Each year I head to the local garden store to pick out flowers for the planters. The results are rarely the same from year to year since I just pick what I like at that moment. Sometimes I might like yellows, other times maybe purples, sometimes more upright, others lots of vines. This year for the front stoop I was in apparently in a pink/purple mood.
In the backyard, I am a creature of habit. In two shady planters near the grill, I always put in coleus. My local garden shop carries a great selection of coleus so every year I can mix and match.
The one lesson I learned through the years is check the height of the plants. They can range from a few inches to a couple of feet, so match accordingly. Otherwise that favorite may be completely dwarfed by its neighbor.
Then there’s two long planters in the backyard that always have geraniums and something low. Usually it’s petunias, but this year I switched it up and used an annual lobelia. I did notice in the first few hot days that they need a lot more water than the petunias. Need to stay on top of that! But they do look stunning next to the hot pink geraniums.
The last two planters have had a variety of things going on. I haven’t really decided what I like in them. As it came time to plant them this year, I realized I was missing marigolds in the garden. They’ve been a mainstay in my garden ever since my first garden in NJ. I miss how well they grew there, but as one of my favorites, I keep them somewhere in my yard. It’s definitely one of those love/hate plants for gardeners. This year they went in the planters with some snapdragons. The snapdragons aren’t blooming yet, but soon will be attracting the butterflies and hummingbirds.
These are all recently planted, so I’m hoping they’d ill in nicely through the summer. With enough water and some periodic fertilizer they should look great.
As comparison, here’s some what these planters looked like last year…
My husband (and mom and daughter) are much better photographers than I am, so I’m always excited when one of them wants to shoot some photos of my gardens. Here’s some of what my husband saw the last couple of days through his macro lens.
One of my favorite annuals–Marigolds
More asiatic lilies are blooming. I didn’t miss them all.
The Ballon Flowers are getting ready to bloom (Platycodon grandiflora).
Jeana Garden Phlox
Hostas are in bloom. Maybe they’ll attract the hummingbirds or sphinx moths.
In one of my mom Peggy’s raised beds she had the beginnings of a beautiful bed of huge African Marigolds (Tagetes erecta). If you love marigolds like I do, I couldn’t wait to see how this was going to look in the next few weeks. Then, one morning she woke up to this…
…and I got a frantic text outlining what had happened. Many of the flowers had been cleanly nipped off and petals strewn everywhere. We were puzzled as to how this happened. Weren’t marigolds supposed to repel most garden varmints?Apparently not, after some research and this first hand experience. This could have been the work of rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, deer and even birds. Based on critter observations and the bed being a little high for rabbits to get in, our best guess is the chipmunks.
We were hoping this was a one night event and the critters would move on, but no such luck. This was the bed the next day.
All the flowers cleanly cut off and many shredded. Very disappointing and frustrating. Might be time to put a fence around the bed like some of the others that attract rabbits. But, if it is chipmunks, a fence is not going to help. She’ll need to be even more creative to keep them out, or throw in the towel on the marigolds.
While I haven’t had the same problems with my marigolds, through the years I’ve had more issues with slugs and earwigs. They go more for the foliage, and can really do a lot of damage to the leaves. Best way to diagnose these pests is to go out at night with a flashlight and see what’s going on. When I had smaller gardens I had good luck with a pie plate of beer put out at night. It is a bit gross in the morning, but it does work. These days I have more issues with my hostas being attacked by slugs than I do my marigolds. Because of the larger garden size, I now I use the organic Sluggo slug bait instead when things get bad.
Earwigs (which I just hate probably only second to palmetto bugs) can be beneficial in small numbers but a pest in larger numbers. I’ve had luck trapping them in the beer filled tins with the slugs, or by placing rolled up damp newspapers in the garden at night. In the morning, grab the newspapers and dunk them in a pail of water. Some others have reported that using small tuna sized cans with about a 1/4 inch of cooking oil in it as traps works well too.
Have you ever woken up to find one of your gardens destroyed overnight?