Monday, May 21, 2012

Preparing for Summer

Travis County Master Gardeners gave a free workshop Thursday on prepping your yard for summer. Biggest thing you can do: mulch! And add humus and compost year round to keep soil healthy.
Some of the tips that I wrote down:
*Don't forget to water your trees! One inch all under the canopy out to beyond the drip line, once a month. Watering for your perennials and lawn will not be enough to hydrate your trees, so do this as a separate watering.
*Add greensand once a year around the yard for micronutrients
*Use sulphur to counteract chlorosis, identified by yellowish leaves with green veins
*Don't forget to add more mulch as it decomposes over the summer
*If you use hardwood mulch and it gets too compacted, just twist a garden fork in it to fluff it up
*Don't prune in summer, unless you're removing dead wood or deadheading. Only a few perennials need to be cut back during this time (fall asters, once, if they get too leggy)
*Fertilize perennials twice a year, once in spring and fall
*Give houseplants a "vacation" outside in the shade, especially during a rain
*Limit onion, garlic, and citrus in small compost piles

We took a tour around the Earthkind demo garden outside the Travis County AgriLife Extension office after the seminar.

Beach vitex in bloom; almost everyone in the group stopped to admire this one. When I got home, I checked out the one I planted in my side garden a few weeks ago, and there are buds! Needs at least a season or two to look this good.IMG_1522
I believe this was a gomphrena, but I had fallen behind our guide in the tour, so just a guess. Its tiny fuschia pompoms were spilling out onto the sidewalk. IMG_1523
Mexican honeysuckle and this blue sage make a striking combo. IMG_1534
Perfectly mounded santolina on the edge of the shaded area. IMG_1528
Turk's cap and artemesia (I think that's what this is, but not 'powis castle') make a great understory planting here.
Shrimp plant and turk's cap are neighbors under this tree. IMG_1525 IMG_1531
Master gardeners answering composting questions IMG_1527

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