By on Jul 28, 2013 in Flowering Annuals |

Flowering Annuals this summer have been “floriforous” and beautiful. It’s not a “figleaf” of my imagination. A kaleidoscope of flowering annuals have colored our world this summer responding to weather favorable for their growth. Last week I had the opportunity to tour the Ball Seed Gardens in West Chicago. Back in 1905 George J. Ball launched a one man business which today has blossomed into a world leader in horticulture. I had the opportunity to have lunch with Anna Caroline Ball the third generation leader of the family owned Ball corporation. We then walked the gardens and I thought I would share some of the beauty we saw that day.  

More “Flower” to you

By on Apr 29, 2013 in Flowering Annuals, Spring |

It’s planting time and we’re excited about the flowering annuals we selected on our shopping trip. They’re going to look great and visions of blooming colors are dancing in our head. But what if they don’t meet up to our expectations? Plants like people have basic nutritional needs. And plants just like people can’t live on just energy drinks or water, you need a meal now and then. Water alone is not enough. Well more “flower” to you. If your annuals need to go “potty” and are in a hanging basket or pot every time you water nutrients are carried out the drainage holes with it. The nutrients need to be replaced. I recommend a combination of water soluble and time release or granular fertilizer. One is the energy drink and the other is meat and potatoes. The great thing about water soluble fertilizer is that is quickly available to...

Pet-“New”-ias…..these are not your Grandma’s Petunias

By on May 10, 2012 in Flowering Annuals |

For those of you looking for a “florific” easy to care flowering annual that doesn’t take a lot of care, you may find yourself steering away from Petunias. You remember the sticky old Grandiflora or Multiflora Petunias Grandma used to grow that required deadheading and would melt in the rain or heat of summer. Today Petunias or as I call them Pet-“New”-ias are aggressive re-blooming self cleaning disease resistant beauties perfect for planting beds or containers. My favorites are Supertunias, vegetatively propagated from cuttings, or Wave petunias which grow like a groundcover. Calibrachoa or ‘Million Bells’ look like tiny petunias but are actually an entirely different species and perfect for containers or hanging baskets.

Make a Wish

By on May 20, 2011 in Flowering Annuals |

If you wish for a beautiful flower for containers or hanging baskets one of my favorite annual flowers is Wishbone flower or Torenia. The flower is called “Wishbone” flower because the two fused stamens inside the flower look just like the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey. Wishbone Flower Two other flowering annuals that I love and are very tough………easy to grow and stand up to hot summer weather are Melampodium or Medallion flower and Gomphrena or Globe Amaranth……..two top performers and tough guys!

Hanging Gardens to show your love

By on May 4, 2010 in Flowering Annuals, General |

Do we have Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar to thank for the inspiration for today’s spring time tradition of hanging baskets? Around 600 BC he had “hanging gardens” built for his home sick wife Amytis who longed for the trees and plants of her homeland. The hanging gardens, which were at the time in Babylon (present day Iraq), converted a dry dusty place into one of the seven original wonders of the world. That was long before Mother’s day was “invented” so to speak. Here in the US Anna Jarvis is credited for being the motivating force behind a day to honor Mothers. Her life time efforts were rewarded with a presidential proclamation on May 9, 1914 declaring the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s day. Show Mom some love this Mother’s day for letting you “hang around” the house all those years she cared for you and give her the...

Porta Potty

By on Jul 2, 2009 in Flowering Annuals |

Yesterday I was reflecting on the fact that 2 weeks ago we had flooding. 1 week ago we had high heat and humidity. This week a slow moving low pressure system provided dark skies and below normal temperatures all week.What a difference a week makes here in Michigan! That’s why I think one of the beauties of container gardening is the versatility containers provide in the landscape. I call the art “Porta Potty” because if frost is in the forecast, drag it in the garage. If heavy rain and a storm is forecast, drag it under a overhang. If heat and wind are drying it out, slide the container to a more protected area. This kind of Porta Potty smells good and will keep you “occupied” all summer long!