Free Summer Gardening Classes
August 3: The Joys of High Country Gardening
August 10: Keeping Critters Out
August 17: Vacation Landscapes, Less Work
August 24: Cutting Time, Work in the Yard
September 7: Fall To-Do List for a Healthy Yard
Ages have gone by since the last spring snow and it seemed like the Pansies would keep going right through the season. Now work in the garden during the heat of the day and you become as hot and sweaty as your uncles sauna towel. Some of your spring plants look equally heat whipped or dead all together. Pull the old dead pansies, viola and other spring bloomers from the summer gardens. Then fill in the holes with fresh new summer loving plants that celebrate in this heat.
Two suggestions for some hot summer color will shine now through the seasons end. One is a new annual and the other an unusual perennial making a début at garden centers this month.
Cora Vinca - Heat stressed spring bloomers can't take the summer heat like Cora can. This ever blooming annual laughs at 100 degrees by showing off even more flowers. This is not your grandmother’s periwinkle that faded prematurely. Cora stand tall and cleans herself for continuous non-stop flowers. Time to fill the ugly spots in the summer garden with some pizzazz and sunny Southwest style.
Heatwave Hyssop – This spicy licorice-scented perennial attracts humans & hummers alike. The hardy color option are a breakthrough in eye-catching lavender pink flowers that hoover over the aromatic green foliage. Excellent companion plant or replacement for Russian sage, and far less likely to spill out of its garden space. A knee high show off and perfect for landscape hotspots for years of summer long color to come.
If you've been thinking of adding a patch of green for the dog, or that perfect play area for the kids read on. First let me give you my 9 step program to picture perfect lawns. This simple program eliminates the need to thatch, aerate, add iron or do anything else. The lawn will be so health few weeds would dare grow among the blades for fear of being smothered. At the start of the season I start with two nutritial suppliments that bring out the most in grass, ‘Soil Activator’ and ‘All Purpose Plant Food’.
Starting in March spread 'Soil Activator' over the entire lawn. This will wake grass from winter and force deeper roots and destroy thatch buildup from winter. April rotate to my specially formulated, ‘All Purpose Plant Food” 7-4-4. A 20 pound bag will cover 2000 sq.ft. and work magic for a thick lush lawn. Rotate these two products every other month through the growing season for the best looking lawn you've ever grown. The last application in November will keep the lawn green until the harshest colds in February. March of next year begin again. Just make sure the blade is sharp on the mower because the grass is going to ignite with new green growth.
Nutritional secrets aside, some have established lawns that look crusty and dry. Assuming there are no insect issues like grubs or cutworms a new product helps your lawn take in more water. ‘Aquaduct’ cuts through the first crusty layer of soil so water can penetrate deeper into the soil. It does make a difference and reduces the amount of water needed to hydrate the gardens.
Let's talk new lawn installations. There are three lawns mixes used at this altitude. “Quick Start’ lawn seed is a rye grass blend that should only be used if the lawn must look green NOW. Used mainly for over seeding, this mix is good for weddings, family reunions, or your home has an open house in two weeks and the lawn must look good now. This grass is a water hog and much more delicate than other grass mixes, so it has limited use.
A “Full Sun” lawn seed will be a mixture of bluegrass and rye grass for a picturesque lawn that mows perfectly and soft to the touch. Referred to as the ‘Prescott Blend’ by old time gardeners. This variety stays green 11 months out of the year, but there are some drawback. For those with dogs, or the entire pack of neighborhood kid will be on your lawn it does not take heavy foot traffic well. It also uses a lot of water, but WOW does it ever look good all the time.
My preferred grass seed mix is the “Heat & Drought” blend. This fine mixture of fescues stays green like the full sun mix, but is very deep rooted sending roots 2-3 feet into the ground. This makes heat & drought hardy lawns need 30% less water that a bluegrass lawn and take traffic use better. It is the only variety to use if pets will be playing and using the lawn area as their own.
The start of the monsoon season is a good time to reseed, extend and start a lawn. Ask for my garden guide to the “10 ½ Steps to Starting a New Lawn” for step-by-step examples of the best installation to starting a new lawn. It is free for the asking and made to insure local garden success.
Today’s garden class has all this garden advice and more for the taking. Join in the garden fun today at 9:30. Class is held in the back greenhouse here at Watters and free to Courier subscribers. Yes, the garden guide to the “10 ½ Steps to Starting a New Lawn” will be given to every participant. Can’t make it; join in next Saturdays class and we have, “The Joys of Gardening in the High Country”.