ANITA STONE: Gardener's Stimulus Package
How many times have we heard the terms "stimulus package" and "bailout?"
In order to coin a phrase and take it elsewhere, I believe we can be empowered with plants and flowers -- a gardener's stimulus and bailout for the dilemma we find ourselves involved with these days.
As gardeners we have the ability to help people transform their homes and yards into places for calm, beauty, enjoyment and resilience during these shaky times. As a gardener, I plan to act as a responsible individual and teach friends and neighbors how to garden, no matter what their preference. As a Master Gardener, I have a commitment to assist others in the same endeavor.
While economic recoveries will take years, our homes can be brightened and productive in a single season with passionate gardening.
We can begin by bringing sustainability to our immediate backyards during this time. This year is all about us, our individual homes and neighborhoods, our personal potential to make a difference in our environment. In other words, we can place plants as solutions in our recovery and individual well-being as a stimulus package for the human spirit.
Just consider the amount of power we have. We get to choose the vegetables we grow, the plants that attract bees, and we can plant rain gardens and green roofs.
My goal is to blend my wisdom with cutting-edge information to produce a stronger environment while improving my mental and physical health and have fun doing it. I would rather be pro-active than re-active.
According to Tracy DiSabato-Aust, a popular garden writer, speaker and landscape designer, "plants will give you all the bling without the sting."
If we can enjoy our surroundings and slow down, we eliminate a lot of stress. My garden connects and gives me a sense of time and place, putting me in touch with nature instead of computer screens, iPods and CNN news in an obsessive manner.
I plan to purchase the best plants I can find at the best prices for my wallet. Once I have the plants I will connect them with a personal purpose. Above all, I want to promote the best value and spring's true promise -- renewal.
A few points to ponder: think about planting seeds -- they cost much less than plants; water wisely while producing organic plants and flowers and bring in "good bugs" instead of tossing nuggets that contaminate the air. Use some new varieties that are sure to stand out as a fresh start.
Hanging planters and baskets are always a consideration when finding new varieties. CocoSalmon/White Begonia is robust in heat tolerance and will grace any garden or combo with flair.
Acrobat Antirrhinums are a brand new series that create a pendulous habit. Unlike many snapdragons, this brand is more heat-tolerant and will flower during the summer months.
The popular Sweet Carolines are wonderful for use in combinations if you plant the Feathers, which are very heat-tolerant.
The SuperSpun petunia group is a low-maintenance flower and will require less water than traditional petunia baskets. Seek out the Sophistica petunia collection for unique color schemes.
One of my favorites is euphorbia. With a new series, this plant is heat-tolerant and displays a mass of show all season long, while reaching a height of 12 inches and a width of 24 inches.
An uplifting spirit is created when we add fresh variety and create newness to the garden. After all, isn't that what gardening is about?
- Make sure all garden tools have been cleaned well to kill any left-over bacteria.
- Get rid of all damaged, diseased and dead wood, stalks and plants.
- Water new transplants until they are established.
- Plant onion sets.
- Prepare container buckets and pots for spring and summer plants and vegetables.
- Check out your soil pH -- send samples to the Ag Extension facility.
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