Midway Point of Our Gardening Calendar!

We have arrived at the midway point of the 2017 calendar and are a little over a third of the way through this growing season.  Time marches on without pause and we are at a point in the growing season where many of our spring plantings are really starting to make a show.  The summer flowering shrubs are producing waves of colorful flowers.  The vitex or butterfly bush is covered with blue flowers.  The crapemyrtles are impressive this year dressed in all tones of pink and red, purple and white flowers.  Crapemyrtles not only produce one wave of flowers but often will bloom repeatedly throughout the hot summer months they love into early fall.  They are available in dwarf varieties that only grow a few feet tall to varieties that make large shrubs or even small trees at 20’ tall or more.  There is a lot of active breeding and variety selection growing on now for new crapemyrtles.  The most prolific breeders are the National Arboretum in Washington D. C. and Lacebark Publications operated by Dr. Carl Whitcomb, right here in Oklahoma at Stillwater.  Gardeners all over the south half of the country are growing new varieties bred and grown right here in Oklahoma.

Other summer flowers putting on a show include the lovely cannas, started from a tuber or purchased as a plant.  These large leaf plants produce impressive flower stalks of red, pink, yellow or orange cannas with either green or reddish foliage.  Many of our perennials bloom now as we enjoy our longest days of the year including white Shasta daisies, Echinacea, gazania, and the impressive Rudbeckia also known as Gloriosa daisy or coneflowers with their exciting yellow and orange flower petals spiraling off the black or brown flower center.  Rudbeckia were first named by Linnaeus and recent breeding has produced lots of stunning choices for your summer garden.

Those of you that are vegetable gardening are now digging your early crops of potatoes and onions.  The tomato plants have really grown over the last few weeks and you should have quite a bit of fruit showing on your tomatoes and may have already had a few fruit  turn red.  Many more tomatoes should start turning red over the next week or two. Green beans and squash are producing their crops while the cantaloupe and watermelon fruit is visible under their canopy of foliage and just needs time and water to product their tender, thirst quenching melons.

Many of the annuals that love the heat are now exploding with color.  Look for lantana, penta, periwinkle, marigolds, zinnia, rose moss, sweet potato vine, copper leaf plant and many other warm blooded crops to respond well to our summer heat.  Even the plants that love the heat the most still need regular and adequate watering to perform well.  Remember your plants can’t turn on or operate the water hose yet so please remember to check your watering regularly and water and mulch your plantings to keep them healthy, happy and growing through our hot and dry summers.  You can still plant container grown annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, trees and shrubs as long as you will commit to provide adequate water to get them established.

We continue to be blessed with mild, even beautiful mornings and evenings so this really is a good time to get outside and smell the roses and all your other pretty and amazing flowers and vegetables.  Don’t forget to enjoy the cooling natural shade of your trees in the heat of the day.

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