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The Garden Mix



Make plans now to join Melinda on her famous Garden Walks at Boerner Botanical Gardens in 2014!

Nationally renowned garden expert Melinda Myers helps everyday gardeners find success and ease in the garden through her Melinda’s Garden Moments radio segments. Melinda shares “must have” tips that hold the key to gardening success, learned through her more than 30 years of horticulture experience. Listeners from across the country find her gardener friendly, practical approach to gardening both refreshing and informative! On this page, Melinda shares some more extensive garden tips, which expand on the information provided in her one-minute radio segments.

New tips are added throughout each month, providing timely step-by-step tips on what you need to do next in your garden! Visit Melinda’s website www.melindamyers.com for more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and answers to your questions.


Include Some Tall Plants in the Garden (Look to the Sky) - The Garden Mix

 Change your garden perspective.  Include a few tall plants in the landscape and start looking skyward.

The large castor bean provides bold texture in the garden.  The leaves can grow up to 3 feet across and the plant grows 5 to 10 feet tall in one season and up to 40 feet in height in its native environment.  The decorative seedpods are highly poisonous, so keep them out of the reach of children.
 
Growing tall plants next to much shorter plants can also give the illusion of depth in a narrow bed.
 
They also provide a nice backdrop for nearby gardens.  Use tall non-invasive ornamental grasses and perennials like Joe-Pye weed, ironweed, Lemon Queen Helianthus, Rudbeckia maxima, Bugbane (Cimicifuga/ Actea) and Vitex to add color, motion and seasonal changes to your landscape. 
 
And don’t forget to add a few sunflowers.  A favorite of gardeners of all ages, these tall beauties will have you looking skyward in amazement of their height.
 
A bit more information:  Include a few other attention-getting annuals in the garden. Night Scented tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris) rises 6’ tall and has long narrow tubular flowers that are fragrant at night.  Brazilian verbena (Verbena bonariensis) grow 4 to 5 feet tall and is great as a grow-through, container or stand alone flower.  It is a vicious reseeder in some area, but many find the hummingbirds it attracts makes the weeding worthwhile. Cosmos is another tall annual and all three tend to reseed and are favorites of the butterflies.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com


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06/27/2012 3:59PM
Include Some Tall Plants in the Garden (Look to the Sky) - The Garden Mix
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Eco-friendly Control of Thrips
Poorly developed flowers, stunted plants and silvery streaks on leaves are indications thrips may be feeding on your plants. These tiny insects have file-like mouthparts they use to puncture the outer surface of leaves, stems and flowers and suck out plant sap. They are very small and difficult to detect. Hold a white piece of paper under the plant and shake. Or remove the petals of damaged flowers, place in a sealed jar with 70% alcohol and shake the jar to dislodge and detect the pests. Control is difficult and often not needed as the damage is discovered after the thrips have finished feeding. Provide the proper growing conditions and care for your plants. Avoid excess nitrogen that promotes lush succulent growth these pests prefer. And remove spent flowers that tend to harbor the insects. Manage weeds in the garden and keep thrip-susceptible plants away from weedy areas where the pest populations tend to be high. A bit more information: Beneficial insects like predatory thrips, green lacewings, minute pirate bugs and some parasitic wasps feed upon plant damaging thrips. Invite these good bugs into the garden by planting a diversity of plants and avoiding persistent pesticides. Visit the University of California IPM online for more details on this pest. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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