Welcome to the August issue of Garden Ramblings. This month there are again three articles by guest authors with hints and tips on various aspects of gardening.
Our first guest is Keith Markensen who has some practical advice on what we should be doing in our gardens at this stage of the season. His suggestion is to prepare for next year's flowers now and a reminder that there is still time to grow some more veggies this year.
On the houseplant front Barbara Neitzel has some tips on "Feeding Your Venus Flytrap - Do's and Don'ts". Do it right and you won't need any extra fertilizer.
Our third contributor is Kent Higgins who suggests a way to bring some color into the garden at this time when many plants are past their best. His title is "The Mimosa Tree" but he also discusses the Japanese Pagoda Tree both of which put on a fine display at this time.
As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find this month.
As an introduction to the article by Kent Higgins this month's video is "The Mimosa Tree".
Enjoy the issue.
*********************************************************** Mimosa Tree
August summer is half gone and it is time now to think about the perennials, pansies, English daisies and myosotis that you want to bloom in your garden next summer. Here is where the coldframe comes in. For seed sowing the soil must be as carefully prepared as for seed pans in the greenhouse. Dig thoroughly, use liberal amounts of humus and some sand and rake the top fine and smooth. Sow the seed in shallow rows, label, cover and water. Keep the frame covered until germination starts. Shade.
When the seedlings are large enough to handle, trans-plant into flats or soil in the frame. Pansies, English daisies and forget-me-nots should be carried over winter in the frame, so space at least three inches apart. Perennials can be carried over winter in the frame also, or set out in the garden in early fall. Plants wintered in the frame need a light covering of hay during the severe winter months. Dry organic cow manure well dug in is one of the safest fertilizers, but any good one used sparingly will do.
Sow Vegetables This Month
August is the time a Northern garden can sneak in another crop. Now is the time to put in another crop of lettuce, snap beans, spinach, radishes and carrots. The carrots provide not only a fall crop, but a winter supply of fresh carrots that are far superior to stored ones. Allow them to grow until frost. Then cover them with a six-inch mulch of leaves. Leave them in the ground and you will be able to dig fresh carrots as you need them all winter.
Head lettuce from your garden until almost Christmas can be yours, if you sow it late in August and transplant to a coldframe when large enough to handle comfortably. Protect with sash and a mat when more severe weather is due.
Strawberries and iris bulbs are easy to grow. They are rank feeders, so do not attempt to grow your iris bulbs and strawberries in poor soil or in competition with hedge or tree roots. They also need full sunlight. Dig down at least eight inches and be as generous as you can with manure, humus, or both. Add bonemeal, too.
For August planting use pot-grown strawberries. Plant 15 inches apart in rows 18 inches apart. Let the rows grow solid, but keep a path between so the plants will not be trampled when you cultivate or harvest the fruit.
Whether you are considering the purchase of a venus flytrap or you already own one, a flytrap is a great plant to add to your collection. A venus flytrap is definitely one of the easiest carnivorous plants to own. In exchange for a little bit of care and attention, your plant will offer you a great show to enjoy time and time again.
Although, like other basic houseplants, a venus flytrap could survive with the proper sun, water, soil and fertilizer, who would want to do that? That defeats the purpose of owning a flytrap! Feed your venus flytrap a live bug once or twice a month and watch it thrive! Not to mention the fact that if you feed your flytrap bugs, you can skip adding fertilizer to the soil. Most importantly, feeding a live bug to your venus flytrap is a lot of fun! Children and adults alike enjoy watching a flytrap in action.
You may be wondering "what bugs can I feed to my flytrap? Here is a list that you can start with:
There are some bugs that you should not feed your venus flytrap. They include:
1. hamburger meat
4. beetles (their shell is too hard)
In order for your flytrap to work properly, the bugs that you feed it need to be alive. This is because the traps on the plant have hairs that set off a reaction when the hairs are stimulated. This is the traps signal to shut completely. If you do not have a live bug, you can mimic life by stimulating the hairs manually. Do not be too rough. You simply need to move the bug around gently. Never allow anyone to put small rocks or nuts in the traps.
