Page 50 - Oct2017

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eptember brought a definite change in the air, less
humidity perhaps, a slight drop in the temperature, a
jaunty swing in the breeze—just as we had begun to
imagine that summer was going to last forever. The
extreme heat of August made motivation a little difficult, but
by the middle of last month, thoughts had turned to the garden
and the tasks awaiting there. Although warm temperatures will
most likely persist well into the fall months, most gardeners are
anxious with anticipation as the garden centers feature the latest
in annuals, perennials, and bulbs.
Autumn is a favorite gardening period, as many plants undergo a
resurgence of growth and bloom. A little trimming will encourage
this new growth in summer annuals, and the time has come to
perform those housekeeping duties of the garden that prepare
for the introduction of the annuals of fall.
Weed and clean beds and pots of decaying plant matter. Cut
back overgrown foliage and deadhead plants with dried-up
blooms to make them more attractive. Have a plan, decide where
you want your new plants then organize the plots accordingly.
Take time to prepare your flowerbeds with the addition of
compost thoroughly mixed into the existing soil. Add mulch to
clay soil and humus or peat moss to sandy soil to increase the
water holding capacity and drainage.
Cool season plants will perform best in well-drained areas that
receive ample sunshine, which generally leads to more blooms
and happier plants. Discover options for shaded areas as well; for
those less sunny spots select pansies, cyclamen, or alyssum.
With the beds prepared and organized, a trip to the garden
center will be much more efficient. Choose high quality
healthy plants with dark green foliage and signs of bud
development. Avoid tall, leggy plants, and instead choose
those that are smaller and more compact as they will develop
better root systems to sustain vigorous new growth.
When thinking of fall blooms, chrysanthemums often come
to mind, followed shortly by pansies. However, the warmer
winter climate of the island provides many more choices,
especially considering that truly cold weather and freezing
temperatures normally do not hit until December or January.
Here are a few selections that will flourish in these moderate
temperatures of the fall and winter months.
drummond phlox
Drummond Phlox is an annual Texas native named for
Thomas Drummond, who sent seeds to horticulturists in
Europe for cultivation in 1835. Spending two years researching
from Galveston on the Texas Gulf Coast and along the Brazos,
Colorado and Guadalupe rivers, this naturalist from Scotland
had his collections extensively distributed among museums
and scientific institutions across the world. The collections of
Phlox became known as an “exotic” cultivated garden flower
for the next one hundred and fifty years in Europe.
In hues of lavender, coral, pink, and red, with an “eye” of a
By Jan Brick
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