Newsletter for July 2024

Summer reminds us how great it is to have shade trees around us. We can enjoy their shade while also adding lovely flowers to the landscape. The Chitalpa tree is a great example. The orchid-like flowers perch atop slim green leaves. Chitalpas are grown with either multiple or single trunks. Their water needs are minimal. Other summer flowering trees at Bay Laurel Garden Center include Crape Myrtle, Albizzia (Mimosa) and Vitex.

You can choose some cool color combinations to aid in abating the heat. White is the classic choice. Try pairing it with blue. Here are a few plants to cool down your garden. In the shade – white Impatiens and begonias, blue Bacopa. Perennials for a sunny locale – white Penstemon, white flowered Tulbaghia (society garlic) and Gaura, blue salvia and Convolulus. It’s been a known trend to have an all white garden (Moon Garden). This can be particularly effective in the evening.

We have lately been able to secure “self watering” pots at Bay Laurel Garden Center in Atascadero. These are known to be particularly beneficial to African violets. Our supply of house plants regularly changes. We have some truly unusual plants as well as the old favorites.

A cutting garden can be very rewarding. Here are a few suggestions – Alstroemerias and Lisianthus are both long lived cut flowers. Roses vary with variety. Other choices include Shasta daisies, Zinnias, Veronica, Dahlias. Our strong recommendation is a do-it-yourself preservative. One recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of bleach for every quart of WARM water. Dahlias have a special formula – immerse the stems in hot water for 30 minutes before arranging. Good fillers include Aster ericoides, Baby’s Breath and Statice. Leather leaf fern, bay leaves and Myrtus can provide the greenery.

Water – the crucial element for the gardener. Should I water early in the morning? In the evening? There may not be a right answer. But the challenge is keeping the water in the soil to hydrate the plants. Mulch certainly helps. We have several types. Another helpful product in time of excessive heat is shade cloth – we have some available in rolls. New plants are the most demanding. Water every day for at least two weeks – perhaps twice a day if the temperature is in the high nineties.

We have a couple of unusual perennials we’d like to highlight at Bay Laurel Garden Center in Atascadero. Dicliptera (Uruguayan Firecracker) starts its bloom in July. The showy red-orange flowers last for several months, especially if the top blooms are removed after flowering. An added plus is its attraction to hummingbirds. The other plant, Glaucium (Orange flowered Horned Poppy) is totally new to us. The gray foliage is very unusual – we’ll wait to see about the flowers!

Figomenal is back! This is a great fig for containers. One advantage with container planting is the fact that gophers adore figs. The plant is very low growing and spreading and produces a crop of very tasty figs. We do also have a variety of other figs available at Bay Laurel Garden Center.

We have some great California natives in 4″ containers at Bay Laurel Garden Center in Atascadero. Two of these are native milkweeds, Asclepias speciosa and A. fascicularis. Also in stock a variety of the native Salvia and Lepechinia fragrans. The latter benefits from some afternoon shade. Once established they should all be quite drought tolerant.