Author: Desiree Gardens

Early June Plantings and IrrigationEarly June Plantings and Irrigation

The summer heat is definitely here, and adequate watering is more important than ever! If you haven’t already, it’s definitely time to adjust the watering schedule on your irrigation system.

Modern rotator spray heads are great at saving water.Deep waterings are one of the best ways to keep your plants happy, but if you have a clay soil you can’t just dump all that water all at once as the soil won’t absorb it. Instead you’ll have excessive runoff onto your driveway, sidewalks, and the street. All that wasted water! Instead, set up each zone to water in multiple short intervals. Instead of one long 30-minute watering session, set up your clay soil zones to do three 10-minute waterings separated by 10-minute “rest” sessions to give the soil time to absorb the water.

On the other hand, if you have sandy soil, or a sandy loam (more common on the far western side of the DFW metroples in areas like Weatherford, Springtown, Azle, etc.) your soil will readily absorb as much as a half-inch of precipitation from your irrigation system at a time. Don’t hesitate to water deeply and run your system for 30-minutes or longer, depending on your plants’ requirements. You don’t need to do this every day. Deep watering even once or twice a week is more than adequate, especially if you have more native plants or drought tolerant varieties. Deep watering like this also makes it easier to comply with any water use restrictions imposed by periods of drought and the accompanying water supply shortages.

Lantanas being pollinated. Now is also the time to start planting all of the heat loving plants in your garden. Crape Myrtles, Salvias, Lantanas, Texas Star Hibiscus, Verbena, Turk’s Cap, Phlox, Purple Fountain Grass, Purslane, and Yuccas are just some examples of these. Reseeding annuals such as Zinnias, Marigolds, and 4 O’clocks also thrive in the blistering summer heat. Other annuals such as Coleus, Pentas, and Caladiums should also be planted now.

It should be noted that this year has been a bad one for Caladium nurseries which have been hit hard and are not able to meet the normal demand for this plant. If you can find a Caladium plant, get it when and where you can.

If potted tropical plants are your thing, Bouganvillas, Tropical Hibiscus, Sago Palms, Agaves, succulents, and other cold sensitive potted plants will do well if planted now. Just remember that container gardens have very different watering requirements than in-ground gardens, but you can still have your containers hooked up to an irrigation system as long as they are on a separate zone.

Give us a call at 877-558-1496, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

Memorial Day Garden ChoresMemorial Day Garden Chores

The growing season is running full steam ahead here at Desiree Gardens! That means there is a LOT going on right now.

Thin your stone-fruit in May to encourage larger and more high quality fruits of what remains.If you haven’t started already, now is the time to prune your wisteria and other spring blooming vines or shrubs. Do not wait until late summer or fall! The buds for next spring’s blooms will set through out the late summer and fall, and if you wait to prune you won’t have any flowers come next spring. It’s also time to prune any shade trees you have, except for oaks. For other species, any low hanging branches should be cut back now and it is a fine time to prune sucker growth on the interior of the canopy.

Proper pruning promotes strong growth.If you have oaks that need trimming, just be patient. Mid to late summer is the best time to prune your oak trees to in order to minimize the chances of spreading oak wilt. When you do prune your oaks, all cuts should be covered with a tree wound paint, or a regular latex paint (color doesn’t matter!) you can find at your local paint or hardware store.

If you have blackberries or other fruit bearing canes, it is time to tip-prune new canes in order to keep the plant compact, as well as to encourage branching. Stone fruit trees like plums and peaches should have the fruit thinned now in order to encourage larger higher quality fruit that remains.

Give us a call at 877-558-1496, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

Zone 7 & 8 May PlantsZone 7 & 8 May Plants

The summer heat is here, and the weather man is forecasting nothing but highs in the 90s and 100s for weeks to come. Things start to seriously heat up in May, but it’s still the perfect time to plant certain crops. There are a variety of vegetables that need warm soil and grow very quickly that are perfect to plant in warmer weather.

Beans, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes all grow very quickly and prefer warm weather. This is the perfect time to set up a trellis in your raised beds and start your seedlings. All of these prefer well drained soil and regular watering, so if you don’t get frequent summer showers you’ll need to water your crops early in the morning. Tomatoes might tend to go dormant in the searing heat of late July and August, but you can look forward to another crop as the temperatures cool into September and October.

Corn, melons, and squash can be grown in fresh tilled fertile ground and will thrive in the coming summer heat. Don’t feel that you’re planting too late into the growing season. The first frost for zones 7 and 8 doesn’t usually come until mid to late November at the earliest, giving you plenty of time to allow these crops to reach maturity.

