Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reader's Questions: In the Garden

You fight dandelions all weekend, and late Monday afternoon there they are, pert as all get out, in full and gorgeous bloom, pretty as can be, thriving as only dandelions can in the face of adversity. ~Hal Borland

Today I have two garden questions from readers.

My house is shaped like an L in the back, and gets a lot of sun. The house is made of brick, and when ever I try to grow anything in the borders against the house, they do fine in the spring. BUT THEN our scorching summers begin and fry everything anywhere near that hot brick. It doesn't matter if I water every day...I've even watered the brick hoping it would cool things a little. No dice. ~Liz

The first plant that come to mind is a lavender plant. They love it hot and dry! I did think of something that might help in addition too. Could you put up a thicker wood trellis on the brick or right in front of it? It would be pretty and it might provide a little bit of a barrier between the brick and the plants...

Also, have you tried yuccas? They are stiff, but not prickly like cactus, so they should be fine for the kids to be around. Try looking for plants that are native to Mexico, where it's that hot. Cosmos are annuals, and they can tolerate it hot and dry. Potentilla is a shrub that you'll see a lot in front of restaurants where it's next to hot pavement. It has pretty blooms and would make a nice plant next to a brick wall.

I have a Crassula argentea and I live in Florida in the forest and I was wondering if I could plant my Jade in the ground and where should I plant it? In the sun or the shade? ~Vickie

The jade plant needs a warm climate in winter, and it also needs some protection from very hot direct sun. The leaves can scorch and then it needs to be moved to a cooler place. It can only survive outside in temperatures above 20 degrees or so. This would usually include Zones 9, 10, 11 and 12. Also avoid a wet soil or the roots could rot. A partial shade in a dryer soil should be good for it. If your forest location isn't soggy and has some sun it should work fine for the jade.

Make your own self-fertilizing vegetable tubs this year:

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