Gardening Daily Tips July 5

Tuesday July 5, 2011

Bluebeard, Blue Mist Spirea (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

Today’s Featured Plant
Bluebeard, Blue Mist Spirea (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

Read the full profile of this plant at

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Q&A: Flowers that Slugs Don’t Eat

Question: We have a walkway leading up to our house that we always put petunias on each side of. However, during the past 2 years, the petunias have been depleted by slugs. I have tried every kind of chemical product on the slugs, beer traps, and hunting them down at night with a flashlight. None of these has stopped them from ruining the flowers summer after summer. Are there any flowers I could plant (in the ground, not pots) that the slugs will leave alone?

Answer: Slugs generally shy away from thick or hairy leaves. the following list of plants are not generally attractive to slugs: Ageratum, Alyssum, Begonia, Cosmos,Geranium,Lobelia, Nasturtium, Nemesia, Portulaca, Painted daisy (Pyrethrum), Verbena, Zinnia, Aquilegia (Columbine), Arabis, Armeria, Astilbe, Aubrietia, Campanula, Dianthus (Pinks, Carnations), Dicentra (Bleeding Heart), Geum, Gypsolphila (Baby’s Breath), Helleborus, Hemcrocallis (Day Lily), Iberis (Candytuft), Lupine, Peonies, Rudbeckia, Sedum, and Thyme. Always remember – slugs love new foliage growth, so there may be times when they will bother some plants, and other times when they will move onto more desirable ones.

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Q&A: Training A Clematis to Climb

Question: How do I train a clematis against a lamp post? Do I have to tie it or will it begin to ‘suction’ to the post on its own? It’s still in the pot with a stake from the nursery.

Answer: Clematis climb by twining their leaf stalks around whatever support is available. Begin by tying it, but as it grows it should begin twining around the post on its own. Or you can surround the post with a cylinder of 2″ x 4″ heavy wire mesh, staked securely to the ground, and allow the clematis to climb that. When tying the vine, use garden twine or twist ties, and be careful not to crush the stems, which are very fragile.

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Q&A: Controlling Slugs Organically

Question: My astilbe and lupines have been badly damaged by slugs. Should I replace them in the fall or is there still a chance the plants might come back next year? How can I control slugs organically?

Answer: Both astilbe and lupine have reasonably hardy constitutions, so I wouldn’t give up on them yet. If you can control further slug damage, the roots should be able to generate new foliage this year. There are several ways to miminize slug damage. You can hand pick the slugs. (If you start early in the season, you may be able to keep the population in check for the entire season.) You can also use beer traps, or surround your planting with copper slug barrier — the slugs won’t cross the barrier because, for some reason, their “slime” reacts with the copper, giving them an electric shock. There are also iron-phosphate-based slug baits that safely and effectively control these pests.

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Tip: Clean Garden Gloves

To clean your garden gloves after working in muddy soil, simply wash your hands with your gloves on. Use a bar of soap, just as you would if you were washing skin. Once the gloves are clean, remove them and set them in a warm location to dry; the top of the water heater is perfect. Leather gloves will dry stiff, but once you put them on your hands, they will soften up in no time flat!

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Tip: Keep Plants Watered

Hot weather and bright sunshine means plants need more water to grow. Vegetables, especially tomatoes, need a consistent supply of water to produce an abundant crop. When watering, moisten soil to the depths of the roots — 8 inches or more depending on the plant.

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80 Comic Strips Now Available by Email!

ArcaMax has added dozens of new comic strips to its Comics page, including Archie, Hi and Lois, and 77 others. Subscribe to as many as you like via email, and start your day with a laugh!

Visit the Comics page and subscribe or read online right away.

— From the ArcaMax editors

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