Your flytrap does not require a lot of meals. In fact, it can last for several months without a bug and still be a healthy plant.
When your venus flytrap does have a bug in it's trap, the trap can remain closed for 5-12 days. When the trap re-opens, the bug will be inside and it's carcass will either drop to the ground or blow away. You do not need to feed it immediately upon re-opening.
Your venus flytrap will be a lot of fun to own. You just need to treat it right. Do not allow family and friends to "trigger" the traps to close just for fun. It can damage your plant. Although it may be fun to watch, it is not good for your flytrap.
About the Author
Barbara Neitzel is an internet-based author who has done extensive research about the Venus Flytrap plant. General information about the care and feeding of a Venus Flytrap can be found online at http://www.venusflytrapcare.com.
July with its hot dry days usually puts the brakes on the any landscape gardener's enthusiasm. The brilliant colors of spring have faded and now greens and browns have taken their places.
Trees or shrubs which bloom in midsummer are most welcome connecting links between spring's gorgeous flowers and the brilliant show of autumn colors. Two such trees are the Japanese pagoda, Sophora japonica, and the silk tree or mimosa, Albizzia julibrissin.
Japanese Pagoda Tree
The Japanese pagoda tree is comparatively rare in the heart of the Midwest, but it surely deserves wider use as a lawn specimen. The tree, introduced from China in 1747, belongs to the legume family and bears the characteristic pea-shaped flowers of that group. The creamy-white blossoms are borne in clusters six to 12 inches long at the tops of the leafy branches.
The fruits are pods which hang in the autumn as bead-like strings, since the seeds are separated by constrictions of the pods. The oldest trees are about 40 feet high. Young trees have a tendency to form low-forked trunks. The leaves remain on the tree until late in the fall, and in winter the green-colored young branches are attractive. The Japanese pagoda tree is fairly hardy and free from insects and diseases. Early spring foliage is sometimes injured by late freezes. Anyone planting this tree must wait patiently for it to flower, since usually about 15 years are required.
The mimosa or silk tree, a favorite in Southern gardens, has gradually extended its range and is now quite common in the America's heartland. Here the tree is usually low-headed or multiple stemmed and reaches a height of from 15 to 30 feet.
The species is a native of Persia to central China and its Oriental character is accentuated by its interesting flat-topped head and spreading foliage of extreme grace and delicacy. Each leaf has from ten to 25 pinnae which bear 10 to 60 leaflets. The soft green leaflets are about half an inch in length, sickle shaped and one sided. As with some other plants of the legume family, the foliage exhibits the peculiar sensitivity which causes the leaflets to fold together in pairs at night.
The beauty of the mimosa flower is not a result of colorful petals as occurs in most flowers but rather the presence of a great many stamens about two inches in length which vary in color from pinkish hues to light yellowish pink, to coral red. Just like the beauty of lilly of the valley flowers. Of course. the darker colored ones are in greatest demand. Like the lilly flowers, the flowers are clustered in round stalked heads in the axils of the current season's growth. The flowers which continue to appear from July to September are followed by the fruits which consist of flat seed pods which become twisted and curly as they mature.
The mimosa is best planted as a specimen in a sunny, well-drained location. This tree may be injured quite often by our winter's low temperatures, but since flowers are produced on the new growth, a nice display of color may be expected even after the removal of damaged branches in the spring. The mimosa is shy about putting forth its new leaves, but once its mind is made up, the growth appears almost like magic. Propagation is usually by seeds sown in early spring. The seeds are very hard and germination is hastened by soaking them in hot water for about two hours.
Special Offers Yet another month when I have little to report. Just one sale, otherwise bargains are few and far between and it is back to the basic offers of free shipping and $$$ off when you spend $$$.
The Hot Summer Sale continues at Gardener's Supply Company. Save up to 72% on over 150 items. Click here for the sale. As you see from the banner there is also a 10% reduction on orders of $50 or more.
Dutch Gardens are now featuring bulbs for fall planting, but at least you get free shipping on orders of $55 or more.
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