Clematis growing across chicken wire. (Erik Jacobsen photo)

Clematis growing across chicken wire. (Erik Jacobsen photo)

Garden creeps toward full bloom

Erik writes about watering, controlling bugs and training clematis

Should we water, and how much? With the amount of rain we have had lately, it might not be a question, or is it?

Our hanging baskets and other planters might not agree if they could speak. Planters and hanging baskets do not use words to communicate but do use “sign language.”

So, what are the signs?

When I visited some friends, who had enjoyed flower baskets and planters, I had noticed the flowers started to wither. It had happened even after rain or watering. So how could this have been prevented?

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Yes, you guessed it right by the use of a moisture meter. When watering the hanging basket after they are established, they will be root bound, considering all those plant roots in a small space. When you are watering the hanging basket, it requires more than a quick watering with the garden hose because it takes time for the water to penetrate to the roots in the center.

If it happens you have a flower basket starting to wither, find a large bucket big enough to hold the basket. Place the basket in the bucket and fill it with water to cover the basket. Remove the flower basket when no more bubbles come to the top.

My Dahlias I planted in my sunroom about a month ago, have now enough foliage and with the outside temperatures being around 10C., are ready to be planted in the flower garden.

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I will install four support stakes and attach a string of nylon cord right away. It is essential to keep in mind that slugs might come for that midnight snack. I just learned that the new slug bate does not come in powder form anymore, but in pellets, so you can stop using the coffee cans I wrote about in an earlier column.

I wrote some weeks ago how to train the clematis. It climbs by wrapping its leaf stems around something. I use a piece of wire with some chicken wire attached, between two posts. This way makes the garden look unique. The greenery is there all summer. As well, the flower show is attractive, sometimes up to two occasions.

When doing my final garden inspection one evening, I noticed on the marigolds some leaves had been chewed off. By examining the damage, I concluded the slugs had had their midnight snack. To prevent any more damage, I sprinkled some slug bate along the marigold row.

If anyone has red, black or yellow currant bushes, aphids might have attacked them by now. They will not stop until the bush looks like a skeleton. For control, insecticide does not always produce reliable results, but water jets and soap sprays are quite effective. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants. They feed on the underside of leaves.

If you have questions or suggestions for topics, please email me at

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Dahlias ready for planting outdoors. (Erik Jacobsen photo)

Dahlias ready for planting outdoors. (Erik Jacobsen photo)