Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
Here we are at what should be the height of the garden season, and everything is late. A couple of what I thought were sure casualties of winter have bounced back, half-heartedly. The Endless Summer hydrangea is alive, though I don’t think it is going to bloom this summer. A six-foot-tall Tiger Eyes sumac died back halfway to the ground, so I now know that plant is not as tough as I thought. I will be better about watering it this fall to carry it through winter.
One thing that isn’t that late are Japanese beetles. Over the weekend several master gardeners reported seeing small numbers of that pest, so get ready.
Overall, the garden is looking good. All the rain has made the perennials very happy. Even the heat of the last few days has not set back hosta planted in full sun, and all my new plants seem to be doing well.
One of my favorite plants in the garden is Hakonechloa grass, which really prefers partial shade but is growing in full sun after a tree was removed. It seems to do fine as long as it gets enough water. Behind it is sedum “Matrona,” with its maroonish leaves. I like this plant best now, before it blooms and starts to flop under the weight of the flowers.
I tried some new annuals for pots and am really pleased with a couple that were new to me. The first is “Mezoo Trailing Red” — Latin name Dorotheanthus — a succulent with hot red flowers that look almost like asters.
In another pot, I tried Laurentia “Starshine Blue.” It’s been flowering like crazy. It’s a member of the campanula family and has deeply cut, almost lacy leaves that complement the heftier plants in a pot. I wondered if it would stop flowering once it got hot, but the plant is perennial in Australia so I guess it will go all summer. I’ll try this one again.
Finally, my pal the four-lined plant bug has shown up again. Here’s a damaged gooseneck loosestrife. With the perfectly round scars left by the bug’s sucking it is hard to mistake this for anything else. I rarely lose plants to four-lined plant bug, so I don’t do any treatment.
If you want to know how to handle four-lined plant bug, here’s some more information from the U of M:
How’s your garden doing so far this strange summer?
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