Vacation Watering Tips
- From Al's Experts
Maintaining your landscape and your vegetable garden can be a very demanding job, and in the summer months when it gets hot your plants require daily attention.
Keeping up with the daily watering can be difficult and time consuming, especially if you have summer vacation plans. Fortunately, there are a few different things you can do to ensure that all of your plants will survive without you for a few days while you get a chance to get out and enjoy your summer vacation.
Never Dry Planters
The Oya is an interesting product that you can use to water your plants slowly and efficiently while you are out of town for a few days. It is a porous clay (terra cotta) vessel that is designed to be buried amongst your plants to provide them water directly into the soil and into their roots. Fill it with water before you leave on a weekend vacation and your vegetables and other plants will have enough water to last until you get home. The Plant Nanny is another product that uses the porous clay concept. It is a terra cotta stake you can put right into your houseplant or hanging basket containers. Just fill a bottle with water, flip it into the terra cotta stake and the water will slowly seep through the clay over the course of a few days.
The porous clay vessels are great options for short vacations, but if you are going out of town for more than a week or two, you will need something more substantial to keep your plants happy. Some self-watering planters can provide water for weeks. Self-watering planters are essentially a pot within a slightly larger pot, and at the bottom of the larger pot there is a reservoir for extra water and a wick that slowly soaks up water and delivers it to the roots of the plant above. Depending on the size of the planter and its water reservoir, self-watering planters can deliver water from a few days to several weeks.
Another thing you can do to water your plants while you're away is to install an irrigation system that operates on a timer. There are digital timers out there that hook right up to your hose faucet and can be programmed to water at specific times of the day. Hook up a soaker hose to your faucet and your plants will get a nice and even, deep soaking. An irrigation system like this is more efficient than overhead watering and takes a lot of the pain out of watering your plants.
Regardless of what you decide to do, there are a few precautions you can and should take every time you leave for vacation. If the forecast calls for a lot of heat, pull your plants into a shady spot while you are going to be gone. Also, give your plants a deep soaking just before you leave. If you are worried that you are going to be gone too long for your plants to survive, for a small fee you can pay a neighbor's kids to do the watering for you. Taking these simple precautions will help make sure that you don't return home from your vacation to a dry and desolate vegetable garden.
Al's Backyard Garden: Patio Peppers
- Al's Video Tips
Check out our new video series featuring our edible garden located at our Sherwood Location. This week we take a look at the Redskin Patio Pepper
Big Color Hydrangeas for Little Spaces
- From Al's Experts
Hydrangeas today bloom earlier, don’t require pruning, and are re-blooming. They are a versatile plant that can solve many problems in the garden, especially when you want big color in a small space.
From providing a bright focal point among our plants, or holding its own in a container. Their new tighter habit and stronger stems aren’t like the big, unruly Hydrangea’s you might recall. Check out these available varieties to see how you can have hydrangea blooms all summer long.
Cityline™ Venice is an attention getter with giant fuchsia-colored blooms and fresh, attractive green foliage. Its place is front and center in your shrub border, patio garden, or your best container. Venice only reaches 1 to 3 feet in height and has a neat, tight habit so pruning is never required. It’s small enough for containers or any tight spot.
Like all the Citylines™, it was bred for stronger stems to hold its large, heavy flower head. Large beautiful blooms are great for dried or cut flowers. It requires a full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Moisture is a necessity for this plant.
The smallest of the Cityline™ series, Vienna is a lovely little plant with dark blue (or pink) flowers. The blooms emerge with an attractive cream-colored throat and remain large and showy even as they age. Flower color will vary depending on soil pH and aluminum availability. Since it is a compact plant, it does not need pruning. Cityline™ Vienna is a great choice for container gardens and foundation plantings.
This vibrant lace cap blooms every summer! Starlight blooms on both new wood and old delivering seasons of flowers and lots of wow. A real workhorse, Let's Dance™ Starlight is the first re-blooming lace-cap hydrangea, and has exceptionally rich, vibrant flower color. It's an elegant addition to any garden.
The flowers of this latest Let's Dance™ re-blooming hydrangea are truly amazing. The florets have a distinctive geometric shape, and are closely packed into full, richly colored mop head flowers. A real workhorse, it flowers in early summer, and then re-blooms in later summer. The reliable blooms are held up on sturdy stems; a tidy habit and good wilt-resistance add to its appeal. The real show, however, is its easy shift from pink to rich amethyst-blue flowers by adjusting the soil pH. It has the richest, most vibrant blue seen on a hydrangea!
