Gardening Daily Tips 106

Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa)

Plant type: Shrub

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2a to 6b

Height: 11″ to 48″

Spread: 24″ to 48″

Exposure: partial shade partial sun to full sun

Bloom Color: Pink, Red, White, Yellow

Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Late summer, Mid summer, Mid fall

Leaf Color: Green

Growth Rate: slow

Moisture: moist

Soil Condition: Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained

Form: Rounded, Spreading or horizontal, Vase

Landscape Uses:

Border, Foundation, Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden, Specimen

Special Features:

Not North American native, Attracts butterflies, Attractive flowers or blooms

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Q&A: Dividing Ornamental Grasses

Question: I have several varieties of ornamental grasses in my yard. When is the best time to dig up the plants and divide them?

Answer: Early spring is a good time to dig and divide clumps of ornamental grasses. Gently lift the clump and pry apart the crown. One technique is to use 2 garden forks back-to-back to carefully divide the root ball into sections. (Be sure to leave some foliage with each root division.) Replant the sections immediately and water well.

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Q&A: Growing Basil from Seed

Question: How do I grow basil from seed?

Answer: Starting basil from seed is similar to starting most seeds. Plant in slightly moist seed starting mix, covering seed with just 1/8″ or so of soil. Loosely cover the container with plastic wrap to maintain humidity and set in a spot out of direct sunlight. At warm temperatures (about 70 degrees) the basil should germinate in just a few days. As soon as you see sprouts, remove the plastic and place the pot in direct sunlight, or within 1-2″ of a fluorescent light bulb. Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy and the plants should grow well. You can also sow seed directly into a garden bed in full sun as soon as the soil has warmed in spring.

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Q&A: Container Gardening with Children

Question: My children (ages 7 and 10) would like to start a container vegetable garden. What kinds of vegetables would be good for containers, and easy for children to grow and tend?

Answer: I’ll bet they can grow anything that they like to eat — with that kind of incentive, it’s easy to stay focused and attentive to a project. And it’s always fun to grow things you can eat right there in the garden! Plant a few different crops that mature at different stages to keep the process interesting. For instance, radishes, lettuce, and peas can all be planted early in the spring. Radishes should be ready within a month of germination; leaf lettuce soon after. Choose a pea variety that does not require support or will be happy climbing a short tomato cage, and that mature within 60 days. Purchase a cherry tomato or two to put in containers after the danger of frost has passed, and sow cucumber seeds at the same time. And I can’t imagine a kids’ garden without pumpkins! Choose a compact (bush) variety that matures quickly for best results.

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Tip: Be Ready to Harden Transplants

Make sure you have plans in place to harden off your transplants. They will need gradual exposure to the outdoors before moving them into the garden. Find a place with partial shade and no wind, and move them out for an hour the first day, two to three hours the second day and so on until they are ready.

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Tip: Consider Planting a Kiwi Vine

If you’re looking for an attractive fruiting vine for a fence or arbor, consider a kiwi vine. Hardiness varies so read plant descriptions carefully.

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