I nudged my nose into the deep royal purple of a plush Storm Blue petunia bloom and inhaled its rich, sweet perfume. The distinctive fragrance of petunia is a summer pleasure I indulge in every year, with plantings on and near the patio.
Storm Blue is growing in a windowbox style planter on shelving below a similar planter holding an old favourite, Prism Sunshine petunia in soft, creamy primrose yellow shading to butter yellow at the blossom centres. This award-winning petunia never fails to flower all summer, and the blooms pair well with dark blue and purple petunias as well as those in compatible soft, light shades like Supercascade Lilac, another personal favourite.
Most seed catalogues list Prism Sunshine. My seed source for Storm Blue was William Dam Seeds.
Not all petunias are so heavily fragrant. The most potent perfumes seem to come from blue and purple petunias.
July. A few considerations on July gardening: By now, hanging basket
and other container flowers will have developed a lush canopy over the soil. Most containers need daily watering in summer, but don't rely on a shower of water over the plants. If you have a watering wand with a dial, set it on "Soaker" and snuggle the wand end gently under or between plants to apply a gentle bubbling of water on to the soil.
- Don't scalp the grass. Presumbably we'll be getting warm, sunny weather at last. Mowing lawns only to a height of six to seven centimetres shades and protects roots and promotes strong, deep root growth and enhanced drought resistance in the turf. Longer grass also shades out weed seeds and inhibits their germination.
- The first wave of big, peony-flowered poppies has been blooming. They are roughly 120 cm tall with large, wavy, grey-green leaves and both single and double flowers in many colours. Their seeds are good for baking, and easy to harvest. After flowering has finished, leave some of the plants and remove leaves as they disintegrate into a dowdy mess. When the seed heads dry and turn tan, and when little openings appear at the top of the pod, cut the pods off and drop them into a paper bag. Store in a dry place and, in a leisurely moment in fall or winter, shake the seeds out into a bowl for storing.
Fall/Winter gardening guide. Food is where it's at in the gardening game these days, and early July is an ideal time to plan for and plant vegetables to eat in fall, winter and early spring.
Available wherever West Coast Seeds are sold is their 2012 Fall & Winter Gardening Guide with directions and charts for what to plant and when to plant it.
In winter, especially in a mild one like last winter, I'm out almost daily gathering fresh produce from the outdoor refrigerated pantry that is the winter vegetable garden. It's sheer luxury to have access, a mere few steps away, to the freshest possible food. And through late fall and winter, it's all pretty much care-free. No bugs. No watering. No weeding.
Another way to access the guide is to telephone West Coast Seeds at 1-888-804-8820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lily sale today. The Victoria Lily Society is holding its annual lily plant sale from 9 a.m. to noon at 1320 Clover Ave., off Moss Street near Dallas Road. There will be many unusual lilies, $7 each.
Lily meeting. The Victoria Lily Society will meet at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific, 505 Quayle Rd. Judith MacLaughlan will delve into the topic of propagation.
Peninsula meeting. The Monday meeting of the Peninsula Garden Club will take the form of a summer social starting at 7 p.m. in the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney. There will be refreshments, and a flower arranging presentation at 7: 30. Visitors are welcome for a drop-in fee of $5. peninsulagardenclub.ca.
Qualicum meeting. Qualicum Beach Garden Club meets on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the QB Civic Centre. Graham Ware from the Owl and Stump Nursery will speak on Carl Jung, gardening in the shade and garden variety selfrealization.
Flower arrangers. The Victoria Flower Arrangers Guild meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Garth Homer Centre, 813 Darwin Ave. Sue Weeks and Audrey Smith will speak on wreaths and swags.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT:
Blue is a velvety, lush petunia with a rich fragrance.
Storm - Prism Sunshine petunia in shades of creamy yellow blends well with both dark blue petunias and soft shades like this Supercascade Lilac.
- Peony-flowered poppies - single or double - are
common volunteer plants in home gardens.
- Seeds of these colourful poppies can be used in
muffins and other baked goods.
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