Editor’s note: We’re a little topsy-turvy around here due to the many events and fire coverage over the weekend. So, here’s Ken Lain’s Garden Column, normally viewed on Saturdays. Enjoy!
Having grown up with my grandmother living in the bedroom across from mine, I have a fondness for May, the “Older American Month”. The theme of this year’s recognition is ‘Older Americans: Connecting the Community’.
Home Instead Senior Care, which allows older individuals to continue living in their homes instead of having to head prematurely to nursing homes, is owned by Susan Abbott. Aware that many elder citizens have gardened for decades and although their aging joints don’t allow them to garden any longer, they still enjoy a beautiful plant in bloom, Susan had an idea. Her thought was, ”For this year’s Older American Month, let’s give plants in bloom to those that have done so much for our community.” Well, Susan and her organization have arranged for blooming plants to be delivered to these at-home aging neighbors. I say let’s help her! Here’s how:
You may buy a flowering plant, not cut flowers, and deliver it to Home Instead Senior Care, 240 South Montezuma St. # 206, in Prescott. For the sake of convenience, Susan has agreed to use Watters Garden Center as a collection point for plant donations. To make your participation even easier, I have hand picked some blooming beauties that are very easy to take care of and have created a colorful and easy to spot display at the garden center. Just pick out and purchase the plant you want to donate to the cause; a personal note will be attached to each plant before it is hand delivered.
Plants must be dropped off or purchased by the end of next week so that they can be hand delivered the following week. Lisa and I will donate the first dozen plants, and hope that many of you will support this effort with your generosity. It’s these “little things” that make our community a better place to live. Many thanks to Susan for leading this project.
To say that the ‘Garden Wonder’ dahlia has impressive flowers is a gross understatement. Over mint-like foliage the plant’s red flowers explode into dinner plate size blossoms! The plant is generous with its beauty, blooming continuously now through fall. Standing almost 3′ tall with such spectacular humongous blossoms, even hardcore gardeners find this specimen awe- inspiring. Garden Wonders are oh-so-easy to grow in containers, raised beds, or directly in the ground. No other flower shows off as well. This spectacular plant is made for giving, and is an especially good idea for a house-warming gift.
Here’s an insider’s tip on Garden Wonder dahlias: Although they are sold as annuals at your local garden center, you can get them to act as perennials. At the end of the year, cut back the foliage to ground level and cover the roots with a three inch layer of shredded cedar bark. In full sun locations this garden trick prevents roots from freezing so that this impressive flower comes back each spring. Just by using this simple technique some of my dahlias are now over five years old.
One of the joys of each spring garden season is finding a new plant. It might be a new flower color I’ve never grown, a variegated leaf, or a newly invented plant. This spring has been an exceptional year for newly introduced plants; there are dozens making their debuts.
In this long line of introductions is the Miss Ruby Buddleia, definitely not just another butterfly bush. This week’s column photo shows this plant’s blooms, ‘though a newspaper photo does little justice to its true beauty. The blossoms of this compact butterfly bush are a stunning new magenta color surrounded by rich blue green foliage. The contrast makes for a striking addition to any garden. Initially, it’s the flowers that draw a gardener to this pretty plant, but the real beauty is its compact DNA, which makes it very easy to maintain.
Tall buddleias can grow to 12 feet high making them unwanted giants in some yards. This new variety is shapely and full without growing taller than the average gardener. It’s the perfect height to soften fence lines and south facing walls between windows, or for a container centerpiece in a courtyard. Few plants provide such a long bloom cycle through the heat of summer.
The negative thing about newly introduced plants is that it’s really difficult for retailers to get our hands on very many specimen plants. If you were thinking about adding a bush that really does attract more butterflies into your landscape, consider the Miss Ruby, but don’t wait. Seriously, there are so few of these newer plants that when local supplies are gone there will be no more than until spring 2012.
Until next week, I’ll see you in the garden center.
Read the original post:
Floral Recognitions and Garden Solutions