July 2015
Need an escape this summer–one that doesn’t require a plane ticket? There’s no place like home. Fusing the “just breathe” sensibility of a relaxing vacation spot with the ease of walking out the back door, Costa Mesa, CA-based landscape designer Molly Wood created this idyllic backyard getaway. The splashing fountain adds to the sense of a destination and chairs beckon, but it’s the shades-of-green of salviaecheveria, Japanese mock orange, bearded irissweet bay, and westringia that create such a soothing space. More backyard sanctuaries here. Photo:Trina Roberts

Stir the pot

Container gardens feeling the dog days of summer? Shear back spent spring flowers, then slip in a few heat-lovers like Tomato Soup coneflower or Fat Bud French lavender for color into fall. Rev-up an okay-but-tired tableau with a mad-flowering vine such as Sunny Series black-eyed Susan tucked into the back. Or think ahead by planting Blue Balloon® bluebeard, a late-blooming shrub that looks great in a container today, and in the landscape later.

What to plant now

If you’re looking to plant something that’s water-wise and a multi-tasking problem solver, look no further than Baby Pete™ Lily of the Nile. Because it rarely sets seed pods, this agapanthus has a longer bloom season, well into summer. Dwarf and compact, Pete’s perfect along pathways, grouped at an entry or in mixed containers. Lovely under established roses, too.

Create a moon garden

As night falls a garden of white flowers glimmers, glows, and catches the moonlight. Plant fragrant gleamers like night blooming jessamine, Ice Cap garden phlox, Jack® flowering pear and White Out™ rose where you can enjoy them–near a patio or in a bedroom window box–and Zen out with your flowers from dusk till dawn. More here.

Pollinator haven

Recently we asked on social media for suggestions for great pollinators and boy, did you respond. This month kicks off The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens that help revive the health of pollinators. Tickseedyarrow and bee balm are butterfly and bee magnets.

Gardening with kids

When it comes to kids and gardening, if you build it, they will come. Here’s an easy planter project that’s been thoughtfully designed to be in scale with little ones, but it’s the irresistible allure of the chalkboard surface that’ll inspire pride of ownership. (This mom added a dwarf thornless raspberry.) DIY here.

What pros know

Our nursery craftsmen share tips for keeping plants happy in a heat wave: add micorrhizae when prepping soil which helps prevent water stress; apply 2 inches of mulch to beds twice a season; use a timer and place soaker hoses and drip irrigation emitters at the edge of foliar canopy rather than the trunk or crown of plant. For containers, a good rule is to water when the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch.