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Landscape Update Summer 2012
July 13, 2012

The Heat is On!

Another hot summer is here wreaking havoc on our landscape. The weeds thrive and grow like they are in a jungle threatening to take over. Plants that we want to flourish need care to get through this hot, dry season and don't always look their best. Review how to properly water by visiting this back issue. Luckily, it's only about 2 months that are extremely difficult. The cool autumn weather breathes new life into plants.

There are some colorful plants that can't get enough of this heat. The exotic Passion Flower is seen in this picture. It grows wild and it just appeared in one of my flower beds. I let it grow on top of some of my other perennials while it's in bloom only cutting it back when it stops flowering. The cultivated variety unlike the native one is evergreen and blooms from July to frost. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia sp.) is seen growing on the sand dunes in North Carolina. The more heat and sun, the better they perform. The Royal Candles Veronica in my garden just never stops blooming because of heat exhaustion. I dead head it occasionally, so it looks its best, but new blue spikes are constantly emerging from all over this plant.

Gardenias are a wonderful evergreen shrub that blooms the most fragrant white flower. It has just finished blooming. There are a number of varieties of this shrub with some blooming longer into the summer. The Chuck Hays variety just stopped blooming, so it can be pruned back to a manageable shape. The varieties like Kleins Hardy that may keep blooming throughout the summer are best pruned in the late winter.

Annuals keep blooming from the time they are planted until the frost kills them in the late fall. Lantana and Gomphrena are two annuals that love the hot weather and don't need any dead heading. Lantana has become very popular because of its unusual, colorful flower and deer resistance. It comes in varieties that are low growing as well as ones that grow into the size of small shrubs. They have beautiful color combinations from hot colors like orange to to soft yellow and white. Gomphrena also know as Globe Amaranth is usually seen growing to a 12-16 inch height and has a globe shaped flower in pink, white and purple. It looks great when all three colors are mixed together.

Over seeding your lawn is best done in late August or early September especially if you have trees that are going to be dropping leaves on the newly seeded grass. Getting the seed down early gives the new seed a chance to germinate and produce a strong plant before the leaves fall in October and November. Spray wire grass and other stubborn weeds in August with Round-Up or equivalent. This allows you to do two sprays, if necessary. Wire grass (native Bermuda grass) is another one of those plants that just thrives in the heat and loves to take over the cool season fescue that struggles this time of year.

Gently prune shrubs like holly and laurel that are rapidly growing. Major pruning is done in February, so just keep shrubs shaped now. Keep fertilizing plants that need to put out extra growth until the first of August. Use a slow release, high quality fertilizer that can' t burn your plants. If you need to order spring flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips that are planted in the fall, start getting your list together. Buy early before popular varieties sell out.

Your referrals and repeat business are appreciated. They have kept Landesign of VA, Inc. in business since 1981!

Please contact me to inquire about landscape design services.

Nancy Dransfield
Landesign of Virginia, Inc.
P.O. Box 15582
Richmond, Virginia 23227
Office: 804-261-6773

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