Thursday, May 30, 2013

Which Pumpkin Is Best: Canning, Pies, and Carving

By now, your garden is overflowing with bright orange squash, including the tried-and-true pumpkin. You've picked out a few to carve with the kids for Halloween. You've put a few aside for roasting to make Thanksgiving Day pie. And, you have a few small ones ideal for decorating. Even if you haven't thought this far ahead and selected the right pumpkins for your needs, it's easy to find most varieties available at most farmers markets and whole foods stores. The question is, though, which one is best for you?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Max of Perennial Sunflowers

The Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani) used to be the last perennial, with the exception of monkshood, blooming in my garden in October. Admittedly, it can grow to 10 feet and holds most of its flowers very close to its stalk, for a decidedly gangly look. In my flowerbed, the lanky latecomer also tended to slouch against nearby plants or sprawl at somewhat drunken angles, since I never got around to staking it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Trailing Coleus: Overwintering in a Basket

This ancient and versatile species of Coleus lends itself to hanging baskets which can be used to overwinter all your favorite cultivars.

After an exciting summer of acquiring and growing Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) the approach of cooler weather slows my active days. My first year of featuring Coleus in my garden is ending.There are no new varieties to look for and the last of the season’s annuals are now discounted in stores.Lower temperatures mean I will not have to water as often and the last fish emulsion fertilizer for the season has been applied.As the foliage colors deepen under a gentler sun into vibrant hues, I sit, relax and enjoy this culmination period. It is the time the coleuses are at the height of their growth maturity for the season. They are stunning and colorful as they bask in the dappled sun of a cool afternoon. I feel as if all the months of care that have goneinto their growth have paid off, and I am pleased.