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Garden Ramblings, Issue #024
August 15, 2006
August 2006

Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene

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In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Plant of the Month
- Pep Up Your Perennials
- Portable Perennial Garden
- Special Offers
- Useful Resources



Welcome to the August issue of Garden Ramblings your monthly window on what's going on in the world of gardening.

The "Plant of the Month" is the Calendula or Pot Marigold, a plant named in Roman times and still a firm favorite today.

There are two articles on perennials this month. The first is a general overview with some ideas on how to provide extra color at this late summer season. The second is by guest author Doug Green on his Portable Perennial Garden.

In the Special Offers section this month there are three Daylily offers plus a pre-season bulb offer and another Summer Sale.

The Useful Resources section caused me problems this month and you will have to read on to find out why.

If you want to keep up with all the news in the gardening world, you can read my blog Garden Supplies News.

Enjoy the issue.



Plant of the Month

Name: Calendula (common name Pot Marigold)

Description: Hardy herbaceous annual with light-green long and narrow leaves which have a pungent aroma. Daisy-like flowers up to four inches across are produced from late spring until the first frosts. The flowers are mainly orange or yellow but there are varieties that include cream and light-pink.

Origin: Native to Southern Europe.


Cultivation: Calendula will thrive with little attention on the poorest soils but for best results a well-drained medium soil is the ideal. Sow seeds into the flowering bed in March for summer flowers or September for late spring flowering.



Pests and diseases: Generally trouble free but can be affected by mosaic virus, powdery mildew and rust. Caterpillars and cutworms can damage the stems and lower leaves.


Folklore: The plant was valued by both the Egyptians and the Romans and the name comes from the latin word for calendar. Some say that this was because it blooms on the first day of each month, others because it flowers throughout the year. Linnaeus was among the first to recognise that the flowers were fully open only during a short period of the day, noting that they opened at nine in the morning and closed around three in the afternoon.


According to German folklore, if the flowers remain closed after seven o’clock in the morning, there is a strong indication of rain. In Wales, the locals believe that if the marigold hasn't flowered by 7, then a thunder storm will be on its way that day.


Garlands of marigolds hung over the front door are said to stop evil from entering the home. Scattered under your pillow they make your dreams come true. On a darker side some people believed that the marigold could strip a witch of her will, something that was also considered true of St John's Wort.


Pep Up Your Perennials


For low maintenance and dependability a perennial flower border has to be the number one choice. Unlike annuals, which grow from seed to flower in one season and then die, herbaceous perennial plants produce new shoots each spring. Once established a border of perennials will need little maintenance and, by careful choice of plants, will have flowers throughout the season.


The secret of success is careful preparation and choice of suitable plants. When creating a new perennial border you must dig out all perennial weeds since these will be almost impossible to control once the bed has been planted. Your choice of plants must take account of the type of soil and whether the bed will receive sun throughout the day or be in a shady corner. It's always best to seek advice from your local nursery since they will know which plants perform best in the area.


With so many different perennial plants to choose from a good gardening reference book is essential. The illustrations will help you in identifying the different species and also give information of their particular needs in the way of soil type and sunlight. The only trouble with this approach that I have found is that you make an ideal plan using your book and then find that half the plants you have selected are not available from your local nursery or garden center.


Although the creation of a new perennial flower bed involves the planting of a number of herbaceous flowers which will continue to bloom each year, this does not mean that the layout is fixed permanently. If you decide that a plant is in the wrong place you can move it during late fall or early spring. Maybe this is because one plant is not growing too well and you wish to replace it with another, or you just want to make a more satisfactory arrangement.


While you may have selected a group of herbaceous plants that bloom at different times and so should provide color throughout the season, often by August the bed is looking a little jaded. One way to overcome this problem is to move a few sun-loving annuals into the bed which will then give a strong burst of color well into the fall. Suitable candidates include verbena, heliotripe, salvia and nicotiana.


So, for easy-care gardening with plants that bloom year after year, supplemented by a few annuals for late season color, a herbaceous perennial flowerbed is the way to go.


Portable Perennial Garden by: Doug Green


I currently rent my house and while I’m planning on buying later this year, I can’t refrain from obtaining new and interesting perennial plants right now. After all, it is spring out there and new plants have always been a major part of my spring activities. But, what can you do when you have a rented property and you’re planning on moving.


This afternoon, I decided to do some planting but I ran out of both pots and space to put them. There was a narrow strip along the side of the house that promised both shade and good visibility. The barbeque sat there along with a few other tools but these were all quickly moved into the garage. To make good gardening use of this space, I spread out black plastic bags to stop weeds or grass from growing and then set my new perennial pots out on the plastic. Leaving the plants in the pots, I arranged them as if I were planting them; tall plants to the back against the house siding, gold leaved next to dark green, and short plants to the front etc. Next I filled between all the pots with peat moss. The peat will keep the plant upright and protect the pots from drying out. When viewed from standing up, the pots disappear under the peat and the garden looks like it was planted. All I have to do is keep the peat moss damp and the plants will grow into a perennial garden.


When I leave this fall, I’ll simply pull up the pots, bag up the peat moss into the garbage bags and truck my plants to their new home. But in the meantime, I have what appears to be a garden, my waste space is occupied with plants and my plants will be happy.


About The Author


Doug Green, an award winning garden author with 7 books published, answers gardening questions in his newsletter at


Special Offers

There's a big push on Daylilies this month - no less than three different offers! But there are plenty of other offers too.


Gurney's leads the Daylily procession. Their fall catalog is chocked full of gorgeous daylilies to choose from - some as low as $4.95. So go ahead, plant a zero-maintenance flower display that lasts all summer long!



Dutch Gardens are next with their Reblooming Daylily Collection "Enjoy an Endless Summer of Color and Fragrance." Here you can also save up to 22% on their Ready-to-Plant Gardens. Choose from nine designs - everything from a Vibrant Shade Garden to a Large Mailbox Garden!



Brecks call theirs "Not Every Day" Lilies for the simple reason that they are not Daylilies but rather some of their favorite oriental and asiatic lily bulbs. Their real offer is for spring flowering tulips and daffodils. "If you order before September 20th you will save $25.00 on your purchase totaling $50 or more! And as a bonus for ordering early, if you place your order before September 6th, you'll save an additional $10 off any order over $75. This brings your total savings to $35.00! And that's in addition to our already reduced Advance Sale Prices! Here is the link.


Gardener's Supply Company has another Summer Sale this month. It's a Gardening Sale, Landscaping Sale, Yard Cleanup Sale and a For The Home Sale all rolled up into one.


Useful Resources

Perhaps it's the summer heat but this month I have found it particularly difficult to come up with some new "Useful Resources". I suppose it's not so surprising when I realise that this is issue number 24 and I have already featured most of the major gardening websites, and several minor ones too, over the previous 23 months. However while I was checking various sites for the "Special Offers" section I came across this page of Success Stories. Although it is part of a commecial site you just have to ignore the ads and enjoy the articles. You will find some great stories both to inspire and encourage you.


Please feel free to pass on this newsletter to your gardening friends. Do let me have your feedback and suggestions to: [email protected]

That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog Garden Supplies News

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