BY GLADYS JEURINK
after the seed catalogues start coming, I look out the windows at the
frozen lily ponds, dead leaves blowing around, and go over what did well
last summer and what were my favorites. Then I try to decide what I need
the coming summer. Every
year I have less shade as the wind or storms break off branches, and old
age and fire blight destroy the crabapples. The April freeze destroyed many of the flower buds and I am
hoping it got to the cottonwood’s
cotton buds as I saw some come down looking rather sad. Several hundred
grackles and starlings are on the neighbor’s lawn pecking and
scratching for whatever after he just raked and mowed. I am writing this
first week in April when it is too cold to stay out very long but I am
setting my pots upright and putting the potting soil and compost back in
so it can settle down for May planting.
are a “Must Have” for
sunny areas. They are perennial shrubs down south but annuals here,
about 2 ½ to 3 feet tall by fall.
They come in many colors and combinations in the same flower
during the fall. They bloom before the asters and the mums. They have
many branches, but do not demand much water and don’t mind our July
and August heat. A bloom
may be both pink and white, or red and yellow, or pink and yellow that
changes as they age. The
flower is actually a cluster of small tubular blossoms that butterflies
love. They do form dark berries that are poisonous making it a good
practice of dead heading when the flowers fade.
For late fall
bloom in the shade the TOAD LILIES are fun. I
can’t see any resemblance to toads unless it is because both of them
like damp, shaded soil. They
also have color combinations although most are white to pink with spots
on the petals. The rabbits decided they were good food when very young
so as soon as they show up I put a cage around until later in the
summer. Natives of Japan
and the Philippines, the flowers can be star, funnel, or bell shaped.
I have noticed this spring, the catalogs have some new even odder
colors and petal shapes. They belong to the lily family and you can find
them as TRICYRTIS sp. They are
usually in bloom when we get our fall frost so I have never been able to
save any seed but the clumps which spread slowly can be divided in
spring or fall.
flower about 6-8 inches tall is CORDALIS
LUTEA. Cindy Gabelhouse brought me one from Minnesota a number of
years ago and it has seeded itself into damp, shady places but this cold
week has it lying flat. I
hope there are some seeds that haven’t started yet. It is a dainty
little plant about 8 inches wide with yellow, lacy, ½ inch flowers in
dense clusters that bloom all summer until frost.
The foliage is ferny and bluish. Lately I have seen advertised
plants with blue flowers that cost much more than the yellow (zone 6-8).
I have never heard a “common name” but it resents transplanting
unless done very early in spring.
In the last few
years ANGELONIAS have
appeared in the nurseries and has become one of my “Must Haves”. They are natives of Brazil and Mexico and hardy only
in zones 9 and 10 where they act as sub shrubs. For me they grow in full
sun, about 2 to 2 ½ feet tall with long upright chains of blooms 12-18
inches long in pink, lavender, purple, and purple and white that often
can get knocked down in a heavy rain. I like them in containers where
the chains will weave around other plants or droop down the side.
I have seen them listed as “summer snapdragons’ which will
give you some idea of the shape of the individual flowers.
FLOWERS, also called STAR
CLUSTER, and EGYPTIAN STAR
CLUSTER (Penta lanceolata)
grows between 1 ½ to 2 feet tall and is a pretty plant about as wide as
it is tall. The star name
is from the individual flowers with five petals in a star shape.
The flowers are in 3-4 inch across clusters in an almost ball
shape, with the stars all facing out.
There are pink, red, lavender, purple and white ones all natives
of Africa, Arabia, and Madagascar (zone 10-11). Humming birds like the
flowers which last well in a bouquet.
They do like damp soil and fertilizer in full sun.
In their long native season they may grow 6 feet tall and 3 feet
BLACKEYED SUSANS may seem a strange “Must
Have” because they tend to take over, but my patch has been
getting shorter and thinner as the neighbors and my trees get bigger and
bigger. So this year I am saving some space in the parkway in full sun.
They are such bright yellow when other plants are drooping.
EPSOM SALTS AND MICRONUTRIENTS IN THE
BY GEORGE EDGAR
(which is Magnesium Sulfate [MgSO4-7H2O]) can be a good source of
magnesium for plants. 2-3 tablespoons around each tomato plant is
sufficient. Clematis sometimes gets yellow leaves which looks like iron
chlorosis. It may be magnesium chlorosis, or a deficiency of magnesium.
2-3 tablespoons of Epsom salts per plant could help. Gladys adds 2-3
tablespoons of Epsom salts to each rose bush every spring.
fertilizers contain many micronutrients including magnesium. There are
16 elements that are needed for good plant growth. Only nitrogen (N),
phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S), iron (Fe), and zinc (Zn) may
need to be added to Nebraska soils. The rest are present in sufficient
One of those
other micronutrients is calcium. Many of us have a problem with blossom
end rot on our tomatoes. Low calcium transport in a plant appears to be
associated with blossom end rot of tomatoes. Most of the time our
Nebraska soils have enough calcium available for the plant and the
addition of calcium to the soil or sprayed on the plant does not seem to
help, as it is the transport of that calcium from the soil into the
tomato that is the problem. Research has shown that one of the reasons
for the poor transport of the calcium to the fruit is usually irregular
watering. That is, we plant the small tomato plants and we forget when
we watered, and then over-water. This irregular watering makes the
calcium go up into the foliage and not enough to the fruit. Water and
fertilize when needed.
only the first tomatoes are affected by blossom end rot. Then with the
second flush of tomatoes the plant transports calcium also to the fruit
and all the later tomatoes seem to be ok.