Saturday, July 25, 2009

Garden Talks July 25--Crowded perennials; Great Grass Seed!; Feed Your Lawn?

Hello again,

I haven't made it to the keyboard for quite a few days after returning from secret assignment. Quite a bit of catch up awaited me at Skillin's but I have emerged!

What to do when a favored perennial has crept too far and is now crowding out another favored perennial? In this case a 10 year old oenethora (evening primrose) has sharply encroached upon my 15 year old rose pink perennial geranium (cranesbill). What to do? Well, I caught the encroachment a few weeks back BUT the evening primrose was just about to break out into it's annual blaze of yellow. The crowded out cranesbill won't be as profuse as usual but a few weeks of time would elapse before most of it's flowers would appear.

SO, I let the evening primrose shine in its 2 week blaze of glory and thoroughly enjoyed its bright yellow show of late June to mid July. THEN, once the flowers faded I have pulled several feet of that evening primrose out of the ground as I would a weed. After about 10 days the cranesbill has perked up and I think will still give a pretty good show. Hopefully it will even do some spreading to take up some of the newly cleared space especially after I gave it an extra feeding of Plant Booster Plus by Organica.

So this timing worked out well. Also almost no weeds had survived with all this crowding; so bonus there! And these are two perennials I highly recommend: the Oenethora Evening Primrose for the showstopping yellow in early summer AND the always dependable and truly long flowering perennial geranium (cranesbill, several colors available at Skillin's)

Last year I did a lot of seeding of bare and thin patches of my lawn with Black Beauty Grass Seed by Jonathan Green. Wow I am impressed with how those bare patches look so good this year. I have some tough to seed areas by the side of the road and some other areas as well. Black Beauty is a tall fescue seed that darkens well, sends deep roots that help sustain the grass over a variety of conditions and has insect and disease resistance. All the rain we received has helped my second year grass look good for sure but back in a fairly dry May I was pretty impressed with how the Black Beauty turf looked. Today I have done some more seeding in just a few areas but my effort will be less this year than last. I recommend a combination of the Black Beauty Grass seed combined with Grass Seed Acclerator (compressed paper pellets that expand when wet) to cover and protect the seed. Both products are sold right here at Skillin's.

Speaking of turf, now that we are heading into mid summer grass growth is slowing down and your lawn does NOT need conventional fertilizer right now. What your lawn does need is Step 3 of the All Natural Organica Four Step Lawn Program--the Microbial Soil Conditioner. This is a great way AND a great time to reinforce the soil of your lawn with natural microbes that will improve the beneficial bacteria in your soil. End result: even deeper roots for your lawn. Deeper roots means a better looking lawn--naturally!

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
July 25, 2009

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