June 25, 2012
Hi everyone: Well, it’s down to the wire. This is the last week we will be open for the spring season. (Don’t forget our Party! Thursday from 6pm-9pm, and that we will close at 5pm on Saturday, June 30.) I am really looking forward to NOT being behind a hose ALL day, but I am really going to miss my customers. You all have been such fun and a blessing! But we aren’t going away – we MAY have a fall open house (party!) and we will surely have a Christmas season – 4 Saturdays of parties, poinsettias, cyclamen, orchids, and other plants! If you or anyone you know does crafts to sell and would like to set up at the greenhouse for our Christmas season, please get back to us. We want to have some crafts to add to the offering at Hilltop. We do NOT take a dime of the sales – it all goes to the crafts people!
We hope to continue the newsletters throughout the summer to keep gardening hints in front of you. We are open to topic suggestions, questions, input, comments; so please feel free to make these newsletters a conversation, not just a statement. Also, if you have missed some newsletters and want “back-copies” let me know and I mail them out to you. (Some had some great gardening tips, some were just “infomercials”.)
More on watering: This is almost a moot point now, but I’ll state it anyway: Never plant a dry plant! Before you put a plant in the ground (or in a pot), make sure you water it first, soak it! If the plant is really dry (like I sometime send plants home with you) dunk it in a bucket of water until the bubbles stop. A wet plant in the hole will be a lot easier to get established. If you failed to do this important step, don’t fret. It may just take more water or time to get your plant established. If you have been following the “water every day for the first 2 weeks” rule, and after two weeks the plants still don’t seem to be taking hold, just keep the watering schedule up until the plants do take hold; then you can back off some.
Here are some tidbits from Oscar on how to keep some of your plants doing better:
· Hollyhocks – Cut off finished flower stalks and this might encourage re-blooming and limits vast numbers of seedlings that will come up later. If you want those seedlings, keep the stalks until the seed is brown, dry, and ripe. Young hollyhock seedlings are easy to transplant, but well established ones are quite difficult.
· Columbines are finished blooming. Gather the dry, open seed heads and scatter the seeds about now for fresh, young blooming plants next year. If you had more than one color of columbine, the seedlings will probably be mixed, including some new shades.
· Low growing, sprawling plants like Artemisia ‘Silver Mound’ and Nepeta (catmint), may be forming a “donut” (plant sprawls and has an empty center). Shear the plant back to about 2-3” (“to the ground”) – new growth will soon erupt and the plant will look fresh!
· Asters and Mums – cut back to 6” tall by July 4th to make more manageable (short and full) plants this fall. Don’t trim later than that or you may delay flowering.
· Coreopsis, Coneflowers, Shasta Daisies, Gaillardia – keep dead-headed for continuous bloom. Coneflower seed heads are songbird food, so in the fall, quit dead-heading and leave the last flush for the birds.
· Delphiniums – keep watering , dead-heading, and thinking cool thoughts to prolong blooming.
· Bleeding hearts – the old fashioned ones (D. spectabalis) can be cut to the ground now if they are looking ratty. They are going dormant, but usually don’t to a thorough job of it, so you need to help. DON’T cut back the ever-blooming fern-leaf types ; they grow and bloom all summer!
· Foxgloves – Keeping dead-headed will encourage re-bloom. The plants are quite prolific seeders, so let just a few or just the late summer bloom stalks go to seed. You want some seedlings to “replenish stock”, but be prepared to do some thinning.
· Hardy ferns – keep moist for best results, even those labeled “drought tolerant.”
· Hellebores stay green all summer but are “dormant” – not actively growing – in the hot summer. Do not feed Hellebores in the summer, but do keep them watered. Though “drought tolerant” they benefit from regular watering.
· Daylilies are “goof proof” and “abuse tolerant”, but will benefit from regular watering and dead-heading. (Our hot, dry weather is a bit extreme, so all drought tolerant plants will benefit from some water. We even water our “desert” to keep it going!)
· Heucheras – dead-head for fresh looking mounds; keep moist.
· Hostas – WATER! WATER! WATER! If you had a big one last year, but it came back little this spring, it needed more water last summer! Unfortunately, Hostas don’t wilt or let you know they are thirsty; they just don’t come back! Got flowers? Either enjoy (some are quite pretty and/or fragrant) or remove even before they bloom (after all, hostas are a foliage plant and some do have ugly bloom stalks).
· Lavender (and other silver-leaved plants) need to be watered in the summer, but make sure your area is well drained, and water low – at ground level – to keep the foliage dry.
· Monarda (bee balm) – cut to the ground after blooming. Dead-heading may give you more blooms, but it isn’t always a pretty sight.
· Herbaceous peonies (old fashioned ones)can NOW be cut to the ground.
· Tall garden phlox – dead-head for re-bloom and fewer (lavender blooming) seedlings.
If you have a perennial bed that is just too hard to keep watered/maintained in the heat, dry, beetles; do the “Chelsea Chop” – named after the garden in Englan). In July, when things usually get hot, dry, tired (I’m the tired one), we cut down our perennial border to about 1/3 to ½ its height. This tidies things up, uses less water, and gives me a fresh flush of blooms in a couple of weeks when gardening is more fun. So what, I lose a couple weeks of blooms. I save lots on water, bug spray, and effort in the heat and the bed is better than ever in such a short time. (they don’t call me Morticia for nothing!)
However you garden, enjoy! Amy
The other evening, while trying to read my Bible, I nodded off. I woke up with this “word” from the Lord: “There is a (spiritual) lack because someone isn’t doing their part, isn’t in their place, isn’t stepping up to the plate.” I took this as a personal admonition (it was an answer to a question I had put before the Lord that day), but I want to encourage all of you to do your part, get in your place, and step up to the plate the Lord has for you. Every person in the Body of Christ has a ministry.
At church this morning, our pastor preached on that very topic! Every believer has a ministry, 24/7, to “carry the life of Christ wherever we go; serve the needs of the Body; and edify the community around us.” (I ask all of you to forgive me for the times I have SOOO failed to do that!)
Col 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name (nature/character) of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Col 3:23-24 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ.
PS: Our daughter, Emily, will be going on the Brazil mission trip with me. Amy
Hilltop Farm is located 4½ miles south of Ash Grove on Highway F. We are approximately 20 miles (a very scenic 45 minute drive) out of Springfield. We highly recommend that you come visit our farm; it is well worth the drive. Be sure that you are familiar with our hours (below), so you will not be disappointed to find us closed.
Our hours for the 2012 Spring season will be:
Saturday, March 31st through Saturday, June 30th
Monday through Thursday, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Friday and Saturday, 8:30 am to 7:00 pm.
Please understand that we are closed on Sundays.