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Create Your Own Tropical Paradise With Mandevillas

With trumpet-like blooms all summer long, the Sun Parasol Mandevilla Vine – 'Pretty Crimson' cannot be beat for setting a tropical scene. The velvety red flowers with their darker throats are prolific on deep green vines that can grow to 30 feet in one season! They intertwine with each other making it perfect for growing in smaller spaces like a balcony or patio.

Whether you let them hang down from the basket or climb up a trellis, their beauty and delicateness will take you away to your own tropical paradise.


These mandevilla prefer full to part sun and moist, but not wet, soil. They definitely do not like to sit in water nor do they want to dry out. Think tropical rains every day.

Fertilize weekly with a flower boosting formula like Dr. Earth Flower Girl Bud and Bloom Booster.You want to keep those large flowers coming.

Treat the Sun Parasol Mandevilla as an annual – a yearly vacation away to the tropics. You might even try sipping on a fruit drink with a flower tucked in your hair!

Colorful Summer Blooming Crape Myrtles

crape myrtle Natchez with white bloomsA tree that loves the heat!

What a find (especially with the temperatures we are now experiencing) and it comes in so many colors! Crape myrtles or lagerstroemia can sometimes worry homeowners as they leaf out later than most of the plants in our area – usually in May. No worries! They wait for the warmth of the sun BUT that means that their trusses of blooms start opening in summer – long after our spring blooming trees and shrubs have finished. Most will continue producing flowers through autumn- sometimes well into October depending on the weather. Pruning out any dead blooms encourages the plant to keep putting out new trusses.


          Arapaho                          Zuni                    Pink Velour               Petite Embers
crape myrtle Arapaho with red flowers crape myrtle 'Zuni' with pink blossoms crape myrtle  Pink Velour crape myrtle Petite Embers with deep pink flowers

You have but to choose size and color. The Petites can grow to 5 feet but can be kept smaller with pruning. This can be done regularly during the season with a final one in winter. Crape myrtles bloom on new wood. Do not make drastic pruning cuts. Shortening a branch will give it strength, control its growth to your wants and help it further branch out to produce more of those showy flowers- in white, pink, purple or red.

                                                                                                         Petite Red Imp

row of crape myrtle Petite Red Imp

Lagostroemia ‘Zuni’ – dark lavender- and ‘Pecos’ – pink- can grow to 9 feet while ‘Arapaho’- red, ‘Centennial Spirit’-dark purple, and ‘Natchez’ –white can grow up to 20 feet after 10 years. How beautiful 'Natchez' is against the blue sky as seen in the top photo.

Look closely at the leaves. Some have tinges of deeper plum in them. Most give off wonderful fall color in yellows or orangey-red.

They have year round interest because their bark is usually multicolored as it exfoliates. Some gardeners even cut out the lower branches to highlight the bark of the trunk. Whether used in mass plantings or as a specimen, crape myrtles will be admired!
Plant in full sun in a spot with good drainage. They like regular water the first growing season but can take less once established. It is an easy care bush or tree that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.                       

Click on photo for larger image.

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What's New and Blooming 7/01/2015

Try some easy care succulents.

They are "In" as table decorations or have then close by on the deck or patio.

Give succulents good drainage and place them where they get sun but not all day. They require little water as they are able to store liquid in their fleshy leaves. Definitely drought tolerant. That's a good thing when we are spending time watering so many other plants during these hot summer days!

The succulents pictured are tender. They cannot stay outside all winter. Bring them inside as houseplants during the coldest days. You will have them for another season.

Create your own groupings with similar looking succulents or try grouping ones with totally different leaves. The absolute easiest - try one of our ready-made succulent bowls.

All annuals 50% OFF until July 9th

THE HEAT IS ON!       Water Wisely Tips Part 2 - Planters

You already know that planters and baskets require more care than plants in the ground.

There is usually less soil to retain water or for the plants to grow into over the season-especially your lush, closely planted ones. Roots fill in spaces where once water could be absorbed.

♦During these hot spells you may need to water your pots and planters TWO or MORE times a day.

♦Check that more than just the top few inches has absorbed water. Give time for the water to drip down through the entire root area. Sometimes it starts running directly down the inside exterior of the pot and never reaches the central area of the planter. The water follows a path of least resistance. In this case, it is good to set the pot in a deep bucket or tray of water and let it wick up to the root zone.

Place your pots on trays to hold water and prevent it from running off. During these especially hot days, hold your spray nozzle over the pot until the water runs out the bottom and then fill up that bottom tray with even more water!

Caution! Never let your plants stand for days in water. Too much water is not a good thing! Daily temperatures and moisture retention guide your watering habits.

♦The direct sun heats up the pots themselves, especially dark plastic ones. Roots can get overheated. Smaller pots may be moved together to a shadier area during these hot days. Yes, even the sun loving plants will do fine for a while out of the intense hot sun. Massing them helps create a mini greenhouse effect. They then will lose less water through transpiration. This is also good to do if you are going on vacation and are having a neighbour water for you. They will thank you!

Remember the more you water, the more nutrients are lost as the water goes through the pots. Fertilize regularly.

Cooler days will come. They always do. By paying attention to the daily temperatures and checking the soil conditions, your planters can be looking lush for the whole season.