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GARDENING TIPS FOR SONOMA COUNTY


August 2019 Gardening Tips

www.thegardeningtutor.net - Rhododendron
Solenostemon scutellarioides (Coleus-Kong Series Red)*


AUGUST 2019

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

    Many people say to me, ‘What difference does it make if I know the correct name of a plant?” Here is an article I wrote for the Santa Rosa Garden Club that just might help you be a little more willing to try using the language of plants. You can do it! -Mary

    If you have low confidence in your ability to use or pronounce the scientific names of plants, take heart. Just for a moment, set aside anything you know about the proper this or the proper that. Let’s have some fun.

    Say you are strolling through a park and you pass by a woman sitting on a bench; you probably barely notice her and then go about your day. But now, say you know that same woman with the curly brunette hair and blue eyes. Her name is Jane Ann Doughy, her nickname is ‘Curly.’ In addition, you know that she comes from a big family and her sister looks just like her but her sister’s nickname is ‘Flame’ because her curly hair is red. You can tell them apart, not only because of their hair color but also because you know each one of them individually.

    That’s how it can be with plants. When you become familiar with their scientific names, each plant becomes a distinct character in the landscape, instead of a blur of greenery and flowers. Each name can be a compact description, an introduction.

    For example, a plant name can tell you the bloom color: Alba-white, Flavus-yellow, Ruber-red, Purpureus-purple; the form or shape: Pendulus-hanging, weeping, Repens, Reptans-creeping, Horizontalis-flat to the ground, horizontal; the size: nana-dwarf, compactus-compact, alti-tall, gracilis-slender, parvi-small, mega-large; or the namesake, which generally ends in a double “i” as in arendsii. When the name ends in “oides” it means “resembling” as in Jasminoides-resembling Jasmine. And some names are romantic, such as Iris-named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

    Now, back to the woman on the bench, what if you had to find her? If you didn't know her name, could you find her online? Ah, but if you knew her full name (not just her description or nickname) your chances of finding her improve greatly. So it is when trying to find or identify a specific plant. Perhaps you see a beautiful morning glory vine growing up a trellis and you just have to have one for your garden. You know that it is morning glory but do you know which morning glory it is? If it is Ipomoea indica you may think twice before buying this rampant growing perennial vine. However, if it is Ipomoea tricolor you might enjoy this annual vine that reseeds for next year without taking over your garden.

    Learning scientific names is like learning any foreign language, it takes practice. If anyone laughs at your pronunciation no harm done, just laugh back at them. The important thing is that you are both talking about the same plant.

    - Mary

    *Coleus is one of the plants that is rarely referred to by its Latin name: however, when you want to buy or order a specific Coleus knowing the variety name is going to be very important.

    .

    August 2019
    Gardening Checklist*

    What to SHOP for . . .
    Checkbox Annuals - Calibrachoa (perennial used as annual), Angelonia, Celosia, Gaillardia pulchella.
    Checkbox Perennials - Veronica, Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Lobelia cardinalis, Gazania.
    Checkbox Shrubs - Fuchsias, Hydrangea quercifolia, Ligustrum japonicum ‘Texanum’ Texas Privet (this is Not Glossy privet-Ligustrum lucidum), Euonymus 'Microphyllus'.
    Checkbox Tubers and Bulbs - Begonias, Agapanthus ‘Storm Cloud’ or the smaller ‘Peter Pan’ (deep blues), Liatrus.
     


    Tasks to do . . .
    Checkbox Fertilizing - Continue to fertilize Roses and Dahlias (Mary uses Maxsea All Purpose or Bloom fertilizer). Hibiscus too will appreciate some fertilizer as they are preparing to bloom this month. Summer heat is hard on shrubs and other plants, apply a layer of compost as mulch and water in well.
    Checkbox Pruning - Pinch out the flowers from Coleus just as they start to form so the leaves will continue to look fantastic! Allowing Coleus to flower takes energy away from creating beautiful leaves. By mid summer, Phormiums can be looking a little tattered or overly tall watch The Gardening Tutor's video about How to Prune a Phormium By the end of August Erigeron, Lobelia, Nepeta and other plants can be sheared to encourage a beautiful show for fall.
    Checkbox Irrigation - Shrubs and other plants can get pretty dusty in the summer (especially if you live close to a road). Insects love dust on plants! Early in the morning, once a month or so, give shrubs a nice wash off with the hose to encourage a healthy plant. Gophers and other critters can chew through drip irrigation lines. Turn your irrigation system on while you are outside so you can hear and/or see where lines have been compromised.
    Checkbox Pest Management - Clusters of webbing on plants is usually a sign of spider mites. Before reaching for a pesticide to control the mites, wash the plant off in the morning with a strong spray of water from the hose a few times a week, making sure to wash under the leaves and inside the foliage. Just changing the environment from dry and dusty may lower the population to an acceptable level. After the population is minimized, wash the plant off once a month or so to keep dust from building up.
       
    Free printable . . .
      Looking for a way to stay organized in your garden?
    Download this Free Printable Gardening Checklist* and you’ll be amazed how inspired you’ll feel!
    Let us know how you’re doing. You can do it!
    Remember, this printable was created as a short list of tasks with minimal information. If you would like more in-depth information,
    you can always refer back to the checklist above each month for more details.
     

    The Gardening Tutor 2019 Printable

    *Colors may vary depending upon your computer screen and printer.


*For More Detailed Gardening Tips
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