plants that haven’t fared well and plug in new things for fall. Sometimes the animals help with that task. For example, I had some petunias rooted out by armadillos. So, I’ll either plant more petunias or prepare for fall by substituting plants that like colder temperatures like nemesia, diascia or argyranthemum.

 

Read more:

Five Easiest Annuals to Grow

Cool Season Annuals

Annuals versus Perennials

Seize the Daylily!

If your grandmother had a garden, chances are good she grew daylilies. This easygoing perennial has been a favorite for generations, but the newer kids on the block are definitely not for the old guard.

I always recommend daylilies for a garden because they’re low-maintenance, showy in the garden and the late-blooming varieties will offer bold, trumpet blossoms until fall. If you choose several different varieties that bloom early, mid and late in the season, you can extend their bloom time throughout the entire season.

The scientific name for daylily is Hemerocallis, which translates from Greek to “beauty” and “day.” The blooms only last one day, but don’t worry! Daylilies grow in clumps with many blooms on each stalk. Much like fireworks, they’ll give you one exploding bloom after another for many weeks. Bloom! Bloom! Pow!

Daylilies are perfect for slopes, beds, near foundations or even in containers. They need at least six hours of direct sun per day to thrive, but they will bloom even better in a full day of sunshine. When planting a daylily, set the plant in the ground or in a container at the same depth it was growing in the pot you bought it in. You want to avoid planting it too deeply. Space plants 10 to 12 inches apart in the ground or grow just one as a “thriller” in your combination container. For best results, add some compost, especially if you have heavy clay or sandy soil. Water your newly planted daylilies consistently during the first growing season as they establish themselves

You’ll find one of the best things about growing daylilies is they multiply! Divide and share with friends or plant elsewhere in your garden. Spring or late summer is the best time to divide and share daylilies. To do this, carefully lift the clump out of the ground with a shovel and divide it with a sharp knife, removing any sickly looking foliage. Cut the foliage down to about half its height and then transplant the divided pieces back into the garden immediately.

Because of their association with grandmothers, daylilies have a vintage feel, but I prefer to call them “timeless.” Though they’ve been around for generations, newer varieties have improved upon the older ones, making them stronger, brighter and more generous with their blooms. The following varieties are colorful, floriferous and vigorous; everything you expect from a daylily, but more of it. They are certainly Proven Winners in my garden, and I recommend them for yours.

'Primal-Scream'-PWRAINBOW RHYTHM® ‘Primal Scream’ Hemerocallis

  • Very large 7 ½ – 8 ½” flowers
  • Glimmering tangerine orange, gold dusted flowers with twisted, ruffled petals
  • Blooms in early midsummer on 34” tall scapes loaded with buds
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Mid-season bloomer

 

 

'Going-Bananas'-PWRAINBOW RHYTHM® ‘Going Bananas’ Hemerocallis

  • Lightly fragrant, lemon yellow, 4” blooms
  • Reblooming variety that begins flowering early and continues into fall
  • Heat tolerant
  • Relatively short; 19 to 22 inches tall
  • Early season blooming

 

 

'Ruby-Spider'-PWRAINBOW RHYTHM® ‘Ruby Spider’ Hemerocallis

  • Gigantic 9” flowers
  • Blooms are ruby red with a radiating yellow throat
  • Tall scapes reach up to 34”
  • Mid-season bloomer

What’s the Fig Idea? Find out in the summer e-mag

The summer issue of our Naturally magazine is full of recipes, architecture, DIYs and more. Be inspired to party with sweet figgy bourbon cocktails, spicy green beans and sunny, heat-hardy flowers that will brighten up your home all summer.

In this issue, learn how easy it is to grow and harvest your own baby broccoli, get a peek into an historic piece of architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and learn how to make the most of your water feature. Click below to start reading!

Plants for Color All Summer

Life is hard, gardening shouldn’t be. Here are seven plants you can grow that will be colorful all growing season without a minute’s trouble.

 

LUSCIOUS® Bananarama Lantana                                       
BUY

  • Tough-as-nails annual is extremely heat and drought tolerant, tolerates poor soils; protect from frost
  • Large clusters of bright sunny yellow flowers on mounded plants
  • Blooms all season without deadheading
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, not preferred by deer
  • Full sun

 

LUSCIOUS® BERRY BLEND™ Lantana                                  

  • Tough-as-nails annual is extremely heat and drought tolerant, tolerates poor soils; protect from frost
  • Large clusters of fuchsia, orange and yellow flowers on mounded plants
  • Blooms all season without deadheading
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, not preferred by deer
  • Full sun

 

COLORBLAZE® KEYSTONE KOPPER® Solenostemon(Coleus)
BUY

  • Richly saturated orange-bronze foliage
  • Bred to bloom very late or not at all, making the plant last into fall with little maintenance
  • Wonderful in large containers and landscapes
  • Heat tolerant and less preferred by deer
  • Full sun to shade

 

COLORBLAZE® LIME TIME™ Solenostemon(Coleus)
BUY

  • Vigorous selection with bright chartreuse foliage that brightens up any combination or landscape in sun or shade without burning
  • Bred to bloom very late or not at all, making the plant last into fall with little maintenance
  • Wonderful in large containers and landscapes
  • Heat tolerant, less preferred by deer, and mildew resistant (which can be a problem with other chartreuse coleus)
  • Full sun to shade

 

COLORBLAZE® ‘RAINBOW RHYTHM®’ Hemerocallis                      
BUY

  • Enormous 7 ½ – 8 ½” flowers
  • Glimmering tangerine orange, gold dusted flowers with twisted, ruffled petals
  • Blooms in early midsummer on tall scapes loaded with buds
  • Full sun to part shade

 

AMAZING DAISIES™ ‘Banana Cream’ Leucanthemum
BUY

  • Picture perfect, large 4-5”, lemon yellow flowers age to creamy white
  • Disease resistant variety with strong stems that are great for cutting for long lasting fresh bouquets
  • Blooms begin in early summer with some rebloom from secondary buds; benefits from deadheading
  • Full sun

 

LO & BEHOLD® ‘Lilac Chip’ Buddleia                                    
BUY

  • Award winning, seedless butterfly bush that won’t sow its seed around the garden
  • Soft lavender pink flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds from midsummer to frost without deadheading
  • Dwarf, compact habit grows only 1 ½-2’ tall x 2-2 ½’ wide
  • Perfectly sized for containers and small-scale urban landscapes
  • Full sun

 

Best Uses for Supertunia® Petunias

Supertunia® Petunias are excellent spillers and fillers, and the hummingbirds and butterflies love them. Here are five ways to incorporate them into your garden.

 

1. Spilling over the edges of a mixed container planting

2. At the front of a mixed border

3. Planted in a hanging basket

4. Mass planting in a large container

5. Flat sided wire basket hanging from a gate