June 23, 2011

A Marigold By Any Other Name....

...won't smell as good!  At least not to me.

I'm going to mix it up this time and feature an annual.  It is Tagetes tenuifolia, also known as Signet Marigold.  And it is a favorite of mine.  I don't often see it in stores but you can find seeds easily.

While I am not a fan of the smell of marigolds, this one has a lemony scent I adore.  The foliage is fine and ferny.  Flowers are smaller than typical marigolds but equally vibrant in oranges and yellows.

They also can deter pests from veggie gardens, and they attract bees and butterflies.  I am told they are edible but have yet to try them.  I just love their wonderful scent!

June 14, 2011

Featured Perennial - Bowman's Root

Our second featured perennial is Gillenia trifoliata a/k/a Bowman's Root.  This native plant has lovely mahogany stems and clean, pretty foliage.  But when it blooms it is even more lovely.  White flowers float above the slender stems like butterflies.  The blooms can last for months starting in spring.  And the show continues into fall when the leaves take on yellow and orange colors.

This is a tough, clump-forming, zone 5 plant that takes shade to part sun and grows to around 3 feet. It prefers acidic soil but will take some lime.  Best to keep it consistently watered but may exhibit some drought tolerance once established.  It makes a beautiful woodland garden plant.

An alternate botanic name is Porteranthus trifoliatus. The common name supposedly comes from settlors' description of Native Americans who use this plant as a medicinal.  It is also known as Indian Physic.

June 4, 2011

Hot In The City

Now that we finally have some heat in Chicagoland, don't forget to water. Containers especially need it often since they dry out fast. Water and let it drain through the pot.  Then water another time or two.

Also, keep newly planted trees and shrubs well watered until established. A good schedule is every day for the first week, every other day for the second week, etc., for at least three weeks.  Let the hose run at a trickle for 30 to 40 minutes.

A long soak every few days is better for all in ground plants and lawns than every day for a few minutes. It encourages the roots to go down for water and nutrients and not stay at the surface.  And water plants at the base - not on the leaves.  Some plants can get powdery mildew and other problems from wet foliage.