National Garden Month

A look back at a National Garden Month week:

It's National Gardening Month, 2016! Each week this month we will share our favorite articles about growing different kinds of plants. We open the month with a week all about flowers.

Week 1: Celebrating Gardening with Flowers

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Creating a Butterfly Garden

Many of us envision a peaceful paradise where butterflies float, serenely sipping nectar from the beauty we have created. The reality of a butterfly garden is humming, vibrant, and thrilling beyond anything one ever could have imagined. Here are some tips for creating a butterfly garden of your own.



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Butterfly Bush

It is a delight to watch all types of butterflies sip nectar from the abundant flowers on this aptly named shrub. Butterfly bush is a large, arching shrub that produces masses of flowers in midsummer to fall. Flower colors include blue, pink, red, violet, yellow, and white, and the shrub grows 5 to 10 feet tall and wide, depending on the variety. Butterfly bushes grow well in shrub or perennial borders, and the fragrant flowers can be used for cutting.



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All About Coneflowers

Coneflowers are some of the most carefree plants you can have in your garden. Of the 13 different species and nearly 200 different cultivars, with sizes ranging from 12 inches to 4 feet and coming in nearly every color you could want, there is an Echinacea available for every garden.



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David Austin's Roses

Although the rose societies group his roses with the shrubs, David Austin actually created an entirely new class of roses, which he named English Roses. He crossed old garden roses with modern cultivars to combine what he regarded as the best qualities of both. He wanted to combine the graceful form, charm, and fragrance of the old roses with the disease resistance, repeat bloom, and colors of the modern hybrid teas.


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How and Why to Prune Clematis

If you’ve ever seen a clematis that is one big mountain of tangled up stems, it’s almost enough to scare you away from growing them. But let’s take a look at why, when, and how these remarkable vines should be pruned and you’ll find it’s not as difficult as it seems.

Properly pruning clematises will yield the maximum quantity of flowers by stimulating new growth. Pruning keeps the more vigorous vines under control. If not pruned, these large plants can literally tear down almost any support with their sheer weight. Keeping vines pruned brings flowers down to eye level rather than at a top of a tall plant.

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There Is an Iris for Every Garden

Irises are the largest genus of the Iridaceae family, with as many as 300 species, many of which are thought to be natural hybrids. Iris species are primarily native to the temperate northern hemisphere, the majority from Europe and Asia. The world of Irises is expansive, with species native to some of the most extreme climates, giving us an iris for just about any landscape or garden situation.


Thumb of 2015-04-15/Jasmin/8968c8Roses and Clematises in a Small Natural Garden

If you want your small city garden to evoke natural spaces and offer something to wildlife, a classic combination of roses and clematises is perfect for you.

As both plants have noticeable life cycles; from early buds to waterfalls of flowers, followed by rosehips and seedpods, they contribute to an ever-changing picture and offer food to various insects and birds.



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Lilies for the Garden

Hybrid lilies (genus Lilium) are sorted into eight divisions that are based on their genetic background. The most common and readily available lilies for the garden are from Division I, Asiatic hybrids; Division VI, Trumpet hybrids; Division VII, Oriental hybrids; and Division VIII, Interspecific or hybrids that don't fit into any of the other seven divisions.



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Plant Care: Hostas

Hosta is an easy-to-grow, long-lived, shade-loving perennial that is prized for its colorful leaves. Other common names are plantain lily and funkia.

An ideal foliage plant for shady areas, hosta grows well under deciduous trees, in borders, and as a ground cover. Foliage height ranges from 6 inches to 3 feet, with taller flower spikes appearing in early to mid summer. Foliage colors range from chartreuse to deep blue-green, and many varieties have striking variegation. Flower colors include white and lavender; some flowers have a sweet scent. Because hosta is a favored food of slugs, snails, and deer, control measures may be required.


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Plant Care: Yarrow

Yarrow is a hardy and versatile perennial with fernlike leaves and colorful blooms. The large, flat-topped flower clusters are perfect for cutting and drying.

Most yarrows grow 2 to 4 feet tall, although low-growing varieties are also available. The plants are remarkably durable, tolerating dry spells and low soil fertility where other perennials would fade. Yarrows bloom from midsummer into fall; flower colors include red, pink, salmon, yellow, and white. Yarrow are versatile and look equally at home in a perennial border, sunny rock garden, or wildflower meadow. Powdery mildew disease may be a problem in humid areas.

When You Garden, You Grow!

Every April communities, organizations, and individuals nationwide celebrate gardening during National Garden Month. Gardeners know, and research confirms, that nurturing plants is good for us: attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, kids perform better at school, and community spirit grows. Join the celebration and help to make America a greener, healthier, more livable place!

About National Garden Month

Why Garden?

"During the National Garden Month of April, join us in celebrating the joys of gardening and making the world a healthier place by using allergy-friendly plants in your gardens and landscapes."

-- Vicki Stover, Secretary/Treasurer, Society for Allergy Friendly Environmental (SAFE) Gardening

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