Helpful Hints For The Procrastinating Gardener

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Oh woe is me, the plans I had, the desires, the ultimate idea, to show those pesky neighbors, the ones who look down their nose at my yard. The ones, who laughed at my attempts to grow grass, bloom a rose bush and my innovative ideas for lawn care.

 

This was the year, 2014. It was the 4th of July,  the day to have the neighbors over, to see the surprised looks of envy on the faces that have disapproved of my gardening choices over the years.

OK, goats for grass cutting doesn't really work as advertised, and the wildflower project might have worked except for the lack of wildflowers and the overabundance of blowing topsoil.

Well, don't consider cement just yet because I am here to help. It's okay. It is still possible, by August 1, to put some pretty in your personal yard space, I promise.

With any endeavor being real with yourself and expectation usually helps the process along. So let's be realistic.

It's too late to plant seeds or seedlings if you live in many of the zones in the United States. All 50 states are represented by zone numbers and this guide gives the novice gardener an idea of when it is safe to plant without a frost killing the seedlings or new plantings. Any gardening zones search will produce the information needed to determine which zone one resides.

The zones also assist in explaining when to expect the first frost in your area. However, it's always been my feeling if you live somewhere long enough you'll know when the weather turns cold, and it usually follows that schedule, perfectly.

So those dreams of red ripened tomatoes, luscious vibrant arugula and baby carrots gracing your table are still possible, if you shop at the neighborhood farmers market, otherwise . . . not happening.

Don't despair those of you who pored over the gardening catalogs, meticulously planning the beautiful Faerie Garden you would plant this year. Dreams of the perfect garden dance through most people's heads in the spring, only to be dashed come summer, so you are not alone.

However, no matter how difficult the feelings of inadequacy are deluging you right now, stop. It is not too late to put a little bit of summer beauty in your immediate yard. Will you have a Victory Garden, probably not, but you can have flowers blooming and birds singing in your little garden and the neighbors commenting on your charming flowers.

Let's start with the easy; there are many varieties of summer hanging plants still available in retail outlets, green houses and local gardeners.

I recommend Begonias for low sun areas, under umbrellas, on a table on the patio, or anywhere there is shade. Begonias can tolerate the first rays of the morning sun, for about two to three hours, but after that the sun will burn the leaves and become a by-gone-ya and certainly be a very unattractive plant. The colors of Begonias are varied, but this year the salmon and canary hues were gorgeous.

Mid-shade areas, areas where there is not full sun for over four hours, are a good place to plant and or hang petunias. Every hue of the rainbow plus is available, Petunias are a planters paradise, easy to grow and absolutely beautiful. Full and vibrant planters or even small or small planted petunias will do the trick.

Full sun areas where the sun beats down for hours is perfect for Geraniums, red is the most popular color but they are also  shades of pink, salmon and white.

The best thing about Geraniums is when it gets to cold outside to grow them any longer, a simple replanting, placing the full plant with soil (in a clump) and adding to a planter with drainage and place the newly replanted Geranium in a sunny window and in January when it is the nightmare we have all been dreading, winter, your geraniums will be blooming.

My grandmother, I am not kidding, raised Geraniums her entire life inside and outside. So plan on kicking the winter blues in January with a little bit of Geraniums and a little healthy planting now.

So here's to a healthy happy garden, even now at mid-summer that will be the envy of all your friends.