async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js" My Enchanting Cottage Garden: August 2014

About Me

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Gardening is my middle name. I have been an avid gardener for 50 years.  My goal is to help anyone who wants to start a Cottage Garden, be able to do so without the expense and frustration of beginning gardeners. I hope to encourage readers to share their thoughts and experience and help make this blog a knowledgeable and fun read.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Blooming Plants of Dog Days of August


As the summer draws near to the end of the Dog Days of August, most eastern and Midwestern gardeners are gearing up for the fall with a wonderful variety of plants to herald in the cooler weather and showy displays of color. Western gardeners, alas, have another month to go in the 3 digit temperatures as The Dogs Days of summer drag on to their delirious end. On the other hand, as we see the temps dropping ever so slightly the plants recognize this change and are waiting with their heads held high for their most glorious blooming period, enter the Fall. I have taken pictures of the sturdy plants still blooming and living despite the summer long intense heat. God Bless those hardy roses.
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There is not another plant I know of that will bloom in the hot August sun like a zinnia.  They hold there little faces toward the sun and cheerfully bask in it’s glorious heat.  Notice the little varmint on this one?
The red roses I have (7) seem to not mind the heat, they bloom regardless, that goodness for the roses, when everything else stops blooming they take up the sword and march on.
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This particular zinnia likes to look at itself in the small fish pond. The flowers just seem drawn to the water.
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I grow my “love lies bleeding” plant into tree forms.  Growing love lies bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) can provide an unusual, eye catching specimen in garden beds or borders. Drooping panicles of deep red to crimson purple appear as the love lies bleeding flower blooms in summer. The love lies bleeding flower, also called tassel flower, and is an interesting way to utilize open space without a perennial commitment. The panicle on this plant looks like an elephant truck, very unusual.
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Sheer Bliss (HT) and  Great Century (HT)
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Double Delight (HT) and Brandy (HT) and gillardia mix 
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Lady Jane Gray and Frederick Mistral (Romantica Series)
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Purple and Yellow Zinnia are my favorite combinations
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The ever faithful and ever producing Nicotania and coneflower, 2 self-sowers
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What would a summer garden be without a melon patch, even here in Las Vegas we can grow a bumper crop, these are self-sowers, I never know where they are going to pop up.
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Lantanas, the staple of most western gardens because of it’s heat loving endurance and abundant flowers
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Friday, August 8, 2014

What is the Right Time to Plant Irises

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Most bearded irises are easy to grow, but they do have specialized needs. Plant and divide every 3 to 4 years in summer or early fall, splitting them into individual “fans” with the rhizome attached, or into divisions with a few fans. Trim leaves back before planting to make up for root loss. They grow best in full sun or very light shade and average to rich, well-drained soil. Barely cover the rhizome and point the leafy end in the direction you want it to grow, ideally out from the center of a group of three to five of a kind.
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In fall, remove dead, dry leaves, which often carry borer eggs, and destroy badly infested fans in spring. You can also crush borers in the leaves by pinching toward the base of the telltale ragged-edged leaves or by running your thumb between the leaves and squashing any borers you find. They are also vulnerable when you divide the clumps; check every rhizome for this pest. If you find a few borers, try cutting them out, but destroy badly infested rhizomes.
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Landscape uses: Smaller bearded irises are perfect in rock gardens and along paths and beds. For mid- to late-spring bloom, plant taller ones in a perennial border, or in a separate bed to provide optimum conditions. They also look splendid among garden ornaments and along patios.
  
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