by Cindy Pantea
Welcome back to part two of Flowerscape Notes, which are tips based on the long-time expertise of retired Flowerscape Director Polly Kaczmarek. We hope yesterday’s blog helped with choosing flowers for your garden.
The following suggestions have to do with planting and maintenance:
Deadheading and Weeding
Removing the dead flowers from your perennials (called deadheading) is necessary to keep your flowers in continuous bloom throughout the season. Some particular flowers that need deadheading are Ageratum, Marigold, and Cannas.
Obviously, weeding is necessary task for keeping beds beautiful. Polly says to remember that hoeing is not the same as weeding. You need to pull the weeds from the roots. She also suggests not putting weeds in your compost pile due to weed seeds that may contaminate your composting soil with weeds you don’t want.
Mulch is not Weed Control
Adding mulch to your flower bed is not a good source of weed control and can actually prohibit your flowers from spreading properly.
Side Note: Flowerscape Director, Leah Heiser, suggests an alternative to suppressing weeds, which is a product called Sweet Peet. Unlike mulch, Sweet Peet will not rob your soil of necessary nutrients, instead this organic materials adds them. Leah said that even if your bed is full of clay soil, a few years’ worth of Sweet Peet applications can improve your soil! The only con is that it is expensive, but yet may be well worth the cost, so shop around for best pricing.
Be a Careful Bed Planner
This one is especially necessary for our Adopt-A-Site volunteers but could be applicable to all. When planning your bed, be cognizant of roadways and signs. Flowers that grow tall, like Cannas for example, can cover entryway signage or block the views of drivers.
Downy Mildew Still Around
It seems that Downy Mildew on Impatiens plants can be controlled in greenhouses, so it is still being sold in stores. But beware, these Impatiens will likely breed the Downey Mildew fungus and affect your garden and even surrounding beds up to 8 miles!
Polly says that there is an alternative, which is the New Guinea Impatiens. New Guinea Impatiens have larger flowers and are doing well in the Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscapes.
Planting and Watering
Polly suggests watering your flowers well before planting, while still in the container. When ready to plant, remember to loosen the root balls so the plants will be able to take hold of the ground and spread out. Once planted, water again. Watch your plants closely one to three weeks after planting (they will need to be watered more often when they are newly planted).
Once your flowers are established, water every once or twice a week. Investing in a sprinkler system is best.
Here’s to a blooming 2016!