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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Calendar for Growing Flowers in Coastal Southern California


May is Lei Day in Hawaii or MAY IS THE MONTH OF MILDEW here on the coast, on your roses.

Be sure to spray for mildew on your roses all this month, every week. Spray the soil also. Cut short stems on the roses for the first blooming to let the plant get strong, then after that, long stems to semi-prune as you pick.

You can safely fertilize almost everything now, to keep it growing fast. When the rains are over, water infrequently but deeply, about once a week in sandy soil, less often in adobe.

Always add organic amendments to soil when you plant, as these continuously decompose and must be replaced.

Multiply Mums Madly, by making cuttings of the tips and divisions of the plants. In the next six weeks see that all your mums are divided. You will do better to dig up a clump and keep one division than to leave the whole clump. After they are established continue to pinch till mid August. Keep them 6 to 8 inches high, till then. If they get lumps on them use systemic granules.

If fuchsias are nicely rounded plants, stop pinching now and let them set buds. Fertilize them now iwth fertilizer with a high middle number.

If calendulas get mildew and leggy throw them out. They have had their day and plant them again in September. Save the stock, it may last two years, simply cut the old flowers off. Keep pruning chunks out of the marguerites every few weeks and they will continue to put out new green and blooms all year.

Plant asters and zinnias late in the month.

First Lady marigold will add a lot of summer color. Buy small dahlias in the 4" size in bloom so you can pick the color. They will bloom all summer if you protect them ever six weeks with systemic granules, then they will go dormant in late fall. When foliage i all dried up, dig and store bulbs to plant next year or they may be left in the ground a few years before separating. They always get leaf minor o you must use systemic granules every six weeks or spray them every 10 days. Protect them from snails too.

If you have pets do use the "spray on" snail protection. Completely water the garden first in the morning, let all the water dry off the leaves and then thoroughly spray the entire garden. Repeat in about 10 days and you will find very few snails live through this treatment. "That's it," and a product by Germaines are a few of the good sprays. If you can persuade the neighbors on each side to do this at the same time you are all going to be happy for a while. If you use snail spray or any spray be sure to get under the leaves.

In summer: impatients for shade, vinca for sun. Impatients in shade will bloom until November. A good investment, make cuttings and have them next year. Buy in bloom and collect your favorite colors. Planted amid ferns and using campanulas as a ground cover you can have a colorful spot in the deep summer shade. Impatients can stand a bit of sun along the coast, and must have sun in winter.

Don't cut foliage off bulbs but braid it and tuck it away neatly. Try to take in a Garden Tour in May. You will learn a lot from it. Take carnation cuttings now.

Florence Sullivan