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  • Upcoming Garden Events

    Sept. 30: The Nashville Herb Society presents Through the Garden Gate: A Glimpse of Edwardian England, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanic Hall. Celebrate the gardens, foods and flowers that delighted Downton Abby family and friends at the turn of the 20th century. The event begins with a hearty Edwardian breakfast, followed by three speakers: Marta McDowell on Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life; Geraldine A. Laufer on Tussie Mussie – Victorian art of expressing yourself in the language of flowers; and Terry White, The English Garden event florist . Registration includes breakfast, box lunch in the garden with music, English tea and cookies. To learn more or to register, visit www.herbsocietynashvlle.org.

    Tips & tasks – August

    Water lawns and garden beds early in the morning to allow foliage plenty of time to dry before nightfall.

    Container gardens will benefit from a light application of all-purpose fertilizer.

    If petunias have grown long and shaggy, cut them back and give them a dose of fertilizer. They should bloom again quickly.

    If squirrels and birds go after your ripe tomatoes, pick them while they are still green and allow them to turn red indoors. For best quality, don’t store fresh tomatoes in the refrigerator.

    Make sure spring-planted trees and shrubs get plenty of water during hot weather.

    Keep cutting the spent flowers of annuals so they will continue to bloom into the fall.

    To conserve soil moisture during hot weather, replenish mulch in annual and perennial beds as necessary.

    Begin planning a fall garden. Spinach, lettuces, radishes and other fall crops will mature when the weather turns cool.

    Begin clean-up of summer vegetable beds. Remove any decayed or dying foliage to prevent diseases from taking hold.

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One more way to say ‘early spring’

I bought three primroses in February and they are surviving (which is unusual for me!). When do I plant them? I know they like cool temps, but I don’t want to lose them to our unpredictable weather. I also don’t want to keep them too long inside and lose them that way. Do they like shade? – Patty O.

Primroses in spring. Photo by Marilyn Stretch.

So many types of primroses! There are the hybrid primroses sold in grocery stores in winter as gift plants, and the tough and somewhat weedy evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), which grows in open fields and in the gravel along the side of the road. I assume what you’re asking about is one of the many “garden variety” primroses (Primula, is the scientific name) that can pop up in late winter and early spring.

They all seem to be cool-weather plants, so it’s probably a good time to plant them. The American Primrose Society’s site at www.americanprimrosesociety.org shows several varieties. In general, they prefer to grow in light shade, and some are good for woodland settings. They are perennials that thrive in cool, humid air, so they may do better grown as annuals in Middle Tennesse gardens.

I’ve never grown primroses, so I’d love to hear from readers who have and who would like to share your experience. Success? Failure? Feel free to comment.

And… Transplants, the easy way

An early disaster with starting tomato transplants from seeds has kept me from trying again. But now, there may be an easier way. See Turning Toward the Sun: A Garden Journal.

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