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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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Longer life for poinsettias

Question: How long do poinsettias last? The plant I brought home early in December still looks nice, and I hate to throw it out. Will it keep growing?

poinsettiaThe length of a poinsettia’s life generally depends on how much care you’re willing to give it. Some people bring it home to display for a few days, and without any attention at all it dries out and begins to drop its leaves within a couple of weeks.

If yours is still doing well, you’ve given it at least the minimum amount of TLC: indirect light in a room that’s not too warm, enough water to keep the soil moist but not soggy. If you continue to care for it, the plant should last well beyond the holidays. To keep it looking its best, make sure the poinsettia is in a place that’s away from cold drafts or heating vents.

Poinsettia is a tropical plant, native to Mexico. If you manage to keep it until spring, you can let it grow outdoors, though it won’t have its Christmas-hued leaves. (What we poinsettia-flowersthink of as the flowers are technically bracts, or modified leaves. The tiny yellow flowers are clustered in the centers of the bracts.) As spring approaches, cut the plant back to about eight inches tall and fertilize with an all-purpose plant food, and after the danger of frost is past, re-pot the poinsettia outdoors, or plant it in the ground where it will grow into an interesting green plant that will last in the garden until frost kills it.

Some ambitious gardeners are able to “re-bloom” a poinsettia plant, but it takes patience and impeccable timing to provide the right conditions of light and dark needed to produce the colorful bracts.

If you’re looking for more information, the University of Illinois provides its Poinsettia Pages, an info-filled site with all you need to know about this holiday tradition.

 

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