Gardening Daily Tips No 142

Welcome to nghelamvuon.wordpress.com Gardening Daily Tips No 142

Clematis (Clematis)

Plant type: Perennial, Vine

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5a to 9b

Height: 96″ to 144″

Spread: 0″

Exposure: partial shade partial sun to full sun

Bloom Color: Lavender, Pink, Purple, White

Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer

Leaf Color: Green

Growth Rate: average

Moisture: moist

Soil Condition: Acidic, Loamy, Neutral, Slightly alkaline, Well drained

Form: Spreading or horizontal, Variable spread

Landscape Uses:

Arbor, Container, Specimen

Special Features:

Not North American native, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms

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Q&A: Male & Female Holly Trees

Question: I purchased and planted a Holly bush/tree last year and I was recently told that I have to plant a male & female Holly side by side in order for it to grow properly. Is this true? If so, how do I know if the one I have is a male or female? It has grown some since last year but not as much as I would have liked.

Answer: Hollies bear male and female flowers on separate plants. The pollen from the male flowers on one plant is carried to the female flowers by pollinating insects and it is these fertilized flowers that develop into berries. So only female plants will have berries on them, and only if there is pollen from a male plant around to fertilize them. The plants themselves will grow just fine if you only have one plant or either all male or all female plants- you just won’t get berries. If having berries is important, for each 6-8 females plants you need to have at least one male plant nearby (within the same yard is fine- they don’t need to be right next to each other) that blooms at the same time. So how do you know if you have a male of female plant? If yours had berries on it when you bought it or has borne berries since, you know it’s a female. (If it produced berries this year, it means there is another suitable male holly somewhere in the neighborhood near enough to provide pollen.) Otherwise, you need to look at the flowers when the holly is in bloom in the spring. Look at the center of the flowers. Male holly flowers have 4 little yellow stalks or stamens; the female flower has a single greenish, bulbous structure.  Once you know the sex of your plant, your local nursery should be able to help you figure out what the best male variety is for pollinating your holly. If your hollies aren’t growing as well as you’d like, it has nothing to do with whether you have one or more of them. Hollies do best in moist, but well-drained, somewhat acidic soils that are high in organic matter. They will tolerate some shade, but prefer full sun. Generally, hollies will struggle in heavy, wet clay or alkaline soils. The exception to this is Burford Chinese holly, which is more tolerant of many types of soil conditions. Especially for the first few years as they are getting  established, hollies can benefit from fertilization. Use a fertilizer for acid-loving plants and apply in spring according to the directions on the label.

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Q&A: Attracting Bats

Question: We would like to attract bats to our small acreage and heard that, in addition to setting up bat houses, we can plant certain plants to attract them. Can you recommend some?

Answer: Bats are among a gardener’s best friends. All bats feed on insects such as moths, mosquitoes, cucumber and June beetles, leafhoppers and even scorpions. In fact, bats are the only major predators of these night-flying insects as well as many agricultural pests. It’s a Bat Fact that a bat the size of your thumb can eat up to 600 mosquitoes an hour — that’s 3,000 insects in one night. Insects are bat food, so create a garden for insects with native plants, night-scented flowers, herbs, and flowering vines. An outdoor light is also a good insect lure. Remember to choose plants that bloom throughout the season (April through October), and choose plants that bloom at a variety of levels; e.g., grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, vines and trees. Good choices for a bat garden include salvia, silene, phlox, stock (including evening stock), cornflower, and spearmint. Flowers that bloom into the evening include four o’clocks, moonflower, and nicotiana.

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Q&A: Cross Pollination of Squash and Gourds

Question: I have several varieties of squash in my garden. I also have several gourds growing on the fence around the garden. Will the gourds cross pollinate with the squash and cause problems? What is the minimum distance necessary to separate each variety?

Answer: Don’t worry about separating these plants. The only concern is if you plan to save seed for planting next year. Cross pollination does not affect the current year’s fruits–only the seeds. (This might be a concern if, say, you were planning to harvest pumpkin seeds for roasting.) However, if you compost the plants and some of the seeds sprout, you could have some strange gourd/squash mutants growing out of the compost pile! But there’s no need to worry about this year’s crop.

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Tip: Make Your Own Potting Soil

If you have a lot of containers to fill, you’ll save money by mixing your own potting soil. A wheelbarrow makes a great mixing bowl. Combine five parts peat moss, five parts perlite and two parts compost or composted manure. Add one cup granulated organic fertilizer for each cubic yard of potting soil you make. Mix until well blended and use immediately or store in clean buckets or plastic bags.

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Tip: Plant Flowers in Shade

Use flowering plants to brighten shady areas. In dense to medium shade, plant begonias, coleus, and impatiens. In light shade plant, ageratum, canterbury bells, lobelia, nicotiana, and salvias.

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Gardening Tips Video

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