Monday, July 7, 2014

Preparing for the Garden Contest

No pictures tonight maybe tomorrow. I am preparing the front garden for a visit from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. I mentioned before that I entered their garden contest. I finally got an e-mail letting me know what to expect and how gardens will be judged. I feel okay about the judging, but I would love the flowers to be colorful and in bloom when they come. Hard to do. Plants have a mind of their own. Balloon flower, cone flower, lambs ear, and daisies are now in bloom. Don't know if I should remove the blooms from the lambs ear or let them stay. They haven't started to die yet. The catmint looks raggedy but has some purple blooms. Normally coreopsis will bloom all summer if deadhead which I was careful to do this summer but it has been slow forming more blooms. I hope they show up just in time.

This weekend I purchased a large black eye Susan to place where I planted a daisy that is doing poorly but don't think I want it for that spot and gave it to my sister. I want more eye catching color like red, pink, something. I saw some beautiful moon beam coreopsis that I like but since participants in the contest are given a window when the judging is done and only 3 days advance notice, it's hard to know if what I choose will still be in bloom. Judging may be in July or August even worse with the heat. I would love some zinnias but the ones I saw were not healthy and I want a perennial so I don't have to plant anything in this spot again. The trellis is empty and the 2 thunbergia seedlings have done nothing. My sister is giving me some hyacinth vine seedling to put there. If I don't get them I will take the trellis away for the year.

Impatiens in the sidewalk planters are doing well and not showing signs of downy mildew. The coleus's are also doing good. They have grown well in a short period of time. I put a sweet potato vine in each planter last week and have started watering every day and the flowers are really enjoying it as evidenced by their growth and blooms. I also put in a little miracle grow. Geraniums on the step have bloomed and I hope form new blooms before they're judged. Even if they don't I sent lots of pictures to show judges what the containers have been doing since spring so they can see how they looked in bloom. The lobelia in one container petered out and didn't make it to the 4th of July for a patriotic display. I didn't plan this when they were purchased. Later I realized that I had red, white, and blue blooms. Petunias that were waiting in the yard for planting went in their place.

The Charleston planter on the stoop is doing beautifully. I think this is the best year for it in appearance. On Saturday I inserted caladiums that I started in the spring. While in the yard last week I was surprised to see that they'd  finally come up. I thought they were dead. They sure took a long time to come up. The caladium are white with some red veining and will be beautiful when they get larger. I'm glad I didn't breakdown and buy some from the store. One caladium was $19.00. Who would pay that? I wasn't that desperate. The coleus are thriving. One pansy is actually living in all this heat. The others from the sidewalk planter were pulled weeks ago. 

One lone dragon wing begonia is thriving and growing larger. It has yet to bloom and I'm looking forward to seeing the blooms. I regret throwing out the others. My patience can be short with seedlings but I'm learning that some seedlings don't take off until planted and then they may still take a while to get to the size seen in nurseries. I will start more of these in the winter. Didn't break down and buy any although it was hard not to when I saw how large and beautiful they were at the garden center.

No pansies started yet. I haven't even ordered seeds yet. I do have some fresh seeds but I wanted other varieties that I don't have. I may pass on starting them. Haven't decided yet. They seem so much work and don't look as vibrant, full , and pretty as the ones from nurseries. Actually purchasing pansies is my favorite thing to do with flowers in spring and fall. Just seeing all the varieties, colors, and scents. I love the scented ones.

The porch will also get a tidying up and maybe I'll put some of my house plants out there to make things look pretty and maintain the flow. Several annuals I bought died out there already and I'm hesitant to purchase more unless they're dirt cheap. They need to be healthy of course. Refreshments for the judges is recommended for hot days. I planned on doing this anyway. I'm excited as is my sister who wants to be here on the judging day and is helping to get the front ready for judging. Next year I hope to enter the yard. I haven't had a lot of time for it this season but it could look worse.

So to get ready, I will be trimming some of the shrubs that need it. The ivy will also be trimmed under the Norway Maple. The sidewalk will be swept of any debris left by little ones outside playing. I will continue watering them every day and 2 times a day on hotter days. Maybe I can start with some fresh paint outside in areas I planned on painting this summer. Nothing like clean white, fresh paint. They're not coming to look at the house but curb appeal is important. When I am notified of what day judging will be, I will plant something in bloom for color. Wish me luck.

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