Little Quick Fire
Little Quick Fire is an early blooming, flowering about a month before other hydrangeas. This paniculata has white flowers which transform to pink-red as summer progresses. This dwarf plant fits easily into any landscape, including container gardens. Add it to your existing hydrangea garden to extend the hydrangea season.
Crape Myrtle: Kings of Color
- From Al's Experts
Crape Myrtles deliver showy summer flowers, attractive bark, and in many cases brilliant fall color, making them a year-round garden performer.
This premier summer-flowering tree tolerates heat, humidity, drought, and does well in most soils as long as they are well drained. All crape myrtles bloom on new wood and should be pruned in winter or early spring. Crinkled, paper-like flowers in white or shades of pink, red, or purple are carried in dense clusters.
Deciduous large shrub or small tree with profuse coral-pink flowers. Exquisite orange-red foliage color in the fall. Smooth, mottled, light cinnamon brown bark adds year-round interest. Use for accent or background, or the focal point of your front garden.
Displays large, long lasting clusters of dark purple flowers. Handsome foliage has bronze cast in spring, bright green in summer, orange-red fall color. Mildew resistant.
Deep wine red leaves emerge in spring and age to dark purplish green, providing a striking contrast to vibrant pink summer flowers. Compact, multi-stemmed form is ideal for use as an accent shrub or small tree, in flowering borders or containers. Highly resistant to powdery mildew. Deciduous.
With cold hardy Sioux Crape Myrtles your landscape will never have to be without color, especially with their dark pink flowers which enter a continuous blooming cycle that lasts into the fall. Sioux Crape Myrtles have very dark green leaves that create a radiant show of contrasting colors. Then in the fall the leaves turn unique shades of purple and red. The older brown bark peels away to reveal bright beige bark underneath. The older and younger barks intertwine on the trunk together to create a marbled look. Sioux Crape Myrtles are one of the toughest varieties available. Along with the ability to survive freezing temperatures they are also drought and heat tolerant. They also have a high level of resistance against pests and diseases. Not even poor soil can stop the Sioux Crape Myrtle from flourishing with tons of color and over 100 days of blooms.
Attractive ornamental shrub or small tree with smooth, peeling bark. Showy, ruffled, fiery red flowers followed by vibrant orange-red fall foliage. Excellent specimen or plant in groups for an explosion of color in the landscape and year-round interest. Deciduous.
Crape Myrtle Pruning Tips
Encourage the natural form of the Crape Myrtle. Aggressive pruning only encourages the growth of spindly, whip-like branches that are too weak to hold their bloom. So instead, use hand pruners and loppers, and shorten the topmost branches by 2-3 feet in late winter, always cutting back to a side branch or bud, and you can enjoy this beauty for years to come.
Flowering Perennials for Bees, Butterflies & Hummingbirds
- From Al's Experts
If you are looking to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, the following perennials are a perfect additions. With a little deadheading of spent blooms, these will continue to flower throughout the summer.
June 20-26 is National Pollinator Week, and what a better way to celebrate than adding flowers that welcome our pollinator friends to your garden. Whether it’s Phlox or Coreopsis, there is pollinator-friendly plant that’s perfect for your style and taste. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Tubular Flowers are nectar sources for Hummingbirds & bees
- Flowers available in orange, coral, red & yellow
- Plant in full sun or a little shade in late afternoon
- Clusters of flowers in pink, coral, blue and purple
- Loved by butterflies, bees and Hummingbirds
- Nice for fresh Bouquets too
- Plant in full sun or a little shade in the afternoon
- Daisy shaped flowers in array of colors from solid pink to burgundy and white, lemon yellow, golden yellow and apricot
- Flowers loved by bees and butterflies
- Leave last of the flowers heads on for seeds for fall feed for the birds.
- Birds will seek out the seedheads
- Coreopsis Common name is Tickseed.
- Spikes of flowers in Shades of yellow, peach and red
- Flowers loved by Hummingbirds
- Plant in full sun
- Drought tolerant after planted 1 year
- Grassy-like foliage is a nice garden texture even when flowers are not in bloom
- Flowers are Hummingbird Magnets
- Plant Crocosmia in many parts of your garden so the Hummers don't get too territorial!
- Tubular shaped flowers in deep orange, red or gold
- Leave seedheads on for Fall Interest
- Plant in full sun