Gardening with Laurie: Maintaining color in the garden during the hot summer months
By Laurie Garretson
Having colorful blooming plants during summer months doesn't mean the same thing to us as it does to gardeners in Northern states. We know plants have to be very hardy to withstand the intense heat and humidity we have during our summers.
Many people decide not to - or can't for various reasons - garden during the summer simply because of the heat. Here are a few tips to help provide some beautiful color outdoors that can be enjoyed from the indoors during the summer.
Take a walk through your house and note what outside areas are visible through each window or door. Take note of these areas for plantings. If in the ground, plantings are not an option - consider containers or hanging baskets.
Note the sun conditions of all the areas. The more direct sun these areas get, the hardier your plant selection will need to be. The more shade an area gets will mean you'll have to chose plants that thrive in shadier conditions yet provide us with the color we want.
Part of being an organic gardener means we choose to grow plants that are better suited to our specific conditions. Trying to grow a plant in a condition that's not conducive to its needs will always mean more problems for the plant and more work for the gardener.
Window boxes seem to be more popular the past couple of years, and they can provide wonderful color when viewed from indoors and add beautiful outdoor interest to the home.
Sliding glass or French doors are meant to provide the indoors with all of nature's outdoor beauty. Aren't they? Hanging baskets, various-sized planted containers, bird baths, bird feeders, wind chimes and in-the-ground gardens can provide many hours of pleasurable viewing from the comfort of being indoors.
Hanging baskets and containers will require water more often than in-ground plantings. The amount of sunlight, temperature, wind and humidity level can change on a daily basis. These fluctuations will determine just how much water your plantings will require and how often.
Watering as much as we do, especially during the summer, tends to leach nutrients out of the soils faster. Biweekly or monthly feeding for baskets and containers will really help during the summer.
Soaker hoses are useful for in-ground plantings. Placed under several layers of organic mulch, they will help to retain the soil moisture for a longer time.
Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.
Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.