Gardener's Grapevine 2011.05.18

Written by David Green.

By JO ERBSKORN

I think gardeners are born with a love for dirt and plants. Some people can’t stand dirt on their hands or clothing. I am like “Pig Pen” in the Peanuts cartoon strip. When I’m in the garden it is with a plan and dirt be damned, I’m going to get that plan accomplished. Apparently one other member of our family has my philosophy.

Saturday we had our annual spring planting and spruce up day at the Congregational church. Because of the rain we were in short supply of help, so my aunt brought her granddaughter Chloe along, who is a freshman in high school. Most everyone knows that teenagers and work are not always a good combination, but wow, what a work horse she was and she never had one discouraging word. She said she liked to get dirty and I knew she had the heart of a gardener. The next generation of dirt lovers has arrived.

I would like to discuss container flowers for the “wow” factor. The first thing is to look at what you have, meaning where the planters will sit and what are they emphasizing. Next, look at what colors will be around them. Color is very important and to get that desired “pop,” you need to step back and think about the surroundings. Finally, think about the amount of sunlight available to the area the plants will sit in. “Sun” means full-on sun all day, “part sun” means part of the day they are in sun and part they are not, and “shade” is little to no sun.

I will use my own house porches as an example. My home is shades of grey and white with cranberry accents. Our porches are deep, making them more partial sun to shade depending on how far back the containers are on the porch. Whites, blues and pale colored flowers will not be a good choice in my containers as these are the colors that make up grey, and they will wash right into the house and not be noticed. If a certain plant in these shades is used, it should be as an accent to a bright flower such as a red or bright pink.

You need to think of the height of the plant, how wide it will be at full growth and whether it will drape down. Most containers of flowers have a tall plant in the center, medium height plants around the tall one, and small draping or non-draping plants on the outer ring. If the container is against a wall you can put the tall plant at the back, the medium plant in front, and smaller ones in front of that.

Use one type of plant with vivid, almost “jump at you” color, and use the rest of the plants to back up this plant. On my porch, red or bright pink is best for the “jump at you” plant, and white and yellow with a splash of deep purple here and there is a great combination. If my home were yellow and white, purples and reds could be the emphasis color.

Use a soil that retains moisture and contains fertilizer in your pot and save some time and work. Have fun with color, height and texture; if it doesn’t work, try something different next year. We live in Michigan and an annual is just that, an annual.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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