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Coastal Gardening

On the edge of summer, there's still time to plant flowers

By Bob Hearle

Well, fellow gardeners, spring is about over and summer is upon us. Thoughts of vacation, travel and relaxing abound. Many wonderful flowers like hydrangea, lantana, roses and assorted others are in full bloom with their wonderful colors and scents. Fairly soon the daylilies and hosta will begin their bloom. These are wonderful partial sun/partial shade perennials. While on this subject you might want to consider visiting Roycroft Daylilies in Maryville outside Georgetown. They breed and hybridize many wonderful and unique blooms and have an international clientele. Their catalog is one of the best. The best time to visit is the first two weeks in June, and don’t forget your bug spray. True Blue Nursery currently has some of the largest hostas this writer has seen. There are several varieties with 3-4 foot diameters. Stop by and check them out.

It is still not too late to plant perennials or annuals. Remove your pansies when the increased temperatures make them “leggy.” Prune back perennials that are likewise leggy to keep them bushy and compact. They will produce more flowers.

Also continue to “dead head” your annuals. No, you do not need an undertaker. Just add them to your compost pile.

Apply a second slow release fertilizer to promote growth and flowering. Remember that the middle number represents phosphorous which promotes flowering and fruiting.

Begin to harvest beans, cucumbers, squash and eggplant. This group is quite colorful with green, yellow and purple. They are often used as vines in the landscape. They look as good as they taste. Be on the look-out for blossom end rot on tomatoes. The plants will turn black on the blossom end. Also because much of our land had been used to grow tobacco, it is not uncommon for tomatoes to develop tobacco mosaic virus, with yellow streaking of the leaves.

As the temperature and humidity rise, so does the incident of black spot. This is observed as black spots on the leaves and is managed by an application of a good fungicide. If applying to edible crops make sure you choose the right one. Consult your garden center.

Fertilize hard-to-bloom plants at this time with a fertilizer with a very high second number (8-49-9). The Bird of Paradise is one plant that will benefit from such fertilizer. Water your clay soil lawns about 1 inch per week and your sandy soil lawns ½ inch every three days. Watch for mole crickets and nematodes and fertilize Zoysia and Bermuda with a nitrogen fertilizer.

Keep your perennials watered in hot weather and remember that plants in containers especially need help. All your planters should have drainage on the bottom. Roses are now in full bloom and dead flowers should be removed. This is the time of year to be wary of Japanese beetles, aphids, spider mites, black spot and powdery mildew. The wonderful world of chemistry makes something for each problem. Consult your local garden center.

June is a great time to take stem cuttings from plants as azalea, camellia, nandina, magnolia and podocarpus. Take soft tissue (greenish) cuttings and dip in a rooting hormone such as Root-Tone. Place in small pots containing equal parts peat moss and perlite. Moisten the mixture and place in a plastic bag. Keep moist with frequent misting. When rooted move to a larger container or plant directly outdoors. Plant bog plants and water lilies now. Make sure you include oxygenating plants such as Elodea. Water lilies require full sun and remember they are invasive.

Now that you have finished your chores you should hop in the car and visit the great gardens of Biltmore Estates in Ashville, N.C. Another great trip is to South Carolina Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg. If you go, let us know what you enjoyed most or tell us about other gardens you visit along the way.

Bob Hearle is a certified master gardener who lives and gardens at Pawleys Island.

Previous columns

  • Plant hardiness and Zone 8B
  • Green ideas
  • Getting plants ready for spring
  • Reading your soil test
  • Prune plants for health and to promote growth
  • Seed propagation
  • Introduction / Soil tests

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