PLANNING AND PLANTING
• Check out native plants. A new program in Utah encouragesgardeners to use native plants in home landscaping. Look forcolorful “Utah’s Choice” identification tags on plants atnurseries, which may also carry the 20-page booklet Utah at Home: Landscaping with Native Plants (or order acopy for $2.75 from Intermountain Native Plant Growers Association,c/o Linda Oswald, 1827 Princeton Ave., Salt Lake City, UT 84108).Visit www.utahschoice.org for anillustrated list of 40 drought-tolerant natives, including Utahladyfinger and Wasatch penstemon.
• Fill a strawberry pot with flowers. Sold for strawberries,these multi-pocket containers dry out too quickly for the fruitplants, but they make attractive pots for heat-loving summerannuals such as Aptenia cordifolia, calibrachoa, creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens), Dahlberg daisy, Evolvulus glomeratus, gazania, Madagascar periwinkle, mossverbena (V. pulchella gracilior), portulaca, and trailing petunia.Fill the pot with soil, then plant in tiers, starting with thebottom row of pockets. Poke the rootballs through the holes andcover with soil. Put the pot in a sunny spot and rotate it weeklyto promote even growth.
• Get mums into the ground. Chrysanthemum seedlings on sale atgarden centers will rebloom in fall if you plant them now in asunny location in good garden soil and water them once or twice aweek. Leave flowers on plants so you can see where they look bestin the garden, then cut them off after transplanting. To promotebranching and more bloom, shear back the top few inches of growthwhenever stems reach 1 foot; do this until mid-July.
• Grow the right tomatoes. Plants set fruit best when they getconsistently hot days, warm nights, and regular water. It alsohelps to grow varieties that are proven producers in theintermountain West. Timberline Gardens www.timberlinegardens.comin Arvada, Colorado, reports good fruit set despite cool nightswith ‘Abraham Lincoln’, ‘Black Krim’, ‘Cherokee Purple’, ‘LemonBoy’, ‘Pilgrim’, ‘Sungold’, and ‘Supersteak’.
• Tour Xeriscape gardens. To see successful examples oflow-water landscapes, take one of the local tours ($15) cosponsoredby Colorado Federation of Garden Clubs www.coloradogardenclubs.organd Colorado WaterWise Council: Denver, June 11-12; Boulder, June25-26; Colorado Springs, July 9-10. At each garden, hosts andexpert gardeners will be on hand to answer questions and provideguidance.
• Monitor ash trees. If you see skeletonized leaves on ashtrees or flocks of feeding robins in the trees, or if you hear araspy, chewing sound, the trees may be infested with brownheadedash sawfly. Small black adults resembling wasps lay their eggsalong the leaf edges, sometimes causing the leaves to pucker. Tocontrol the pale green caterpillar-like larvae, blast them offfoliage with a strong jet of water from a hose-end nozzle. Visit www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05586.htmlfor more information on this pest.
• Test your soil. If nothing is growing well in a spot in yourgarden, a soil test can help determine what’s wrong. For $18, youcan get a detailed analysis and recommendations for improving yoursoil from Colorado State University www.colostate.edu/depts/soilcrop/soillab.htmlor 970/491-5061.