Pepper bushes seem to capture the scorching heat of the sun and concentrate it into their tiny red and orange fruits. These bushes can be ornamental, along with sweet potatoes, and provide interest and color to a front yard bed. Sweet potatoes in particular make a fantastic ground cover.

If you’re planning on some fall and winter crops, now is also the time to start planning your seedling grow beds for kale, spinach, and lettuce. Don’t start these seedlings just yet, but go ahead and start organizing grow beds and be ready to start your fall seedlings indoors under the grow light or by a south facing window here in a few weeks.

There’s never a dull moment and there’s always something to do in an active year-round garden.

Garden InsectsGarden Insects

One of the more frustrating things for any gardener is when they venture outside to the garden only to find voracious insects devouring the product of their hard work! What can you do about these tiny critters without resorting to poisons or insecticides and other harmful chemicals?

First, identify whether the insects are truly harmful or not. Some caterpillars for example will strip a fennel or passion vine bare within just a few days. Most of these caterpillars have very specific tastes however and will soon transform into beautiful butterflies. Pollinators like butterflies are critical to the success of any garden. Sometimes it’s better to take a little hit and have fennel, or passion vine that looks denuded for a bit just to gain the benefits that these beautiful winged creatures provide. Another alternative is to plant, or allow to grow, other plants like milkweed. In a natural meadow-like lawn, “weeds” like milkweed provide a tastier source of nutrition to many caterpillars.

This Asian Beetle is NOT a Lady Bug
This Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis) is NOT a Lady Bug! They look alike, and both are effecient predators of aphids, but the Asian Beetle is an invasive species with a mostly white head and more spots, while the Lady Bug has a mostly black head and fewer spots.
If you’re inspecting your plants and find ladybugs, or their immature larva which appear like tiny black and orange alligators, stop! Those are the good guys, but their presence often indicates the presence of aphids. Aphids are the main source of prey of the ladybug. If you find aphids sucking down your plants, and you don’t see ladybugs, you can often purchase some at your local plant nursery.

The praying mantis is another beneficial insect, which preys upon many common pests. Finding one is a boon! If your garden seems overrun with harmful insects, you can purchase more praying mantis from your local plant nursery. These insects, along with other beneficial critters like spiders, tarantulas, and tiny garden snakes, all help wage war on your behalf against the tiny pests that might otherwise plague your garden.

Some pests like hornworms, which love tomatoes, are more difficult to remove. These you might need to pluck off one by one. An alternative is a dilute solution of gentle dish soap and water sprayed onto the plant, including the underside of the leaves.

If you have fowl such as chickens or ducks, allow them to roam the garden from time to time. Both chickens and ducks have quite the appetite and love dining on all manner of pests, including slugs and snails. Of course, slug and snail traps such as a saucer full of beer also work well for these molluscs.

Whatever plagues your garden, always search for the natural solution before resorting to pesticides. Many of these chemicals and compounds are indiscriminate and will harm beneficial insects along with the pests. What’s more, they can cause irreparable harm to pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Ditching Lawns for Lush, Diverse Gardens.Ditching Lawns for Lush, Diverse Gardens.

From the AP: America’s love affair with the lawn is getting messy

More and more people are getting away from plain, boring lawns, and moving to diverse gardens that provide abundant color, texture, and foliage, while at the same time providing ample resources for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

From the article: Monrovia, a major grower of plants for nurseries and other outlets, has seen lots of interest in a “Garden of Abundance” trend -– a more “alive-looking” yard with a variety of plants, says company trend watcher Katie Tamony. She says it’s a way of thinking about your yard “as not just being yours, but part of a more beautiful, larger world that we’re trying to create.”

Plants that attract pollinators were the category most sought-after in a survey of Monrovia’s customers, she said.

Many counties and municipalities have jumped on board as well, and are encouraging residents who transform their yards into diverse gardens by handing out placards and yard signs. Native plants, as opposed to monoculture lawns, are an environmental boon not just to pollinators, but they also consume much less water than a traditional lawn. Even those who continue to maintain their lawns are moving to native grasses that can better tolerate droughts and require very little additional watering.

Throughout the pandemic, and even with it drawing to a close, more and more people are seeking to create their own little safe havens where they live. With the huge increase of people working from home, it’s become paramount to have more natural beauty and lush green landscapes and gardens are one way people seek that out.

Whether it’s a small balcony garden of potted plants, a collection of indoor tropicals and succulents, or a large outdoor garden with hardscapes and water features, Desiree Gardens can help you create the garden space of your dreams.

Contact us today for a free one hour consultation to see how we can help you achieve your dreams.