neighborhood garden for june 13, 2015




by gladys jeurink

          June brings the end of the early spring flowers and now we look to the bigger and sometimes brighter summer ones.

          BEE BALM is putting on its buds of red, pink, purple, or white from 18 to 40 inches tall.  Red is my favorite as well as well as that of the HUMMING BIRDS. As a plant it can take care of itself but is not invasive. It spreads slowly as the clumps expand.  If you take a flash light out after dark you might find a number of bees sleeping in the flowers. The plants are shallow rooted and easy to pull if the clump is too big. BEE BALM can get powdery mildew, so check your label for a resistant one when you buy a plant.  The gorgeous, blazing red JACOB KLINE is resistant.

          CONEFLOWERS (Echinacea hybrids) of all colors will soon be blooming and there is every color available. They are usually about 2 feet high and wide. Last year I bought some new red ones and now this spring they have seeded into many babies.  I will let a few grow to see if the color remains the same.  If you deadhead you will get a long time flowering. They like full sun and most will wait until July to bloom. You can find your choice of color and petal shape but that big cone shaped center makes the petals show up.

          Perilla is listed in many places as a “pest”. I always let a few clumps grow in various places because of its purple leaves that make the greens show up.  Be warned—they shed many, many seeds and they all come up. But they are very easy to pull. They do well in sun or partial shade.  The frutescens genus is called Shiro in Japan and added to some of their tobaccos.  The leaves are frilly and the white blooms are very small but prolific and can be easily cut off to prevent so much seed.  It grows almost three feet tall.

          By June the tall SEDUMS are growing tall.  Mine are in cages to prevent them from flopping in the fall as the big red or pink heads are very heavy. You can prevent this by cutting them back halfway before July 4th.  They will then hold those big heads all winter. There is one with variegated leaves I would like to find.

          Another plant listed as aggressive is the GOOSENECK LOOSESTRIFE (Lysimachia clethroides) as it spreads by underground rhizomes.  It is up now and thick but enjoying the rain. The flower heads are long, like the common name says, white and curved about 12 inches long and covered with small white blooms. It can get to 3 feet tall and will bloom mid-summer.

          BUTTERFLY WEED (Asclepsis tuberose) comes up late for me and I need to remember where it is so I don’t chop it off. It is deep rooted and almost refuses to be transplanted. It is a bright orange, about 2 feet tall and wide. It likes it hot and dry.  The seeds fly around so I have had some come up in weird places such as leaning out from under a large rock but I find it one of the harder plants to get started.

          LANTANA (Lantana camara) is a must have for me as the                                                               Humming Birds love them. I keep a number just outside a big window. To keep the soil in good shape, I like to add compost every spring. They will not do much until the weather gets warmer. Their blooms are in round balls, 2 to 3 inches across and come in many colors and many bi-colors such as yellow and red in the same bloom. The plants are 24 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Some people are allergic to the foliage and all parts are toxic if eaten.

          A tall (up to 6 feet) coarse plant that shows up well as a background is the MEXICAN SUNFLOWER (Tithonia rotundifolia).  It is a very bright orange and will not bloom until later in the summer. Painted Lady Butterflies and Monarch Butterflies like it. Plant the seed after the soil is warm with the plants about 2 feet apart.

This spring I found the seeds of a bi-colored corn with red stripes in the leaves. I am looking forward to seeing if it looks like the package. If it is, it should look nice in a fall decoration.

Copyright 2015