The Problem with Impatiens

By Alexandra Clarke, Walsh Jesuit High School Senior Experience Student

Remember Downy Mildew? The disease that crippled impatiens last year? Well it is still prevalent this year.

Downy Mildew is a selective strain that only affects impatiens “walleriana”, traditional impatiens, and double impatiens. New Guinea Impatiens and Sunpatiens are not susceptible to this disease. This is quite the disappointment for all of the shade gardeners out there. This disease is carried through both water and air born spores that travel through water droplets in the air. Colder temperatures will not kill the spores, and it is currently not cost effective to treat in the landscape. Downy Mildew was first seen in Akron in August of last year after a few rainy days. It first became problematic in Europe before spreading to both coasts of the United States.

Symptoms of Downy Mildew: 

  • White to gray fuzz on the undersides of leaves
  • Yellowish curled leaves that defoliate
  • Stems collapseimg_1203

The disease has advanced so much in this community it is not a question of if your impatiens are going to get it, but when. It is recommended not to plant impatiens for a period of years unless researchers find a solution.


There are Alternatives for Shade Gardeners!

New Guinea Impatiens and SunPatiens are a colorful option for beds or containers in partial shade. Begonias in shades of red, pink or white are easy to grow and bloom all summer. When looking for flowers for containers there are many varieties of begonias including Reiger Begonias with rose form flowers and Dragon Wing Begonias in shades of red and pink. New begonias with larger leaves, taller and bigger flowers called ‘Big BronzeLeaf Rose or Big Green Leaf Red. Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ with an airy white flower is a great filler. The colorful foliage of caladiums and coleus are another alternative for the shade garden!


New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens





Dragon Wing Begonia










Make sure to check out these and other shade alternatives for your garden this summer! Don’t let Downy Mildew affect you!

Get Your Dreamscape Tickets Today!

By: Alexandra Clarke, Walsh Jesuit Senior Experience Student

Keep Akron Beautiful is ready to draw some winning raffle tickets on June 5, and we want to see your name on the winning ticket!

The season of selling is coming to a close, but you still have time to purchase your tickets. Need a reminder of what’s at stake? The 11th annual Dreamscape Raffle sponsored by SummaCare kicked off on March 3. Summit County residents can purchase a raffle ticket until the first week of June, meaning you have 16 days left to get a ticket! The winning ticket will be drawn on Thursday, June 5  at 10:30 a.m. at Alexander Park on West Market Street.

The winner will have until the end of June to meet with this year’s landscape designer and project managers, Craig Graf and Lisa Graf, of Graf Growers Garden Center & Landscape Design, to create their plan for the landscape transformation that will take place the week of August 4-8. Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there are three other chances to win prizes like 4 yards of mulch or compost blown into landscaped beds by TerraScape, LTD, a birdbath donated by Suncrest Gardens or a basket of gardening supplies, courtesy of Graf Growers.

By participating in the Dreamscape Raffle, you’re not only helping your back yard to get a new look and stay beautiful, you’re giving all of Akron a beautification opportunity too because the Dreamscape Raffle funds Keep Akron Beautiful’s Flowerscapes on 34 public sites citywide!

Raffle tickets are $25 each or five for $100. Tickets can be purchased online on the website or via a mail-in order form downloaded from, at the agency office located at 850 East Market Street, Akron, or the following locations: Dayton Nurseries, Inc., Donzells Flower & Garden Center, Inc. Graf Growers Garden Center, Paul’s Greenhouse, and Suncrest Gardens.

Along with the vendors listed above, the 2014 Dreamscape Raffle  also has the following Vendor Partners offering goods and services for the landscape makeover: Advanced Arboriculture, Belgard® Sales, Cascade Lighting, Circle K, Earth Fare Fairlawn, Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, Inc., Main Street Gourmet, Naragon Irrigation, Nick’s Landscaping of Ohio, LLC, Pam’s Perennial Plant Farm, Paul’s Greenhouse, R.B. Stout, Inc., R.G. Thomas Landscape and Design, Inc., Gates Landscaping Co., KB BioEnergy, Inc., Star Printing Co. Inc., Tim’s Custom Electric, Tucker Supply, Wilson Plumbing & Heating, Inc. and YES Press Printing Co.KAB Dreamscape 2014 Front

Mums Galore!

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

Every fall it happens, mums (Chrysanthemums) galore appear in the grocery stores and nurseries. It’s a tradition that rings in autumn like college football, apple picking, corn mazes and Pumpkin Spice Latte’s. But what do you look for when you buy your mums in the store? Choosing the right mum plant and keeping it healthy is important. So… do you choose a full bushy plant loaded with flowers or the newly budded beauty about to burst with blooms? The answer to that question is one my mother often asks… so, I did a little research this year! Thank goodness our friends at HGTV came to the rescue through my research!

Fall mums are a beautiful addition to any garden!

Fall mums are a beautiful addition to any garden!

Here’s how to choose the right mum plant and keep it healthy, via HGTV Gardens:

  • First, decide when you want to plant. If you’re reading this now and haven’t already gotten started,  you’ll probably need to go with a fall planting! Keep in mind that fall-planted mums may not survive the winter since their roots haven’t had a chance to get established, but since mums are relatively inexpensive, you can treat them as annuals and re-plant from year to year.
  • Next, choose your variety. Your two basic options are “florist” or “hardy” mums. While both types come from the same original parent mum, they’ve been extensively hybridized over centuries to create many offshoot varieties. Florist mums are meant for cutting blooms, while hardy mums are bred to flourish longer-term in the garden. If you plant a potted florist mum in spring it may thrive while the weather is warm, but won’t survive the winter.
  • Caring for your mum depends on whether you want to keep it for a season or for more seasons to come: If you are planting your mum as an annual, all you need to worry about is planting in well-draining soil in a partly-sunny area of your garden. Choose a container or bed that offers plenty of space for the formed root ball. Water well, and continue to water every other day or so, or as much as needed to maintain blooms. If you’re planting mums as perennials, it’s best to start in spring in full sun to give roots a chance to get established. Plant the mums in well-draining soil, making sure to leave 6-12 inches between each plant and water frequently. Before winter, protect the mums by covering plants with several inches of mulch.  Wait until the following spring to cut back stems, and fertilize well to encourage blooms. If the mums produce spring blooms, pinch them back before late summer to encourage fall flowering.

Happy Fall! Happy planting! Happy mums!

Interested in purchasing mums in Akron? One of our Dreamscape Vendor Partners, Donzell’s Flower and Garden Center hosts a Fall Festival each year and has great mum deals! Check out more information on Donzell’s and their mums!

Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape Notes

By Polly Kaczmarek, Flowerscape Director

Hi folks! Sue, Chuck, Tim and I have been around the City of Akron prepping and planting Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscapes. We’re ready for another beautifully bloomin’ year.

Since a lot of my friends know what I do, I get a lot of planting or plant questions. So, I thought I would share some of the most popular ones with you: What type of ornamental grass is planted behind the sidewalk benches in front of the City of Akron’s Lock 3 park? What advice do you have for planting a flat of flowers? and What type of tall, stalky year-round flowers are at the KAB offices, at the Flowerscape at Cedar and Maple and at Lock 3?

KAB plants pennisetum karley rose

Picture of a blooming pennisetum karley rose.


What type of ornamental grass is planted behind the sidewalk benches in front of the City of Akron’s Lock 3 parkPennisetum karley rose, which blooms feathery, fluffy pink flowers around July and through the fall. It is a slow spreading oriental fountain grass. Hearty and reliable for any garden.


See this plant behind benches at Lock 3 below.


KAB plants pennisetum karley rose at downtown Akron's Lock 3

KAB plants pennisetum karley rose behind park benches at Downtown Akron’s Lock 3


What advice do you have for planting a flat of flowers?

First of all, it’s best to follow the lighting requirements on the flat card insert, or check the Internet. You’ll find that most petunias thrive in full sun while violas typically prefer shade. However, sometimes all this can depend on a species of flower. For example, some different species of geraniums bloom better in sun while others in the shade.

After finding the best spot in your beds from doing your sun/shade research you:  prep the soil with peat moss or compost, loosen up the root ball a little bit, because it gets all bound in their little flat cup, and then plant flowers as deep as they are in the flat you received.

Kab plants limelight hydrangeas in their flowerscape beds

Picture of blooming limelight hydrangeas


What type of tall, stalky year-round flowers are at the KAB offices, at the Flowerscape at Cedar and Maple and at Lock 3?

Those are perennials (a plant that can last through the seasons for more than two years) called limelight hydrangea. It is actually a shrub that blooms light green blossoms in July which slowly change to a pink shade by September.


See picture below of limelight hydrangeas in bloom (in the back) in 2012 at KAB offices.


kab planted limelight hydrangeas at their location at 850 e market st akron

Keep Akron Beautiful has limelight hydrangeas that bloom each year at their offices located in the Central Services Facilities Building at 850 E. Market St., Akron. They are shown in the far back of this camera shot taken in 2012.

Happy Planting from the Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape Crew!

Donate to the KAB Flowerscape Program today.