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How to Extend Your Flower Season
July 23, 2012

It is with a heavy heart for the people of Colorado, for America, and for all of mankind, that I start this newsletter.

Do lift up everyone in prayer.

This past week, Nature gave my part of Michigan its first measurable rain in weeks.

My rain gauge for Thursday recorded 1 and 1/8 inch of liquid gold.

The thermometer was in the 60's most of the day as well.

It almost had a feel of October for the one day.

Too little, too late for many farmers, but every drop is a blessing.

The heat continues to be an issue for me and many of you as well.

I am noticing now (heat and all), that the sun beats on me a bit lower than it did a couple of weeks ago.

Yes, it isn't directly over head.

I'm not ready to wish for cool weather and autumn.

I am willing to say that this is more summer than I wanted.

Michigan is warmer than Florida..........................

What gives?

So, I am back to watering on a regular routine once again.

Not simply watering the green stuff, but watering the birds as well.

I put the sprinkler in a location that does indeed water some flowers and shrubs, but also gives a refreshing shower and drink for the birds and squirrels.

Karen, her mom and her sister all celebrate birthdays in July.

To make it easier for everyone, there is one celebration get together at a local lake/county park.

That's out of the way for another year

It's not that bad, even if I was the only man this time.

Grand kids, great nephews and such are getting older now and give me a run for it.

Okay, so I have a few aches and pains for the next few days.

At least I can still play a little.

This Thursday- Sunday, Karen and I spend our annual time in Petoskey, Michigan at a Bed & Breakfast (Gingerbread House).

It is the only time we have to ourselves, and a tradition that started a couple of years after Yolanda's accident.

I truly love it Up North.

Officials in Mexico culled more than 2.5 million chickens in the western part of the country in an attempt to stop or contain a Bird Flu Outbreak.

Avian Flu, H7N3 was detected in Jalisco, Mexico on June 20.

This is not The Bird Flu (H5N1) that had the world in panic mode.

Anyway, this report got me to thinking (I do that once in a while).

I was curious to know about H5N1.

I got on the CDC (Center for Disease Control) web site, only to find out that the CDC is no longer working on, or has and active pages on the Bird Flu.

Everything is archived.

So much for the Big Pandemic scare.

What never helps, is the Fear Factor the media always plays a part of.

Not only the written media, but TV as well.

How many times can you watch on Discovery or some other channel "It Could Happen Today" or some other similar title to grab your attention.

A smart title to grab your mind, to get you to watch a computer animated show on deadly storms, viruses, etc.

Many of us take the word of the media as 100% gospel.

More times than not it fades away into a minor blip or totally forgotten.

Once again, it appears there is more money to be had in preaching fear and doom than there is in facts and the truth.

The public wants to believe, and the media feeds the frenzy.

The same continues for politics, the so called 'Global Warming' scare (more later) and more.

On with this weeks topic.

How to Extend Your Flower Season.


A hot topic this summer is of course the heat and dry conditions many of us have endured.

Another issue at hand I touched on last week is the early blooming from late summer bloomers.

No one predicted this.

I know one forum I am on wonders what will be left blooming by September.

Right now, my Cimicifuga (An early fall bloomer) is already showing buds in Mid July.

I did mention last week to get some perennials that perform all season as well as your choice of annuals.

Not only for your gardens and colors, but for all of the various pollinators that you assist every year, even the ones you don't think about.

It may be too late for some of you to employ some of these tactics this year, but tuck them away for the future.

For many of you, it still isn't too late to give some perennials a work over.

So here we are, now approaching late July and your August blooming perennials and possibly some September bloomers are popping open right now or well past their peak.

This indeed ruins colors schemes and the abundance of color you look for in late summer.

Act now, even if it is only a trial on a single plant.

One simple trick is to give your plants haircuts.

Yes, even now many will bloom for you later in the season.

If you recall, I mention just about every spring how I cut back some Monarda to extend the bloom time.

It usually doesn't grow as tall, but produces more flowers heads.

The picture to your right shows this.

While most of the Monarda flowers are past peak, the new growth coming on will bloom for me soon.

Not only will I have color, but the hummingbirds will be happy too.

A few weeks more of Monarda in bloom.

A few years back I bought a second batch of Crocosmia bulbs and planted them about an inch deeper then they had to be.

The results.......................................

While the fist batch is done blooming and showing seed pods, the second batch is just now starting to bloom.

Again, an extended season for me.

Throughout this letter are pictures of Garden Phlox in bloom, and I've shared photos over the past couple of weeks as well.

You will also notice pictures of phlox in the flower bud stage.

Sometimes the same plants, sometimes a separate plant all together.

A few Garden Phlox I pruned back earlier and a couple, the deer did for me two/three weeks ago.

Yes, side shoots with buds.

Several side shoots.

True, the plants are a bit shorter and bushier.

There isn't one big main head with late haircuts, but I will have phlox in bloom when they are supposed to be blossoming.

The deer also pruned back the New England Asters as well.

Experienced gardeners know they back mums once or twice to force a shorter, bushier and more prolific blooming plant.

Well, it isn't to late to give your Sedums a haircut.

Just last week, I gave Autumn Joy a second cut.

As you can see, there were many bud heads that landed on this barbers floor (dirt).

Still, it is only July and these guys aren't supposed to bloom for me for another six to eight weeks.

Snip, snip.

Plenty of time to grow side shoots and flower later on.

Some garden centers that grow their own plants will doctor and manipulate plants to look full and to bloom when they want them to.

Have you ever purchased a plant in bloom that was maybe 15 inches tall.

You didn't bother to read the tag.

You went home and planted it and the following year your new plant grew to 3 plus feet (1m) before it bloomed and wondered what happened.

Wholesale and some retail garden center buy and grow plugs (plants) from other growers that specialize in just that.


Purchase a 'Proven Winner' potted plant.

There are, but a few locations that specialize in 'Proven Winner' plant liners and they sell them to other growers, licensed to sell that name brand.

In the trade, plant plugs are called liners, or pot liners.

Liners typically have one main bud coming from the ground.

Plant the liner (in this case a Garden Phlox) in a small pot and let it grow.

You may sell it for a couple dollars.

Put that same liner in a larger pot, groom it and clip it a couple of times and you now have a plant worthy to be called 'Landscape Quality', and can sell for $8-$10 dollars.

Next time you purchase a new plant, check and see if it has been snipped and clipped once or twice.

Short, bushy, full of blooms are an easy sell.

You can get the same results in your own gardens.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

We Need God In America Again.

Carman - Christian Artist

Since God was kicked out of our schools, and Slowly being removed from government, you can see the downward spiral The United States of America is taking.

I'm not wrong here,

We need God.

All of the world needs to call out to the only One and Living God.

The Very Creator of Everything.

I emplore you my friends.

Yes, there is a sense of urgancy.

We Need God in America Again.

God our Father gave us these simple words.

When enough people pray, we can once again expect His blessings.

Wont you seek Him today?

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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