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local dirt Reader’s questions

Ms. Dobbie, My backyard faces south, and the

during summer months, the

yard gets very hot. After a few years of spending quite a bit of money on plants, which die early in the season, I was wondering if you could recom- mend someone to speak to regarding acquiring plants with a longer life span that will tolerate heat. My back yard would be entirely

container gardening. I thank you for your time. Claude Nolin

Hi Claude, Plants such as petunias and cali-

brachoas love the heat. Geraniums like it dry and hot and there are specialty plants

such as bougainvillea that enjoy

this climate too. Black-eyed-Susan vine is pretty well indestructible and all kinds of salvias like sun and heat. Verbena and Lantana both like sun and heat as does scaevola. Diamond Frost euphorbia is a neat trailer plant with clouds of little white flowers ideal for containers. The sweet potato vines – lime green, black, dark magenta – all enjoy sun. Any gray leaved plant, such as helichrysum, will be a sun lover too. Snapdragons should last the season – I love the trailing ones if you can find them. Celosia and dahlias are showy and tolerate heat. These plants should perform well for

you most of the summer and some into fall. Types such as the marguerites and daisy-like ones will need to be deadheaded to get new blossoms. Also, you can help keep petunias going

longer and looking lovelier by cutting them back in summer – they will reward you by branching out and producing even more blossoms. With container plants, the issue is

generally watering and size of the pot. If drying out is a problem, add a bit of coco- husk (coir) to the potting medium – one part coco-husk to six parts soil or potting mix (works better than the gels that are put into commercially potted baskets). This will keep your containers moist a lot longer. Containers with a peat or straw type

basket dry out faster than those in a plas- tic pot. Plants to take off your list are pansies, which like it cool and damp; begonias

4 • Spring 2015 Dahlia. Photo by Allie Caulfield.

which love the shade, (except for Solenia begonias which are bred for sun but need to be kept moist); and impatiens, which like shade (except New Guinea impatiens which like sun). We all love lobelia but it prefers shade, even the sun-tolerant ones like some shade. Some annuals, such as forget-me-nots

or poppies are very short-blooming (we call them ephemerals) so avoid using them in containers. Thank you for subscribing and best

regards, Dorothy

Hi Tania, The magazines have arrived and

WOW, what a beautiful article and such a spread. At first when I opened the magazine and saw the pictures of the garden I thought, “That cannot be our garden,” so beautiful. Thank you so much for all the work and effort that you put into this article and send- ing us the magazines. We appreciate it very much. God Bless all your endeavors. With kind regards, Ben Goedhart

Hi Ben, I am so glad you liked it. It wouldn’t

have looked so grand without the extra photos you sent, they really added to the

article. It was my pleasure to work with you both and I was proud to be able to share your story. I had a wonderful chat with Klaus about the article as well. Best wishes to you both and happy

gardening! Tania

Note: Veronica Sliva is the wonder-

ful person who provides us with photos and connections to some beau- tiful Ontario gardens and gardeners. We apologize, her name was misspelt in the photo credit for the Tobermory garden story.

Here’s a time saver tip for the orga- nized gardener Dear Dorothy, I always end up with too many

containers every year. At the same time, I miss certain spots in my beds. So here’s what I’m doing this year: I’m making a diagram of my entire

yard including positioning of the containers before I go shopping. Then I will simply consult the

diagram to be sure I have the combi- nation of plants that will fit my vision for each container – and to make sure I have the bedding plants and “fill- ins” for every part of the yard. Also, when leaving with the plants

from the garden centre, I’m going to place plant groups together for specif- ic containers so everything is right there and I’m not searching. Maybe you’ve already been doing

this for years. But, for me, it’s about time. It will obviously save time and save me from kicking myself when I’ve forgotten a certain plant for a certain container. Mr. Tomato

Dear Mr. T., You are so organized! I plan what to

buy – a colour scheme, say – then go to the garden centre and forget all about it as my eye is fickle – caught by other charmers. I also buy groups of perennials so I can

plant in grand sweeps, but when I get home I end up tucking them here are there, will nilly. It’s no wonder your garden looks so

good compared to mine! Dorothy

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