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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.

On SALE -- 25% OFF--regular price

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.

What's New and Blooming 6/24/2015

 

Decorate your patio, balcony or front entrance for July 4th.

 

Celebrate Independance Day

The Heat is On!  Water Wisely Tips Part 1

soaker hose

  • Try not to let your planted landscape dry out. It is more difficult to jump start than to maintain a consistant moisture level. The plants, without their cells full and strong with water, can be weakened and more susceptible to disease and insects. Be proactive!
  • Long, deep watering is better than short frequent spurts of water. Get the water down to the roots. Create a well with mulch to hold water by the root area. Mulch around your plants to avoid evaporation once moist.
  • Water early in the morning especially if you water overhead. This allows the plants’ leaves to dry off during the day and avoid any fungal diseases from spreading. It also gives them a store of water for the day’s heat.
  • Water in the cool of the evening if you are able to get the water directly to the soil around the plants. There is less evaporation than at midday and more water gets to the roots.

Soaker hoses or a drip irrigation system work the best for allowing the water to percolate down to the roots. Water isn’t wasted through run off. Our new tree Dew Right bags work well on newly planted trees.

If your garden is on a timed sprinkler system, remember that newly planted trees and shrubs usually require supplemental water the first year as their roots have not yet spread out into your planted area. Give them extra water.

With this heat, we perspire while plants transpire. Water naturally is given off through their leaves. The warmer the temperatures, the more this occurs. We counteract this by drinking more liquids. Remember to give your plants more water than usual.

  • That means, depending on the plant, you may have to water more than once during these hot days.

One last note.

If you have neglected to give regular, long, deep waterings and your tree or shrub has some browning leaves, don’t worry. Continue on a good regime. The plant has been stressed and may drop some leaves. New leaves will be produced when the plant rehydrates.

Tips for watering planters in this heat coming next!

What's New and Blooming 6/17/2015

Which of These Father's Day Gift Ideas Might Your Dad Like?

Cooling Waters or Benches to Rest On

  

Playful Statuary

Wall Hangings

Asian Inspirations and Friends

Click on image for larger view

For the Master Chef or Master Chef wanna-be ( you know which one your Dad is ) fresh herbs are great gifts. They are the taste touches which can make or break a dish and its presentation. What could be better than growing his own and being able to use them fresh from the plant to the table!

Fresh rosemary, basil, thyme or tarragon can be used in marinades. The flavors will be absorbed into the meat or vegetables before cooking.

For extra freshness, try sprinkling on herbs after grilling. They are not only tasty but attractive, adding color to the food. Basil, parsely, chives, and mints are possibilities.

Barbeque Rosemary can be used as a skewer while BBQing. Alternatively, you can use it on the coals and  have the sense of the herb smoked in.

Growing a pot full of herbs is easy. All they require is full sun and good drainage. Choose a pot size that allows the herbs to grow and spread. Placing the pot close to the BBQ area or grill means the chef has easy access for his last minute taste decisions. It is a reminder that yes, herbs are a great addition to food.

The recipe below is a great way to use those fresh herbs.

 

Grilled Chicken with Herbs

INGREDIENTS

2 Tbsp. chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. dried sage
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (6 4-ounce breasts)

DIRECTIONS

In a blender combine the parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Place chicken in a nonporous glass dish or bowl and pour blended marinade over the chicken. Cover dish and refrigerate to marinate for at least 2 hours or up to 48 hours. Preheat grill to medium-high heat OR set oven to broil. Remove chicken from dish (disposing of leftover marinade) and grill or broil for about 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside (170ºF).

Serves 6.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

We Are Ready to Help. Plant a Row for the Hungry 2015. Make a Difference

Farmington Gardens is pleased to once again participate in the Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign. Your donations will be distributed to families in need by the Sunshine Pantry and Tualatin Valley Gleaners. Together we can make a difference.

For you, it is simply a matter of deciding to plant more. This could mean dedicating and planting an extra row in your vegetable bed. It could mean growing fruits and vegetables just for the pleasure of growing and sharing them.

Of course, there are those of us who simply grow more than intended. A single pack of seeds certainly can produce an amazing number of plants, all of which ripen at the same time.

Starting Wednesday, June 17th going through the growing season

Collections are twice a week: Wednesdays from 10-12 and Sundays from 10-12 

                                  

It is simple to do. Bring your clean produce to Farmington Gardens to the volunteer representatives from the Sunshine Pantry and the Tualatin Valley Gleaners. Once you fill out an initial form to help us keep track of your donations, all that needs doing is having your harvest weighed and recorded. The volunteers take care of the rest. At the end of the year, you will receive a total that can be used for tax purposes.

Gardeners can make a huge impact on the needs of our local community. Your response to this national program has been incredible in years past and we are looking forward to another successful year.

For more information: Tualatin Valley Gleaners

                                     Sunshine Pantry

                                     Plant a Row for the Hungry

What's New and Blooming 6/10/2015

Did you know you could brighten your shady areas with annuals?

 

Create pops of color with both the leaves and the flowers!

Plant in masses.

 

Plant in pots. They will certainly make a statement!

Click on image for larger view.

Buying a new tree, especially a larger one, is exciting. You can make a significant change to the look of your landscape very quickly. But taking proper care of the tree takes commitment. While in the pots, we maintain a daily watering routine - sometimes more during hot dry spells. This is not always easy for the home gardener.

Once you get your tree home, you follow the planting recommendations of digging a hole as deep as the pot and twice as wide. You amend the soil that you are putting back around the roots.  It is nice and loose so the roots can grow. Finished! Not so fast!

Those tender little feeder roots really do want to reach out into that soil but if they are not given enough moisture to encourage them, they are not going anywhere! The tree you expected to push out with new growth may sit at rest or even die back.

You really need to maintain a steady amount of moisture way down to those lower roots and out around the tree. That as deep as the pot and twice as wide rule still comes into effect. If you have a soaker hose or drip system, that is perfect. Giving the tree all the water it needs that first year – even for drought resistant ones – is difficult to do manually. The water you are standing there spraying tends to run off from the area you are trying to hydrate. It takes time for the water to percolate down through the soil.

We now have Tree Watering Bags to help you with your newly planted trees. It can save you time and water. The 20 gallon bag, easy to fill, slowly releases water over a 5 to 8 hour period, directly to the root zone. This allows the liquid to seep down to where it is needed. Do this once or twice a week depending on the tree and temperatures and you will avoid transplant shock. The ‘Dew Right’ bag is UV protected, will hold up over time and can be reused. These are not meant to stay around the trees forever- just during much of the crucial first year in your garden.