Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Planting up Fuchsia Baskets and Penstemon

I added the new small fuchsias I bought at the garden center to my hanging fuchsia baskets this past weekend. I have one established fuchsia in each basket and wanted to build on the baskets. I matched similar colors for each fuchsia basket, white and pink with pink, lavender with purple and pink and lavender with pink fuchsias. The fuchsia baskets have trailing blue lobelia cascading down the front of each basket. The trailing blue lobelia tends to be very full, not exactly what I originally wanted in the baskets since I would prefer the lobelia lie flatter but it still looks good overall. Some of the fuchsia baskets have blooming flowers while others are working up towards blooming. Here on the coast even though it is officially summer all blooming tends to be a month or two out from the blooming patterns of typical summer blooming in Sonoma County. Basically its still early on for fuchsia blooms as they are just getting started here on the north coast.

The penstemon I planted in the front yard is garnet penstemon, it is really a beautiful burgundy color and should look great against the grey color of the fence. After planting the garnet penstemon I cut back my blue penstemon. The blue penstemon was attacked by black fly, the same as the foxglove in the same flower border near the drooping cherry tree. The blue penstemon was really gorgeous covered in blue tubular flowers then suddenly stopped blooming. I tried an organic mix of soap and water on the original black fly infestation on my foxgloves but it did not deter them. My mistake was not spraying them for a number of weeks. Next time I will spray every week with this organic mix to be sure the black fly infestation is killed off. Penstemons need to be cut back yearly for good bloom by summer. I'm hoping since its early in the summer season here that the blue penstemon will grow back this season and bloom again.

I used the organic soap spray on my drooping cherry tree this year just as the leaves started coming out right before bloom began. Usually we have a fly larvae infestation that ruins the leaves of the tree, this fly apparently attacks cherry trees and can have two or more infestations of the flies during the year. I'm not sure if the organic soap spray did the trick early on or if it was our milder winter but either way I plan on spraying the cherry tree early on every season with the soap spray.

This year the young drooping cherry tree has grown over five feet tall and is looking beautiful with its branches full of healthy green leaves. I'm looking forward to seeing how well the new fuchsias fare with their companion fuchsias and hope the baskets fill out well with blooms this summer. Can't wait to see how the garnet penstemon establishes itself in the dry area against the fence and the multitude of blooms it will produce during the summer months in the coming years.

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