Busy time for gardeners


Along the Garden Path: Busy time for gardeners

By Charlene Thornhill - Along the Garden Path



Here we are, in the beginning of June when it is spring and by the end of June it is summer. This is a busy time of year for gardeners.

We are enjoying the hummingbirds as they take to the streptocarpella saxorum plants we have on our porch and also on the deck. This easy to grow plant will blossom and features several nodes with bright purple-colored flowers opening at the tips. The plant only grows to a height of 6-12 inches, but it can spread wide to about 12 inches. It is considered a houseplant but can be grown outdoors in the right condition. It prefers warm, humid environments to grow and prosper.

The flowers on streptocarpella saxorum grow to about an inch long with a slanted tube running down the center of them that the hummingbirds love. They are more of a shade loving plant. Too much sunlight will burn their leaves. Also, like African violets, their velvety leaves will discolor if you get water on them and then expose the leaves to the sun. It’s best to water them from the bottom up, filling their saucer with water, or water carefully from the top, avoiding the leaves.

June is a great time to add mulch. It is rare to see a landscape without mulch these days. The use of mulch is growing and is becoming a popular accent to many yards. Not only can mulch improve the aesthetics of your yard, it can also cut down weeding, increase the fertility of your soil and help to conserve the soil’s moisture. Knowing the right mulch for your landscape can be tricky, but with the know-how your landscape will look the best in the neighborhood.

The first step to selecting mulch is to identify the different types of mulch. Inorganic mulch is going to offer you the lowest maintenance. Inorganic mulch slowly decays. Examples of inorganic mulch are crushed stones and gravel. Currently, landscape fabric or geotextiles are being used as a barrier to prevent the growth of weeds. Often, a layer of mulch is placed over landscape fabric to improve aesthetics and to slow degradation of the fabric from exposure to light. Advantages of inorganic mulch include slow decay – if at all and low maintenance.

Organic mulch includes a diverse selection from animals and plants. Examples are grass clippings, pine needles, sawdust, straw, ground corn cobs and recycled wood and paper. There is a wide variety of designer mulches. Commercial mulch that is generated from recycled wood pallets, ground and painted in natural or designer colors, are increasingly popular. In addition, the use of composted manure and sewage sludge that has been blended with coarser products, such as wood chips, has also become increasingly available for use as mulch. Both inorganic and organic are great choices, but you will need to choose what is best for your landscaping needs. This is the first choice and the start to your fabulous landscape.

The best time to remove weeds is by getting them while they are still small. Make sure to take the time to get out there and pull those weeds this month.

When mowing the lawn, it is best to keep the grass long and mow more frequently than the keep it short and mow less frequently. Set your blades at the highest level and only take about a 1/3 off the top of your grass. Your grass will love this and it will help to promote deep root growth and prevent weeds from germinating.

Enjoy your garden and all the beauty it adds to your landscape.

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Along the Garden Path: Busy time for gardeners

By Charlene Thornhill

Along the Garden Path

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at chardonn@embarqmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at chardonn@embarqmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.