(Clethra Sixteen Candles--see writeup below!)
Whew it is hot! And I am not complaining. Since this week was the first time we have hit 80 degrees all summer long in Skillin's Country the warm weather feels good. One thing I have noticed is that a few of my annuals and perennials with new growth are flagging in the heat. Flagging? Yes, that means they are wilting when the hot sun gets upon them or the temperatures are peaking. Be careful not to overwater these plants. In fact all my flagging plants are plenty wet (both containers and in the ground). They do not need water. Heck, we got quite a bit of rain last night. What these flagging plants need is a few more days like this to adjust and they will be fine.
Bigger and more is often better when it comes to flower boxes. One of the blogs I follow frequently has a great article called Go Long! where the writer talks about planting plants in extra long window boxes. I like the article; it talks about some neat plants and color themes and planting techniques. It also reminds us to feed our annuals frequently. (Back to that in a moment). But extra long window boxes are truly hard to find but don't despair. You can always pair up 2 "regular sized" window boxes to get the same effect. Regular sized boxes are easy to find at Skillin's along with great flowering plants. Window box season has a few months left. If you want to create some nice color; come see us!
Annual flowers should be fed frequently. When you plant, it is great to mix a quality natural food like Plant Booster Plus by Organica into your soil. This food will be good support for your plants all season long. But we live in Maine and our plants need that "extra boost" that weekly or every other weekly liquid feeding with a good natural food like Fish and Seaweed Blend by Neptune's Harvest or Bio Matrix by Organica will help your flowers greatly!
I noticed the other day that we have some neat little shrubs in stock: The Clethra Ruby Spice and the Clethra Sixteen Candles. "Summersweet" is the common name for these shrubs and that is because when flowering they emit a nice fragrant "spicy" fragrance for you and your garden. (I can hear the Old Spice theme in the background). I highly recommend planting one of these guys in a spot where you can be close to enjoy the fragrance.
The Sixteen Candles is a compact little plant that gets covered with flowers and stays within about 3 feet by 3 feet. The fragrance is awesome in mid to late summer and the plant has nice yellow foliage in the fall. The summer flowers are like creamy white candles and deer do not seem drawn to this plant.
The Ruby Spice prefers part shade and grows a little taller. Its flower spikes are pink and the plant will flower in the shade making it a good woodland choice although it will also do fine in a partial sun setting.