Gardening Daily Tips 115

Rock Rose (Cistus x)

Plant type: Shrub

USDA Hardiness Zones: 8b to 11a

Height: 18″ to 36″

Spread: 36″ to 60″

Exposure: full sun

Bloom Color: White

Bloom Time: Mid summer, Mid spring

Leaf Color: Green

Growth Rate: fast

Moisture: dry

Soil Condition: Acidic, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Well drained

Form: Rounded, Spreading or horizontal

Landscape Uses:

Border, Container, Erosion control, Foundation, Seashore

Special Features:

Fragrant foliage, Attractive flowers or blooms

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Q&A: Easy Care Roses

Question: I have never had roses and I am a novice gardener. What roses would you suggest for my area that would be easy to care for? When would you plant them and what would you plant with them, if anything? We have a wire fence (about 4 inch squares, don’t know what to call it) in semi-shade that I would like to have roses next to if possible. We also have areas with full sun.

Answer: Roses love sunshine, and they also prefer to be the star attraction, growing without competition, away from other plants. Choose the sunniest site you can find, spread a 4″ layer of aged compost or other organic matter over the soil, and dig in to a depth of 12 inches. For bare-root roses, dig each hole 15″ to 18″ deep, form a soil cone in the bottom of the hole and drape the roots over the mound of soil. Add soil around the roots, tampling down gently to eliminate any air pocket. When the hole is almost full, fill with water and allow it to soak in. Then fill the rest of the hole with soil. Place roses 3′ – 4′ feet apart if you’re planting several. When choosing roses, try to find those that are disease-resistant, and you’ll have fewer problems with them. Hybrid Tea roses are probably the most popular, and there are a rainbow of colors to choose from. Topping the list of really hardy roses are ‘Applejack’, ‘Champlain’, ‘Morden Amorette’, ‘Chicago Peace’, ‘Fragrant Cloud’, ‘Olympiad’, ‘Mr. Lincoln’, ‘Summer Dream’ and ‘Tropicana’.

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Q&A: Growing Strawberries

Question: Can you give me some advice on how to grow strawberries?

Answer: It’s hard to beat a homegrown strawberry patch for tasty snacks and fruit for jam! Here are some general guidelines. Strawberries prefer a light, slightly acid soil that’s rich in humus. Mix in organic matter such as compost, composted manure or decomposed leaves to increase the water-holding capacity of the soil and improve soil structure. Set the plants about 18 inches apart in rows 3feet apart. Plant them so that the crown is at ground level. The traditional method is to treat the plants as biennials, making a new planting each spring next to the old bed, and tilling the old plants under. Some home gardeners use the daughter plants to start new beds, but to be guaranteed of disease-free plants, you can buy some each year.

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Q&A: Greenhouse Temperatures

Question: Once the seeds of my snapdragons, zinnias, and gazanias have germinated, how cool can I keep the greenhouse?

Answer: The ideal temperatures for growing seedlings are from 60 to 70F during the day, and from 55 to 60 at night. Temperatures can vary slightly, but don’t let the greenhouse get too hot or too cold.

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Tip: Tree Planting Tips

Before you put spade to soil, measure the depth of the rootball of balled-and-burlapped trees, or the depth of the soil in containerized trees. Then dig the planting hole to just that depth so the rootball is sitting on undisturbed soil. This will prevent the tree from settling after planting, and ending up too deep in the ground. Make the width of the hole at least twice the width of the rootball.

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Tip: Calculate How Much Mulch to Buy

To calculate the amount of mulch to buy, measure the garden area. For example, a 10-foot-square garden is 100 square feet. Then multiply this by the depth of mulch you want. If you want it three inches (.25 feet), multiply 100 times .25. You’ll need 25 cubic feet of mulch, or about a cubic yard.

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