Monday, August 04, 2008

Secrets of Season-long Stunning Color in Your Garden

NF Note: Hey, it's another photo contest! We know our readers avid photographers so get ready and get snapping!

(ARA) - In summer, there’s drought; in winter, snow and cold. Does it seem like Mother Nature is determined to leach the color from your garden? It is possible to keep your garden colorful much of the year. All you need is the right combination of plants and a little green thumb savvy.

“One of the top tricks of great gardeners is to plant in the fall,” says Stephanie Cohen, author of many gardening books.

“Establishing most plants in the fall is easy and an excellent way to ensure they’ll be successful in the spring. Adds Cohen, “The weather and soil conditions are better in the fall, as opposed to spring when it tends to be cold, muddy and wet.”

Cohen recommends first, when planning your color-filled garden, to choose easy to grow and drought-resistant plants. Check with your local agricultural extension if you’re unsure what plants will do well in your region and climate. Some particularly hardy flowers – like impatiens, petunias and pansies – can bloom year-round in moderate climates. Be sure to plant a variety that will bloom at different times in the year and within the season.

Next, incorporate some stunners into your garden planning. Roses may well be the essence of floral elegance, but traditional varieties tend to be fragile and labor intensive. Cohen recommends one of the new landscape shrub varieties, like The Knock Out Roses, that require far less care yet bloom spectacularly year round.

These roses grow well anywhere in the country – from the wintry landscape of Minnesota to the sultry shores of Florida – and come in seven colors and bloom styles to suit every garden and landscaping need. From upright shrubs in containers that cover a hard to reach hillside forming a colorful hedge, to adding a focal point in your garden, these beauties will perform every time.

Moving out of the planning phase, be sure to put your plants in the ground at the time of year that’s best for each. For example, some drought-resistant plants can stand up to summer’s heat and go in the ground anytime, even July or August. Flowers, no matter how hardy, generally have an optimum planting time.

“Fall is an excellent time for planting, and roses are no exception,” says Steve Hutton, plantsman and president of The Conard-Pyle Co.

For fall color, Hutton recommends planting Knock Out shrub roses during the closing months of summer. The flowers will bloom well through the end of September in most hardiness zones. Just remember to give them plenty of water and lots of sun.

When planting, always use fertilizer and consider installing drip lines for irrigation with maximum efficiency and minimum waste. Be sure you know a plant’s preferred sun exposure before you slip it into a bed. Many drought-resistant plants can easily handle full sun, but many flowers crave a mix of sun and shade.

“The right plant in the right spot means longer life with less care and use of natural resources,” reminds Hutton.

Once you’ve established your garden, regular maintenance – like removing dead blooms, pruning roses, etc. – and watering should be all you need to ensure your garden is gorgeous and colorful year round.

Enter the "Knock (Us) Out" Photo Contest

If you’d like some recognition for your hard work and brilliant planting strategies Conard-Pyle is sponsoring the “Knock (Us) Out” photo contest. Enter your photographs online now until Oct. 31, 2008. Competitors should take pictures of their creative use of Knock Out roses in one of three categories – home garden, commercial landscape and most creative use. Grand prize is $350 plus five Knock Out roses and 10 companion plants. Runners-up in each category will win $150 and five Knock Out roses.

Visit www.theknockoutrose.com for contest details.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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